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Good morning everyone, greetings from Denver, Colorado. I am working on a few upcoming blog posts about my recent trip to Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu, but in the meantime, this post will show you how to use your SPG Points to book a Hawaiian Airlines award ticket using Virgin America miles. Back on April 13, 2016, SPG added Virgin America as a transfer partner, thus making this post possible.
Long story short, I needed a flight from Maui (OGG) to Kona (KOA) and this Hawaiian Airlines flight looked perfect. The only problem was the $96 price tag for a 35 minute flight. I reached out to my friends on Twitter and was told that the best way to book a Hawaiian Airlines award ticket was using Virgin America miles. Here is the process I went through to book the Hawaiian Airlines award ticket using Virgin America miles.
Looking at the Hawaiian Airlines award chart, it looks like inter-island flights are 7,500 Hawaiian Airlines miles at the Coach SuperSaver level. If I can find the above Hawaiian Airlines flight for 7,500 Hawaiian Airlines miles, I should be able to book an award ticket with one of Hawaiian Airlines’ airline partners.
I searched for Hawaiian Airlines award space by logging into my Hawaiian Airlines account (current balance is 0 Hawaiian Airlines miles) and searched for the flight I wanted.
Luckily, the 2:47pm Hawaiian Airlines flight was available for 7,500 Hawaiian Airlines miles (Coach SuperSaver award level).
To double check the award space, I searched on American Airlines’ website and found the same flight for 7,500 American Airlines miles.
Interestingly, United Airlines is also a partner of Hawaiian Airlines and I found the exact same flight for 6,000 United Airlines miles.
Using 7,500 Hawaiian Airlines miles, 7,500 American Airlines miles, or 6,000 United Airlines miles for a $96 flight is not a great redemption option (1.28 CPP for HA and AA; 1.6 CPP for UA). This is where Virgin America comes in handy. On the Virgin America partner award chart, Hawaiian Airlines inter-island award flights cost only 3,000 Virgin America miles (3.2 CPP for VX). I called Virgin America to verify the award flight I wanted was available and to confirm the price of 3,000 Virgin America miles was correct. After verifying everything, I needed to increase my Virgin America account balance to 6,000 miles to book 2 one-way tickets.
I transferred 5,638 SPG Points to Virgin America on Thursday April 14, 2016…
…And the 5,638 Virgin America miles posted on Wednesday April 20, 2016. I’m not sure what day SPG processes Virgin America transfers, but it can take up to 7 days, so be prepared to wait.
After the Virgin America miles posted to my account, I called Virgin America to book the Hawaiian Airlines award tickets. The process was simple and I only needed to pay the $5.60 taxes/fees for both tickets. A few minutes later, I received a confirmation email from Virgin America with my Hawaiian Airlines confirmation number.
I then used the Hawaiian Airlines confirmation number to select my seats and add my TSA PreCheck number to the reservation.
I logged back into my Virgin America account and noticed that 6,000 Virgin America miles were redeemed from my account, leaving me with 0 Virgin America miles in my account.
Other than the long wait time to transfer SPG Points to Virgin America miles, the process of booking a Hawaiian Airlines award ticket was pretty simple. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great Sunday everyone!
P.S. This is a reminder that the Front Range Travel Hackers meetup group is meeting tonight. If you want to join us for miles, points, MS, and maybe a few beers, join their Meetup Group and RSVP here. I hope to see some of you tonight.
- When: Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 7-9PM
- Where: Kokopelli Beer Company, 8931 Harlan St, Westminster, CO 80031 (Google Map)