Transfer SPG Points to Virgin America; Book Hawaiian Airlines Award Ticket with VX Elevate Miles

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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.

HA Flight

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.

Hawaiian Airlines Award Chart

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.

Search Hawaiian Airlines Award Space

Luckily, the 2:47pm Hawaiian Airlines flight was available for 7,500 Hawaiian Airlines miles (Coach SuperSaver award level).

Hawaiian Airlines Award Space Results

To double check the award space, I searched on American Airlines’ website and found the same flight for 7,500 American Airlines miles.

Hawaiian Airlines Flights using 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.

Hawaiian Airlines using 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.

Book Hawaiian Airlines with Virgin America Miles

I transferred 5,638 SPG Points to Virgin America on Thursday April 14, 2016…

SPG Transfer to Virgin America

…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.

SPG Points Post to Virgin America

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.

Virgin America Award Booking on Hawaiian Airlines

I then used the Hawaiian Airlines confirmation number to select my seats and add my TSA PreCheck number to the reservation.

Hawaiian Airlines Confirmation Screen

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.

Virgin America Transactions

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)

Denver Meetup April

25 thoughts on “Transfer SPG Points to Virgin America; Book Hawaiian Airlines Award Ticket with VX Elevate Miles

    1. Grant

      Oh, good question. I already had 362 Virgin America miles in my account and needed 5,638 more Virgin America miles to get to 6,000 Virgin America miles.

      Reply
      1. Roni

        Quick question… Virgin America is new to me. We travel back and forth on HA from NYC to HNL and then on to Molokai fairly frequently. I’ll do more investigating on my own but do you know off the top of your head if Miles costs would be lower across country like this too? Thank you for the great content and for explaining it so well!

        Reply
  1. Forest

    Thank you for sharing this, Grant! I always appreciate your clear and detailed explanations. When you first called Virgin America to check availability and confirm the redemption cost, were you able to place those two tickets on hold for the time you were waiting for the SPG points transfer?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Unfortunately, Virgin America doesn’t allow award holds, but the agent said that the max number of award seats were available, so I was pretty confident the award seats would still be available in a few days.

      Reply
  2. Karen

    Thanks so much. If I am reading this right.. To go HNL-AKL is 65K one way business class on HA. Using the points calculator the same thing on Virgin is 45K? So, transfer SPG to Virgin, call them to redeem Hawaiian to New Zealand for 20k less?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      That looks correct to me. HNL-AKL is 20,000 Virgin America miles in economy and 45,000 miles in business class. Before you do anything, search on Hawaiian Airlines to find the business class award space and then call Virgin America to verify the award space and number of miles required.

      Reply
          1. Karen

            HA will be having 18 lie-flat seats in their A330. By the time I am ready to take this trip.. My guess is they all should be done.

  3. Karen

    According the article I read it said….. The first newly outfitted aircraft is expected to enter Hawaiian’s long-haul network in the second quarter of 2016. The airline will begin installing lie-flat seats in the remaining 22 A330 aircraft in September of 2016 through 2017.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Inter-Island Hawaiian Flights with Virgin Elevate Points

  5. Lynn

    Did you need to call to book, or can you just book online. Thanks for sharing. I’m thinking about transferring some of my thank you points VA.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      To book partner awards with Virgin America miles, you need to call VirginAmerica’s partner award desk. They are open from 8-5pm PT.

      Reply

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