Delta operates a seasonal nonstop flight between JFK and Honolulu during December/January and there’s a surprising amount of saver award space given Delta’s stinginess with saver awards.
It would cost 45K Delta miles for a round-trip flight, however Skyteam partner Korean only charges 25K Korean Skypass miles for the same round-trip flight, a veritable bargain for an $800 flight. Korean also charges just 45K miles in first class, but there isn’t any availability in first.
Of course partner airlines can only book saver award (level 1) availability and Delta pulled all of the award charts from their site. However you can find saved copies of Delta’s award charts in this post and they confirm that level 1 award space between the US and Hawaii is 22.5K miles each way, so any date that shows 22.5K will be bookable by partner airlines as well.
I’ll do the homework for you:
From JFK to Honolulu every date from January 4-January 16 has at least 9 saver award seats besides for January 11.
From Honolulu to JFK there are at least 9 saver awards seats on December 21 as well as every date from January 12-16.
I called Korean at 800-438-5000 to confirm that they saw the same award availability. The first agent insisted on having the Skypass team call me back within 24 hours and that there was no way to talk to a Skypass agent today. So I HUCAd and the 2nd agent wanted to do the same but I insisted on waiting for a Skypass agent (“it will be a long hold time sir”) and within 30 seconds an agent confirmed that they did see the award space and that it was just 25,000 miles round-trip.
Korean doesn’t just have bargain awards to Hawaii on Delta, they also have great deals on Hawaiian and Alaska as well from 30K miles round-trip. Hawaiian also operates a year-round nonstop from JFK to Honolulu. You can search both Alaska and Hawaiian award space on AA.com where there is a button to toggle after searching for an award to show nonstop flights only.
Points from Chase cards like the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus (which currently has a 60K signup bonus offer) transfer instantly to Korean.
Want to read more about Hawaii? My love affair with Hawaii started exactly 9 years ago when I posted and grabbed a deal paying just $87 for airfare and hotel. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to spend several months between the stunning islands, which each offer a unique and wonderful experience. You can’t go wrong with any of them, there are just 2 things is to be careful of.
1. Don’t get stuck in Honolulu. I’ve heard from too many people who spent an entire week and never left the city limits. That’s just a shame, they may as well have gone to Miami Beach. While I prefer The Big Island, Kauai, and Maui to Oahu, there is still plenty to see and experience on Oahu as long as you leave Honolulu behind.
2. Don’t try to “do” several islands in a week. If you just have 4-7 days of vacation then you should stick to one island. There will be plenty to do to keep you busy and it will allow for some time to relax. There’s no need to add the stress of interisland travel just for the sake of “doing” another island. With 9 days or more to play with, it does make sense to experience more than 1 island.
As for which island is best, read on and decide for yourself! If you ask 5 people you’ll probably get 6 different answers 😀
Trip reports and posts on Hawaii:
-Trip Notes: Maui No Ka ‘Oi (2014)
-Trip Notes Kauai: Heaven On Earth (2014)
-The Hawaiian Islands. (2011)
-Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)
-View From The Room (2011)
-Pearl Harbor…70 Years (2011)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)
DDF forum threads:
–Hawaii Master Thread: General Questions And Which Island To Visit?
–Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
-Lanai, Molokai, and Niihau, Hawaii Master Thread
–Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread
-Links to trip reports from other DDF members.