spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

An Adventure in American AAdvantage and Avios

…ay ay ay ūüôā¬† My mission: get the 4 of us from Seville (SVQ) to Barcelona (BCN) using less than $420, preferably on nonstop flights, preferably later in the day. Seemed easy at first: Iberia MUST have a nonstop flight between these popular Spanish destinations, right? And I could totally use my Avios on Iberia flights, so that would be a cinch, right? You would think so…

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Bits & Pieces: Southwest Hawaii news, IHG and SPG card changes

Holy cannoli, things have been crazy lately.¬† My trip planning took a bit of a back seat, though I did manage to book some tickets from Paris to Seville on Transavia, which is a European low-cost carrier affiliated with Air France/KLM.¬† More on that in another post- especially as they’ve already made an unfavorable schedule change…I refused the change via email and they said they’ll be contacting me (during THEIR business hours, in the Netherlands) to discuss the alternatives.¬† Anyway…on to the good stuff! Read the rest of this entry »

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Confession: I just bought 4 tickets…with cash

I KNOW!¬† It’s so rare for me to pay for anything but taxes when using miles/points, or pay for 1 or 2 fares and use miles/points/companion fare for the rest.¬† But this time it made a lot of sense.¬† I still have some tickets to buy for the European trip, but I’ll discuss some nice updates from Chase Ultimate Rewards¬†that may just help me out with those. Read the rest of this entry »

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Award travel success- transatlantic flights

I plugged our voyage  into the Great Circle Mapper, an excellent site to determine flight miles between destinations, potentially very useful in the near future (see Flights to Spain and Flights within Spain further down).  This is what came back!

europe trip route map

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Award travel success so far, European hotels

Yeaaaaaaaaaaah buddy! We currently have 4 of 7 hotel nights needed covered with points, with 2 of the remaining 3 hopefully covered by certificates later this year.  I shall now regale you with my recent adventures in hotel booking.

Um, have you ever noticed that European hotels (even American chains) rarely sleep more than 2 people?¬† I’ve had quite a time¬†setting up 4-person rooms in London, Paris,¬†and Barcelona.¬† We are lucky to be able to stay with family or friends in our other 3 stops (North Carolina, Seville, and New Jersey).¬† My chart:

Location # of nights needed # of nights booked on points # of nights paying OOP % nights covered
North Carolina  3-4  3-4 sister points  0  100%
London 1
Paris 3
Seville 3  3 friend points  0  100%
Barcelona 3
New Jersey 2  2 daughter points  0  100%

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Bits & pieces: Pandora, Happily Ever After, Music of Pixar-Live, deals

Some Disney News!

Confession: I have never seen Avatar. So when Disney announced a few years ago that they would be recreating the world of Pandora: World of Avatar¬†at Animal Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, I was all, “meh.”¬† Now that the work is mostly completed, and they are airing TV spots, and the opening is slated for Memorial Day Weekend 2017, I’m all, “…still meh.”¬† However, a few things that might make me change my tune: Read the rest of this entry »

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Disney T-A-G, and a personal bag

It’s been¬†a rough time for me emotionally, though of course my suffering is infinitesimal compared to those who actually died/were injured/are missing in the Earthquake.¬† No new (safe) donation opportunities haves popped up specifically for Hawaii.¬† I sent money to my cousin’s car service, and from what I understand, it was helpful.¬† I will continue to send aid in that manner.¬† It was really great to see that communities with lots of Ecuadorians (NY, Miami, etc), were getting together Facebook Groups to organize donation drives via the airlines or local travel agencies.¬† There have been lots of inspiring stories of rescues, international aid arriving, and huge quantities of donations from the less-hit areas of Ecuador.¬† The inevitable political sniping and accusations of favoritism are alive and well, too.¬† There is still along ways to go towards rebuilding, of course.¬† Time to put those donations to work and get on with it.¬†¬†Ok, Disney time! Read the rest of this entry »

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Bits & Pieces: IllumiNations live stream & Marriott/SPG merger

  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!¬† Disney Parks Blog is having another live stream event TODAY!¬† IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,¬†the evening finale at Epcot,¬†will be watchable on the Blog starting at 8:50p EST, or 2:50p HST.¬† As I have stated repeatedly, this is my favorite fireworks show at Disney World, so I will definitely be tuning in.
  • In travel-related news:¬†Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Marriott were all set to merge later this year,¬†merrily making plans for Marriott to take over the program, while SPG cardholders like me had started to worry that our points might be devalued sometime next year.¬† Last weekend, a Chinese hotel company upset the apple cart and came in with a higher buyout bid, which SPG had to consider.¬† They had only¬†a certain amount of time to accept the higher bid.¬† Then Marriott came back this past weekend with a hugely improved offer.¬† Now SPG must reconsider both, and the Chinese company can even counter again if it chooses.¬† A bit of drama going on here.¬† For more business-sy details, see this article on Forbes.com.
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Award travel success…so far

We’re going to NYC¬†in November 2016…but I don’t know when we’re coming back.¬† Let me explain:¬†¬†most airlines release their award availability about 330 days in advance.¬† Since we’re wanting to travel for Thanksgiving next year, the time to book is now!¬† But it’s still too soon to book the return…

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Travel Strategies for Hawaii residents- Hawaiian Airlines

Sorry for the break in posting- got pretty busy for a few weeks.¬† Now back to normal, ready to discuss Hawaiian Airlines ūüôā

Hawaiian is the big name in travel to in¬†the islands (duh).¬† They fly nice planes around the islands and to/from Asia, Australia, the South Pacific,¬†and¬†North America.¬†Once again, in keeping with the focus of the blog, I’ll detail the nonstop routes to and from Canada and the US mainland on Hawaiian (HA) metal:

  • from Honolulu (HNL): Las Vegas, NV¬†(LAS), Los Angeles, CA¬†(LAX), New York, NY¬†(JFK), Oakland, CA (OAK), Phoenix, AZ (PHX), Portland, OR (PDX), Sacramento, CA (SMF), San Diego, CA (SAN), San Francisco, CA (SFO), San Jose, CA (SJC), Seattle, WA (SEA).
  • from Kahului (OGG): ¬†Los Angeles, CA¬†(LAX), Oakland, CA (OAK), San Francisco, CA (SFO) beginning Nov 2014, San Jose, CA (SJC), Seattle, WA (SEA).
  • from Kailua-Kona (KOA): Los Angeles, CA¬†(LAX), Oakland, CA (OAK).¬† Both of these are summer seasonal routes.
  • from Lihue (LIH): Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Oakland, CA (OAK).¬† Both of these are summer seasonal routes.¬†

OK- travel strategies for kama’aina on Hawaiian Airlines!¬† All residents know that HawaiianMiles are fairly easy to accumulate locally.¬† There is a¬†co-branded credit card, miles given for shopping at Foodland, and miles-earning shopping events at malls around the state.¬†¬†This one is coming up at Windward Mall, and they have events at Kahala Mall and Ward Centers, too.¬† The standard¬†mileage-earning opportunities apply as well: there is a shopping portal, partnerships w/hotels and rental car companies, a dining program,¬†and even a MilesFinder toolbar¬†you can¬†install.

Two HawaiianMiles¬†features I haven’t seen too often in other frequent flyer programs:

  1. you can earn HawaiianMiles for processing a travel visa
  2. HawaiianMiles program members get 40% off checked baggage fees on Neighbor Island flights
  3. you can share your miles with anyone: the receiver must hold a personal Hawaiian Airlines credit or debit card card, but the giver just has to be someone with a valid HawaiianMiles account.

So you can earn miles a bunch of ways…now how to spend them?¬† Here’s what you need to fly to/from the mainland on HA metal, along with the guide to the different Award types:

One Way Flight Awards Coach SuperSaver Coach Saver* Coach Flex First Class Saver First Class Flex
North America To/From Hawaii
North America‚ÄďHawaii 20,000 30,000 40,000 40,000 80,000
North America‚ÄďHawaii Upgrade 25,000 50,000

All awards are one way flight awards
* Coach Class Saver level awards may be purchased online only

Hawaiian Airlines Awards

  • SuperSaver – the lowest mileage Coach flight award.
  • Coach Saver– available when SuperSaver awards are not. Coach Saver awards may be purchased online only.
  • Coach Flex– can be redeemed for travel on Hawaiian Airlines with twice the miles of a SuperSaver award when both SuperSaver and Saver award seats are not available.
  • First/Business Saver – the lowest mileage First/Business Class flight award. This award does not have to be purchased online.
  • First/Business Flex – can be redeemed for travel on Hawaiian Airlines with twice the miles of a First/Business Saver award when a First/Business Saver award is not available.

Partner airlines include ANA (All-Nippon Airways), American Airlines, China Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Virgin Australia.  Of these, only American and JetBlue (UPDATED 4/7/15: and Virgin America) offer routes to/from the mainland:

American Airlines

Roundtrip Award Award Mileage
Economy Business First
1 Roundtrip between North America and Hawaii 45,000 90,000 110,000
1 Roundtrip between North America and Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America; within the Caribbean; between the Caribbean and South America 35,000 70,000 85,000
1 Roundtrip between North America and South America 60,000 120,000 150,000
1 Roundtrip between North America and Europe 60,000 120,000 150,000
*Awards for the routes listed above must be on flights operated by American Airlines only. Awards may not be issued for flights operated by American Airline’s partners. Awards on American Airlines flights must be based on roundtrip travel only. All are subject to change with or without notice. Note: Bolding is mine: when using HawaiianMiles on AA, you must have a roundtrip itinerary.¬† To be able to book one-ways, you can use American AAdvantage miles on Hawaiian flights.¬† Definitely use AAdvantage miles if you can- the Coach Saver RT price will be only 35K miles as opposed to 45K HawaiianMiles as shown above. [IMPORTANT re my note: as of 9/1/15, AAdvantage miles cannot be redeemed for Hawaiian Airlines flight to/from the US mainland.]

JetBlue

Estimated JetBlue
Ticket Value
Corresponding
Award Mileage
From To From To
0 99 ‚ÄĒ 10,000
100 179 15,000 20,000
180 259 25,000 30,000
260 339 35,000 40,000
340 419 45,000 50,000
*Miles required for redemption will vary based on ticket value. Chart above shows an ESTIMATED mileage redemption amount.  Note: the only flight you can really use this benefit on is the nonstop from HNL to JFK.  The only way to calculate how many TrueBlue points you will need for the fare is to search for the dollar cost, call JetBlue directly to book the flight (no online booking on partner awards), and then expect to pony up 1 point for every 1.2 cents of value, which kind of contradicts the chart above, but seems to be the norm for Hawaiian flights on JetBlue.  Not a good value unless you are swimming in TrueBlue points.
One-way HNL-JFK on JetBlue, random date

One-way HNL-JFK on JetBlue, random date.  This would likely cost ~42,500 TrueBlue points (509 divided by .012)


So, using HawaiianMiles on HA metal and American is pretty straightforward.¬† It’s nice that one can fly Hawaiian flights and credit them to America/JetBlue, and vice versa. Decent flexibility there.¬† Unfortunately, they don’t fly any routes to Canada at this time.¬† We’ll have to settle for WestJet’s Vancouver nonstop.

Saving money on Hawaiian flights (mostly with the co-branded credit card issued by Bank of Hawaii/Barclays Bank):
  • ¬†Primary Cardholders are eligible to earn a one-time 50% off discount toward one published roundtrip coach fare for a companion upon new account approval and is good for 13 months from the time the credit card account is open. Note: must be used on HA metal, no partner airlines.
  • Primary Cardholders are also eligible to earn a one hundred ($100) discount off one coach companion ticket on each credit card account anniversary upon payment of annual fee and is good for 12 months from account anniversary.

On the non-Hawaiian CC holder side:

  • they frequently have great deals on West Coast travel.¬† There is a special price on the San Francisco-Kahului¬†flight for travel on selected dates in January- $398 roundtrip!¬† Read the wording on the specials carefully ¬†though, most are non valid in both directions.¬† This special fare, for example, is only good when the travel originates from San Francisco.¬† You can sign up for Hawaiian fare alerts here.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest members can get special fares (usually a flat 5% off) most flights.
  • You can get $1 (yes, just $1) back when booking Hawaiian flights through ebates.
  • some local employers also offer discounts: HGEA, Air Force Association, and I’m sure many others.
  • there are also constant offers of contest to win HawaiianMiles, like the one HMSA currently has.
On a personal note, the logo and brand colors on Hawaiian appeal to me.  Just like the iconic Eskimo on the tail of an Alaska Airlines plane, the Hawaiian lady on the tail of an HA plane gives me the warm and fuzzies.  While I personally abhor the smell of flowers and hate receiving lei, there is nothing more whimsical than giant versions of common items:
You can barely make out the huge lei on the nose of the plane.  Photo from airlinereporter.com

You can barely make out the huge lei on the nose of the plane. Photo from airlinereporter.com

Any questions on Hawaiian Airlines?

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