Why Southwest Airlines is my new favorite airline

Southwest Airlines is by far my new favorite airline.  Yes, I know you don’t get an assigned seat, but all the positives, especially the help it provides getting to Hawaii, is worth it.  Let’s talk other positives first:

  • No Change Fee – wow, only domestic airline I know that is like this.  You can change a flight for no cost, they don’t give you back your money, but you can change to another Southwest flight at no charge (up to a year)………..that rocks, you think you might want to fly somewhere, make a reservation at the best price and you can always change it later……………
  • Bags are Free – No cost for the first and second bags you check.
  • Low Prices – Southwest flights are typically the lowest fare between most of the cities I look at.  Not always, but usually it’s one of the lower fares which also means it takes fewer points to fly for free.
  • Website – I find their website easy to use, easy to book and easy to see how many points it will take to fly.  It’s a little annoying that most “combined” airfare watch programs don’t include Southwest, but I simply make it a habit to check their website after checking a consolidator.
Now let’s talk about how Southwest can help you get to Hawaii………
  • Hawaii – No direct service to Hawaii yet, but that is certainly in the rumor mill and appears to be just a matter of time.  Even without that service Southwest flies to most of the west coast cities that then provide killer deals to Hawaii.
  • Credit Card and Frequent Flyer Points – The Southwest credit card is well worth signing up for when you get 50,000 points.  When I signed up about 6 months ago, the only requirement was a single purchase.  My son received his card just this week and his requirement is $1,000 spend in four months…………my wife is taking care of that for him  Either way, it’s well worth it when round trip SLC to San Diego flights can be as low as 16,000 points…………..in fact less than that.  I just checked round-trip flights from SLC to San Diego on Southwest and each way the minimum points required is 6,840 for a total of 13,680 total points for a round trip ticket to San Diego.  That means will a single credit card sign-up bonus of 50,000 will get me 3 complete round-trip tickets and almost a fourth.
  • Earning Frequent Flyer Points – They also have a myriad of ways to accumulate points as you purchase other items and services.  I need to experiment here and see which items work best, but they are constantly pushing their shopping portal with specials for accumulating points.

Hawaiian Miles Frequent Flyer Program

HawaiianMiles can help your family travel for less to Hawaii.  HawaiinMileis is Hawaiian airlines frequent flyer program.  You might think that it’s not worth signing up for because you don’t live in Hawaii and don’t ever fly the airline, but that would be short sighted.  If you plan to travel to Hawaii and if you want to travel between islands while you are there, you should join Hawaiian Miles.

 Redeeming Miles

Inter-island travel can require as few as 7,500 miles for a one-way ticket.  That means if you fly into Honolulu and then want to take a jaunt to Kauai and back you could do so for as little as 15,000 miles.  So how do you earn HawaiianMiles without flying on Hawaii Airlines?

Earning Miles

The quickest and easiest way to earn HawaiianMiles is to sign-up for two Hawaiian Airline credit cards which can net you 70,000 points alone and 140,000 if two of you do it.  Just think, 70,000 points could equal as much as four round trip island tickets.  Not bad at all.  HawaiianMiles also gives you many other ways to earn miles, including spending on the visa card, searching online and of course traveling.

Share, Transfer or Purchase

A convenient feature of HawaiianMiles is the ability to share the miles with family and friends at no cost if you have the visa card.  This allows you to pool, or combine your miles to access you awards.


70,000 – 140,000 Hawaiian Airline Points

Without too much effort you can acquire 70,000 – 140,000 Hawaiian Airline points that will help you with travel between islands once you are in Hawaii, or between mainland U.S. and Hawaii.  In our upcoming trip to Hawaii, we plan to visit both Kauai and Maui as a family of 7, so that can be expensive even between islands.  I am planning on using Avios points to get from the mainland to Hawaii and then Hawaiian Airline points to get between islands.  Each credit card is similar, but from two different banks, Bank of Hawaii and Bank of America.  I would suggest doing them both at the same time like I did.  They have similar requirements to get your 70,000 points.  I am going to have my wife apply as well for the same two cards and see if we can get 140,000 points.

  • 20,000 bonus points with 1st purchase
  • 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within 4 months
The links for both cards are:
I found the application for these cards to be simple and straightforward to complete.  I sat down and completed both applications in the same night and received immediate approval  on one and had to wait a few days on the other.  Remember these are two distinct banks that both provide points to the same Hawaiian Miles account.  I know of no quicker way to generate Hawaiian Airline points than by collecting bonus points from these two credit cards.

$384 – San Diego to Honolulu

My American Express Farewatcher notified me that fares dropped this morning from San Diego to Honolulu. It’s for September 11-18th which is difficult with children in school, but maybe you can make that work.

Fares to your watched destination(s) have changed. Book your trip today before fares increase.

San Diego to Honolulu $384 Book now to lock in your rate >>
(Round-Trip, Sep 11 – Sep 18)

Airfare to Hawaii – From the West Coast

The fare prices to Hawaii from Salt Lake City for example have just seemed astronomical lately.  $750 and more seems to be the regular price now, so when I saw $384 from San Diego it caught my attention.  I am signed up on the American Express Travel Farewatcher Plus program which notifies me of fare price decreases to Hawaii.  On June 14th the roundtrip fare from San Diego to Honolulu decreased from $493 to $384.  I just ran a search on American Express for a round trip fare from SLC to HNL and the lowest fare was $722.

With a difference in fare price of $336 that can be well worth a drive to San Diego.  I am looking at taking our entire family of seven so with a savings of 7x$336 totaling $2,352 that can be well worth a drive including a hotel to put us up if we want to cut the drive down.  Since we have grandparents in St. George we can stay at no cost their for a night and then make our way to San Diego from their.  Granted not as convenient, and will take a couple of extra days, but it will keep the costs down.