How I’m Flying to Hawaii… (and back)… for $10

Around December/January of 2014, I decided that when my primary job finished, I’d travel the world for (at least) a year. I made it one of my major goals to save up money specifically for this trip. Now that that job has finished, I’ve been traveling a bit with plans to travel even more.

And while I could spend the savings that I have specifically for traveling, every deal, mile, or point that I redeem is one more dollar I have to devote to something else, or one more dollar I have for even more traveling.

To say I dislike the cold is an understatement. I hate it with a fervor that is probably not healthy. After Christmas/New Year’s, it just becomes unnecessary. Growing up in New York state brought, “winter” easily into April. And having lived in Iowa for the last two years, I’ve seen snowstorms into the second week of MAY. Give me a break.

So as I didn’t have anything planned for the end of January, I decided that a trip to Hawaii was a perfect retreat.

I decided, “I’m going to go to Hawaii,” hopped on the computer, and booked a flight for a 10 day trip. Here’s what it would have cost me.

Hawaiian Airlines offered the best rate, coming in just under $800. US Airways, United and American all had scattered rates of between $50-$150 more expensive.

Then I checked Delta, since I have the most amount of points with them, I’m always curious to compare their prices vs. mile redemption value.

Delta came in at $955 for a roundtrip flight from New York to JFK, including a stopover in Los Angeles.

Dollar for Dollar, Hawaiian airlines was clearly the better deal. A non-stop flight for $167 cheaper.

And while I had the money saved specifically to spend on travel, I figured I could, “Live Smart” and utilize some of my miles and points to stretch that money out to last longer.

Delta Skymiles have earned the nickname, “Sky pesos” from many travel enthusiasts for their often limited value. However I’ve found plenty of instances where I can get a great deal on what would have otherwise been a pricy flight. If you know where to look, and are able to book travel a decent amount of time in advance, Delta has some good redemption options.

I found some tickets that would take me from New York to Hawaii and back to New York, for only 45,000 miles plus taxes. The price was right, but multiple stopovers, (especially flying in the winter time) wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Instead I opted to go for a ticket that cost 55,000 miles, with only one stopover in Los Angeles.

A few clicks and a $10 payment and I had my ticket and confirmation number in hand.

If you think planning out a miles and points strategy is, “too difficult” or any of a host of excuses, this is a case where it really was as simple as it could be. It took me about 10 minutes from the time I searched the initial travel dates, to the time I had my confirmation. A flight that would have cost me $800 at the low end, was in my hand, almost for free.

I got a roundtrip ticket to Hawaii, all the way from New York,  for just $10.

Don’t buy into the, “I’d love to travel but it’s too expensive,” mindset. Even if you open up just a single reward credit card, you’ll have enough miles or points to take a great vacation. While not the one I’d recommend if you could only get one, the Delta Skymiles American Express cards currently have bonuses of at least 30,000 skymiles.

Now the question is, where would I stay? Good thing I saved on the flight to Hawaii, because hotels are tremendously expensive in Hawaii. I’d probably have to take all the money I saved and splurge for a room, right?

Well, maybe not. Stay tuned to see what steps I’m taking to get even more great deals on my trip to Hawaii.