If you’ve wanted to fly premium on flights to Hawaii (okay, well who doesn’t), but were not keen on the price tag, there’s a new interesting option and a couple of other tricks that might help move you up to first. Upgrades on Flights to Hawaii are always possible, and in fact most passengers in premium used some form of upgrade. Free upgrades, however, even for premium flyers, are becoming ever more rare.
Case in point: cheaper, not cheap.
We recently upgraded to Hawaiian Airlines first class using miles on a 10 hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu. The cost of the upgrade was 45,000 HawaiianMiles, which is equivalent to $450. That’s a great price when you consider 1) we paid $400 for the cheapest economy tickets bringing the total cost to $850; and 2) the cost to purchase first class outright was nearly $2,500 per person. Thus the savings was about 66% off the retail price.
Options for upgrades on flights to Hawaii.
Paid upgrades. These are within 24 hours of travel and can range from as little as $150 to as much as $819. Check with your airline in advance so that you are prepared.
Upgrade using frequent flyer points, as we did in the case above. Upgrades to and from Hawaii on all airlines typically start at about 15,000 frequent flyer points.
Fly enough to become an elite. If you do, free upgrades (either guaranteed or based on status/availability) are a part of the perks, although how that works varies by airline.
Bidding for upgrades on Hawaiian Airlines:
1. Buy cheap flights to Hawaii in economy or basic economy.
2. Go to Hawaiian Airlines‘ website and in manage my trips, look for a link to begin the upgrade bidding process.
3. The airline will send out an email within a few weeks of your flight inviting you to inquire about bidding.
4. Decide what you’re willing to pay and see the airline’s minimum bid requirements.
5. Submit your offer and provide payment details in the event your bid is accepted. A hold may be placed on your credit card.
Alaska Airlines 24 hour upgrades. A relative steal between the US mainland and Hawaii, when available these are priced at as little as $150. The trick here is to be online at exactly 24 hours in advance of your flight.
Just ask. It may not work, but if you’re celebrating something, or are too large, tall, or are pregnant as examples, it never hurts to ask. Dressing nicely is always a good idea too, and being polite. None of these can do anything but improve chances.
Partner airline points. Check airline alliances. You may have points on one airline that can be used on another.
Tell us your thoughts.
Have you upgraded, and if so, how did you do it. Did you get a deal? Is bidding for upgrades something that you have done or might consider?