Travel & Leisure News

Travel Blog Ideas: Tips & Success from Travel Sites Around the World

travel blog ideas

Every day I personally look through hundreds of travel blog ideas, tips, and success from the best travel blogs on the internet. When I find articles that I feel would be valuable to you, I put them together and post them to this article on Travel Freedom. I also usually input some commentary. Today I found a new travel idea that meets my standards to pass it along. Here’s what I found…

 

Travel Blog Ideas (2018)

 

Airplane Etiquette – Live & Let’s Fly

Always be aware of your surroundings. If you’re thinking about reclining your airplane seat, that’s fine, but make sure to check behind you first. It’s possible that the person sitting behind you has things on their tray table that could be broken with the sudden recline of your seat. This almost happened to Matthew, when his laptop became jammed between the tray table and the back of the reclined seat.


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Add Egypt Back to the Bucket List – The Points Guy

Egypt has a lot going for it. The safety concerns stemming from its 2011 revolution have been stabilized, a new sphinx has recently been uncovered, new hotels are being built, and a huge museum focused on the Egyptian civilization is about to open. I have always been fascinated with the Egyptian civilization, but have not yet been able to travel there. I hope to make the trip within the next five years, to see the pyramids, Sphinx’s, the Nile River, and experience the culture first hand.

 

Over the past few years, I haven’t felt comfortable enough to travel there due to safety concerns. This article, along with other news has helped ease my worries about traveling to Egypt. I can’t wait to see it all and check it off my bucket list.

 

Westin Hapuna Beach Hawaii – The Points Guy

Next time I go to Hawaii I think I’ll spend at least some of the time at this hotel. With a decent redemption rate through Marriott, this resort is a good deal if using points. I’ve never stayed at this hotel, but have been to Hapuna Beach and enjoy the area. It’s just North of Kona and very near to some amazing beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii.

 

Hopefully, the redemption rate stays the same at this property so that we can get multiple free nights with the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus credit card, SPG credit card (Read more – terms apply), or the SPG Business credit card (Read more – terms apply). They all earn points and free annual nights in the newly merged SPG/Marriott program.

 

17 Incredible Safari Photos – Million Mile Secrets

Going on an African Safari is one of my top bucket list ideas. They were lucky enough to see a huge assortment of animals on the game reserve in South Africa. When I go on a safari, I’d like it to be in Kenya or Tanzania during the Great Migration. I’d really like to go on a camping safari for a week, even though it’s probably not quite as safe as some other African Safari’s. It would be amazing to be able to see so many exotic animals in their natural habitat.

 

16 Amazing College Towns – Million Mile Secrets

Have you ever visited any of these college towns? Maybe you happen to live in one as I do! I’ve been to three of the cities on the list and live in one of them. I’ve been to Boulder, Charlottesville, and Berkeley. I have lived in Eugene, Oregon for all but one year of my life and will expand on Million Mile Secrets’ explanation. It’s the home of the University of Oregon Ducks, many outdoor activities, breweries, vineyards, running enthusiasts (Track Town USA), and great bike paths. Also, the Oregon Ducks aren’t the only green thing you can legally experience while in the state (if you can read between the lines and you’re into that). Eugene is nestled between the mountains, the Pacific Ocean, rivers, lakes, and the city (Portland). All of which are within a two-hour drive, making this a great place to visit or live!

 

Being Single Makes Travel More Expensive – The Points Guy

While this is up for debate in the comments of the post, I’d have to agree that traveling with a partner is much more frugal. While flights remain the same per person, hotels and such end up costing the same price no matter how many people are staying with you. For a $100 hotel room, it will cost the full amount for a single traveler, while it will cut the price in half if you’re traveling as a pair. Sometimes my wife and I will save on food as well by sharing plates at a restaurant. Especially when we go somewhere with huge portions and we lack the equipment to save or reheat them.

 

Free Messaging on Southwest – The Gate

It’s always nice to be able to communicate with friends and family while in the sky. Southwest is rolling out free messaging on their flights and should be done in October. This means you can message whoever is picking you up with an accurate time of when you should be arriving at the airport. Or you can get in on that group chat that you’d normally come back to with hundreds of unread messages.

 

From experience on Alaska’s free messaging, I noticed that it also allows some other apps to work, whether on purpose or not. While I was flying to and from Washington DC this summer I was able to receive updates on Twitter through the free messaging.

 

Best Hawaii Hotels Using Points – Million Mile Secrets

While we normally stay in a condo in Hawaii, we’ve also stayed in two of these hotels as well as a few others. Hawaii is our favorite destination due to its beauty and ease of travel from the west coast. We typically stay in condos so that we can prepare most of our own meals. But, with these options available using points, we may try booking a hotel for “free” next time. I say “free” with quotations because many of these hotels have resort fees, which you still have to pay on reward stays. I’m not a fan of resort fees. Why should a hotel have a set price for a room and then for no particular reason add another fee to the price?

 

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai using our free nights through the World of Hyatt credit card. The hotel was in a great location in Poipu and was beautiful. The sand bottom pool was great for relaxing if we didn’t want to make the trek another 100 yards to the beach. It had nice white sand beaches just in front of the property. We even made S’mores one night out near the pools!

 

Another of these hotels that we stayed at was the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach, which we did not enjoy. It’s a few blocks from Waikiki Beach and in a great location if you like that area. We found the hotel to be pretty run down and not what you’d typically expect from a Hyatt Place Property (they usually have nice chic rooms with the somewhat separated bed and living space with modern shower). Also, we dislike the Waikiki area. The beaches are not nice and it being overcrowded is an understatement.

 

Alaska Airlines Has VR Headsets on Flights – The Points Guy

Virtual reality has hit the skies. Alaska Airlines has rolled out VR headsets on a few of their flights. You’re only able to watch a few movies in virtual reality 3D. Fortunately, the films that are on the headsets are only forward facing VR. If not you might have passengers moving all over the place on the plane! I’ve never watched a movie with one of these headsets, but it’s supposed to give the feel of being in the theater. It seems like a good touch for Alaska Airlines. I just hope they wipe off the headsets with sanitizer after each use.

 

$169 Flights to Iceland – The Points Guy

If you’re able to travel between September and December you may want to look at going to Iceland. Wow Air currently has tickets on sale for $169 round trip. They fly from quite a few major airports in the US, including a couple on the west coast. The US airports that have this deal available are PIT, EWR, JFK, BWI, BOS, CLE, STL, CVG, DTW, DFW, SFO, & LAX.

 

Alaska Airlines is Giving Away 100,000 Miles – The Gate

Free miles. Yes, please! Alaska Airlines is giving away 100,000 miles plus money to cover the taxes that it may incur. It would be pretty nice to have some extra miles. Where would you go if you were to win? I think I would use my Alaska Miles on short-haul flights along the west coast. Good luck if you enter!

 

How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Airline Partners – Points, Miles & Martinis

Since the most popular card for beginners in the points and miles space is the Chase Sapphire Preferred, this will be pretty useful. The blog post shows how to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Airline partners. This is the way to get the most value out of your points, so take notes. I often transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways to fly to Hawaii, and to Southwest to take advantage of my Companion Pass status.

 

Personally, I dislike the Seahawks… GO RAIDERS!!! But, in this case, Delta is giving away miles to Washington Residents as part of their 12status promotion. You will earn miles without even flying. They’re giving you a mile for every yard the Seahawks throw for, which should be a few thousand. You will also receive priority boarding. Seems like a good deal for those of you who consider yourselves Seahawks fans… EW!

 

Man Lives in Airport – View From The Wing

Could you live in an airport for a day? A week? A month? How about 18 years?!? That’s how long a man once lived in Paris Charles De Gaulle airport (as seen in Tom Hanks’ movie The Terminal). I never realized that the movie was a true story… Now I want to go watch it because I never have. How long do you think you could live in an airport? It might be an interesting journalistic story for a travel blogger to try out. Priority Pass would be a necessity, as well as a boarding pass that you could delay over and over somehow…

 

1 IN 50 PASSENGERS WILL FIND LOVE ON AN AIRPLANE – VIEW FROM THE WING

Oooo la la! Are you the 2% who has already found love on an airplane? Was it love at first site? This article talks about a survey that also says what flyers pet peeves are while aboard an airplane. The survey is actually probably pretty inaccurate because it only surveys 2000 people… but it was a fun read anyway. Did you know the first couple found joining the mile high club was found naked and dead, because they crashed the plane they were in?!? At least they died having fun…

 

I’M GIVING AWAY 1,000,000 MILES – THE POINTS GUY

The Points Guy has partnered with United Airlines to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. They’re giving away a whopping one million miles to the winner of their raffle. To enter you can donate at least $10. With some of the larger donation amounts, you will receive some swag along with your entries. The article also shows a few ways you could spend your million United miles if you’re the winner. My favorite on the list is number 1, having first-class going all the way around the world.

 

BEST TRAVEL TOYS FOR KIDS – MILLION MILE SECRETS

Emily from Million Mile Secrets has put together a list of toys that travel well with children of all ages. She compiled a group of toys for babies, toddlers, and young children of age three or higher. A flight of five hours is a long time to keep your child occupied in a confined space. If you have children, let us know what their favorite toys to bring on the plane are in the comments. I’d love to hear, for future reference!

 

AIRLINE GIMMICK TO AVOID COMPENSATION – LIVE & LETS FLY

Have you recently had any flights where the flight time seemed extraordinarily long for the distance you were traveling? I definitely have, but didn’t realize why. This article makes complete sense to why airlines would be fluffing the estimated arrival time of your flight. My wife and I actually experienced this on our recent flight from Washington DC (DCA) to Dallas (DAL). Our flight was delayed nearly an hour, but somehow we actually got there before our expected arrival time. I was confused and didn’t think we could have made up that much time in the air. This gimmick would make sense to why we made it to Dallas on time. Have you experienced this yet?

 

Southwest to Hawaii News – Mile Value

Hawaii is due for some good news, after suffering from earthquakes, heavy rains, volcanic lava, and a hurricane to top it off. Finding out that Southwest will be booking and flying it’s new Hawaii routes starting in September or October is excellent news. My wife and I have earned a Southwest Companion Pass for the rest of 2018 through the end of 2019. We plan to use it for some buy-one-get-one-free Hawaii flights! Now I’m interested to see what the pricing will look like, and when they will add new departure cities from the mainland. I’m really hoping for Portland or Seattle to be added soon after launch.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred card holders are VIP at Popular Events – Million Mile Secrets

Whether you knew about it or not (most don’t), the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a somewhat secret benefit. It’s cardholders have VIP Access privileges at many concerts, sports, and dining events. I have never looked into these in the past, but I’m going to start as some of the events sound pretty amazing. VIP Access at an Ed Sheeran concert in a luxury box for $300 sounds pretty cool… Having a special dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant… Yumm. Did you know about this benefit of having the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

ALSO: Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card holders also have access to some of the events.

 

GUIDE TO EATING HEALTHY ON PLANES – THE POINTS GUY

While I’m not a mom, my wife and I do want to have children soon, so this one hits home. Many people with kids claim that it’s impossible to travel once you have kids. I’m sure you’ve heard something to this extent before… Well, whether they mean financially or just the difficulty of added passengers who don’t always obey or even understand, I’m going to boldly say they’re wrong! No, I don’t have children yet to judge how hard it really is, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say we won’t stop traveling when we have kids. This article explains how traveling with her kids actually made her a better mom.

 

HOW AIRLINE MILES MAKE ME A BETTER MOM – MOMMY POINTS

Airplane seats that kill bacteria instantly? Sounds like people will be getting sick less from travel… Oh wait, aren’t some bacteria we carry good for us? I’ll let you decide for yourself whether or not these newly designed airplane seats are a good thing.

 

SELF-CLEANING AIRCRAFT SEATS – THE POINTS GUY

Ok, this isn’t really travel related unless you consider driving to 7-11 travel… But, they’re giving away free 12 oz cans of Redbull at 7-11. All you do is click this link, input your phone number, and you’ll receive a coupon. Make sure not to redeem the digital coupon until you actually are ready to purchase the Redbull, because the coupon will only be valid for 15 minutes from that point.

 

WORST TRAVEL HABITS – THE POINTS GUY

Here’s a list of the worst travel habits out there. Hopefully, you aren’t one of “THOSE” people, when it comes to flying…

 

THINK TWICE BEFORE TURNING OFF THE AIR VENT – TRAVEL & LEISURE

Keep that airplane air vent flowing! It may just prevent you from getting sick… did you know that those vents were originally made to clean the air from cigarette smokers on planes? I still can’t believe that was ever allowed… DISGUSTING!

 

EASY 5X AT OFFICE MAX – FREQUENT MILER & FEE WAIVED VISA GC’S AT STAPLES – DAN’S DEALS

If you’re trying to meet a minimum spend for a credit card, or have a credit card that earns multiple points per dollar you’ll want to know about these two promos going on right now. I’ll be heading to both stores with my Chase Ink Cash credit card that earns 5 points per dollar at both.

 

7 WAYS CREDIT CARDS CAN HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS – THE POINTS GUY

If you have a small business, or work independently you may find this article interesting. It describes a few ways that credit cards can help your business. As a small business owner, myself, I find this topic interesting and will be writing about it soon as well.

 

Increased Chase Ink Preferred Introductory Bonus – Miles to Memories

The Chase Ink Preferred normally has one of the best introductory bonuses, but if this is true and the bonus is even higher than normal… Oh boy, jump on that if it is indeed true. 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points can go a long way. No joke! I can think of four ways I could spend them… how about 4 round trip flights to Hawaii from the west coast.

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited (double) 3x Points – Mile Value

Let’s keep it going with increased Chase introductory bonuses! This one is for sure… Normally this card will give you 1.5 points on all purchases, but now they’ll give you double that in the first year of having the card. Three Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all types of spend is something to write home about!

 

10 Life Changing Decisions People Make on Vacation – The Points Guy

On to the list articles for the day. This one by The Points Guy and his peeps is a list of 10 things people decide to do while on vacation… Some good, some bad… All life changing.

 

10 of the Worlds Best Hotels that Cost Under $300 – GODSAVETHEPOINTS

Next on the list of 10 articles is one about the best hotels around the world that will cost you less than $300 per night. $300 per night is pretty expensive in my book, so I’d sure hope they’re nice!

 

Have Plane Seats Really Shrunk – The Telegraph

This article shows which airlines have the most and least legroom. It also compares how the sizes of seats in many of the airlines have changed over the past 30 years. It’s kind of funny to me that over that 30 years while people seem to be getting fatter, the seats are getting smaller.

 

Google’s In-flight Wi-fi Play – Paxex.aero

Is Google going to make a run at in-flight wi-fi? Well, it’s uncertain, but this article explains why it may be a potential for the tech giant. I’d have to say, more options for wi-fi on planes would be a good thing. Sometimes in-flight wi-fi is a bit too pricey for my budget and maybe this will help.

 

Travel Contests – Johnny Jet

To end today’s Travel Blog News, I’ll leave you with this weeks travel contests and giveaways. You may think you’ll never win one because the odds are so bad, but it’s not true. Someone’s gotta win… why not you. I used to sign up for every travel giveaway I saw and I surprisingly won 5 or 6 giveaways, including 100,000 Starwood points which ended up giving me about 10 free nights at some great hotels.

 

SW Rapid Rewards Double Points – Frequent Flyer Bonuses

First up, we have a short article from Frequent Flyer Bonuses, that tells you about a Southwest Airlines promotion that you need to sign up for if you’re planning on flying with them before summer. Two words – DOUBLE MILES!

 

Damning Allegiant Air Safety Expose – Live & Let Fly

Here’s one that’s been on just about every travel blog this week. It’s about a 60 Minutes episode that talks about an airline that’s not safe to travel on. Supposedly, many of their pilots don’t let their families fly the airline they work for. Hmmmm… who could it be? Maybe you’ve flown them. It’s US budget airline, Allegiant. Stay safe Travel Tribe.

 

Pay Rent by Credit Card for 1.5% Fee – Frequent Miler

This travel news article shows you how it’s now possible to pay your rent with a credit card for a 1.5% fee. That may sound crazy to pay extra, but it could be useful if you’re trying to meet a minimum spend on a new credit card.

 

How to Save on Car Rentals – Million Mile Secrets

Car rentals are always a difficult one for me. You don’t get a lot of value using your points on them, but it’s also sometimes hard to find a decent deal. I usually check Hotwire and Costco Travel, but will definitely be trying out the tricks I just learned in this article.

 

Top Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – Travel with Grant

Part 1 | Part 2

Travel with Grant lists out quite a few travel mistakes that are easy to make. I’ve done a few of these, and I’m sure you have too. This will be a good reminder of how to avoid these travel mistakes in the future.

 

Chase Cards You Can Still Apply For Despite the “5/24” Rule – Deals We Like

Chase bank has a rule for many of their credit cards, where you will be declined if you’ve added 5 new credit cards in the past 24 months. This number is easily reachable if you’re a points and miles traveler, trying to rack up miles and points. Luckily this rule does not apply to ALL Chase credit cards. Here is a list of the Chase Credit Cards that DO NOT fall into this rule.

 

The Best Airplane Seat to Avoid Catching a Cold – GODSAVETHEPOINTS

Nothing is worse than getting sick while on vacation. I learned a few things from this blog post and I’m sure you will too. Here’s to never getting sick from being on a plane again!

 

How to Save Money on Food while Traveling – Bald Thoughts

This one’s about saving money on food during your travels. My personal favorite way to save on food, is by staying at condos. With a kitchen, I’m able to pack snacks and lunches while on the go, and make meals for a majority of the trip’s dinners. Most condos also have public barbecues!

 

How to Book the Best Stopover Possible – Travel with Grant

Stopovers are when, instead of flying from point A to point C, you fly from A to B and spend some time visiting, then finish your route to point C. I need to start taking advantage of this more myself.

 

Why to Always Redeem Points When you Can – Point Me to the Plane

Use them, or lose them. Well, sort of… Points and miles occasionally are devalued and end up not being worth as much in travel rewards. Also, if you have inactivity in your accounts, you may lose your points. Don’t let that happen. Trust me, I let some expire on accident recently and I’m still upset about it.

 

Why You Should Always Check Alternative Airports – Frugal Travel Guy

When booking tickets, remember to always check alternative airports for both departure and arrival locations. If you’re having trouble finding a flight, every so often you’ll get lucky and this will save you.

 

Travel blog ideas is an ongoing post that brings the best of the travel blogging world to you. Every day we read hundreds of blog post to look for the best. This Travel Freedom blog post will keep you up to date on all travel blog ideas from around the world.

Southwest Hawaii Flights: The Ultimate Information Guide

The long-awaited launch of Southwest Airlines flights to Hawaii is ever so close to fruition. Southwest has officially announced that they’ll start flying to Hawaii. They’ve also announced the first Southwest Hawaii destinations and confirmed when they plan to start flying the routes.

 

Southwest customers have been eagerly waiting for the low-cost airline to make their way to Hawaii. It should mean more competition for routes from the west coast to Hawaii and therefore lower prices. That’s the hope anyway. The two main competitors that Southwest will face are Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines who have already begun to lower prices in anticipation of Southwests entry into the Hawaii routes. The biggest question is, when will they actually launch these Southwest Hawaii flights?

 

When will Southwest Start Flying to Hawaii?

UPDATE: Southwest is NOW flying to Hawaii!

 

Southwest has been working non-stop on preparing for their flights to Hawaii. They have their new facilities, equipment, staff and Hawaii flight schedules all ready to go. Southwest has opened a base in Los Angeles to help staff the Hawaii flights, and they have plans to set up a large operation in Honolulu with several gates. Southwest has also been working for over a year with the Federal Aviation Administration to get certification for long, over-water flights.

 

The certification that Southwest is working on getting is called ETOPS (Extended Twin Engine Operating Performance). To get ETOPS certification Southwest must prove that they can safely fly for an extended amount of time in the event of an engine failure.

 

Because Southwest is completely ready for their Hawaii flights, they’ll likely start flying days after receiving their certification from the FAA. The bad news is that certification seems to have been delayed. Even with delays, Southwest should begin flying to Hawaii in early 2019. A January or February launch is expected. Just in time for the end of whale season!

southwest airlines hawaii

 

Southwest Flights to Hawaii Timeline

  • April, 2018 – Southwest announced that it plans to fly to four Hawaiian destinations. Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai will be the first Southwest Hawaii destinations.
  • May, 2018 – They announced that the first four Southwest routes to Hawaii will depart from Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, and San Diego.
  • August, 2018 – Southwest said flights would likely be announced in October and would start flying weeks later.
  • October-December, 2018 – patiently waiting to hear something… but no word

 

Our Future Predictions:

  • December, 2018-January, 2019 – Completion of ETOPS testing of flights across the Pacific Ocean, ETOPS final certification, flight announcements, and ticket sales go live.
  • January-February, 2019 – Direct flights to Honolulu and Kahului begin operating.
  • February-March, 2019 – Flight extensions to Kona and Lihue begin operating (inter-island).
  • March-June, 2019 – Direct flights to Kona and Lihue begin operating, inter-island flights begin operating (including Hilo), and flights from Los Angeles begin operating to all four islands.

 

These are our timeline predictions of how we think it will play out after reading every possible article we could find on the Southwest Hawaii flights situation.

 

In reality:

  • Southwest flights to Hawaii from California started on March 17, 2019.
  • There are now flights from the mainland to Oahu and Maui, and also inter-island flights.

Southwest Routes to Hawaii

Adding Southwest flights to Hawaii is just about as good as it gets for customers looking to travel to the islands. Personally, two of my favorite things in travel are joining forces. Southwest Airlines and Hawaii are finally getting together. Southwest has officially announced that they will soon be offering flights to Kahului, Maui (OGG), Kona-Kailua, Hawaii (KOA), Lihui, Kauai (LIH), and of course Honolulu, Oahu (HNL). By far, these are the most frequently used airports in Hawaii so it makes sense why they chose them. Budget travel to Hawaii just became more competitive.

 

The first four departure airports that will have Southwest Hawaii flights are Sacramento (SMF), San Jose (SJC), Oakland (OAK), and San Diego (SAN). All cities in California, which makes sense because they are the closest distance to Hawaii.

 

We’ve been waiting for this day for years, and absolutely love that there will be Southwest flights to Hawaii. We travel to Hawaii on average, at least once per year since we started traveling with points and miles. It’s our favorite destination and now it will be even easier to travel to. One thing I’m extremely excited about is using a Southwest Companion Pass on Southwest flights to Hawaii. This allows for some extremely good deals and savings to be had! Just think, buy-one-get-one-free flights to Hawaii for two consecutive years using a Companion Pass… That’s absolutely incredible. We might just have to start going to Hawaii every month!

southwest hawaii flights

 

Southwest Will Offer Inter-Island Flights

Southwest plans on flying inter-island routes as well. Currently, there are only a few options to go between the islands. Having another competitor in the space should create some cheaper fares for island hoppers. Sometimes it’s nice to take a longer Hawaiian vacation and split your time between multiple islands. My wife and I did this for our honeymoon and to celebrate our one year anniversary.

 

What Hawaii Routes will Southwest Fly Next?

Obviously, as stated above, it will make sense for Southwest to fly between Los Angeles and Hawaii in the near future. I would expect that to be the first addition to the route list. But, where else might Southwest fly from? Here are some of the possibilities:

  • Los Angeles, Ca (LAX)
  • San Jose, Ca (SJC)
  • Sacramento, Ca (SMF)
  • San Diego, Ca (SAN)
  • Seattle, Wa (SEA)
  • Portland, Or (PDX)
  • San Francisco, Ca (SFO)
  • Las Vegas, Nv (LAS)
  • Denver, Co (DEN)
  • Salt Lake City, Ut (SLC)
  • Phoenix, Az (PHX)

 

Question: Where do you think Southwest will fly to Hawaii from?

Answer: Turns out they started with only California flights. It makes sense due to the populations there.

 

The Experience of Flying Southwest to Hawaii

So, the time has come. I’m about to be on a plane with Southwest Airlines, flying to Hawaii! It’s so exciting, but what should I expect the experience to be like? Will it be any different than other Southwest flights? Normally, Southwest flies shorter routes over land. This is a five-plus hour flight over the Pacific Ocean. Are my bags still free? Are there food and drinks? Do I have an assigned seat? Do they use the same planes without first class? There are so many questions about the new Southwest Hawaii flights. We have the answers you’ve been looking for when it comes to Southwest Airlines flights to Hawaii.

 

Most things will be the same as any other Southwest flight, but there will be a few differences to accommodate the longer flight times.

southwest airlines companion pass

 

Southwest Hawaii Flight Prices

One reason that customers are so excited about Southwest flying to Hawaii is that having another competitor should lower prices. Experts predict a pricing battle on Hawaii flights between Southwest, Alaska, and Hawaiian. Many think that flights will begin at prices from $99-139 each way.

 

Southwest moving in on the Hawaii market is much needed for customers. Prices for Hawaii flights have become outrageous in recent years. A few years ago you could find Hawaii flights for $300-400 round-trip pretty regularly, but now you’re lucky if you find the same flight for under $700.

“We will come in with lower fares, and not introductory fares. We have the structure to offer low fares…. It’s got to be a price that’s competitive and the lowest price in the market.”

– Southwest Airlines president Tom Nealon.

 

Not only will Southwest have low prices, but it should lower its competitors’ pricing as well. A Northeastern University study showed that when Southwest enters a market, it drops the prices of airfare up to 24% for those routes. They called it the “Southwest Effect”. Let’s hope that’s the case with Southwest Hawaii routes.

 

Southwest Boarding Procedure on Hawaii Flights

The Southwest boarding procedure will stay the same for the most part. Having no assigned seats, and rather getting a boarding order at check-in will stay the same. Getting on and off the planes may be slightly different. In Hawaii, Southwest will likely use outdoor boarding ramps and possibly board from both the front and back doors of the planes. They’ve been testing this procedure at a few California airports to see if it speeds up the process. Southwest will use boarding ramps because many of their gates will be on the ground level and weather most often permits it.

 

Seating & Service on Southwest Hawaii Flights

One thing that Southwest doesn’t have, that it’s competitors do, is first-class seating. Southwest has never offered a first-class and they won’t start now. Their Hawaii flights will have the same seating arrangements as its other planes with the one class throughout the plane. Note that Southwest emergency exit row seats usually have more leg room than elsewhere.

  • No seat assignments. There will still be a $15 early boarding option.
  • No in-seat charger ports. You’ll need to bring a charged battery and perhaps a portable battery charger.
  • In-flight entertainment will be available on your own devices only. Wi-fi may be available for a fee.

 

Food on Southwest Hawaii Flights

No meals will be for sale on Southwest flights to Hawaii. There will only be drinks and snacks as is customary for Southwest Airlines. Southwests planes don’t have ovens or coolers in the galley so having meals is not an option. I would, although, imagine that the snack options will be broadened compared to other Southwest flights. Along with the typical pretzels, peanuts and crackers, they’ll likely have larger snacks for purchase. I’m guessing things like nuts, dried fruits, chips, jerky and cookies will be for sale on Southwest Hawaii flights.

 

Bags Fly Free on Southwests Hawaii Flights

Bags always fly free on Southwest. It won’t change for Hawaii flights, as you’ll still be able to check two complimentary bags. Having no fees for checking two bags can save upwards of $50 on each one-way flight per person.

 

What Planes will Southwest Fly to Hawaii?

Southwest currently flies all Boeing 737’s for every single flight, which will be no different for their Hawaii flights. Southwest will eventually upgrade it’s Hawaii flights to use 737 MAX 8 and MAX 7 jets, which have greater range and better fuel efficiency. They also carry more passengers and have an extra restroom. With these new planes, Southwest will have the opportunity to fly directly from the US Mountain West region (Denver and Salt Lake City).

 

Using Southwest Rapid Reward points to Fly to Hawaii

Another great thing about Southwest flying to Hawaii is the ability to use Rapid Rewards points on their flights. On average, Rapid Rewards points are worth 1.6 cents each when used for a “Wanna Get Away” fare. That means if the pricing estimations above are correct, you’ll be able to find one-way Southwest Hawaii flights for 6,000-9,000 points.

 

That is an incredible value of points! If you consider that sometimes the Southwest credit cards offer signup bonuses of 60,000 miles, you could purchase up to five round-trip flights with a single credit card offer. It’s an even better value if you can earn a Southwest Companion Pass for two years, essentially doubling the value of your points.

 

Will Companion Pass Work for Southwest Hawaii Flights?

Yes, a Southwest Companion Pass will be valid to use for Hawaii flights. This means that you can both use Rapid Rewards points and a Companion Pass together, to get a free second ticket while using points. Did I mention, if you earn Companion Pass you’ll have it for up to two years and you’ll also have at least 110,000 miles to use! I almost can’t believe how amazing this opportunity is. You can earn a Southwest Companion Pass by earning 110,000 miles in one calendar year (credit card signup bonuses count). Here are all the available Southwest credit cards that can help you earn your own Southwest Companion Pass to use on Hawaii flights. We already earned ours and are ready to take action in 2019!

how to get southwest companion pass

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
Earn 3000 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$69 annual fee.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
Earn 6000 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$99 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 40,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
$75 Southwest travel credit each year.
4 Upgraded boardings per year.
20% back on in-flight drinks and wi-fi.
Earn 7500 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$149 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Premier

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 60,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rentals.
BENEFITS
Earn 6000 points on your cardmember anniversary.
All points from credit card count toward Companion Pass.
FEES
$99 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
Employee cards at no additional cost.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
Southwest points are great because when they have a sale, their award chart goes on sale as well. By getting a personal and business Southwest card you can be well on your way to Companion Pass status.

 

How to Earn Even More Southwest Miles to Use with Your Companion

Did you know that Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. After you earn your Southwest Companion Pass, you can stack your Southwest miles balance by earning Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer to your Rapid Rewards account. Below are the best credit card offers to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 2X points on travel and dining.
BENEFITS
Points are worth 25% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
1:1 point transfer partner hotels and airlines.
FEES
$95
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
This is the best first travel credit card to get. It has a valuable signup bonus with easy to redeem points. You also get a boost to your points value in the Chase travel portal.

 

Ink Business Preferred

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 80,000 points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 3X points on travel and select business expenses (including online social media ads).
*Limited to first $150k per year.
BENEFITS
Points are worth 25% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
Employee cards at no additional cost.
FEES
$95
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
The signup bonus alone for this card is amazing. Pair that with some great rewards earning for your business and this card is great. If you have a business, we find the Ink Preferred to be the best offer available.

 

If you’re looking to travel a lot in the next year with that Companion Pass, you might also be interested in priority airport security screening and airport lounge access. You can receive those travel benefits and much more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>
INTRODUCTORY OFFER
You'll earn 50,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months.
REWARDS
You'll earn 3X points on travel and dining.
BENEFITS
$300 annual travel credit.
Priority Pass Select airport lounge access.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
Points are worth 50% more when used in the Chase travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees.
1:1 point transfers to partner hotels and airlines.
FEES
$450
No foreign transaction fees.
TRAVEL FREEDOM THOUGHTS
This is one of the best premium travel credit cards if you want some luxury. It has a valuable signup bonus with easy to redeem points. You also get a boost to your points value in the Chase travel portal. The biggest key to this card is the airport lounge access. If you travel a lot, it's extremely valuable.

 

southwest flights to hawaii

 

Southwests Competition for Hawaii Flights

Southwest bringing its service into the Hawaiian market is sure to bring some fierce competition. The main competitors for Southwest Airlines flying to Hawaii, are Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. Airline industry analysts are predicting Southwests entry into the Hawaii market to cause both a pricing war and a “game of one-upmanship unlike any since airline deregulation in the ’70s”.

 

Both Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest pride themselves on their customer service and generousness. It will be interesting to see how far they will go to keep/gain customers. Executives of Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines were recently asked questions about the possible pricing war that Southwest will bring. Both airlines’ executives said that they are positioned well in Hawaii with amenities and features that Southwest does not have. Two things that Hawaiian Airlines has that Southwest doesn’t, are first-class and meals. In fact, Hawaiian has revamped first-class with lie-flat seating in many of their planes.

 

The incoming pricing war for Hawaii flights has even made its way into reward travel. Alaska recently lowered the number of miles needed to fly from the mainland to Hawaii. A round-trip reward flight on Alaska Airlines will now take 25,000-30,000 miles.

 

For customers looking to fly to Hawaii, this competition is great news. It should make prices to fly to Hawaii much more reasonable both in the short term and long term.

 

When will Southwest Start Flying to Hawaii?

So, now that we’ve covered every single angle of the new Southwest Hawaii flights news let’s decide when we think there will officially be Southwest flights to Hawaii. January of 2019 seems very likely. Southwest had planned to roll out their Hawaii flights in 2018, but they had unforeseen roadblocks. The ETOPS certification has taken longer to finalize than they had imagined. The good news is they are completely prepared to launch as soon as they get the go-ahead from the FAA. If Southwest isn’t flying Hawaii routes by the end of January, I’d imagine it won’t be long after that they launch service.

 

Southwest is well prepared for their launch of Hawaii flights. Are you?

Ultimate Rewards Transfer Bonus vs British Airways Award Devaluation (2019)

chase ultimate rewards transfer bonus

In the past week or so, there have been two huge updates to the British Airways Award system. First, it was announced that Chase is offering its first ever Ultimate Rewards transfer bonus to British Airways with a 30% bonus. This was absolutely great news, especially for us West-coasters who take advantage of their cheap award flights to Hawaii. But, when I saw that it also made me worry that there could be a devaluation of those points soon. My intuition was unfortunately right.

 

Just a day ago, the British Airways Executive Club announced to its members that some changes are coming. On June 1st, the partner award charts would be different. They didn’t though, say what the changes would be. Luckily for us, the team over at The Points Guy did some research. By calling and speaking to the British Airways booking reps, they found the likely new award chart pricing for each zone.

 

Today, I’m going to analyze what both the Chase transfer bonus and the British Airways award devaluation mean for our beloved West Coast direct flights to Hawaii. Until recently, the round trip flights from the West Coast to Hawaii would take 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Let’s find out what they’ll likely cost if you take advantage of the Chase transfer bonus and book a flight after the devaluation on May 31st.

 

The Chase Ultimate Rewards 30% Transfer Bonus to British Airways

First, let’s take a look at the transfer bonus that Chase is offering through June 16th at 8:59 pm PT. When you transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to your British Airways Executive Club account, you’ll receive a 30% bonus on those points.

30 bonus chase ultimate rewards british airways avios

 

This means if you transfer 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll end up with 130,000 British Airways Avios. This is great news. Turning your points into even more points is usually a great option, especially when there are valuable redemptions to be had. Not so fast…?!?

 

The British Airways Partner Award Chart Devaluation

Unfortunately, at almost the same time British Airways announced a partner airline award chart devaluation that will take effect on June 1st. Let’s take a look at how this devaluation affects “Zone 4” of the British Airways partner award chart. According to the research of The Points Guy team, the new award chart will still be distance based and will not have huge downgrades. Zone 4 in particular, will change from 12,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight to 13,000 Avios. Only a difference of 4%. That means that (if this research is accurate) it will still be a great offer to transfer points to British Airways for a future Hawaii vacation!

 

Breaking Down the Numbers

Now that we know the details of each piece of news surrounding Chase Ultimate Rewards and British Airways Avios, let’s take a look at the numbers. As mentioned above, Zone 4 in economy seats will only have a 4% devaluation. With a transfer bonus of 30%, it will still save you points in the long run if you’re planning on using them to fly from the West Coast to Hawaii.

 

British Airways Partner Economy Award Chart Changes (unconfirmed)

ZoneCurrent Miles NeededAfter Valuation Change
1 (1-650 miles) *Not Available for US Flights.4,5006,000
2 (651-1,151)7,5009,000
3 (1,152-2,000)10,00011,000
4 (2,001-3,000)12,50013,000
5 (3,001-4000)20,00020,750
6 (4,001-5,500)25,00025,750
7 (5,501-6,500)30,00031,000
8 (6,501-7,000)35,00036,250
9 (7,000+)50,00051,500

 

Let’s take a look at how many Chase Ultimate Rewards will need to be transferred during this bonus period to book a future Hawaii flight through British Airways.

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards Needed Before Bonus/Devaluation:

Chase Ultimate Rewards Needed After Bonus/Devaluation:

  • 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (+30% Bonus)  >> 26,000 British Airways Avios (4% devaluation)

 

This means that after all is said if you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards during the bonus period (before June 16th 8:59 pm PT) to British Airways, you’ll actually use 20% less of your points. This assumes that you book your flight after the devaluation on May 31st, 2019.

british airways partner award chart devaluation hawaii

 

Our Thoughts on the Bonus/Devaluation in Regards to Hawaii Flights

While the British Airways partner award chart devaluation is bad news, it’s really not that bad. For these West Coast to Hawaii flights, it’s only a minor change to the award chart. With the transfer bonus from Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll still be saving a bunch of points. All in all, if the research by the team at The Points Guy is accurate, it’s still an amazing deal to take advantage of the transfer bonus from Chase.

 

Two Credit Cards that Earn Ultimate Rewards

While there are a handful of credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards through both the introductory offers and spending rewards, these are the two that will get you the most points from the get-go. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Business Preferred are the top personal travel rewards card and the top business credit card, respectively.

chase sapphire preferred credit card art

Chase Sapphire Preferred

60,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

If you were to transfer the points from this introductory offer to British Airways during the promo period, you’d have enough miles to book three round trip flights to Hawaii with the new award chart. That’s pretty impressive, but if you have a business, the next card is even more impressive.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 points after spending $5,000 in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>

With the Ink Business Preferred introductory offer, you could earn four round trip flights to Hawaii during the promotion. It’s incredible that one credit card introductory offer is worth that much free travel.

 

Remember though, you’ll have to hurry to earn an introductory offer by completing the minimum spend in time to take advantage of this transfer bonus. While this is the first time there has been a Chase transfer partner bonus, it’s unlikely to be the last. American Express has been doing similar transfer bonuses for years. Chase, just now, is joining them.

 

Should You Take Advantage of the Transfer Bonus?

I will likely be taking advantage of this transfer bonus myself, as my wife and I often book these West Coast to Hawaii flights. Because I don’t have any flights that I can book before the devaluation, I’ll be playing it safe and waiting to transfer points until after the official devaluation is announced. That way I can be sure that it will still make sense to go ahead with the points transfer. The good news, as I mentioned above, is that Chase will likely have more of these transfer bonuses in the future.

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