Using Virgin Velocity points to book Hawaiian Airlines flights

Secure business class seats to Honolulu and beyond by using your Velocity points on Virgin Australia partner Hawaiian Airlines.

By Chris C., February 20 2020
Using Virgin Velocity points to book Hawaiian Airlines flights

Hawaiian Airlines doesn't only offer flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Honolulu: it also serves a broad range of routes extending to the US mainland, including non-stop flights between Honolulu and New York, which can be booked in conjunction with a flight from Australia.

Rather than the typical transit in Los Angeles – which can be hard to book using points at the best of times – your hard-earned Virgin Australia Velocity points could actually help procure you a Sydney-Honolulu-New York City trip, whether as a connecting journey or with a relaxing Hawaiian stopover in between, among many other routes.

Given Hawaiian Airlines also isn't a member of a global airline alliance, there can be less 'competition' for points-based reward seats on its flights, potentially providing more opportunities for savvy Velocity members to book Stateside journeys.

Here's how to put those points of yours to work when flying with Hawaiian Airlines.

Booking Hawaiian Airlines flights with Velocity points: key routes

For Aussie travellers, the first port of call for a Hawaiian Airlines booking will be on one of the carrier's daily non-stop flights from Sydney to Honolulu, or on the Brisbane-Honolulu route, which Hawaiian Airlines serves 3-4 times per week.

Hawaiian Airlines also jets between Auckland and Honolulu three times each week: handy not only for New Zealand readers, but also Aussies who are already planning travel across the ditch, or when reward availability is hard to come by on flights from Australia.

Beyond Honolulu, Hawaiian flies to a range of other US destinations as well, making this a good alternative to connecting through Los Angeles, as flights between Australia and LA are tricky to secure using points.

These non-stop routes include Honolulu to New York JFK, San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose and Seattle.

Additionally, Hawaiian flies non-stop to both Los Angeles and Long Beach – a separate Californian airport 27km from LAX – so even though there are plenty of non-stop flights from Australia to Los Angeles, you might consider jetting to LAX via Honolulu as a backup, or flying into Long Beach instead of Los Angeles if you can grab a seat.

Finally, Hawaiian Airlines also serves Hilo, Kahului, Kailua-Kona and Lihue in Hawaii, which you could as a connection in tandem with a flight to or from Honolulu, such as by flying Sydney-Honolulu-Lihue:

ET review: Hawaiian Airlines A330 business class, Sydney-Honolulu

Booking Hawaiian Airlines flights with Velocity points: how many points you'll need

Here's the only downside of booking Hawaiian Airlines flights using your Velocity points – unlike flights operated by Virgin Australia and also Delta Air Lines which both draw on Velocity's more generous 'Table 1', bookings made on Hawaiian use Velocity's elevated 'Table 2' reward rates, which are the same as when booking flights with other partners like Etihad and Singapore Airlines.

As such, this is how many points you'd need to book a standalone, one-way flight across a range of routes with Hawaiian, and although the airline markets some flights as "first class" or "Premium Cabin", the "business class" rates below always apply to the better-than-economy cabin, regardless of what it's called on any given route:

Routes (one-way)

Business class

Economy

Sydney-Honolulu
Honolulu-New York
Honolulu-Boston

78,000 Velocity points

42,000 Velocity points

Brisbane-Honolulu
Auckland-Honolulu

65,000 Velocity points

35,000 Velocity points

Honolulu-Los Angeles
Honolulu-Seattle
Honolulu-Las Vegas

53,000 Velocity points

28,000 Velocity points

Honolulu-San Francisco

38,000 Velocity points

20,000 Velocity points

From the table above, you can quickly see that you'd need fewer points to fly from Brisbane to Honolulu than from Sydney, because the flight from Sydney is a slightly longer distance, which pushes the booking into the next Velocity 'Zone', requiring more points.

It's a similar situation for Honolulu-San Francisco vs. Honolulu-Los Angeles, with flights to San Fran just squeezing into the zone requiring 38,000 points for business class, compared to 53,000 points when flying to LA.

Also, keep in mind that the rates above apply only to flights taken as individual journeys, or where you break the journey in Honolulu.

If you flew from Sydney to Honolulu, for example, spent a few days in Hawaii and then flew Honolulu to New York at a later date, you'd be booking two separate journeys: 'Sydney to Honolulu' (78,000 Velocity points in business class), plus 'Honolulu to New York' (a further 78,000 Velocity points in business class), for a total of 156,000 Velocity points.

However, if you flew straight from Sydney to Honolulu and onward to New York, avoiding an overnight connection in Hawaii, you'd be booking only one journey – 'Sydney to New York' – and for that, you'd need 139,000 Velocity points in business class or 75,000 points in economy class, a saving of 17,000 points for passengers flying up the front.

If you're flying economy, of course, the saving is only 9,000 points versus planning a stopover: and for many travellers, that's a small 'price' to pay to build a Hawaiian getaway into a New York trip, particularly when it gives you the chance to stretch your legs and relax at the mid-way point, without rushing straight to the next flight.

For other Hawaiian Airlines routes and journeys, the number of Velocity points needed is as follows:

Read: Frequent flyer tip: how to calculate the distance of your flight

Don't forget, if you're heading to the US mainland, you might also consider flying with Delta Air Lines, which requires fewer points than Hawaiian Airlines to book flights of the same lengths.

Guide: Booking Delta flights using Virgin Australia Velocity points

Booking Hawaiian Airlines flights with Velocity points: making that reservation

This is the tricky part – while many reward bookings can be made via the Velocity website, booking Hawaiian Airlines flights using Velocity points is only possible over the phone.

What's more, the popular website ExpertFlyer, which often helps savvy travellers locate reward flights that can't be found anywhere else online, is of no use here, as ExpertFlyer can't search the reward options available to Velocity members.

Because of this, the easiest thing to do is simply call Velocity Frequent Flyer – 13 18 75, 7:30am-10:30pm Sydney time seven days a week – and ask the agent to help you find and book your Hawaiian Airlines flight, once you know where and roughly when you want to travel.

Tools like Google can be useful to help you plan before you call, though: entering "flight schedule (city name) to (city name)", without the quotes, quickly shows you the flights available between them, such as "flight schedule Sydney to Honolulu", which reveals Hawaiian flight 452 arrives in Honolulu at 10:40am daily:

Similarly, searching "flight schedule Honolulu to New York" shows flight HA50 departing Hawaii at either 3:15pm or 4:25pm daily, to touch down in New York at 6:55am the following morning:

While this certainly doesn't guarantee you can use Velocity points to book those flights, it at least gives you a starting point when talking to the agent, particularly if you're trying to line up flights on specific dates or are planning a connecting trip.

This way, you'll have flight numbers and schedules already in front of you, which could also help the agent locate flights open for booking using points.

More advanced Velocity cardholders who are also members of the American Airlines AAdvantage scheme could also try searching for Hawaiian Airlines reward availability via the AA website, before calling Velocity to verify and book, but that's not a technique for everyone, and isn't one we'll dive into here.

One final tip: when booking your Hawaiian Airlines over the phone, don't forget to have the agent include your middle name on the itinerary, if you have one: if you don't, you won't be able to check-in online, and will need to see an agent at the airport to fix.

Also read: Hawaiian Airlines Plumeria Lounge review

Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


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