Southwest Flights & Routes to Hawaii – A Complete Guide

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Southwest Airlines is flying to Hawaii!

As of March 4, 2019, tickets to Hawaii on Southwest Airlines went on sale! This was a big deal for Southwest fans and anyone wanting to get to Hawaii for a reasonable cost.

In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Southwest flights to Hawaii, plus some tips to boost your Southwest Rapid Rewards balance so you’re ready to buy that ticket with points.

Southwest to Hawaii
Image courtesy of Southwest.com.

Latest News About Southwest Flights to Hawaii

Back in October 2017, Southwest announced that it would be adding flights to Hawaii. While most expected to see those flights begin in 2018, but that didn’t happen. It wasn’t until March 17, 2019 that the first Southwest flight to Hawaii took off.

Since then, Southwest has been adding more routes and more are planned for the future. Here’s the latest information about upcoming Southwest routes to Hawaii.

Upcoming Routes and Start Dates — Mainland U.S. to Hawaii

RouteExpected Start Date
Oakland, CA (OAK) to Kona, HI (KOA)January 19, 2020
Oakland, CA (OAK) to Kauai, HI (LIH)January 21, 2020
San Jose, CA (SJC) to Kona, HI (KOA)January 21, 2020
San Jose, CA (SJC) to Kauai, HI (LIH)January 19, 2020
Sacramento, CA (SMF) to Honolulu, HI (HNL) January 19, 2020

Upcoming Routes and Start Dates — Inter-Island Flights

RouteExpected Start Date
Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Kauai, HI (LIH)January 19, 2020
Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Hilo, HI (ITO) January 19, 2020
Kona, HI (KOA) to Maui, HI (OGG) January 19, 2020

History of Southwest’s Road to Hawaii

The internet flourished with nuggets of information and rumors about when Southwest would start flying to Hawaii. Here’s how it played out:

  • March 17, 2019: Southwest’s service to Hawaii commenced
  • As of February 27, 2019, Southwest has final approval from the FAA to fly to Hawaii!!
  • On February 25, 2019, KITV Island News in Honolulu reported that Southwest flights are expected to get their final approval “within days”
  • On February 5, 2019 a Southwest Boeing 737-800 landed at Honolulu airport. This is Southwest’s first ever validation flight to the islands and is part of the FAA authorization process.
  • As of February 21, 2019, these test flights have been completed and Southwest is just awaiting approval from the FAA.
  • This validation flight was between Oakland and Honolulu, which indicates that that could be the first route offered by Southwest.
  • Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest, said at the Wings Club in New York in December that the new flights are on track to begin this winter.
  • Some are saying that tickets could go on sale as early as February 2019, with flights starting in March.
  • Another website also reports an expected February or March 2019 launch for Southwest flights to Hawaii.
  • According to a post from the Chicago Business Journal, a Southwest internal memo dated December 21 from Southwest Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven stated: “I am proud to report that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) notified Southwest earlier today that the Extended Operations (ETOPS) procedures and manuals we submitted for review have been approved. This is a very important step in our journey to ETOPS authorization.” Their sources say the earliest flights would begin would be March or April 2019.

Southwest’s Current Routes to Hawaii

Southwest offers nonstop service to 4 different Hawaiian islands from 3 cities in California.

Southwest Destinations in Hawaii:

  • Honolulu, HI (Oahu)
  • Kahului, HI (Maui)
  • Kona, HI (Island of Hawaii)
  • Lihue, HI (Kauai)

Locations in California Offering Nonstop Service to Hawaii:

  • Oakland, CA (OAK)
  • San Jose, CA (SJC)
  • Sacramento, CA (SMF)

Hot Tip: Southwest plans to add additional flights from California and additional inter-island service starting in January 2020.

Southwest Route Map to Hawaii
Image Credit: Southwest

 

need more points?: Boost your Southwest Points balance with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which currently has a 60,000 sign up bonus worth $750. You can transfer those points directly to your Southwest account, making this one of the fastest ways to rack up points.

How to Earn Enough Southwest Points to Fly to Hawaii

Since Southwest now offers service to Hawaii, it’s a good time to stock up on Rapid Rewards points — because the only thing better than flying to Hawaii is flying to Hawaii on points!

You’ll love the Southwest Rapid Rewards program for a few reasons. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and there are no blackout dates. If a fare is available for cash, you can use Rapid Rewards points to purchase it too.

As of September 2019, Rapid Rewards points were worth a 1.4 cents per point. Their value doesn’t change much, so you’ll see that a more expensive ticket will cost more Rapid Rewards points.

Southwest Airlines Plane
Image courtesy of Southwest.com.

Bottom Line: As with all other Southwest flights, there will be no business or first class offered. However, if that leaves you squeamish, keep in mind that Southwest has one of the roomiest economy cabins in the industry.

10 Ways to Earn Lots of Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

1. Take a Southwest Flight: This one is pretty straightforward but worth mentioning: you’ll earn points for every flight you take on Southwest Airlines. Business and Anytime fares earn more points than Wanna Get Away fares, but they cost more also.

2. Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards: Southwest offers 3 personal and 1 business credit card. Each of these cards earns 2x points on all Southwest Airlines purchases including flights, inflight purchases, Southwest gift cards, Southwest Vacations packages, and at participating Rapid Rewards hotel and rental car partners.

3. Southwest Credit Card Referral Bonus: If you already have a Southwest card, you can earn bonus points by referring friends and family. Visit Chase’s Refer A Friend program to see which Southwest credit cards are participating.

4. Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points transfer directly to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. If you need to top off your Southwest account for a redemption, you can easily and instantly transfer points over from your Ultimate Rewards account.

5. Chase Ultimate Rewards-Earning Credit Cards: Since Chase points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, any Ultimate Rewards points you earn can be transferred into Rapid Rewards points.

Chase credit cards tend to have more varied rewards categories (including travel and dining) than the Southwest cards, so you can earn points even faster.

Our Recommended Chase Card (points transfer directly to Southwest):

See all the ways that you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and then transfer them to your Southwest airlines account.

6. Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal: Did you know you can earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points just by shopping online? Search for your favorite store and click through the Rapid Rewards shopping portal, and you will be earning bonus points on your purchase. It’s a great way to maximize every dollar you spend.

7. Rapid Rewards Dining Program: How about earning extra points each time you dine out? When you participate in the Rapid Rewards Dining program, you’ll earn bonus points each time you eat at participating restaurants. Just be sure to link your credit card to your Rapid Rewards Dining account first!

8. Book a Southwest Rapid Rewards Vacation Package: Booking a Southwest Vacations package earns points on the flight portion of your trip, plus bonus points are often available.

9. Book a Southwest Rapid Rewards Hotel or Car Rental Partner: Each time you book a hotel or car through a Southwest partner, you’ll earn bonus Rapid Rewards points.

10. Buy Southwest Rapid Rewards Points: This isn’t the best option, but if they’re running a promotion or you just need to top off your account for a specific redemption, buying Southwest points is an alternative.

Bottom Line: There are so many ways to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points. Check out our guide to earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points for even more ways to earn — that don’t even involve flying!

Final Thoughts

Southwest is known as a top notch domestic airline with great customer service and flyer friendly policies. But in addition to great domestic routes, Southwest flies to lots of international destinations — and tropical Hawaii!

Starting in March 2019, Southwest began their service to Hawaii. If you have been looking for the perfect time to get to the islands, your time is here.

Southwest makes it easy to fly to Hawaii since their frequent flyer program is so easy to use and has no blackout dates! Plus you won’t have to pay for your bags and you’ll enjoy the great customer service that Southwest is known for.


FAQ

What cities offer nonstop flights to Hawaii on Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines flies non-stop from 3 cities in California to Hawaii:

  • Oakland, CA (OAK)
  • San Jose, CA (SJC)
  • Sacramento (SMF)

What cities in Hawaii does Southwest service?

Southwest flies nonstop from California to 5 Hawaiian cities: Honolulu (Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Kona (Island of Hawaii), Lihue (Kauai) and Hilo (Island of Hawaii).

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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