How to Travel More and Pay Less: Canada to Hawaii

For Canadians, the cost of traveling to Hawaii can add up very quickly, especially with the weak Canadian dollar. Logistically, it can also be a pain to get to because unless you live in Vancouver or Calgary, you're facing at least one layover, often more if you want a cheaper flight.

The good news is, you can still get that vacation budget down by being savvy with your travel rewards programs and credit cards - keep reading to find out more.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are referral links, which means I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned. All opinions are my own.

Last Updated: March 19, 2022

Flights (Economy Class)

Cash fares to Hawaii can be as low as $400 from the West Coast of Canada or as low as $600 CAD from the East Coast. This is especially true if you're willing to fly out on a weekday, or during non-peak season. Doing a quick search on Google Flights, I found a round trip fare from Toronto to Kahului for $555 on Air Canada:

For a flight over 10 hours, that's not bad. There are a few annoyances with this itinerary, however. For one, you have two layovers on the way there, which adds time and inconvenience. The fare also includes a carry-on bag only, which can be an issue if you aren't a light packer.

If you regularly check websites such as Secret Flying or YYZ Deals, you can find better flights and/or cheaper cash fares, though keep in mind you'll need to be flexible with your travel time (e.g. Toronto to Hawaii for under $460).


If your company or professional affiliation (CPA, CFA, etc.) is associated with Perkopolis, you can get 15% off WestJet base fares (taxes and fees excluded).


Aeroplan is probably the worst program for redeeming points to Hawaii, as you're required to fork over 35,000-50,000 Aeroplan miles plus over $200 in taxes and fees for a seat in economy. Your "return on points" is worse than a 1% cash back card at that point, so you're better off paying cash fares.

However, there are a select few programs where you will be able to maximize your points, starting with...

Program: Korean Air SKYPASS

Miles Required: 25,000 SKYPASS miles + $105 USD

How to Book: Korean Air

How to Maximize Your Points: All credit goes to this great post by Prince of Travel which has a ton of helpful advice on how to search for availability and book your itinerary.

The "loophole" is that Korean Air doesn't differentiate between Hawaii and the continental U.S., which means you can get from Canada to Hawaii for only 25,000 SKYPASS miles plus reasonable taxes.

The only update I would add to his post is that the SPG program is effectively the Marriott program now, which means you'll need 60,000 Marriott points to convert to 25,000 SKYPASS miles.

How to Earn Points:
  • Fly with Korean Air and earn SKYPASS miles
  • Stay at Marriott hotels
  • Sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (Personal and/or Business) and convert 60,000 Marriott points to get 25,000 SKYPASS miles
  • Any American Express Card that earns Membership Rewards points (e.g. American Express Platinum Personal and/or Business, American Express Gold Personal and/or BusinessAmerican Express Cobalt Card) can be converted into Marriott points which can then be converted into SKYPASS miles

Program: WestJet Dollars

Points Required: Not applicable - the key is the to get the WestJet World Elite MasterCard.

How to Book:

How to Maximize Your Points: If you plan on going to Hawaii during a relatively cheaper time of year (e.g. spring or fall), then one way to maximize your points is to get the WestJet World Elite MasterCard.

The WestJet MasterCard is currently providing a welcome bonus of $250 WestJet dollars after you make your first purchase, which can go towards a WestJet flight to Hawaii. If you're traveling alone, this is a great way to instantly save $250 off your ticket. If you're a Perkopolis member, you can combine this with the 15% off base fare discount for maximum savings.

On top of that, this card allows you to have your first checked bag free!

To get even more WestJet dollars, you can convert your points from the RBC Visa Infinite Avion to WestJet dollars at a rate of 100:1. With the current RBC Avion offer, you can get at least $350 WestJet dollars if you apply before April 18, 2022. Throughout the year there are bonuses (usually 10%) to convert to WestJet, so look out for those for even more value.

If you're traveling with another person, the card also comes with an annual round trip companion voucher. To fly round trip to Hawaii, the cost is $299 + taxes, which comes out to ~$440 CAD round trip. This is more lucrative for people on the East Coast rather than the West Coast, since flying to Hawaii is more expensive for us. Note that $299 covers base fare only; I would use the companion voucher only if you aren't flexible with dates.

The annual fee of $119 offsets these benefits, but there are anecdotes out there saying it can be pro-rated or even waived if you're a long-time RBC customer.

How to Earn Points:

Flights (Business Class)

Round trip business class is a far better use of Aeroplan miles. However, if you do a quick search on Aeroplan, you'll notice that a lot of one-way business class flights are at least 100,000 miles + $130 taxes. You'll be able to find a good deal here and there, but you will need to be flexible and book either a few weeks in advance or 6+ months in advance if you're purely using points.

Another way of getting business class is upgrading from an eligible cash or Aeroplan fare with eUpgrade credits. eUpgrade credits come with Air Canada status but is occasionally offered through premium Aeroplan credit cards. It is especially worth it to use eUpgrade credits on Hawaii, since you only need 4 eUpgrade credits to upgrade to business class when booking a Latitude Fare.

Program: Aeroplan

Points/eUpgrades Required: Starting at 70,000 miles round trip + ~$200 fuel surcharge or starting at 17,500 one-way + $80-$136 fuel surcharge and/or 4 eUpgrade credits one-way from Air Canada Status

How to Book:

How to Maximize Your Points: If you're using purely points to book Aeroplan flights, then you will need to plan far in advance to ensure you get a good points fare. If you have Air Canada Elite Status, then you can make use of your eUpgrades.

As an example of eUpgrading your way to Hawaii, I found an eligible flight on April 19, 2022. Make sure you click on the eUpgrade button to see flights that say "Eligible for eUpgrade" and not "You will be waitlisted".

Now, if I didn't have any eUpgrades, 60,700 Aeroplan miles is a fine points fare for Hawaii business class. However, if I wanted to save some points and don't mind being waitlisted for Toronto to Vancouver, I could book the Latitude Fare on the far right and guarantee myself a business class seat for only 29,000 miles + $121 + 4 eUpgrade credits:

Not all United flights eligible for Aeroplan miles show up on the Aeroplan website, so a tip is to check the United MileagePlus website and look for "saver" awards and call into the Aeroplan booking call centre.

How to Earn Points:

How to Earn eUpgrades:

Currently, there aren't any credit card promotions to help earn Air Canada Elite Status with qualifying spend, so the only way to earn eUpgrades is to be an Air Canada frequent flyer.

Inter-Hawaii Flights

Flights within Hawaii from one island to the next is generally not too expensive ($80-125 USD), but if you did want to save some cash there, you can look into redeeming flights on Hawaiian Airlines for as low as 7,500 miles.

Program: Hawaiian Miles

Points Required: 7,500 Hawaiian Miles

How to Book: Hawaiian Airlines

How to Maximize Points: If you'd like flexibility and/or want to fly during popular flight times, then I recommend using Hawaiian Miles to redeem for short flights between islands. If the flight is under $90 USD, I recommend just paying cash.

How to Earn Points:
  • Fly with Hawaiian Airlines
  • Stay with Marriott hotels
  • Sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (Personal* and/or Business) and convert Marriott points to Hawaiian Miles at a rate of 3:1
  • Sign up for the American Express Cobalt Card, convert to Marriott points at rate of 5:6, and then convert to Hawaiian Miles at a rate of 3:1
  • Sign up for the American Express Platinum Card (Personal and/or Business) and convert points to Aeroplan miles
  • Sign up for the American Express Gold Rewards Card (Personal and/or Business) and convert points to Aeroplan miles


As with most places, you can AirBnB, hostel, or even camp to save on accommodations. However, hotel redemptions are really popular in Hawaii simply due to the astronomical costs of staying there, especially with Marriott.
As with my other posts about Asia and the South Pacific, there are a few ways to go about earning Marriott points.

Program: Marriott Bonvoy

Points Required: From 35,000 points/night - 70,000 points/night to stay in a central location

How to Maximize Your Points: Marriott has quite a few options in Hawaii, including:

How to Earn Points:
  • Stay with Marriott hotels
  • Sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (Personal* and/or Business) and earn Marriott points directly
  • Sign up for the American Express Cobalt Card and convert points to Marriott points at 5:6
  • Sign up for the American Express Platinum Card (Personal and/or Business) and convert points to Aeroplan miles
  • Sign up for the American Express Gold Rewards Card (Personal and/or Business) and convert points to Aeroplan miles

Other Trip Costs

I have a post on how to get the best foreign exchange rate (even though the U.S. dollar isn't that foreign) as well as a general post on how to save money traveling to the U.S. which would apply to most other trip costs.

Otherwise, my tips for saving on other trip costs is the same as any other place, which is:
  • Bring your Costco membership card and buy food and groceries from Costco (can be difficult if staying at a resort)
  • Check Groupon for deals on tours
  • Consider renting a smaller car to save on gas and car rental fees

Hope this post on Hawaii was helpful, and do let me know if you find any other great deals to Hawaii!