Hawaii, last minute, for $10? You can do it.

A few days ago, my parents told me of an opportunity they had to stay in Hawaii at a friend’s timeshare for next to nothing. The trouble? The only availability was in a few days, and flights ran no less than $650 a piece. Not bad for last-minute tickets, but who wants to pay that? I sent my parents to Hawaii at the last minute for $10.

British Airways Avios: Best Used Not On British Airways

Over the years, I acquired a good cache of British Airways Avios from lucrative transfer bonuses that American Express Membership Rewards ran. Avios are good for a number of uses, but it’s often hard to find availability from the U.S. west coast on British Airways itself – and even when you can find availability, BA’s fuel surcharges are $600+, even in coach for a ticket that’s maybe $800-$1200.

However, using Avios, I can book award flights on other carriers, including American Airlines, who flies nonstop from LAX to Lihue, Kauai. A 20-minute commuter flight to LAX from San Diego, and then on to Lihue – bing, bang, boom. Done.

Immediately, I went to work. After going to BA’s site and logging into my account, I searched for the dates that they wanted to go, but could only find availability on the way back. No sweat – time to look for other options.

Trip: Breaking Up Segments

When booking an award ticket with multiple legs, sometimes you have to break them up into segments – and British Airways’ site isn’t the most reliable in terms of showing accurate results. San Diego-LAX and then LAX-Lihue were the searches I ran.

Unfortunately, this didn’t prove fruitful – there don’t appear to be any seats on the early-morning flight from San Diego to LAX, but there were still seats between LAX to Kauai, meaning they’d just have to get to LAX. Not super convenient, but for 50,000 points and $10 in total taxes and fees, that’s not so bad.

The Deal

When booking American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios, you can find these flights for a pretty good deal, especially if you can find them during the high season.

42,000 San Diego – LIH first
17,000 San Diego – LIH economy

12,500 – LAX-LIH economy
37,500 – LAX-LIH first

…and $2.50 per segment/person.

It could be better…but not much

While I’d rather fly Alaska Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines to Hawaii (the latter is a transfer partner from American Express Membership Rewards), AA offers a pretty reasonable deal. Even if AA’s product is less than stellar, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a normal fare under any circumstances, especially with all the bonuses that have been previously available from American Express to British Airways Avios…and then onto American.

So, 50,000 points and $10 later, I sent my parents on a trip to Hawaii. Who’s the good son?