UPDATE: Richard Kerr from Award Travel 101 has received word from a Southwest Airlines employee that the first routes to Hawaii will launch in early 2018. The first routes will include Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), and Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL). San Jose (SJC) is also a possibility.

Hopefully, we’ll get the official word Wednesday!

For years, rumors have circulated about Southwest Airlines finally starting flights to Hawaii. Those rumors just got a jolt of life today when Beat of Hawaii reported that Southwest would be participating in the Hawaii Global Tourism Summit.

The expectation is that Southwest will make an announcement on Wednesday of this week that they will begin flights between California and Hawaii in 2018. This would be HUGE news for Hawaii, anyone who visits Hawaii regularly, or those who have always dreamed of an island vacation.

I can only imagine that this is Southwest’s move to compete with Alaska Airlines which has acquired Virgin America and already flies to Hawaii but is now stepping up the competition in California.

This exciting news could make the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass even more valuable. If you use the Companion Pass for 2-for-1 flights – either award tickets or cash tickets – this news is HUGE.

For those new to the Southwest Companion Pass… once you earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points, you automatically receive the Companion Pass. There are some restrictions as to which points count toward it but the easiest way to earn qualifying Rapid Rewards is paid flights and, even better, using one of the three co-branded Southwest cards provided by Chase:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card

Thanks to the sign-up bonuses provided by these cards, you can easily reach the required 110,000 points with little more than getting 2 of these cards and hitting the minimum spend required for the bonus.

Once you have earned the required points, you can designate a companion who can then fly with you for only the cost of the taxes and fees of their ticket. That’s right, you book your flight with points or cash, they get to tag along with you for next to nothing!

Now, you can see why Southwest starting flights to Hawaii is such a big deal!

What do potential Southwest flights to Hawaii mean for you?

Check out 10xTravel’s guide to the Companion Pass if you’d like more info.

Photo by louis magnotti on Unsplash

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