Tag: Hawaiian

Hawaiian Airlines Expands Pre-Travel COVID-19 Testing Program

Domestic travel from the mainland to Hawaii was largely offline over the summer due to strict COVID-19 lockdown measures put into place in the island state. To get into any of the islands, strict, 14-day quarantines were required for anyone flying in from the mainland. By mid-October, Hawaii put into place an updated policy that allowed visitors to circumvent that quarantine by presenting a negative COVID-19 test received within 72 hours of arrival. Now, to ease that process of testing, Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines is offering partnered testing at a handful of mainland departure points to help visitors get the needed certifications.

Initially, Hawaiian’s efforts started with a partnership with local labs in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. For $90 (or $150 day-of), travelers headed to Hawaii could drive through facilities near those departure points and get quick clearance for departure to the islands.

Early in October, that effort expanded with $143 in-home tests provided by Vault Health. Those tests used express mail to collect samples and return results.

Hawaiian’s latest effort, released on Monday, expands pre-travel testing into Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle..

In Las Vegas, Hawaiian offers up nearly a dozen locations powered by the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. US BioTek offers up one testing site in Portland as well as an additional three options in the Seattle area.

At the Portland and Seattle locations, costs range from $90-105 for a 36 hour turnaround up to $150-165 for 24-hour results.

All told, Hawaiian will cover well over half of its route network to the mainland United States with its new testing sites. Boston, New York City, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Diego remain destinations relatively uncovered by the direct Hawaiian partnership, but third party labs can still provide COVID-19 testing in those areas.

As testing partnerships come on line, travelers to Hawaii on all major carriers now have access to a wide variety of options for getting tested prior to flying over the Pacific. Late in September, United was the first carrier to build out pre-flight testing to Hawaii out of its hub in San Francisco. American and Delta followed suit in October while Hawaiian continues to expand its programs across the country.

These procedures can’t come too soon for a state that runs heavily on the tourism dollar. And as testing and passenger sentiment continues to improve, Hawaii can now look forward to injecting some stimulus back into its economy.

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Compromised COVID test ruins woman’s Hawaiian vacation

A Hayward woman, who flew to Hawaii, said her vacation was ruined after she did not receive her Covid-19 test results to avoid quarantine. Walgreens Pharmacy told her that her test sample had been compromised by a homeless man.

Delilah Hamilton is not happy that Walgreens did not notify her that a homeless man had tampered with the sample drop-off box. She found out only after she landed in Hawaii and after she called the pharmacy.

With bags still packed and flight tags untouched, Hamilton returned to her home in the Bay Area on Tuesday after a dream Hawaiian vacation with her friend turned into a nightmare.

“I’m angry,” said Hamilton. “I’m mad. I’m confused for one because this didn’t have to happen.”

Hamilton booked a trip to Kauai, the island with the least number of COVID cases with a stopover in Honolulu.

As mandated by Hawaii, for all travelers within 72 hours of her flight, Hamilton took a COVID test to avoid quarantine.

She chose a trusted testing site listed on Hawaii’s web site, a Walgreens in Hayward.

“You do it through the drive-thru at Walgreens,” said Hamilton. “They give you the swab. you swab it. They tell you pull up. There’s a box you have to put your swab in.”

Results are emailed within 72 hours. As her plane touched down in Honolulu on Monday, there were no results. The lab had no record of her specimen so she called Walgreens.

“The pharmacist said, oh ma’am, I’m sorry,” said Hamilton. “A homeless man broke into our box and all of the swabs in the box, they were damaged or in some way we don’t know if they were stolen but some of the swabs were missing.”

Hamilton was dumbfounded.

“I’m just standing there hysterically crying,” said Hamilton.

She didn’t want to quarantine for 14-days, so Southwest helped book a flight back to Oakland.

A pharmacy staff member at the Hayward location confirmed a homeless man tampered with 14 tests on Friday and said a customer had watched the man open the box.

In an email, Walgreens Corporate said the company is looking into the matter but could not immediately comment.

“Why didn’t anyone contact me?” said Hamilton. “If this happened on Friday, why didn’t someone make a phone call to the people who had the swabs in that box.”

Hamilton said Walgreens has offered her compensation but what she really wants is answers.

“What about those people who are actually sick waiting for those results,” said Hamilton. “This is a serious disease and I believe it wasn’t taken seriously.”

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How to Book a Hawaiian Vacation Using Hotel and Credit Card Points

a pool next to a body of water: How to Book a Hawaiian Vacation Using Hotel and Credit Card Points

© Photo by EQRoy / Shutterstock
How to Book a Hawaiian Vacation Using Hotel and Credit Card Points

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Now that we’re well into autumn, cold weather will begin blanketing much of the country. If that has you dreaming about a Hawaiian vacation, your hotel points and the rewards you earn using credit cards for everyday purchases can help you save on an island getaway just as Hawaii begins reopening to tourists.

Before you book anything, make sure you are aware of any developments. Check the Hawaii Department of Health website, be sure you can fulfill the prerequisites of Hawaii’s Pre-Travel Testing Program, and go over the rules of the individual islands you plan to visit. We already covered how to use airline miles and credit card points to book flights. Here, let’s take a look at some of the best accommodation options and how you can take advantage of points and credit card perks to book them.

There are dozens of resorts across the islands where rooms can be reserved using hotel points. Here are just a few of the top ones to consider and the credit cards that can save you a bundle on stays. Rather than going island by island, we’ve grouped these by hotel chain to make the points component easier to follow.


Hilton Honors members are spoiled for choice when it comes to fun in the sun. The chain’s flagship Hawaiian property is the sprawling Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, on Maui’s tranquil west coast. Guests can take advantage of plenty of kids’ activities, not to mention the expansive Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, with waterslides, rapids, and even a ropes course. You can find nights here and there from January to August starting at 95,000 points each. That’s a lot, but it beats paying rates of over $700 per night.

If you prefer the rugged Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii itself, the Hilton Waikoloa Village is a solid choice with easy access to plenty of water- and land-based activities. Throughout this winter and spring, rooms are running at around 60,000 points per night, or $250. For a more self-catering style of stay in the same area, you could also book Hilton Grand Vacations properties such as Kings’ Land by Hilton Grand Vacations and Ocean Tower by Hilton Grand Vacations for rates that are running at between 90,000–100,000 points per night for the next several months.

Stocking up on Hilton Honors points

There are currently two incredible credit card offers to help you boost your Hilton Honors points balance relatively quickly.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Right now, you can earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after using your

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