‘Swap frequent-flyer miles for COVID-19 test’

Travelers to Hawaii can forgo the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine period, so long as they pass a coronavirus test, which now can be paid for using Hawaiian Airlines’ frequent-flyer miles.

The travel company has launched the “limited time only” offer for US residents with flights arriving in Honolulu and Maui — the only two arrival points for those coming from outside the state. Flights to Kauai are expected to resume before Christmas, according to the Independent.

Local officials have mandated a 14-day quarantine for all trans-Pacific travelers who arrive on the islands without having in hand a confirmed negative COVID-19 test result that was administered three days prior to their flight to Hawaii.

However, for the cost of $119 or 14,000 Hawaiian Miles — which do not correspond to actual mile measurements — the airline will ship customers a test kit prior to departure. With the included service of tele-medical supervision, passengers then send their spit to a lab, with a guaranteed result within one day.

The overall turnaround time, according to the airlines, should be under 72 hours — just in the nick of time for those hoping to skip two weeks of isolation.

For comparison, the price of a test in Hawaiian Miles is roughly the points needed for a round-trip flight between the islands of the archipelago state.

Hawaiian Airlines also reportedly offers a drive-through testing site near San Francisco International Airport, but $90 legal US tender is required for purchase.

The air travel industry has consistently struggled through 2020 as bookings have plummeted due to pandemic travel restrictions. Airlines have conjured all sorts of novel promotions to drum up business without encouraging interstate spread of the virus, such as a $28,000 “wedding in the sky” hosted by a charter service, or a “mystery” vacation organized by Air New Zealand at $600 NZD ($415 USD) and up.

Earlier this year, while national borders were still closed to international tourists, Australia’s Qantas was promoting a seven-hour fight “to nowhere,” priced between roughly $600 and $2,800, depending on seat class. Inexplicably, the unique deal sold out within 10 minutes.

“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,” an airline spokesperson said at the time.