You Could Score a Free Trip to Hawaii Just by Riding the NYC Subway

One of the most exciting (or terrifying) parts about riding the New York Subway is that you're never quite sure what will happen down there...

Kauai | Shutterstock
Kauai | Shutterstock

One of the most exciting (or terrifying) parts about riding the New York Subway is that you're never quite sure what will happen down there. There might be pizza rats, or celebrities, or dogs in bags. You might even get stuck underground for 45 minutes or terrorized by crickets! Now, there's a chance you could also win free trip to Hawaii, thanks to a new contest that enters you into a special getaway giveaway when you buy a NYC MetroCard. 

As part of a new partnership between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, anyone who buys a Hawaii-branded MetroCard between April 23-30 has the chance to score an all-expenses-paid vacation to one of four Hawaiian Islands (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or Hawaii) with a plus-one. It's a marketing stunt similar to a contest that ran last year, which awarded special week-long "working" vacations in Hawaii to stressed out New Yorkers. This time, though, anyone and everyone who buys a MetroCard is eligible to win. 

“We appreciate the hustle of New York City, but know that New Yorkers crave time to get refreshed and inspired," Jay Talwar, HVCB's chief marketing officer said in a statement. "Last year, we gave New Yorkers the chance to Work From Hawaii (WFH), but this year it’s all about seeing the islands in a new way before going back to the bustle of the city.”


Here's how it works: Starting Tuesday, April 23, MTA MetroCard vending machines in participating stations around the city will be stocked with 250,000 refillable Hawaii-branded MetroCards, and every card will feature a special code on the back. For a chance to win the trip, you just have to buy one, visit, enter said code, and fill out a brief registration, and you'll automatically be entered.

Winners will get to choose one of four different 7-day/6-night trips for two to either Kauai, Oahu, Maui, or Hawaii, all of which include roundtrip airfare, accommodations, a weeklong car rental, and a $1,500 gift card for spending money.

The special MetroCards won't be available everywhere, but here's a list of the subway stations where the vending machines should be stocked:

  • 72nd and Amsterdam 
  • 86th and Lexington
  • 59th and Columbus
  • 23rd and 8th
  • 14th and Union Square
  • Broadway & Lafayette at Houston
  • Fulton Street
  • Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr

A drawing will be held in early May, and the winner will be notified on or around May 8. 

However, even if you don't win the big prize, there is hope still. Flights to the Aloha state, while certainly not free, are cheaper than ever

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.