Hi blondcat – strangely we have just returned from Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. We used BA miles to go First (Same number of miles to go to Boston as to go to Hawaii !). We went LHR to LAX then AA (also First and no extra miles used) from LAX to HNL. We then got Island Air for short hop to Maui.
Unfortunately when I booked flights I didn’t realise that AA actually fly direct from LAX to Maui (OGG), so that could have saved us a few £’s and overnight stay in Honolulu. As previous posts mention however, although the BA First is superb, the AA ‘First’ offering is mediocre. More like premium economy and it’s a 5 1/2 hour flight. It was 24 hours from checking in at LHR to getting to our hotel in Honolulu. So I would consider some of the other routes that use other airlines apart from AA.
Regarding wildlife – Maui is great. Feb is height of whale watching season – loads of humpbacks. Also, did lots of snorkelling to see turtles too. You’re not supposed to approach them but there is nothing to stop them coming to see you! Water is crystal clear and warm. We stayed in Lahaina which is one of the best locations for boat trips and beaches. West side of island much calmer than north and east (which have spectacular surf/waves).
Also put aside a day for Pearl Harbour. Apart from obvious historical interest there is a WWII submarine which you can wander around in/on. Should score points with son! Good luck and start saving!