Hawaiian Airlines’ reward program doesn’t get as much attention as some of the larger airlines, but it has some unique features that make it useful for many travelers, especially those planning a trip to Hawaii or between various Hawaiian Islands. Let’s take a look at Hawaiian’s award chart, award booking process and ways to rack up Hawaiian miles yo help you get familiar with the Hawaiian carrier.
Hawaiian Award Chart
Hawaiian’s award chart has three award levels for coach and two levels for first class awards. Coach awards come in SuperSaver, Saver, and Flex varieties, while first class awards come in Saver and Flex. We will focus our attention on flights from North America to Hawaii and intra-Hawaii flights.
The cost for roundtrip economy flights from North America to Hawaii compares favorably to the big three U.S. airlines – assuming you can find SuperSaver availability. A roundtrip SuperSaver award costs 40,000 miles while the corresponding costs for American, Delta, and United are all 45,000 (expect for American off peak awards, which are 40,000). There is a way to make award flights on Hawaiian even cheaper. Read on for more details.
One popular alternative for those living on the west coast is British Airways Avios. Roundtrip awards when booking through BA are only 25,000 Avios assuming both legs are direct flights. However, any flight with a connection or from further east will be considerably more expensive.
Searching and Booking Awards with Hawaiian
To search for award space with Hawaiian, log into your account, click “book” at the top of the screen, click the flights tab, and select the “miles” circle at the bottom. After you have entered your cities and desired dates, you will see a screen like the one in the screenshot below.
There are several key things to note about this screen. When you are booking a roundtrip award, all prices are displayed as the total roundtrip cost, even though you select the legs individually. Therefore, the prices displayed are not necessarily the price you will pay once you select the return flight, but rather the lowest cost for the outbound flight plus the lowest cost for the return flight on the selected date.
Notice in our example from SFO to HNL, there are no SuperSaver outbound flights on April 9 because the minimum cost is 50,000 miles, implying a 30,000-mile outbound flight. However, we can see on the calendar at the top that SuperSaver awards are available for the next three days since they all price out at 40,000-miles roundtrip.
Once you select an individual flight, the screen will show the available flights on the selected return date and the calendar bar will shift to have that date in the center. You can subtract the cost of your selected departing flight from the displayed total costs to determine the cost of the return flight. For example, if we select a 40,000-mile departing flight, we know we are paying the 20,000-mile SuperSaver price for that leg. If the lowest cost roundtrip available is 50,000, then the return flight costs 30,000 miles and is therefore a Saver award.
Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card from Barclaycard
The Hawaiian Airlines credit card comes with a standard sign-up bonus of 35,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and has an $89 annual fee. Some other key benefits include:
- Complimentary checked bag for the card member when you use your card to purchase airfare directly from Hawaiian Airlines
- A one-time 50% companion discount for roundtrip coach airfare between Hawaii and North America
- $100 discount on a companion ticket each year with payment of the annual fee
- 5,000 mile bonus for spending $10,000 in a card member year
- Access to reduced mileage awards (2,500 one way or 5,000 roundtrip for economy tickets from Hawaii to the mainland US)
The discounted award benefit is particularly useful since it means the sign-up bonus is enough for a roundtrip award from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii. Round-trip awards are normally 40,000 miles but are only 35,000 for cardholders. Also, since this card issued by Barclaycard it will be easier for many travelers to get approved who otherwise may be restricted by Chase’s 5/24 rule or Amex’s once in a lifetime rule.
The HawaiianMiles marketplace is a very easy way to earn Hawaiian miles. You can register any eligible Visa or Amex credit or debit card and earn miles at participating merchants – it does not have to be a Hawaiian Airlines card. The great thing is that this is not a portal where you must log-in and click through to make your purchase on the merchant’s website; rather you automatically earn miles when shopping at participating merchants including in physical stores.
They have a nice search feature to locate stores in your area. One nice option is Whole Foods, especially if you have a credit card that has a grocery store bonus category. While most of the participating merchants are local to Hawaii, Gap and Banana Republic are other national chains that are currently offering bonus miles.
Point Transfer Opportunities
The standard transfer ratio from Membership Rewards is 1:1, although Amex does offer transfer bonuses from time to time. While there is no fixed schedule, Amex has been running a bonus promotion once a year for past three years. There was a 20% bonus in June 2014, a 25% bonus in December 2015, and a 25% bonus in June 2016. If you have no near-term travel needs it is probably worth waiting for another possible bonus before transferring Membership Rewards to Hawaiian.
SPG points also transfer to Hawaiian at a 1:1 ratio. However, a permanent feature of the SPG program is that you receive a 5,000 mile bonus for each increment of 20,000 points per transfer. Therefore, if you are maximizing this opportunity the transfer ratio is 1:1.25. With the uncertainty surrounding the future of the SPG program in the wake of the Marriott merger, 2017 may be the last year that point transferability at favorable ratios is available through SPG, so if you are looking to earn Hawaiian miles at a better than 1:1 ratio, putting some extra spend on an SPG card may be a good option for you over the next year.