Hawaiian Airlines may be limited in not having alliance membership, but its loyalty program offers some great value elsewhere.
HawaiianMiles is the frequent flyer and mileage program of Hawaiian Airlines. It differs from the loyalty programs of the main US legacy airlines in several ways – setting it apart and bringing out different benefits. Most importantly, it mostly retains distance-based earning and redeeming rather than spending-based. Its lack of alliance membership certainly limits benefits, but there is some great value to be found in its partner network.
This guide looks at some of the best value within the HawaiianMiles program, arranged as a series of tips around earning miles, redeeming miles, and holding elite status.
Earn HawaiianMiles miles
Earn from low-priced economy tickets. Most US-based loyalty programs have switched to a revenue-based earning system. HawaiianMiles has not, and retains “traditional” distance-based earnings. Even the lowest-priced flights with Hawaiian Airlines will earn the full distance flown in miles.
Hawaii residents and frequent travelers can build up miles quickly.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Earn through both credit and debit card spending. Hawaiian Airlines is unusual in offering a co-branded debit card and a credit card. For those that use both, this can be a useful additional earning source.
Earn when in Hawaii. HawaiianMiles offers many ways to earn miles for those living in or frequently visiting Hawaii. This includes not just domestic and national flights with the airline but local hotels and a very wide range of shopping options.
Redeem HawaiianMiles miles
Stay flexible to find the lowest mileage rates. With Hawaiian Airlines flights pricing at different levels depending on availability, there is plenty of scope to get better value redemption by being flexible. Check for different dates, times, and even route options to find the lowest rates.
Use miles with international partners. Some of the best value with HawaiianMiles is found on long-haul flights in premium cabin flights with partner airlines. These are “traditional” fixed rate awards with availability not linked to demand.
Photo: Getty Images
Look for the “sweet spots” in redemption. Within the possible partner awards, several stand out as particularly good value. These include:
- Virgin Atlantic long-haul flights to/from London. There are some great value options flying in Virgin Atlantic’s excellent Upper Class. Rates to/from the US are 125,000 miles or 160,000 miles return. You can also book from London to South Africa for 125,000 miles or India (and, until recently, Hong Kong) for 160,000 miles.
- Japan Airlines long-haul routes. There are many options here offering good value. Japan Airlines from Japan to anywhere in Europe or North America is 180,000 miles round trip in business class (90,000 miles for one-way is also possible). Returns in premium economy are also great value at 120,000 miles – and it may be easier to find availability here.
- Japan Airlines regional routes. From Japan to other Asian destinations is possible for 34,000 miles or 60,000 miles in economy class (or less good value 80,000 or 120,000 miles in business class). These can be very expensive routes for cash tickets.
There are no surcharges for award tickets. HawaiianMiles will add taxes and government surcharges, but no large additional surcharges for Hawaiian Airlines or any partner flights, a big win for those looking to maximize value from their points.
Status with HawaiianMiles
Earn status without a minimum spend. Elite status is awarded based just on the amount of flying, no matter the booking class or ticket price. This is unusual now among US airline loyalty programs, where the main legacy airlines have all now introduced a minimum spending component of some type.
Quickly earn valuable upgrades. HawaiianMiles only has two levels of status, with the highest of these offering complimentary first class upgrades on flights in Hawaii and even more valuable certificates for long-haul flights. These are harder to earn in other legacy airline programs.
Photo: Hawaiian Airlines
Do you fly Hawaiian Airlines and use the HawaiianMiles program? Where do you find the best value? How do you think it compares with other US airline loyalty programs? Feel free to discuss this in the comments.