InsideLook: Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

InsideLook: Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

Now in its 85th year of service, Hawaiian Airlines dates back to 1929, when as Inter-Island Airways it launched eight-passenger service in flying boats between Honolulu and Hilo.

The name of the airline was changed to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941, and today, the airline flies to 27 destinations, including from 11 U.S. gateway cities, along with service to Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Tahiti and China.

Although the airline does not belong to a global airline alliance, it has partnerships with airlines in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China, the U.K. and Australia.

Earning Ability
HawaiianMiles members earn miles based on the distance flown. For inter-island flights, the miles earned for one-way flights ranges from 84 miles between Kona and Kahului and 216 miles between Honolulu and Hilo unless you are an elite member – Pualani Platinum, Pualani Gold and Premier Club members earn a flat 500 miles for inter-island flights. Travelers flying in first class earn a 50 percent flight bonus.

Along with earning miles with partner airlines, members can earn miles with the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, online shopping, dining, hotel stays, car rentals and various other ways including booking hotel stays through Rocketmiles, solar and energy companies and more.

Award Choices
HawaiianMiles offers the following award tiers: Coach SuperSaver, Coach Saver, Coach Flex, First Class Saver and First Class Flex. SuperSaver awards offer the lowest mileage for coach flight awards. If a Coach SuperSaver award is not available, members can redeem more miles for Coach Saver awards, which are available online only. Coach Flex awards are available for twice the miles of a Coach SuperSaver award and First Class Flex awards are also available at twice the miles of a First Class Saver award. There are no blackout dates for awards and members can mix and match awards. One-way awards are offered at half the amount of a roundtrip award. Members can also redeem HawaiianMiles one way and pay for the return flight with cash. Stopovers, however, are not permitted, so you would need to book consecutive one-way flights if you wished to include a stopover.

Award levels are in line with the industry standard of 40,000 miles roundtrip in Coach SuperSaver and 80,000 miles in First Class Saver between Hawaii and mainland U.S. One-way upgrades between the mainland and Hawaii are 25,000 miles in First Class Saver or 50,000 miles in First Class Flex.

Upgrade awards must be requested through Hawaiian Airlines reservations.

One-way award flights from Hawaii to Sydney, Auckland, Tokyo and Seoul run between 40,000 and 130,000 miles, depending on the award level and class of service. The airline also offers award flights to destinations such as Pago Pago, Samoa and Papeete, Tahiti starting at 27,500 miles from Hawaii and 47,500 miles from North America. One-way award flights to Beijing start at 40,000 miles from Hawaii or 60,000 miles from North America.

Hawaiian offers inter-island award tickets starting at 7,500 miles one-way for Coach SuperSaver and 15,000 miles for a First Class Saver award. Inter-island upgrade awards start at 7,500 miles.

Partner airline awards are available; for example, a roundtrip coach flight within North America on American Airlines is 30,000 miles; main cabin award flights within North America on Virgin America range from 20,000 HawaiianMiles to 40,000 miles, depending on the length of flight. A roundtrip flight between Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and Los Angeles is 100,000 miles in coach and 200,000 miles in business class. Partner roundtrip award flights are available within Japan (starting at 18,000 miles), between Hawaii and Japan (starting at 90,000 miles), within Asia (starting at 35,000 miles) between Australia and New Zealand (starting at 35,000 miles), within South Korea (starting at 15,000 miles) or between Korea and the U.S. (starting at 100,000 miles) along with other destinations.

HawaiianMiles may also be redeemed for car rental gift certificates, starting at 10,000 miles for a $50 gift certificate; a $25 Foodland gift card for 5,000 miles; FTD $50 eGift card for 10,000 miles; Gray Line Polynesian Adventure Tours, starting at 5,500 miles; Maui Jim Sunglasses for 25,000 miles and Outrigger/Ohana Hotels gift certificates starting at $25 for 5,000 miles. Members may also convert HawaiianMiles to Hilton HHonors points: one mile equals 1.5 Hilton HHonors points, and may spend their miles for magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

You may also donate your miles to charities including American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Blood Bank of Hawaii and others in increments of 50, 100 or 1,000 miles and Hawaiian Airlines will match up to half a million miles annually to each participating charity.

Partnerships
Members can earn HawaiianMiles when flying ANA (codeshare flights), American Airlines (excluding Hawaii-North America), China Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Virgin America (codeshare flights), Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. Members must fly in eligible fare classes to earn miles based on the class flown. Members of other airline programs can fly on Hawaiian and earn miles in the frequent flyer program of the partner airline. These partners include: ANA, American, Delta, JetBlue, Korean Air, United, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. Not all fare classes are eligible and earning is restricted to eligible Hawaiian Airlines routes.

Hotel partners are numerous and include Castle Resorts, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ohana, Outrigger, Red Lion, Starwood, Wyndham, among others, including several hotels in Las Vegas. Earning varies from around one mile per dollar spent to 500 miles per stay.

HawaiianMiles offers the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard with the current offer of 35,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on the card within the first 90 days. Cardholders earn double miles on direct Hawaiian Airlines purchases and one mile per dollar on all other purchases and up to 10 times the miles when you take advantage of cardholder exclusive offers. There are no foreign transaction fees, cardholders get discounted award travel, a one-time 50 percent off companion discount and a complimentary first checked bag free for the primary cardholder when Hawaiian Airlines flight tickets are purchased with the credit card. Annual benefits include 5,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 or more in one year, among other benefits. Cardholders are the only HawaiianMiles members who have the option to share miles between HawaiianMiles members without a fee. The annual fee for the card is $89, not waived the first year. There is also a business version of the card with similar benefits.

Members may also obtain the Hawaiian Airlines Visa Check Card offering one mile for every two qualifying dollars you spend, up to 2,500 Hawaiian miles per month. There’s also a Check Card for Business.

HawaiianMiles offers its own online mall and members can earn up to 20 miles per dollar for shopping at hundreds of online stores.

Members can earn miles without making a purchase by downloading the free Hawaiian Airlines MileFinder allowing users to earn one mile per every three qualified searches, up to 1,000 miles per month.

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty are Hawaiian’s car rental partners and members earn the industry standard of 50 miles per rental day, except for Dollar and Thrifty where members earn 55 miles per rental day. Other partners include Points.com, Hawaiian Airlines Cruise Vacations and more.

You can earn HawaiianMiles when you dine at thousands of restaurants on the Mogl network, based in California.

Elite-Level Program
HawaiianMiles offers two levels of elite status: Pualani Gold and Pualani Platinum. Members who fly 30 segments or earn 20,000 flight miles during a calendar year earn Pualani Gold, which comes with a 50 percent flight bonus on Hawaiian Airlines qualifying flights, two free checked bags (saving $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second bag for HawaiianMiles members on flights to North America), discounted awards when booking online, priority check-in, expedited security at eligible airports and priority baggage handling. Gold members also receive priority pre-boarding, discounted upgrades with online check-in, free access to the “Unlimited TV & More Pack” while onboard A330 planes, inter-island same day standby for no fee, complimentary preferred seats based on availability, a dedicated customer service line and access to Premier Club airport lounges. New for 2014, Gold members have access to special invitation events hosted by Hawaiian Airlines throughout the U.S., based on availability.

Pualani Platinum status is gained after flying 60 segments or 40,000 flight miles in a year. Pualani Platinum members can expect all the perks of Gold status, along with a 100 percent earning bonus, three free checked bags, space-available complimentary upgrades to first class for inter-island flights on the day of departure, two one-way complimentary upgrade certificates on flights between the mainland and Hawaii and guaranteed inter-island coach seating on reservations made up until 72 hours prior to departure when purchasing a revenue e-ticket from Hawaiian Airlines reservations. When Platinum members reach 75,000 miles, they receive six more complimentary system-wide upgrade certificates and another one for every additional 10,000 elite-qualifying miles. These members have higher priority for special events hosted by the airline, and top priority if you reach 75,000 miles in a calendar year.

Pulalani Gold and Platinum members are eligible for a maximum $100 annual statement credit towards inflight purchases made with your Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard ($10 maximum inflight credit redemption per day).

For those looking for elite benefits without putting in the flying time, for $299 or 40,000 miles, anyone may join the Premier Club program, which offers some of the same benefits as elite status, minus the earning bonuses, upgrades and guaranteed reservations. Existing members receive a discount on their renewal membership at $249 or 35,000 HawaiianMiles.

Rules and Conditions
New members may request credit for Hawaiian Airlines flights within 120 days of the time they join the program by visiting HawaiianAirlines.com, Retroactive Flight Credits; the same holds true if current members are looking for missing credit – they have 120 days from the date of the flight to request missing credit. HawaiianMiles don’t expire, unless a member fails to earn or redeem miles within an 18-month period. Expired miles may be reinstated but you’ll have to buy the equivalent of 10 percent of your entire mileage balance to get them back. Awards may be redeemed for anyone but once issued, awards are not transferable.

If you are short on miles, you can purchase miles in 500-mile increments with a limit of 10,000 miles per transaction, up to three transactions per week, at a cost of $0.0257 per mile plus a 7.5 percent tax. Awards are subject to capacity controls but not blackout dates.

For members who wish to change flight award tickets, the cost is $30 for neighbor islands and $50 (same class only) elsewhere.

Service Support
Members can email the HawaiianMiles service center through Hawaiian Airlines’ website. You may call the HawaiianMiles service center during the opening hours of 7am to 4:30pm HST. You can contact HawaiianMiles through the website with questions about your membership, for fairly quick responses but the form you must fill in requires “security info” like your mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your social security number. If you phone to book award reservations, there is a $25 per ticket fee, $35 if at the airport.

Online Services
The Hawaiian Airlines website has made some improvements to the HawaiianMiles pages in recent years and everything a member needs to know is accessible on the site. A quick way to access exactly the page you need is to access the Quick Links drop down menu on the far top right of the page. You can purchase miles, submit a request for missing flight miles or book Hawaiian Airlines award flights online. You can also follow Hawaiian Airlines on Twitter and Facebook

Plus Features
If you live in Hawaii, or travel there frequently and between islands, this program is for you. The program has airlines partnerships to extend your benefits outside the islands and there are many ways to earn and spend your miles.

Minus Features
Because the program does not belong to a global airline alliance, there are no strong reciprocal elite benefits and no way to earn elite qualifying miles on partner airlines. Members report that award seats are sometimes hard to find.

Report Card from Readers
Rating: D
Poor premium product and international upgrades. No partner elite qualification. No partner benefits. Very small and overpriced lounge system. Worsened redemption after deval.
ballardFlyer [Milepoint]

Rating: C-
Pros: Can transfer miles fee-free if you have their credit card.
Economy awards are worth the price of admission.
Cons: Airport lounges are a joke. No alcohol, no food besides snack mix.
International upgrades are basically a better meal in a mildly better seat. Not worth it at all.
Partner awards are extremely limited.
Can’t earn EQM on partner airlines.
Can be quite hard to get two award seats in first/biz.
socalgecko [Milepoint]

Rating: C+
The ability to transfer miles fee free is a nice option.
stpat1 [Milepoint]

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