Anatomy of an Award: Hawaiian Airlines. Using Hawaiian Miles to Book a Oneway to Honolulu

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This is another post in my Anatomy of an Award series, in which I take a real award I’ve booked and break it down step-by-step to elucidate the award booking process. If you have a real award you’d like to write up in a similar post, please contact me, and you can write a guest post.

Yesterday I wrote about needing to find an award to Hawaii. I had found a return using Avios to fly on an American Airlines flight, but I still didn’t have the flight to Honolulu. To book the outbound, I used an incredible feature of the Hawaiian Miles program: the free Share Miles feature.

Here again are the options to get from the mainland to Hawaii:

BA (on AA planes) best option but no availability my dates

American (you can use AA miles to fly AA, Hawaiian, or Alaska planes)

United (United or US planes)

Hawaiian

US Airways (on US or United planes, $50 surcharge for travel to Hawaii) r/t price of 40,000 miles charged for a oneway

Delta r/t price of 40,000 miles charged for a oneway

Alaska (on Alaska, AA, or Delta planes) don’t have any Alaska miles

Korean (on Hawaiian planes) transfer partner of Chase, but r/t price of 30,000 miles charged for oneway

United is a good option. They have a lot of daily flights LAX-HNL with good coach availability. United charges 20,000 miles for a oneway, though, and I value 20,000 United miles at $362, so I’d like to find a better option.

Another option was American, which charges 22,500 miles to fly oneway to Hawaii during the summer. I already know from yesterday’s post that there is no availability on American flights, so in reality I’d be using American miles to fly on a Hawaiian plane. That would be a crazy redemption, since I can use 17,500 Hawaiian miles to fly on Hawaiian planes. 22,500 American miles are worth way more than 17,500 Hawaiian Miles.

That meant the cheapest way to get to Hawaii was with 17,500 Hawaiian Miles. I headed for Hawaiianair.com, signed into my account, and clicked on Book an E-Award Now in the top right corner of the Hawaiian Miles screen. After typing in my dates and searching for a oneway from LAX-HNL, I was brought to this screen:

For the week surrounding my dates, there is only one day with the 17,500 mile price. Selecting that date, there is one nonstop with the 17,500 mile price.

At this point, I would have loved to have booked, but my Hawaiian Miles account balance was in the hundreds not thousands. Luckily, Hawaiian is one of the few airlines that allows members to share miles for free.

To transfer miles, the recipient must have an active Hawaiian Airlines Credit or Check Card. (The giver of the miles does not have to have a Hawaiian Airlines card.) If that requirement is met, you can share miles. How?

When you first sign in to Hawaiian Miles, along the left side, there is a link that says Share Miles:

Clicking that takes you to a form in which you input the number of miles, the recipient’s last name, and the recipient’s Hawaiian Miles number.

Luckily my dad flies tons of paid interisland flights in Hawaii, so he was able to transfer me the miles I needed. The miles posted instantly, and I booked the flight using the same process I used earlier in this post to search for the flight. The total cost was 17,500 Hawaiian Miles and $2.50.

Here is some info about the booking:

LAX-HNL cost: $380

My subjective value of the itinerary: $380+, I would have paid cash if necessary

Hawaiian Miles needed: 17,500

Total taxes and fees: $2.50

Miles foregone by not purchasing itinerary: 2,556

Cents per mile as booked: 1.88! according to the milevalue calculator. (I plugged 380; 2.5; 17500; 2556 into the calculator. Do you see why?)

I’m pretty happy with the booking. I haven’t done a valuation series on Hawaiian Miles, but I know they’re worth less than 1.88 cents on average since they are worth less than American and United miles, which are both less than 1.88 cents per miles. Also I saved $378, which I plan to spend on buying one frozen dinner at a grocery story in Hawaii. Seriously, have you seen the food prices in Hawaii!?

 

 


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24 COMMENTS

    • He could have. In all programs that I know of an account holder can book a ticket for anyone he wants. In this case, I didn’t want my dad to have to do the search or pay the taxes.

      I’ll give you an example of when Share Miles was completely needed. Recently my sister wanted to book two oneways from SFO-HNL. She had 26,000 miles but needed 35,000. Her daughters account had 5,500 miles, so she transferred those to herself. And my account had 3,500, so I transferred those to her. That got her to 35,000 miles, and she booked the trip.

      • I see the point! Your blog starts to become more and more interesting and interactive! I like it! Hope you can make it a good place to discuss award booking and I can also share my award itinerary next time I plan a big international trip!

        • Of course you can. You can solicit help during the planning stages or write an Anatomy of an Award post after you book it.

    • Good point, but you’ll have to call BA and incur the $25 phone fee. Still worth it for a 12,500 Avios trip to Hawaii.

  1. Scott, having a bit dilemma. I am ATL based and wants to take whole family (4) to HNL dec 2013. I have plenty of united, avios and hawaii miles. Which one better redemption? 40k united RT or avios 15k to LGA+ 35k hawaii miles to HNL direct?

    • Whichever has space, which I would expect to be United or Hawaiian. 15k Avios + 35k Hawaiian is worth about the same amount as 40k United, so your itinerary looks fine except: you have to get yourself from LGA to JFK and if you are late to LGA, Hawaiian has no responsibility to you since it is AA’s fault (and AA has no responsibility either.

  2. Is there any other way to transfer Hawaiian miles from one account to another account? My friend lens me 9000 points and I need to give it back to her buy I don’t want her to open up a visa credit card because of me. Is there absolutely no way to transfer without the receiver having to open a credit card?

  3. Hi Scott. Thanks for this great blog! Here is my dilemma: I am traveling from NYC to Kauai. If I pay full price, the ticket will cost $736 on AA (but I will get the miles). I’d like to use the miles that I have to get me there and this is where you come in. I am willing to pay the $150 dollars it costs to go from NYC to LAX. I can spend a day with the fam and everyone wins. To get from LAX to Kauai, I need 17,500 Hawaiian Airlines points. Unfortunately, I only have 10,000. I have 30,000 AA points. Is there any way that I can combine the AA points with the HA points to get one ticket on HA? On the way home, I plan ti use my United points. I have to pay $100 as they have expired, but this still is a better deal as they were originally gifted points.

    Thanks.

    • No way to combine AA and Hawaiian miles, but you can book Hawaiian from LAX-Kauai with AA miles on AA.com.

  4. Is there any Idea, how to get 60k HA-Miles really quick? I would need them for an Award-Travel for two, but A) dont have the CC and B) am based in Europe, so I cant collect Miles easily…Any Idea helps!!

  5. I didn’t realize that my Hawaiian Airlines miles would expire but they did 3 weeks ago. I don’t go to Hawaii very often. 2 other family members also had the same # of miles expire 3 wks ago. So now I am looking at paying $29.56 x 3 people =$88.68. Is it worth it to do so I don’t lose these miles?

  6. Sorry I forgot to say each of us have 7200 HA miles in our accounts.
    Are HA award miles available most of the time or are they hard to use???
    Thanks.

    • 7,200 Hawaiian miles are worth over $100, so reinstating them for $30 is a bargain. That said, you need 20k to get a one way award from the mainland to Hawaii and 7,500 for a one way award interisland. If you want to increase your balances, get the Hawaiian Airlines credit card with 35,000 bonus miles –> milevalue.com/Hawaiian

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