InsideFlyer magazine is reviewing Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles in our August issue and would like your input.
If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of membership in HawaiianMiles and grade the program from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.
You can also respond directly to the editors at InsideFlyer at email@example.com if you would prefer.
Jun 14, 11, 2:39 pm
I like the airlines but I personally don't like the miles program. Although i'm still somewhat a newbie. I would love it if they offered at least a free one year credit card and their bonuses have always been about 30-35k, not what i'm looking for with a paid card.
Jun 15, 11, 4:52 am
For those of us who travel between the islands frequently it is an awesome program, from hawaii to mainland or international destinations it is decent, not fantastic, but not horrible.
I would say interisland travel score: A+
mainland/ international travel score: B-
Biggest thing I think they are lacking for the mainland/ international program is better rewards to top level frequent flyers.
Jun 15, 11, 6:53 pm
I love flying HA. However, as one who flies interisland frequently but not quite frequently enough to earn status, I'd have to say I think the mileage program is poor overall or at best, below average.
- Good conversion rate of HA miles to Hhonors points (1:2).
- Perks for VISA card members including ability to share miles freely.
- High mileage cost for inter-island award flights. One of the most disappointing feature IMO about the Hawaiian miles program is that it costs at least 50% more miles (15,000 miles) to redeem for an inter-island award flight than most partners require for inter-island flights. Even more disappointing is the fact that an inter-island award using HA miles is 150% more than when using VS miles (6,000 RT)
- New earning rates effective in September of this year will be a further significant downgrade for non-elite passengers. By going away from the minimum 500 miles earned per inter-island flight, the average non-elite would have to make 75 round-trip flights between Maui/Kauai & Oahu to earn one free inter-island flight.
- Serious lack in partner redemption options
- Partner redemption options do not include flights from Hawaii with the exception of Hawaii to Mainland US on DL.
Overall Grade: D+
If I were grading Hawaiian Airlines as a whole I'd give them a B+ but the miles program is poor.
Jul 3, 11, 3:58 am
The grades displayed are determined by my entire experience with Hawaiian over many years...
C - There isn't much one can do to earn miles faster...in addition, Hawaiian is taking away miles from full paid fares for non-status passengers. Their CC cards have nothing to offer as a bonus. 35k for opening a CC, really?!...I could MAYBE get a free trip with that...if I'm lucky!
Hawaiianmiles Redemption for airfare:
B - They have super saver levels for 35k now, 5k more than before, not happy with the change, but the devaluation is what it is...If one wasn't a Hawaiianmiles CC holder, I'd feel sorry for them.
Hawaiianmiles Redemption for upgrades:
F- - <- No that wasn't a mistake! When I first started doing upgrades, they were 15k ~5 years ago! Then they went to 20k, now 25k for the lowest available...not to mention that this price is only available for x amount of super-saver seats in F, and there isn't much.
I had a conversation with one of the outsourced call centers a few mos. ago and I made that comment politely to them, and she told me with confidence that it was never that low...or at least that's what I thought she said...it was very hard to understand her with that strong accent. Anyways moving on...
Hawaiianmiles Redemption for other:
n/a - that pretty much sums it up. Other than a few tinkers here and there, nothing glamorous other than the fact that HHonors transfers at a 1:2 ratio. There's no Giftcard redemptions, no cash back options, reimbursements...
C - I'll be nice here because Hawaiian FA's in coach were really polite and customer centered up until a few years ago. Now it's just: heres your drink, heres your $#!+ meals and don't bother us. (maybe i was unfortunate the few times I flew coach recently, idk). But the food was horrific during Q4 '10 and Q1 '11...Even the FA's were saying how horrible the food was. I've never seen so many people around me take one bite and then just stop eating! For what it's worth, FC is still up to par...
First Class Experience:
A - They still maintain the highest level of professionalism and positive attitude towards their customers. We're still #1 in the first three! I'm glad their service hasn't devalued along with the rest of the...
Status PAX Gold/Plat:
I'm only a gold level, so my feedback is based on such.
I was very happy to earn Gold the first time...bonus miles, priority boarding, 3 free bags, companion bags, etc...Then slowly but surely, HA starts to take away and devalue these perks. Now...2 free bags, none for companions...
One major gripe is the promised discount upgrades in the latest change, and I did get to experience it once. I checked recently and they did what many in the retail biz is known to do. Charge higher regular prices and claim a discount but will remain at the same cost. For example, in '10 I paid 325 for upgrade, in Q1 '11 I paid $275 (nice, I was happy they we're giving back). Now its back to $325! Really?! You thought no one would notice! FYI, no status upgrade is $399.
Like I mentioned in another thread, the only reason I'm still with them is my banked miles and the fact that they're the only non-charter flight direct to LAS from HNL. I like to gamble, but I shouldn't have to take a gamble with my FF program.
Jul 5, 11, 10:29 pm
I would rate the Hawaiian Air frequent flier program as a solid B. Basically the Hawaiian Air frequent flier program isn't quite as polished as mainland carrier programs, but it gets the job done for me.
Have traveled to Hawaii almost every year since 1998 flying from BDL to various islands. Got my first miles actually not flying, but for buying groceries at the old Star Market in Maui(they gave Hawaiian Air membership cards out at the customer service desk). Then started flying Hawaiian Air for inter-island flights. After I got a Hawaiian Air credit card, I redeemed points for mainland freebie flights once I earned enough miles from purchases and flights.
The big attraction for me on the East Coast is Honolulu is Hawaiian Air's main hub. A free ticket to Hawaii I think was once described in Consumer Reports (or similar type of magazine) as the Holy Grail of frequent flier tickets. If I want to fly to Hawaii during a peak travel week, it's relatively easy to do that for a reasonable number of frequent flier points and have a choice of flights. Many mainland carriers will black you out during holidays (unless you have elite FF status) or charge double points for a peak holiday flight to Hawaii...not so with Hawaiian Air (no blackout dates or round-trip requirements).
The big catch though is Hawaiian Air doesn't fly all the way to the East Coast on regularly scheduled flights at the current time. While they have longer range aircraft on order, I suspect that will be more to extend Pacific Rim flights.
So how do I get from the East Coast to Hawaii using Hawaiian Air points? Most efficient use of points is to get to a gateway city out West for Hawaiian, stay for a night or two, and then fly out on Hawaiian Air. On the way back, it's usually a night flight, so I'll leave a long layover of 5-7 hours in case of flight delays(Hawaiian Air is ranked tops for on-time, but occasionally I've been on a delayed flight). A bit of a risk doing end-to-end ticketing, but it can be a $1000+ savings on a holiday week ticket even subtracting out the cost of the brief stay-over out West (usually through Vegas, but did one connection in Portland, OR once). Expedia and other online websites offer air/hotel packages where you can have a hotel stay in Vegas for a small portion of your trip....often at a very reasonable price because the hotel is hoping their guests will spend money in their casino and also on shows and fine dining.
Next trip using 35,000 HA points will be Kaua'i over Thanksgiving week with a brief stay-over en-route in Vegas at the Luxor. Then taking the Midnight Madness 1:15 AM flight to Kauai, picking up a Mustang convertible at Thrifty, and staying in Princeville at a Wyndham condo property I got cheap at SkyAuction. Yeah I know, life's tough :)
In terms of redemption on the Hawaiian Air website, it's a relatively simple point and click operation to get a freebie HA ticket (or paid in one direction and free in the other).
Hawaiian Air's Visa Card gives average points (1 point per dollar) with bonuses for buying HA tickets or shopping at certain merchants. It's either a Bank of Hawaii or Bank of America card...but since both are administered by FIA Card Services of DE...it's really 2 sides of one coin. Benefits on their Signature Visa card are pretty decent...one I usually need the most is the free rental car insurance that I use to supplement my regular auto policy. They give 2,000 points a year on card renewal that makes up for the annual fee. They also have other credit/debit cards.
As others have posted, exchange agreements with mainland or international carriers are somewhat limited...and require manual booking by HA customer service. Tried this once on Northwest (now Delta) but it would have been a double point redemption during the peak week I wanted to fly in. Basically the best use I can see for a Hawaiian Air frequent flier membership is to get free HA trips to or from Hawaii to the Mainland...particularly during peak holiday periods.
Jul 14, 11, 9:39 pm
Are award redemption seats on inter-island flights more available to HA miles redemption than using AA miles redemption? It is very hard to get HA seats with AA miles close to the departure date. I have 116,000 Amex points I could transfer to HA miles and I have the credit card.