If you were planning to use HawaiianMiles to book a tropical getaway on one of the islands, your points won’t go as far as they used to. Hawaiian Airlines recently announced significant changes to the HawaiianMiles frequent flyer program, including a devaluation of how much the points are worth.
The program was rolled out without any advanced notice to customers, surprising travel news sites and HawaiianMiles members alike. The program is moving in a direction shared by many other airlines, or resembling dynamic reward pricing. Their former system had lucrative fixed levels that was appealing for great deals on flights to Hawaii from throughout the mainland United States. Now, prices for domestic flights vary, with the West and East coasts valued differently after the devaluation. Let’s go through the changes:
East Coast Flights to Hawaii
This is the biggest jump for domestic flights between Hawaii and the mainland. On the old system, flights from the East Coast to Hawaii ranged from 20,000 to 60,000 miles for main cabin seating. Now, the range is 30,000 to 60,000 miles, meaning higher demand main cabin fights cost more than double what they used to. This is going to be tricky for reward members based on the East Coast, as it will be far more difficult to both earn enough points to use on one of these flights.
West Coast Flights to Hawaii
Economy flights traveling to and from West Coast destinations like Seattle and San Francisco have changed significantly less than their East Coast counterparts. On the old system, economy rewards ranged from 20,000 to 60,0000 miles– now, the range is 20,000 to 95,000 miles. Luckily Hawaiian Airlines kept the lower tier as is, but the top range has increased by more than 50 percent.
Neighbor Island Flights
Flights from one island to another used to be a flat rate of 7,500 points. In the new program, these flights will range from 7,500 to 20,000 points. Top demand flights between islands will nearly triple, a huge change for travelers looking for convenient travel between the Hawaiian islands.
You won’t find an international flight out of Hawaii for less than 47,500 miles and are far more likely to pay upwards of 100,000 miles with the new range taking effect. Economy travel from the East Coast to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan will cost 70,000-270,000 miles. The same trips from the West Coast aren’t much better, ranging from 60,000 to 235,000 miles.
How to Make the Most of Your Points
After these changes, using points wisely and getting the most value for your earned rewards is even more important. If you don’t want to save all your points for just the flights, try these tips:
Splurge on upgrades: This new program also incorporates a new Upgrade option, or buying Economy tickets and being able to use points to upgrade to First or International business class. If you have points stockpiled, look for deals on cash Economy tickets and use your points to upgrade your seats.
Balance peak prices: Though the changes drastically change the value of these points compared to before, cashing in miles no longer has blackout dates or restrictions on when you can book your flights. If you want to fly during peak periods, use some of your points to reduce your cash ticket prices.
Purchase tickets with partner airlines: HawaiianMiles can be redeemed with a handful of airline partners, including Japan Airlines. A round trip ticket from Japan to North America is 90,000 HawaiianMiles. Considering how much the value varies on the new Hawaiian Airlines program, booking a flat rate ticket to Japan will increase the miles’ value.
Use points for hotel stays: Use your surplus of points to book hotel stays with a huge global network of hotels. Redemption value per hotel varies, but this can be an okay way to use your HawaiianMiles on other upcoming vacations.
Exchange miles with Hilton: If you don’t have any upcoming trips planned, transfer your points to Hilton to stockpile them for later. You can trade your HawaiianMiles for Hilton Honors points, at a rate of 1.5 Hilton Honors points per 1 HawaiianMile. Exchanges start at 10,000 HawaiianMiles. This isn’t the best value but is definitely worth considering if you don’t have another use for your HawaiianMiles.
Do you have Hawaiian Airlines Miles? What are you going to do with them now?
[Image Source: Hawaiian Airlines]