Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > Hawaii-Based Airlines
Reload this Page >

Puulani Platinum First Class Certificates - Not!

Puulani Platinum First Class Certificates - Not!

Old Sep 10, 19, 10:28 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Puulani Platinum First Class Certificates - Not!

As Puulani Platinum for the first time, my wife and I each received two complimentary first class upgrade certificates. One month before departure we clicked the option to use the upgrades on a HNL - West Coast flight. Pretty excited cause many first class seats available including adjacent seats. Our status changed to pending approval for the upgrade. Two weeks later, the adjacent seats were gone. Three weeks later, only two non-adjacent seats available. I called the Puulani phone line and learned I would be informed of approval by email. A few days later excited to receive an email from Hawaiian Airlines only to learn I can now bid on the last two first class seats. Yikes!

I've come to learn upgrade approval can be requested 30 days out but there is no time frame for approval. I've slowly seen available 1st class seats disappear from this flight and the return flight. I've also learned from another Puulani Platinum member that they have not used their certificates for years. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. We were planning an east coast trip on Hawaiian which would push us into Platinum in 2020, however, I now have doubts.

Wondering if this is normal for fellow Puulani Platinum members.

Mahalo.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 10, 19, 11:34 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: HNL
Programs: Pt: UA; Au: AA, Marriott, Hilton; Ex-HA Pt (now not), GE
Posts: 5,236
Welcome to Flyertalk!

Unfortunately, the HA FF program is pretty awful. Plat status really only helps for interisland upgrades.
747FC is online now  
Old Sep 11, 19, 12:19 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by 747FC View Post
Welcome to Flyertalk!

Unfortunately, the HA FF program is pretty awful. Plat status really only helps for interisland upgrades.
Thanks 747FC
And nothing exciting about interisland upgrades
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 1:51 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Really unfortunate timing on my part to become a Puulani Platinum for the first time. This year Hawaiian Airlines devalued certificates so now two certificates (instead of one) required for one way upgrade to or from BOS and JFK. Secondly, HA implemented a bidding option to upgrade to first class. Very likely, I lose my complimentary certificates to someone bidding $300 for the same seats.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 11, 19, 10:21 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: HNL
Programs: AS MVPG, HA Plat
Posts: 653
Please report back on whether you eventually clear. We donít have much here on success with certs but the little bit I have anecdotally is pretty positive on west coast routes.
WrightHI is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 1:21 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by WrightHI View Post
Please report back on whether you eventually clear. We donít have much here on success with certs but the little bit I have anecdotally is pretty positive on west coast routes.
About a week before departure I see the price for the two remaining first class seats (one way) down to $500. A short while later one of the two seats sold and now only one first class seat remaining. Not surprisingly, the price for the remaining fc seat increased to $900. Unless there's a cancellation there will be no certificate upgrade on this leg. Seems HA is getting every last dollar possible.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 3:10 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: HNL
Programs: AS MVPG, HA Plat
Posts: 653
Originally Posted by zurfer View Post
About a week before departure I see the price for the two remaining first class seats (one way) down to $500. A short while later one of the two seats sold and now only one first class seat remaining. Not surprisingly, the price for the remaining fc seat increased to $900. Unless there's a cancellation there will be no certificate upgrade on this leg. Seems HA is getting every last dollar possible.
Are you basing that on inventory information (eg Expert Flyer) or just the seat map? HA blocks a ton of seats, more or less randomly as best I can tell (or more cynically, perhaps to create a false impression of scarcity), and first class seat pricing close is affected by more factors than just how many seats are available. Not saying you're wrong to worry, but if you don't have better information than you can get from the HA website, you might still be pleasantly surprised.
WrightHI is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 3:18 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by WrightHI View Post
Are you basing that on inventory information (eg Expert Flyer) or just the seat map? HA blocks a ton of seats, more or less randomly as best I can tell (or more cynically, perhaps to create a false impression of scarcity), and first class seat pricing close is affected by more factors than just how many seats are available. Not saying you're wrong to worry, but if you don't have better information than you can get from the HA website, you might still be pleasantly surprised.
Both HA seat map and Expert Flyer display one FC seat available.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 3:47 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: STL/ORD/SAN
Programs: AA EXP, AS MVPG75K, accidental DL FO, HH Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,056
Originally Posted by zurfer View Post
Really unfortunate timing on my part to become a Puulani Platinum for the first time. This year Hawaiian Airlines devalued certificates so now two certificates (instead of one) required for one way upgrade to or from BOS and JFK. Secondly, HA implemented a bidding option to upgrade to first class. Very likely, I lose my complimentary certificates to someone bidding $300 for the same seats.
Interesting data points in this thread, given that HA is a lesser known frequent flyer program. Seems like inter-island upgrades would be the biggest perk, but really too bad to hear they do this with the upgrade certificates for their top tier elites.

On the other hand, it sounds like they've simply gone out of their way to strictly capacity-control these upgrades, which other U.S. airlines already do (e.g. AA with SWUs, AS with GGUs, DL with GUCs, etc.).
metallo is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 5:05 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: HNL
Programs: AS MVPG, HA Plat
Posts: 653
Originally Posted by metallo View Post
Interesting data points in this thread, given that HA is a lesser known frequent flyer program. Seems like inter-island upgrades would be the biggest perk, but really too bad to hear they do this with the upgrade certificates for their top tier elites.

On the other hand, it sounds like they've simply gone out of their way to strictly capacity-control these upgrades, which other U.S. airlines already do (e.g. AA with SWUs, AS with GGUs, DL with GUCs, etc.).
One of the issues with HA is that there are multiple upgrade paths (certificates, miles, cash bids, fixed-price cash upgrades at check-in) with zero transparency as to how inventory gets prioritized and most seats held until very late in the process. Other airlines manage inventory, but AFAIK Hawaiian is the only one that doesn't clear certificate upgrades more than 72 hours before departure under any circumstances. It's really disappointing if they're undermining the value of the very limited number of certificates they issue by selling upgrades while certificate requests are pending.
WrightHI is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 5:37 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by WrightHI View Post
One of the issues with HA is that there are multiple upgrade paths (certificates, miles, cash bids, fixed-price cash upgrades at check-in) with zero transparency as to how inventory gets prioritized and most seats held until very late in the process. Other airlines manage inventory, but AFAIK Hawaiian is the only one that doesn't clear certificate upgrades more than 72 hours before departure under any circumstances. It's really disappointing if they're undermining the value of the very limited number of certificates they issue by selling upgrades while certificate requests are pending.
Your summation is succinct and spot on. For years Gold status served me well, but was hoping Platinum perks would be worth the effort. The multiple upgrade paths you list above appear to have pushed elite certificate upgrades near the bottom of the food chain. Perhaps time to status match with Alaska Airlines.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 13, 19, 7:08 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: HNL
Programs: AS MVPG, HA Plat
Posts: 653
Originally Posted by zurfer View Post
Your summation is succinct and spot on. For years Gold status served me well, but was hoping Platinum perks would be worth the effort. The multiple upgrade paths you list above appear to have pushed elite certificate upgrades near the bottom of the food chain. Perhaps time to status match with Alaska Airlines.
Alaska has been very good to me as a Gold in their program. I've mostly flown them to the mainland for the last several years, with a few trips on other carriers. If you're willing to buy more expensive coach fares, you can clear a lot of upgrades. Otherwise it's harder, at least on the PNW routes.

I've only tried to use HA certificates a handful of times (maybe 4?), but they've cleared when I've tried. I noticed at the beginning of this year that they widened the available fare classes for the certs, which I naively thought was good. I am planning to try to use this year's two on a flight back from Portland with my son on a Wednesday in early November. It was and still is mostly empty in front, so I will be pretty miffed if they don't clear. Your experience makes me a lot more concerned than I was when I booked.
WrightHI is offline  
Old Sep 16, 19, 2:34 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by WrightHI View Post
Alaska has been very good to me as a Gold in their program. I've mostly flown them to the mainland for the last several years, with a few trips on other carriers. If you're willing to buy more expensive coach fares, you can clear a lot of upgrades. Otherwise it's harder, at least on the PNW routes.

I've only tried to use HA certificates a handful of times (maybe 4?), but they've cleared when I've tried. I noticed at the beginning of this year that they widened the available fare classes for the certs, which I naively thought was good. I am planning to try to use this year's two on a flight back from Portland with my son on a Wednesday in early November. It was and still is mostly empty in front, so I will be pretty miffed if they don't clear. Your experience makes me a lot more concerned than I was when I booked.
Good to hear about Alaska. Hope your first class upgrade goes smoothly.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 16, 19, 4:20 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 8
Update: All first class seats gone, no email notification, status remains pending approval.
Let's see what happens on the return leg.
zurfer is offline  
Old Sep 18, 19, 9:02 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SAN
Posts: 1,098
Originally Posted by WrightHI View Post
It's really disappointing if they're undermining the value of the very limited number of certificates they issue by selling upgrades while certificate requests are pending.
So, you're disappointed that they're trying to sell something rather than give it away for free?
Hawaiian717 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread