Using Hawaiian Miles for Travel to & Within Hawaii

Barclays issues a Hawaiian Airlines co-branded credit card called the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard that comes with 60,000 miles for spending $2,000 within 90 days of account opening. The current offer also waives the $99 annual fee for the first year of card membership, which is better than the standard offer that does not.

While I’m not aware when, Doctor of Credit reported that this sign up offer is ending soon. Below is some intel on using Hawaiian miles for travel to and within Hawaii in case you want to scoop up this offer before it disappears.

The Hawaiian card also confers some unique and useful benefits that make award redemptions easier and cheaper.

Quick Facts

  • Sign up bonus: 60,000 Hawaiian miles for spending $2,000 within 90 days
  • First checked bag free on Hawaiian flights
  • Category bonuses
    • 3x on Hawaiian Airline purchases
    • 2x on gas, dining, and grocery store purchases
  • One 50% off companion discount on a roundtrip Hawaiian economy flight between Hawaii and the mainland
  • Annual $100 companion discount on a roundtrip Hawaiian flight between Hawaii and the mainland
  • Free miles pooling: Share and receive Hawaiian miles at no cost
  • Discounts on economy awards flying Hawaiian
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: Waived the first year, $99 thereafter

The link to apply for this card has been moved to the top of the website, under the drop-down menu Top Credit Cards. 

Lahaina, Hawaii

Redeeming Hawaiian Miles to Hawaii

Searching and booking award space on Hawaiian is easy as it can be done right on hawaiianairlines.com. Below are the lowest award level prices available flying Hawaiian’s own planes.

  • 35,000 Hawaiian miles roundtrip between the West Coast and Hawaii in Hawaiian economy. This is the price for cardholders only, non-cardholders pay 40k roundtrip.
    • I took a quick look and see plenty of award space for the lowest price (20k one way without the card, 17.5k with the card), but typically not during the most popular travel times when school is out. The price jumps to 30k or more one way during those times, which is not competitive.
  • 7,500 miles one way between Hawaiian islands
    • Award space looks consistently available
    • Note that you can book these same inter-island Hawaiian flights for the same price, 7,5000 miles, through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is a transfer partner of all major transferrable point currencies. You can also book them for 7,000 United miles one way.
  • 40,000 Hawaiian miles one way in Hawaiian First Class
    • Award space is hard to find. Easier from the West Coast than East Coast.
    • Look for a flight on an A330 to get lie-flat seats

Hawaiian Cardholders Can Share Miles For Free

Typically the cost to share airline miles with someone else is prohibitive. Being able to pool your miles with a friend or family member means it’s easier to book a group on the same ticket, and it can even mean the ability to utilize all your miles on one trip as opposed to having not quite enough for that last family member to be covered. Let’s say you, your spouse, and child are going on a trip to Oahu and Maui. You have 10,000 Hawaiian miles and your spouse has 13,000, and you need to fly between the islands. You both have the Hawaiian card so you can pool your miles for a total of 23,000 which is enough to cover you, your spouse, and your child on that inter-island flight (7,500 x 3 = 22,500). Otherwise, you and your spouse only would’ve been able to book two of you with miles.

Olowalu, Hawaii

Bottom Line

As for travel to Hawaii, if you’re looking to fly during a less popular time of year, it looks as though you can count on finding the cheapest economy price (17.5k one way for cardholders, 20k otherwise). Traveling at peak times will be harder to nail down that price. The bonus on the Hawaiian Airlines Card seems like it will serve the best purpose for a family or group that needs miles for island-hopping, as those inter-island award flights for 7,500 one way are readily available. The same inter-island flights are a little less booking with their partner United’s miles–7,000 one way–but if you’re cut out from Chase due to the 5/24 rule then the Hawaiian card could be a good answer.

You can also transfer your American Express Membership Rewards to Hawaiian to top off your account if necessary. But don’t forget that there’s a 40% transfer bonus right now between Membership Rewards and Avios that makes booking direct American Airlines or Alaska flights from the mainland to Hawaii super cheap…only 19,000 Membership Rewards roundtrip. If you live in one of the places with direct service on American or Alaska, the Avios price is more likely to be better deal than transferring to Hawaiian to fly Hawaiian.