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I’m a huge fan of using frequent flyer miles to get your family to Hawaii, but the bad news is that effective September 1st that task is going to get a little bit harder for many of us. On September 1st American Airlines will no longer permit you to redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on their partner Hawaiian Airlines between the continental United States and Hawaii. You will still be able to use them to connect between Hawaiian Islands, but you won’t be able to use them for the long over-water segment to get to Hawaii from the US.
This is a bummer because their availability was decent on many routes, and you could actually book these awards on the American Airlines website (unlike many of American’s other partners). You could also do as I showed below and have one segment of your award on Hawaiian and the other on American or similar in order to get the availability you wanted.
You will still be able to use American Airlines miles to fly to Hawaii on American, US Airways, and Alaska operated flights, but losing Hawaiian as an option between the US mainland and Hawaii is a real blow – especially when you are booking for a whole family and need as many options as possible.
Here is a post on airline award options to Hawaii if you want a more complete view of options.
The good news is that they have given notice of this change at least on the website, and by September 1, 2015, you will be able to book awards for much of summer 2016 if you want to plan ahead. You also will continue to be able to use your AAdvantage miles for Hawaiian operated flights between the Hawaiian islands and also on to places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Tahiti from Hawaii.
If you want to fly on Hawaiian Airlines operated flights between the Continental US and Hawaii you can of course use Hawaiian Airlines miles with round trip prices starting at 40,000 miles or economy seats. You can also use Virgin Atlantic miles “starting” at 40,000 miles round trip or Virgin America miles starting at 20,000 miles round trip.