Airline Awards to Hawaii Getting Harder to Book Beginning 9/1/15

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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.

Redeem AA miles on Hawaiian

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.

Hawaiian Airlines Award

No loner a valid routing as of September 1, 2015

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.

Hawaiian Airlines Route Network

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.

Thanks to The Forward Cabin for sharing news of this development



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  1. Glad I was able to cash in on 4x free flights to Maui using AMEX MR–>British Airways—>Alaskan using the remainder of my 100K signup bonus with AMEX Platinum! Leaving in a few weeks!

  2. This is going to have other repercussions. I am planning on using Avios to book AA flights to Hawaii. Now I’ll be fighting to find availability with others who also can’t use HA flights. Ouch.

    • Ouch is right! As if getting an award flight to Hawaii wasn’t hard enough. I just used Avios to book LAX-HNL next May. We’ll fly SW from our home airport of Den. Still need to work on the return but a future Hawaii trip just got a lot harder. The Alaska Airlines comp. pass might have to be our way there next time.

  3. Great post! I have been looking to book points to Hawaii from Rapid City, SD for months now and the cheapest flights I can find are all 80k per person round trip. Yikes. So I’m scrambling to scrape up 200000’ish points which is not an easy feat. Any suggestions or ideas?

  4. Thanks for the update. I have used the AA offer several times to fly biz class from LAX to HNL because you did not need too much time to plan for award seat availability. To get the best use of HA points, you do have to plan far in advance. Yet I do prefer Hawaiian Airlines to fly from HNL to the South Pacific. The service on HA is outstanding. My wife and I have about 300,000 HA points thanks to SPG uploads, and we have been wanting to try the direct flight from JFK to HNL on HA so this AA change may set that in motion for 2016.

  5. Avios can still be used to book travel to Hawaii on AA and AS if saver awards are available. And you can still use AA miles to book travel on AS to HI. But, we all hate to lose the HA option. Booo Hooo.

  6. I think this will also negatively effect people trying to get to Japan. I remember seeing flights connecting in Hawaii on Hawaiian when searching the AA site for award flights to Japan.

  7. I went to HI last February with my family from NY on Hawaiian using AA miles. I have already booked for next Feb, but not on Hawaiian, availability on Hawaiian did not even show up for AA miles. Therefore, I’m not surprised of this change, as I saw evidence of this during the popular winter break on Feb

  8. Based on past experiences with Hawaiian ground personnel I would probably prefer to swim to Hawaii than fly with them. If you want to be treated like trash just book a trip with them.

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