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Now through June 27, 2013, American Express Membership Rewards is now offering a 20% bonus on transfers to HawaiianMiles. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, so 1,000 Amex points = 1,200 HawaiianMiles and they transfer instantly.

Earn a 20% bonus when you transfer Amex points to HawaiianMiles.
Earn a 20% bonus when you transfer Amex points to HawaiianMiles.

Award seats on Hawaiian start at 20,00 miles each way from Hawaii to the mainland for coach, and 40,000 miles each way for first class. I was able to find decent award availability for some dates this summer. With this bonus, you could transfer 34,000 Amex points, and would receive 40,800 HawaiianMiles, enough miles for a coach award from Los Angeles to Maui. To buy this outright, these coach flights would run $821.00, giving you  a value of 2.4 cents per Amex Membership Rewards point, which isn’t amazing, but if you are thinking about going to Hawaii soon, this could be an option to use liquidate some of your Amex points instead of shelling out the cash.

Roundtrip Los Angeles- Maui coach award for 40,000 HawaiianMiles.
Roundtrip Los Angeles- Maui coach award for 40,000 HawaiianMiles.

By comparison, that same ticket would cost you just 25,000 British Airways Avios if you redeemed them on American and with the recent 35% transfer bonus from Amex to BA, you’d have needed just 19,000 Amex points for pretty much the same itinerary, though award availability is tight, and Hawaiian Airlines’ planes are much newer and service is better from what I hear.

Intra-island awards start at just 7,500 HawaiianMiles, so with this bonus, that means you’ll only need to transfer just 6,250 Amex points for a quick hop over to a neighboring island.

Inner-island awards start at 7,500 HawaiianMiles each-way.
Intra-island awards start at 7,500 HawaiianMiles each-way.

In addition, Hawaiian Airlines has some good partner redemption options. They are currently not part of any of the three major alliances but they partner with several different airlines including non-alliance partners such as: American, ANA, Korean Air, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. In some cases, it might make more sense to redeem Hawaiian Miles than miles on those partners.rd.

For instance, this might make sense is if you wanted to fly Virgin America, whose point redemptions are based on the fare you purchase and points are worth between about 1.5-2.5 cents each, so the higher the fare, the more points you need.

Hawaiian offers a distance-based table for Virgin America awards, so Main Cabin Select or First Class seats, which can be extremely expensive when redeeming Virgin Elevate points, can be a bit more reasonable using HawaiianMiles. For example, you’d need 60,000 HawaiianMiles (50,000 Amex points) to fly Main Cabin Select or 90,000 HawaiianMiles (75,000 Amex points) to fly First Class between Los Angeles and New York JFK. That might seem like a lot of miles, but roundtrip award flights from LAX-JFK usually run around 50,000-70,000 Elevate points for Main Cabin Select or 150,000-175,000 Elevate points for First Class, so transferring your Amex points to HawaiianMiles and redeeming those for Virgin America flights in premium classes of service could literally save you 100,000 points as opposed to transferring to Elevate points instead – where the transfer ratio is 2 Amex points to 1 Elevate point.

Keep in mind, to use your HawaiianMiles for other airlines flight awards, you must call the HawaiianMiles Service Center which is 1-877-426-4537 and you can’t book online, so that’s a bit of a hassle, but well worth it if you’re saving a ton of points.

Do you plan on taking advantage of this transfer bonus?

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at Terms apply.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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