Hawaiian Airlines Series: Award Availability on Hawaiian Airlines

by on March 17, 2014 · 6 comments

in Hawaiian Airlines

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This is the first installment of a series we are doing on Hawaiian Airlines for the folks who might have just signed up for the new Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines Mastercards. In this post we look into award availability on Hawaiian’s Mainland routes, while in future posts we’ll be looking at how you can maximize various benefits of the cards and the HawaiianMiles program.

Last month, Barclaycard launched the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, which is loaded with a ton of new perks and benefits. In addition to a sign-up bonus of 35,000 miles for a spend of $1,000 within 90 days, the card gives you access to a discount of 5,000 miles off roundtrip economy awards from North America to Hawaii. This sign-up bonus means that a roundtrip economy award flight that normally costs 40,000 miles will only cost cardholders 35,000 miles.

The new Hawaiian Airlines credit cards offer calendar year spending bonuses.

The new Hawaiian Airlines credit cards offer discounted award pricing.

According to the HawaiianMiles Service Center, once your Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard card is linked to your HawaiianMiles number, and you log on to the Hawaiian Airlines site, you’re automatically recognized as a cardholder and shown discounted award rates. What a regular HawaiianMiles member sees as a 20,000-mile award, a cardholder will see as a 17,500-mile award, and 35,000-mile roundtrips instead of 40,000 miles.

So with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the the airline’s actual award availability on flights to the Aloha State so that all you new cardholders (or those of you thinking about applying) can get a picture of the award availability and how you will be able to put those bonus miles to use.

hawaiian-mainWe checked out Hawaiian’s route map and looked into schedules ranging from April – June (with some exceptions, where noted) in order to confirm award availability at the price of 40,000 miles + $5 – which would qualify for the 35,000-mile awards for Hawaiian Mastercard cardholders. Not all of Hawaiian’s US-Mainland destinations have award availability it seems, including a few seasonal routes from LA, and all award itineraries we were able to find  (with the exception of San Jose flights) are nonstops to Honolulu, Oahu (HNL), Hawaii’s main hub.

A Coach Super Saver roundtrip award requires 40,000 HawaiianMiles

A Coach Super Saver roundtrip award between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland requires 40,000 HawaiianMiles

Note that while booking through the site as a HawaiianMiles member, HawaiianMiles offers a great option called “See a monthly view of fares” that allows you to check out daily award amounts for an entire month at a time; just be sure to view prices by “Miles” rather than “Dollars.”

HawaiianMiles has a handy calendar that allows you to preview mileage-award amounts for each day in a month

HawaiianMiles has a handy calendar that allows you to preview mileage-award amounts for each day in a month

Each Hawaiian Airlines itinerary we researched is listed by point of mainland origin, destination name, daily frequency, and the amount of miles + cash required to redeem a roundtrip Coach Super Saver award.

Los Angeles – Honolulu, Oahu (LAX-HNL)

Hawaiian operates three daily flights on this route. Two are on the A330 and one is aboard the 767. We found tons of coach award availability at the 40,000-mile level for LAX-HNL between April and June.

LAX-HNL May 4-12

May 4-12 roundtrip LAX-HNL

Here was a sample itinerary in May, but there are tons of dates open throughout the spring and summer at the Super Saver level. Super Saver first class availability (80,000 miles roundtrip), though, was much more limited.

Los Angeles – Kahului, Maui (LAX-OGG)

This summer, Hawaiian is expanding its non-stop flights to various Hawaii airports from LAX. Starting May 2, Hawaiian will begin nonstop daily service between LAX-OGG (Kahului, Maui), and will add a second flight from June 30-September 8. However, the award price for this roundtrip itinerary ranges between 60,000-80,000 miles + $10. So there’s no Super Saver availability that we could find, but there is plain old Coach Saver availability. If you’re a cardholder, it’ll cost you 55,000 miles instead of 60,000 miles.


May 3-9 LAX-OGG (a new route starting May 2) requires too many miles to make the 40K cut

Los Angeles – Lihue, Kauai (LAX-LIH)
Los Angeles – Kona, Hawaii (LAX-KOA)

Two additional seasonal routes – LAX-LIH and LAX-KOA will run from June 26 – September 19, four times a week apiece on the 767-300. Hawaiian does not seem to be releasing award availability on these flights at present, so you still have to connect through HNL for these destinations on award tickets. For the HNL-connecting versions of these routes, award availability at the the 40,000-mile award level appears only between September and the first week in February, but those awards are plentiful – so you still have options to get to either Kauai or the island of Hawaii.

Las Vegas – Honolulu, Oahu (LAX-LAS)

Hawaiian operates several flights on this route, all on the A330: once daily on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; three times daily on Wednesday and Friday; and twice daily on Saturday. Coach award availability at the 40,000-mile level for LAS-HNL is commonly found between April and May.

April 4-7 roundtrip LAS-HNL

April 4-7 roundtrip LAS-HNL

New York – Honolulu, Oahu (JFK-HNL)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route, aboard the A330. Be advised that award availability for this itinerary at anything below 30,000 HawaiianMiles per segment seems to be extremely limited. We were actually only able to find one itinerary between early April and late June that fits the 40,000-mile bill, and it requires spending a whopping three weeks in Hawaii, from June 6-27. (If you can pull off a trip like this, please know that you’re officially our travel heroes here at TPG.)

Award availability for JFK-HNL in April and May is common at the roundtrip Coach Saver level (pretty much what other airlines call “standard”) of 60,000 miles. Availability is far lower in June (the start of the West Coast high season), and then only at the roundtrip Coach Flex level of 80,000 miles. Throughout April and June, availability is common at the roundtrip First Class Flex level of 160,000 miles.

If you can swing June 6-27 from JFK-HNL, you can find a 40K coach award

If you can swing June 6-27 from JFK-HNL, you can find a 40K coach award

Oakland – Honolulu, Oahu (LAX-OAK)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route on the 767. Award availability for this roundtrip at the 40,000-mile level is plentiful in April, but far less so in May and June, when coach roundtrip awards generally range between 60,000-70,000 miles + $5.


April 6-14 roundtrip OAK-HNL

There is also a daily OAK-OGG flight with pretty much matching award availability to the Honolulu flight, so if Maui is your final destination, definitely search for that instead.

Portland, Oregon – Honolulu, Oahu (PDX-HNL)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route, aboard the A330. Award availability at the 40,000-mile level for PDX-HNL is most likely between late May and early June.

May 31-June 5 roundtrip PDX-HNL

May 31-June 5 roundtrip from PDX-HNL

Sacramento – Honolulu, Oahu (SMF-HNL)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop for this route, aboard the 767. This 40,000-mile award price for SMF-HNL is only available for several dates in April; in May and June, the award price rises.

April 7-14 roundtrip SMF-HNL

April 7-14 roundtrip SMF-HNL

San Francisco – Honolulu, Oahu (SFO-HNL)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route, aboard the A330. Award availability at the 40,000-mile level between SFO-HNL is scarce until late August. From that point through the first week in February, however, the above award price holds both steady and extremely available.

August 21-28 roundtrip SFO-HNL -- 40K awards for this itinerary are common between late August and the first week in February

August 21-28 roundtrip SFO-HNL – 40K awards for this itinerary begin to show up in late August

San Jose – Kahului, Maui (SJC-OGG)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route, aboard the 767. Coach roundtrip award availability for SJC-OGG at this level is frequent in April, occasional in May, and high in June.

April roundtrip SJO-

April 20-24 roundtrip SJC-OGG

Seattle – Honolulu, Oahu (SEA-HNL)

Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route, aboard the A330. Award availability for SEA-HNL at the 40,000-mile level is high between May and the first week in June, but non-existent in April.

May 5-12 roundtrip SEA-HNL

May 5-12 roundtrip SEA-HNL

If you’re pining for palm trees, white sand and some ukelele tunes, now might be a great time to sign up for the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard or simply break out those HawaiianMiles and book a relatively cheap trip to Hawaii. Even if you haven’t gotten the new card, if you have a card that accrues Amex Membership Rewards points like the Premier Rewards Gold, or the Platinum Card (whose bonus just went up to 40,000 points), you can transfer them to Hawaiian at 1:1 and book your ticket that way.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Paul W

    Can you have a look at availability departing HNL and heading to OZ, PPT and Asia? I have wondered if those might be the more valuable options, since getting to HNL can be done a number of ways and is typically not too expensive as a revenue ticket.

  • WrightHI

    HA availability on the Pacific routes is generally good in coach (at 40K miles/OW, not discounted for cardholders/elites) but bad to awful in front. Basically it’s extremely difficult to get more than 1.5 cents/mile for HA miles, and that’s mostly for first class on the HI-west coast routes. Coach tends to run more like 1.25 cents/mile or less. So this card is worth getting for the sign-up bonus (and the blogger’s commission), but only worth maybe keeping if you’re flying HA regularly (for the annual companion discount), and NEVER, EVER worth putting spend on. The only possible exception is HA tickets, and then only if you don’t have another card that bonuses airfare with a more valuable currency.

    If you really want to earn HA miles with a credit card, which you shouldn’t, get an Amex and accumulate MR.

  • Brian C. Lee

    TPG, will you be covering the process and availability for redeeming HA miles on VS and other partners?

  • JDB

    How about if one were to fly from JFK to OGG (with stop in HNL)? Would it be calculated as 20k + 7.5k miles one way?

  • Amanda_Oahu

    I want this one but I’m worried about getting only the 35k and struggling to get the last 5k needed for an award flight RT. I looked on the Hawaiian site and it said you can purchase a mile for .0275 , so at 5,000 needed , $135. That may be what I’d do instead of struggling to spend another $5000 on the card ( my expenses aren’t high so that would take me forever ). Thanks for all your info!

  • John_DC_ColHeights

    Having just gone through the booking process myself, I’d like to warn everyone of some things I learned that I didn’t fully understand when I was doing my research on the HA credit card. When I received the card, I spent $1000, and earned 36,000 points (intro bonus of 35k + 1k for the $1k purchase). Read the terms and conditions very carefully, because:
    1) if you only have enough points for you, you have to book your flight
    separate from your companion; you have to pay full price for the
    companion ticket.
    2) you cannot use your points for your ticket AND apply the 50% discount for companion ticket.
    3) you only get the 50% discount companion ticket if you pay dollars for yours.
    4) 50% companion discount does NOT apply to Neighbor island flights, ONLY for North America to Honolulu flights.

    With these basic rules that I learned the hard way, consider this. For my honeymoon next year, the plan is to fly from DC to Hawaii, first to Maui for several days, then fly to Kauai for several days, then return home. I looked this trip up on Expedia and this entire itinerary would for 2 people come out to $1900. With the points I had (36k), I could do one of two options:
    a) buy our tickets from DC to LA for $700; use 35k points for my ticket from LA to Honolulu, and buy my fiance’s for $700; then buy the island hop flights for 2 for little less than $600 altogether. Total = $2000

    b) buy tickets from DC to Honolulu on Expedia for $1650; apply points to both our tickets for island hops, so 15k from Honolulu to Maui, 15k to Kauai, buy 1.5k pts (about $30) to have 7.5k for my ticket from Kauai to Honolulu, and buy her ticket at $80. Total = $1760.

    Option b appears to be the better deal, and yet 35k points would only save me $240 than if I planned the entire itinerary on Expedia.

    Something to think about…

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