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Through June 23, 2014 American Express is offering a 20% bonus when you transfer your Membership Rewards points to Hawaiian airlines. Points usually transfer instantly and they ran a similar promotion last June as well.
Hawaiian miles can be very valuable, if you know how to use them. They aren’t in an alliance, but they’ve got a nice little assortment of partners: American, ANA, Korean Air, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
Using Hawaiian miles is a great way to fly Virgin Atlantic without incurring the huge fees that come along when you redeem using Virgin Atlantic’s own Flying Club account. Delta is also a good option for Virgin Atlantic redemptions without huge fees, but Delta does not allow one-way awards and they recently jacked up the amount of miles needed for tran-Atlantic flights for all travel after June 1, 2014.
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 1.5-2.3 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.
If you don’t have Amex points or if you want to boost your HawaiianMiles balance quickly, they just re-launched their credit card with BarclayCard and are offering 35,000 miles after $1,000 spent within 90 days. The card also comes with a bunch of solid perks, like award discounts and company tickets. Read the full review here.
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.