The Guide to Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

Sally French
Sam Kemmis
Claire Tsosie
By Claire Tsosie,  Sam Kemmis and  Sally French 
Edited by Meg Lee
mom and child flying to hawaii on hawaiian airlines

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For many living in the 50th state, Hawaiian Airlines is an excellent and practical choice: With hubs in Honolulu and Maui, it’s one of just two airlines that offer inter-island flights in Hawaii. It also offers top-notch amenities, such as spacious lie-flat seats in first class and complimentary meals for all passengers on long flights.

If you fly frequently on Hawaiian Airlines, participating in its loyalty program, HawaiianMiles, is a no-brainer. You'll rack up miles each time you fly, which can help you cover free flights in the future. Here's how it works.

HawaiianMiles login

Before you can start earning miles with Hawaiian, you’ll need to sign up for a HawaiianMiles frequent flyer account. It’s free to join, and you can register here.

Hawaiian Airlines vs. competitors

Hawaiian came in second place out of nine airlines in both the best overall airline in NerdWallet’s most recent analysis of the best airlines.

In a separate analysis of the best airline loyalty program, Hawaiian’s HawaiianMiles took second place again.

Here's a closer look at how Hawaiian competed across subcategories:

How to earn HawaiianMiles

Unlike most major U.S. airlines, Hawaiian awards miles based on how far you fly, not how much you spend on tickets. Its frequent-flyer miles, in other words, really are miles. That makes the process of earning miles a lot simpler. HawaiianMiles do not expire, so you don’t have to worry about keeping your account active.

Here are all the best ways to earn HawaiianMiles:

Earning HawaiianMiles when you fly

Hawaiian Airlines’ distance-based rewards system is fairly straightforward: When you fly 1 mile, you earn 1 mile. You can also get a 50% bonus on your miles if you fly business or first class. And if you have elite status (see below), you could earn additional bonuses.

One downfall: you don't earn HawaiianMiles for Hawaiian Airlines Main Cabin Basic fares, which is the airlines' version of basic economy.

Earning HawaiianMiles with a credit card

The easiest way to rack up HawaiianMiles quickly is to sign up for Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, the airline’s consumer credit card. It comes with a good welcome bonus that's enough to cover certain round-trip flights.

The card also comes with other solid benefits:

  • 3 HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines purchases.

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases.

  • 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • One-time 50% off companion discount.

  • A $100 discount for a companion’s ticket each year.

  • Two free checked backs.

The card's annual fee is $99.

Buying additional miles and status

Hawaiian Airlines sells miles for about 3 cents each — a relatively high price. We generally recommend avoiding purchasing Hawaiian miles directly.

However, if you need just a handful of miles to purchase a valuable award ticket, it could be worth it. These standard purchased miles don’t count toward elite status, but you can pay to qualify for elite status separately if you want.

Buying up to elite status is less costly if you’re already close to qualifying, and more expensive if you’re not. If the value you’d get out of elite benefits outweigh the cost of leveling up, paying for this status could be a decent option.

How to redeem HawaiianMiles

When you earn enough miles, you can redeem them for flights on Hawaiian Airlines, which is typically the best way to flex your points for maximum value.

You can also redeem miles on partner airlines or with partner hotels. There are also non-travel ways to redeem HawaiianMiles, such as purchasing gift cards or donating them to charity, though those redemptions typically don't offer maximal value. Here are all the ways to redeem HawaiianMiles:

The best redemption option: Booking flights on Hawaiian Airlines

The most straightforward (and high-value) way to spend HawaiianMiles is on Hawaiian Airlines itself.

Here are the different award seat fares the airline offers, from least to most expensive:

  • Coach SuperSaver.

  • Coach Saver.

  • Coach Flex.

  • First/Business Saver.

  • First/Business Flex.

The Saver and Flex fares for each class offer identical benefits. The only difference is the cost. When demand for a certain flight is high, you may have to pay the Flex fare, which is more expensive.

Depending on the cost of a cash ticket, this may not end up being a good use of miles, so always compare before you book. You can also purchase upgrades to Hawaiian Airlines first class and Hawaiian Airlines business class with miles, if you choose.

If you're planning to use points to book an Extra Comfort seat, which is effectively Hawaiian Airlines’ premium economy class, you must pay for it in points upfront. Unlike many other airlines, Hawaiian does not allow you to use miles to pay for the upgrade on an airfare you already hold in standard economy.

If you carry the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, you qualify for discounts on flight awards through the airline. You’ll have to log on to your account — the one linked to your card — to see these fares.

Another great redemption: Transferring miles to Hawaiian partners

You'll get the most value for your HawaiianMiles by redeeming them for first or business-class tickets on Hawaiian Airlines partners, like China Airlines or JetBlue.

This isn't the easiest option, to be sure. Unlike with other airlines, you need to make reservations by phone when booking partner award travel through Hawaiian Airlines, which can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Sometimes, it can also be difficult to find available award seats. But if you can manage it, redeeming this way is usually a great method to get an insanely good value out of each mile. You can read more about which award flights are available on Hawaiian Airlines' website. Here are some solid options:

Bad redemption options

When you’re getting less than 1.2 cents per mile of value, take it as a sign: That redemption option just isn’t that good. Here are a couple you should watch out for.

  • Retail gift cards. Hawaiian Airlines has partnerships with a few other grocery, dining and fuel companies where you can exchange miles for gift cards. However, 5,000 miles converts to only a $25 gift card, which basically cuts your mileage value in half relative to their value when used to pay for flights. Only redeem for gift cards if you don't intend to fly.

  • Hotels. The HawaiianMiles Hotel Awards platform lets you redeem HawaiianMiles for room reservations at more than 300,000 hotels, resorts, and independent boutiques. But a NerdWallet analysis of hotel redemptions found that miles tend to lose 40% of their value when used to book hotels versus flights. Thumbs down.

What are my HawaiianMiles worth?

So you have a bunch of HawaiianMiles. What are they actually worth? Based on our research, HawaiianMiles are worth 1.2 cents each.

Use this calculator to quickly convert HawaiianMiles to dollars:

How has the value of HawaiianMiles changed over time?

HawaiianMiles have held a remarkably steady value over time while other programs have fluctuated significantly.

HawaiianMiles Pualani Elite

When you fly frequently with Hawaiian Airlines, you can qualify for more benefits and bonuses through its Pualani elite status program. The airline offers two tiers of elite status:

  • Pualani Gold.

  • Pualani Platinum.

Elite status becomes active about 48 hours after the miles that qualify you for it post to your account. That status lasts for the remainder of the calendar year and the full calendar year following that. So, if you earn status in September of 2024, your status will remain valid for the rest of 2024 and the entirety of 2025.

Because some Pualani membership benefits are Hawaii-specific, this status is most valuable to people living in Hawaii. For example, the status comes with access to Premier Club lounges in Hawaii as well as simpler access to flights to neighboring islands, both of which are benefits that are easier to make use of when you're based in the state of Hawaii.

Pualani Elite benefits

Each tier of elite membership qualifies for different levels of benefits. Here are just some of the goodies included, but you can see the full list on the Hawaiian Airlines website here.

Pualani Platinum

Pualani Gold

Number of free checked bags for member



Frequent flyer mile bonus



Priority security lines in select airports



Priority boarding

Zone 1.

Zone 2.

Complimentary upgrades



Premier Club Access in Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului and Lihue



Earn 500 HawaiianMiles on any Neighbor Island flight



How to earn Hawaiian Airlines elite status

You can attain Pualani status by earning "elite-qualifying miles" or flying a certain number of segments in a calendar year, or by paying to uplevel your status.

Elite-qualifying miles include:

  • Miles earned by flying on Hawaiian Airlines.

Elite-qualifying miles do not include:

  • Purchased miles.

  • Miles earned on a co-branded credit card.

  • Bonus miles earned through elite status or fare class bonuses.

Here’s what you need to earn elite status.

Qualification requirements

Pualani Gold

Pualani Platinum

To earn this status, you must EITHER earn this many eligible miles



OR fly this many eligible segments



Hawaiian Airlines mileage partners

Hawaiian Airlines isn’t part of one of the three major airline alliances (Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam), but it has a valuable network of airline transfer partners.

You can earn HawaiianMiles with select airline partners by using your membership ID when flying on these carriers:

  • Japan Airlines.

  • JetBlue.

  • Korean Air (select flights).

  • Virgin Atlantic.

  • Virgin Australia.

Unlike some major airlines, Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t allow you to book award flights with partners online. Instead, you need to call the reservation line and have your membership number ready.

You can book award travel through these partner airlines:

  • China Airlines.

  • Japan Airlines.

  • JetBlue.

  • Korean Air.

  • Virgin Atlantic.

  • Virgin Australia.

The airline keeps partner award travel simple: It offers only round-trip award tickets for these airlines, not one-way, multicity or stopover flights. Except for JetBlue, these airlines also limit the availability of award seats on each flight, so it might be tricky to nab one. But if you can find a flight that’s worthwhile, redeeming for partner travel can be quite valuable.

Credit cards that earn HawaiianMiles

Hawaiian Airlines offers two co-branded cards, one for consumers and one for businesses. Both help you earn miles through the airline's loyalty program.

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 3 HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines purchases

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases

  • 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.

  • Annual fee: $99.

Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®

  • 3 HawaiianMiles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines purchases

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, office supply stores and dining purchases

  • 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.

  • Annual fee: $99.

Frequently asked questions

No, HawaiianMiles no longer expire, as of April 12, 2021. This means you don’t not need to keep your account active in order to keep your miles.

Pualani is the name of the Hawaiian Airlines elite status program. It means “heavenly flower” in Hawaiian.

No, Hawaiian is not part of an existing airline alliance, but it does have several partner airlines.

According to our analysis, Pualani Gold status is worth $610 and Pualani Platinum status is worth $3,800.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

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