10 Ways to Earn Hawaiian Airlines Miles

Holding Pualani elite status and flying the airline is the fastest way to earn HawaiianMiles.
Elina Geller
Alex Cramer
By Alex Cramer and  Elina Geller 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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Sipping a mai tai on a white sand beach while watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean might be the perfect fantasy. Yet for too many travelers, a luxurious Hawaiian vacation is tough to reach financially and remains merely a fantasy. But it doesn't have to be — if you can strategically take advantage of the Hawaiian Airlines rewards program.

Use these tricks to earn HawaiianMiles in the the Hawaiian Airlines rewards program, and the beach vacation of your dreams may be closer to think.

There are many ways to earn Hawaiian miles, ranging from flying the airline to spending on the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, shopping with partners and more.

1. Fly on Hawaiian Airlines

Consider this the most straightforward way to earn Hawaiian miles: actually fly on Hawaiian Airlines. When you do, you'll earn 1 mile for every mile flown, making this an especially valuable strategy for passengers coming from East Coast or international locations who've managed to find a discount airfare.

In addition to the miles, you can earn 3x points by charging your airfare to the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®.

How to earn Hawaiian miles on flights

To earn Hawaiian miles, make sure that you register for a HawaiianMiles frequent flyer account and input your Hawaiian number on all your reservations.

The earn rate on Hawaiian flights is pretty straightforward. For tickets in coach, the number of miles earned corresponds to the number of miles flown. For first and business class, the earn rate is 50% higher than in coach.

Here's how many miles you'll fly between common routes:

So, a flight between Las Vegas and Honolulu in coach would earn you about $28 worth of miles each way, or $42 worth if you fly first class. Fly the 5,060 miles in coach between Sydney and Honolulu to earn $50 worth of miles each way (or $76 if you sit in first class).

2. Do one better: Hold elite status while flying on Hawaiian Airlines

If you have Pualani elite status, you'll earn even more miles when you fly. Pualani Platinum elites receive a 100% mile bonus, and Pualani Gold elites receive a 50% mile bonus on top of the miles earned.

Although all intra-Hawaiian flights are under 300 miles, all Hawaiian elite status members (Pualani Platinum, Pualani Gold and Premier Club), earn a minimum of 500 miles.

To illustrate the earn rate, consider a round-trip flight from San Francisco to Honolulu:

As you can see, the miles earned increases considerably if you have elite status with Hawaiian airlines.

3. Spend on Hawaiian Airlines credit cards

Earn via welcome bonuses

The fastest and easiest way to earn Hawaiian miles is to sign up for one of the two Hawaiian Airlines credit cards and earn the welcome offer, which has fluctuated between 50,000 to 70,000 miles. Currently, there are two credit cards available, one personal and one business card. Barclays is the issuer on both credit cards.

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® (annual fee: $99): Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® (annual fee: $99): Earn Earn 60,000 after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, and earn an additional 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card.

Earn via credit card spending

Both Hawaiian cards offer 3 HawaiianMiles per $1 spent on eligible purchases made directly from Hawaiian Airlines. Though, Duty free purchases on flights do not count.

Outside of your travels, both cards earn 2 miles per $1 spent on gas and dining. The consumer version also earns 2x miles on grocery store purchases, while the business version instead offers 2x miles at office supply stores. Both earn 1x miles on all other purchases.

On top of that, Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® does offer one important way to earn miles that the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® does not: In addition to the miles you earn from your regular spending, Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® will give you an additional 20,000 miles if you spend at least $50,000 annually. You’ll earn 40,000 miles if you spend $100,000 annually.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Since Hawaiian Airlines is a transfer partner of American Express and Marriott Bonvoy, you can technically earn Hawaiian miles by spending on either brand's cards, too.

Which Hawaiian credit card is better?

The best credit card for you really comes down to your spending. If you have a lot of business purchases, Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® is the logical choice for maximizing the office supply store bonus category. However, if groceries make up a larger portion of your credit card spend, then the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® makes the most sense.

4. Transfer points from American Express credit cards

Hawaiian Airlines is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, which means that you could transfer AmEx points that you’ve earned over to Hawaiian, as long as you hold a card that earns AmEx points.

Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so 1,000 Amex points equals 1,000 Hawaiian miles. Considering NerdWallet values one Hawaiian mile at 1.2 cents, this is a fine redemption if you'd otherwise get the same value from your AmEx points (and AmEx points are worth just about that when booked through the issuer's portal.

When you're ready to transfer Membership Rewards to Hawaiian, the process is pretty painless.

How to transfer from AmEx Membership Rewards to Hawaiian

Log in to your AmEx account and select “Rewards” from the menu across the top of the page.

Then, choose the “Transfer Points” option from the menu in the middle of the page, and then “View all” to see a list of all partners.

From the choices provided, select Hawaiian Airlines. If this is your first time doing a transfer, you will need to link your Hawaiian Airlines account to your American Express account. Have your AmEx credit card handy as you will need to input the four-digit code from the front of the card along with the three-digit code from the back of the card to verify your identity.

Once the accounts are linked, you can proceed with a transfer.

🤓Nerdy Tip

AmEx points transfer to Hawaiian in increments of 1,000.

One more thing: Beyond being just a mediocre redemption, know that AmEx points are extremely valuable given their flexibility, so you would only want to transfer points when you have a Hawaiian Airlines redemption in mind and you’ve confirmed award availability.

5. Fly with Hawaiian's partner airlines

Hawaiian Airlines alliance partners do not exist. That said, although Hawaiian is not part of any alliance network, it has independent relationships with six airlines.

So, who is Hawaiian Airlines partners with?

  • China Airlines.

  • Japan Airlines.

  • JetBlue.

  • Korean Air.

  • Virgin Atlantic.

  • Virgin Australia.

The earn rate with each partner depends on the airline and cabin class flown. For more information, refer to Hawaiian’s partner chart.

6. Transfer hotel points

Transfer Marriott points to Hawaiian Airlines

Although many hotel programs allow you to convert hotel points to airline miles, the conversion ratios are usually weak. In most situations, you’d be better off keeping hotel points in your account and using them for a future stay.

However, the transfer ratio from Marriott Bonvoy is unique.

Marriott Bonvoy points convert to Hawaiian Airlines miles at a 3:1 ratio. But for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred, you get a 5,000-mile bonus. So if you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to Hawaiian Airlines, you will have 25,000 Hawaiian miles.

Because NerdWallet values 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as worth less than it values 25,000 Hawaiian miles, this isn't a stellar conversion. But if you have more Bonvoy points than you know what to do with, and you want a free flight to Hawaii, then the value lost in the conversion may still be worth it.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Use American Express to maximize the conversion rate. Marriott is also a transfer partner of AmEx Membership Rewards, which often runs transfer bonuses like "30% more when you transfer AmEx points to Bonvoy points." If you have a Hawaiian redemption in mind and the timing aligns with a transfer bonus from AmEx to Marriott, you could end up walking away with significantly more Hawaiian miles after completing a three-way transfer (AmEx → Marriott → Hawaiian).

Transfer Wyndham points to Hawaiian Airlines

If you have some Wyndham hotel points laying around, you can convert them to Hawaiian miles at the following ratios:

Wyndham points

Hawaiian Miles

6,000 points.

1,200 miles.

16,000 points.

3,200 miles.

30,000 points.

6,000 miles.

Again, this is not a great redemption if you value your Wyndham points, as NerdWallet values 6,000 Wyndham points as worth more in dollars than 1,200 Hawaiian miles. That said, converting points could make sense for if you've accumulated some Wyndham points that you don’t have an immediate use for.

7. Stay at Hawaiian's partner hotels

At many hotels, you can earn Hawaiian miles instead of hotel points when staying. Usually, you’re not able to earn both hotel points and airline miles with these partners, so you will need to make a choice.

Earning rates vary by hotel, so check Hawaiian’s partner page for the latest information. Also check the special offers page, as you may find an even better limited time deal.

Current Hawaiian Airlines hotel partners include:

  • Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.

  • Marriott Bonvoy.

  • Park Shore Waikiki.

8. Book car rentals with partners

Hawaiian has partnerships with three car rental agencies, allowing you to earn Hawaiian miles for car rentals. Participating companies include Avis, Budget and Payless.

Exact earn rates vary, but you can expect to earn 250 HawaiianMiles per rental — unless you have Hawaiian elite status. Pualani Gold members earn 500 HawaiianMiles per rental, while Pualani Platinum members earn up to 750 HawaiianMiles per rental.

9. Earn miles by shopping

Find physical retailers near you in the HawaiianMiles Marketplace

Hawaiian allows you to earn miles when shopping and dining at its selection of merchants nationwide. Simply input the zip code and the HawaiianMiles Marketplace will display a list of eligible merchants, including hotels, dining establishments, clothing shops and more.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The HawaiianMiles Marketplace also has a mobile app that makes it even easier to find merchants near you.

Browse online retailers in its Partner Directory

Hawaiian Airlines has partnerships with dozens of online retailers that can earn you extra miles from your shopping. Refer to its extensive Partner Directory to learn of new ways to earn bonus miles while you shop.

Shop locally in Hawaii

Another feature of the airline's online marketplace is the ability to filter in-person shopping options by island. This means that you can spend strategically even when you're on vacation in Hawaii.

See all of the retailers here.

10. Buy Hawaiian miles

Currently, you can only buy miles over the phone and not online.

Generally speaking, buying miles should be a last resort for adding to your stash. Why? They're expensive. Let's say it costs $300 to purchase 10,000 Hawaiian miles; that means you're paying about 3 cents a piece per mile, which is about three times the NerdWallet valuation of 1.2 cents.

With Hawaiian, it only makes sense to purchase more miles if you need to top off your account to book an award seat — but you'll want to consider all the other points-earning options first.

Frequently asked questions

The fastest way to earn HawaiianMiles is to fly the airline while holding Pualani Gold or Platinum status. To get a big one-time bump of miles, consider applying for one of the Hawaiian Airlines credit cards.

Yes, Delta SkyMiles members can earn miles when they fly Hawaiian Airlines' eligible flights. To earn partner miles on flight tickets booked with Hawaiian, travelers must provide their SkyMiles frequent flyer number prior to travel.

In Hawaiian's economy class, the number of HawaiianMiles earned equals the number of physical miles flown. For first and business class, the earn rate is 50% higher than in coach. Further, Pualani Platinum elites receive an additional 100% mile bonus and Pualani Gold elites receive a 50% mile bonus.

The bottom line

If soaking up the sun on the beaches or shredding gnarly waves in Hawaii has always been on your vacation bucket list, then you should take advantage of all your options for earning in the HawaiianMiles program.

Whether you apply for a Hawaiian Airlines credit card, transfer from other cards or programs, or turn your hotel stays into miles, savvy rewards collectors have dozens of different choices for racking up HawaiianMiles.

All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet.
All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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