How to Use Hawaiian Airlines Miles

There are several ways to redeem HawaiianMiles, from flights to hotels, gift cards and more.
Sally French
By Sally French 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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The best way to redeem HawaiianMiles is perhaps, unsurprisingly, on a flight to Hawaii. But flights to the Aloha State aren't the only way to redeem Hawaiian Airlines miles.

If you've earned more HawaiianMiles than you know what to do with — or perhaps you've just accumulated miles but don't actually intend to fly to Hawaii anytime soon — there are other ways you can spend your Hawaiian Airlines miles that don't involve flying to Hawaii.

Whether you want to use miles to secure a first class Hawaiian upgrade, you want a free economy seat, you'd rather put them toward a hotel room and a rental car, or you just want to spend them on stuff, you have options.

Here are all the ways you can redeem your HawaiianMiles, sorted from best to worst redemptions.

1. Fly Hawaiian Airlines

The best, most straightforward way to redeem your HawaiianMiles is to use them to pay for Hawaiian Airlines flights. There are no blackout dates for HawaiianMiles, and you can use them to buy or upgrade to any seat on the plane.

Hawaiian offers an award chart to show you exactly how many miles you need for flights. But what can be annoying about Hawaiian’s award chart is that award amounts are broken down into various fare categories where it changes the number of miles needed for a particular route based on supply and demand. If you’re flying on a slow day — that’s good — as you’ll also be rewarded with a lower point requirement. But it also means that you likely won’t score a killer deal by using points to book on a busy travel day.

You’ll see Main Cabin 1, Main Cabin 2, etc. — and sometimes up to Main Cabin 8. It’s most likely that a flight on a random Tuesday during the slow season would be priced at a Cabin 1 rate, while a flight on the Friday ahead of a long weekend would be priced at a Cabin 7 or 8 rate.

It can be tough to know whether the day you fly is a Cabin 1 day vs. Cabin 8 day until you navigate to that particular flight, so plan to do some comparison shopping if you really want a deal.

Here’s the starting price for points fares on one-way Hawaiian Airlines flights:

Starting miles cost for main cabin fares

Starting miles cost for first class fares

Neighbor island flights

7,500.

15,000.

Hawaii to/from North America: West Coast

20,000.

40,000.

Hawaii to/from North America: Central

25,000.

40,000.

Hawaii to/from North America: East Coast

30,000.

40,000.

Hawaii to/from Pago Pago and Papeete

27,500.

47,500.

Hawaii to/from Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand

40,000.

65,000.

Flights within Hawaii start at 7,500 miles each way, which are worth about $75 based on NerdWallet’s valuation of a Hawaiian mile at 1 cent each. First Class fares from the mainland start at 40,000 miles each way, worth about $400.

A round-trip, economy class ticket from the East Coast to Hawaii starts at 60,000 miles. The welcome bonus for the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® can cover this trip: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Of course, understand that your flight may require more miles if you fly on a busier day.

Flying Hawaiian with elite status

If you need an incentive to try to earn Hawaiian Airlines Pualani elite status, this might be it: Pualani Platinum, Pualani Gold and Premier Club Members can access discounted Main Cabin flight awards on Hawaiian Airlines.

Exact discounts vary by flight, but they’re typically in the 15% range. So, a Main Cabin 2 fare that might normally cost 10,000 miles would cost elite status holders 8,500 miles.

Beyond discounts for booking on miles, elite status members get benefits like free checked bags on Hawaiian Airlines-operated flights, priority security lines, airport lounge access and more.

Flying Hawaiian as a Hawaiian credit card holder

Last note on using miles while flying with Hawaiian: The airline also offers exclusive discounts when redeeming miles to those with a Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®.

The discounted points rate is the same as the discount offered to elite status holders (typically around 15%).

2. Fly a Hawaiian partner airline

HawaiianMiles can also be redeemed for flights with Hawaiian's partner airlines, including Japan Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. Hawaiian Airlines also provides an award chart for their partner airlines that you can consult while planning your trip.

For example, you can cash in 90,000 HawaiianMiles for a round-trip economy class ticket on Japan Airlines between the U.S. and Japan (worth about $900). Or spend 125,000 miles (worth about ($1,250) for an Upper Class ticket on Virgin Atlantic between the U.K. and the East Coast.

To use your HawaiianMiles on partner airlines, you’ll have to call the Hawaiian Airlines service center. There are a few other annoying caveats when booking partner flights with Hawaiian miles, including that miles can be redeemed only for round-trip tickets. They also cannot be used on partner codeshare flights.

And, you’ll still be on the hook for paying taxes and fees in cash, which are $5.60 for domestic flights, but can be far higher for international flights.

3. Book a hotel

If you don’t see yourself flying on Hawaiian Airlines anytime soon and don’t want to book with any of Hawaiian’s partner airlines, your next best option is to use them to book hotel stays. The HawaiianMiles Hotel Awards platform lets you redeem HawaiianMiles for room reservations at more than 300,000 hotels, resorts, and independent boutiques. And no worries if you’re not in Hawaii — most of those hotels are spread all around the world, so you’re likely to redeem miles on a hotel stay no matter where in the world you’re traveling to.

Rates are just OK when redeeming for points. You could use 68,600 miles to book a Friday night stay in May 2023 at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The same room would cost $417 including taxes and fees when paid for in cash and booked directly through the MGM Resorts site. NerdWallet values 68,600 Hawaiian miles at about $686, so your points lose nearly 40% of their value by choosing this redemption versus paying in cash.

But if you won’t otherwise book a Hawaiian flight with miles, then losing 40% of their value is better than losing 100% of their value had you let your points sit idle and collect virtual dust.

If you don’t have enough miles to cover the full cost of your room, that’s OK. Hawaiian Airlines also allows you to combine cash and miles when paying for your hotel, so even if you can’t get your entire stay with miles, you can at least use them for a discount. Rates start at 1,000 miles and cash.

Reservations must be paid for at the time of booking, and cancellation policies vary by hotel, so read the fine print before booking a hotel on points — as only some hotels will give you your points back.

Booking stays at Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

The Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort. Photo courtesy of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Hawaiian Airlines has a partnership with Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, a Honolulu-based luxury hotel chain that has properties in Hawaii, the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean.

With it, you can convert your miles to a reservation credit, which can be applied to an existing reservation as an advance deposit.

Ten thousand Hawaiian miles can be converted to a $50 reservation credit. NerdWallet normally values 10,000 miles as worth $100 when redeemed for flights, so your miles lose about half their value if you choose this option.

4. Exchange miles for rental car gift certificates

You can use your miles to purchase gift certificates for either Avis or Budget.

A $50 gift certificate will cost you 10,000 miles, which — like the Outrigger redemption — cuts the value of your miles in half versus if you had redeemed them for flights.

But if this is the year you ditch flying for road trips, then the mediocre conversion rate might be a worthwhile way to redeem Hawaiian Airlines miles.

5. Order gift cards

Hawaiian Airlines has partnerships with a few other grocery, dining and fuel companies where you can exchange miles for gift cards. Gift cards typically take four to six weeks to arrive, so plan ahead if you need your gift card by a certain date.

Partners sometimes vary, but they tend to include Hawaii-based supermarket Foodland, 76 Gas, Hele Gas and The Alley Restaurant at Aiea Bowl, a restaurant on Oahu.

With every retail partner, 5,000 miles can be exchanged for a $25 gift card. Again, this basically cuts your mileage value in half relative to their value when used to pay for flights.

But you need to buy groceries, and you probably don’t need to fly. So if your budget is tight but you have miles to your name, this conversion can sometimes make sense.

6. Give your HawaiianMiles to someone else

Hawaiian Airlines makes it relatively easy to transfer your HawaiianMiles to another person’s HawaiianMiles account — but it’s not always cheap.

If you have a Hawaiian Airlines credit card

The process of transferring miles is easy and free if you hold certain Hawaiian-branded credit cards, including the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®.

There is no minimum or maximum number of miles you can transfer at one time — though you’re capped at receiving 10 transactions in a calendar year. As long as you hold a Hawaiian credit card and your buddy does too, this exchange comes at no cost to either of you.

If you don’t have a Hawaiian Airlines credit card

If your buddy doesn’t have a Hawaiian Airlines credit card, then things get real annoying and expensive.

Each transfer will entail a $25 service fee. On top of that, there’s a $0.01 per mile transfer fee. Considering NerdWallet values a mile at just 1 cent, there’s basically no scenario where this transfer makes sense.

Oh, and there’s a minimum requirement of 2,000 Hawaiian Miles transferred at one time.

7. Donate HawaiianMiles to charity

Hawaiian has a few partner charities including the American Red Cross of Hawaii, The Coral Reef Alliance, the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project and Special Olympics Hawaii, to which you can send your miles.

What’s more, Hawaiian Airlines will match up to a half-million miles to each participating charity at the end of the year.

You can see the full list of Hawaiian partner charities and make a miles donation here.

The bottom line

The best value for your HawaiianMiles is almost always by booking flights on Hawaiian Airlines. And when you do book award flights on Hawaiian, there are some advanced tricks to maximize your redemptions.

But if you’re not flying anytime soon, then using miles for hotels, rental cars and gift cards can sometimes make sense. And if you’re not going to use them, period, then donating or gifting them to someone else might be your very best bet in sharing the Aloha.


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