Oops: Hawaiian Airlines Accidentally Charged Customers Up To $674,000 For Award Tickets

Filed Under: Hawaiian

Airlines occasionally have mistake fares, and sometimes they work out in our favor. See the New Year’s Eve Cathay Pacific Vietnam mistake fares, for example. 😉

However, this past week Hawaiian Airlines seems to have had a mistake fare that very much didn’t work in peoples’ favor, as reported by Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Airlines is apologizing over a glitch this week, which caused passengers to be charged for their tickets in dollars rather than miles, at the rate of one dollar per mile.

So a 17,500 mile ticket caused a $17,500 credit card charge.

A spokesperson for the company said that a total of 85 customers had been over-billed on their credit cards, ranging from $17,500 to $674,000. OUCH! I’m not sure whether to be more horrified at the $674,000 charge, or the fact that someone redeemed 674,000 miles for an award. Here’s to hoping they were simply saver level tickets for a lot of people. 😉

Hawaiian Airlines A330 first class

It could be that I’m missing something, but what confuses me here is that if someone gets a charge that’s way above their credit limit, wouldn’t it be declined, and therefore wouldn’t even post? So I feel like these might have been attempted charges, but for people without super high credit limits, I feel like these shouldn’t have posted (especially a $674,000 charge, for example). Who knows.

That wasn’t the only mistake Hawaiian Airlines made this week, though, with the other mistake working in customers’ favor (though Hawaiian isn’t honoring the mistake).

On Monday HawaiianMiles customers logged in and found that they could book award tickets for zero miles, having to pay just taxes and fees. So 1,300 tickets were issued for zero miles.

The airline quickly canceled the tickets and refunded the taxes and fees, and is issuing 10,000 miles as compensation to those who booked.

Some people aren’t happy with that solution, though:

“We booked AirBNB, we booked a rental car for my whole family to come out. This is thousands of dollars that I have to try to somehow unwind. Shame on them for not honoring this transaction.”

Hawaiian A330

You win some, you lose some… in this case it sounds like everyone is at least up 10,000 miles, which isn’t too bad.

  1. I’ve had charges of over $100,000 approved on my cards before, it makes sense that some large corporate cards could have charges like this approved without issue.

  2. I thought charge cards have no pre set spending limits.

    Now to this person
    “We booked AirBNB, we booked a rental car for my whole family to come out. This is thousands of dollars that I have to try to somehow unwind. Shame on them for not honoring this transaction.”

    You are smart enough to think a zero mile ticket will be honored right away and book tons of stuff then you deserve to get stuck with your booking. Shame on you not the airline. You win some you lose some, but doing this is pure stupid.

  3. The person is complaining they can’t cancel their rental car? They book an obvious mistake and they also book a pre-paid rental?

  4. To me, it sounds very calculated and intentional just to try it on with claiming compensation and the like!

  5. Hawaiian Airlines’s Android app as well as their booking app to me are way inferior compared to United, Delta, American, Southwest and Alaskan Air software. I wouldn’t be surprised if with the newly added Southwest competition that soon they’ll in big trouble.

  6. Chase told me if they give an auth, usually the $1 kind like Amazon, gas stations, and others do, they’re legally required to accept the charge when the full charge posts because they issued an approval for that specific transaction number. Maybe that’s not the case.

  7. I had over $100,000 charged on my IHG credit card for a two night stay in Las Vegas. My credit limit is 20,000. And It wasn’t just pending. It took 5 days to be credited back but made some very nice IHG points for the inconvenience.

  8. Their (HA) Website is anyhow a joke.

    Looking for connecting flights does not show all connection flights available on other OTA (e.g. OGG-PPT only shows four options very early morning on OGG – HNL leading to 8h layover) Chat support unable to resolve the issue.

    To me this is outdated IT.

  9. The quote at the end is ridiculous… It’s obvious that this is a mistake and an award ticket shouldn’t be free. The greed and then the nerve to whine about it is totally shameless. I guess karma came back to bite them (and their stupidity for prepaying all those things with what was obviously a mistake).

  10. Lol, ZERO miles, and they though this was going to roll? If you want to roll on a ZERO miles gamble and go ahead a book a bunch of non refundable stuff you deserve it. People would have more sympathy if there was an actual cost, but low cost, because it could be a promotion or sale, but ZERO miles? I get massive anxiety just on booking without knowing full change fee/fare costs, dunno how these people buy non refundable stuff on zero miles..

  11. @Max B

    There are limits to how much more the settled charge can be over the authorization and it largely depends on the merchant category.

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