Redeeming American Miles On Hawaiian Will Get More Restrictive

Filed Under: American, Awards

One of the great things about American is that they don’t just partner with oneworld airlines, but they have partnerships with almost a dozen non-oneworld airlines as well, ranging from Alaska to Air Tahiti Nui to Etihad. That presents some great earning and redemption opportunities, given that many of these airlines are quite generous about making award space available.


American has a partnership with Hawaiian, whereby you can both earn and redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on Hawaiian. They’re quite good about releasing award space on their continental US to Hawaii flights, especially to secondary markets.



They have an interesting route network, as they fly to the US mainland, inter-island, and also to quite a few non-US destinations in the Pacific. They operate most of their longer routes with Airbus A330s or Boeing 767s, all of which feature recliner seats in first class. They’re more comfortable than standard domestic first class seats, while they’re less comfortable than modern day international business class seats.


Anyway, unfortunately it looks like American AAdvantage will be changing the scope of their partnership with Hawaiian, for bookings made as of September 1, 2015. Per the American AAdvantage Hawaiian Airlines page:

*Effective September 1, 2015, AAdvantage members will no longer be able to book awards between Hawaii and the continental U.S. on Hawaiian Airlines

So starting in a little over two months you won’t be able to redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on Hawaiian Airlines between the continental US and Hawaii. However, you’ll continue to be able to redeem American miles for inter-island flights, as well as for flights between Hawaii and their other non-US destinations.

Earnings rates for travel on Hawaiian seem to be unaffected.

Bottom line

This is of course a negative change, all things considered. Though at the same time I can’t say I’ve ever redeemed miles to Hawaii, as I find paid fares to typically be reasonable. That being said, I know many liked redeeming American miles between the continental US and Hawaii, and Hawaiian does have a better premium cabin product than what most other US carriers offer to Hawaii. I’d be curious to learn what prompted this change.

Have you ever redeemed American AAdvantage miles for travel on Hawaiian? Will you be impacted by these changes?

  1. I’ve flown JFK-HNL on their A330. I flew economy to HNL and in first on the way back. That seat in first is miserable. It barely reclines, and I definitely wouldn’t call it a recliner seat. (Unless you mean a seat the reclines, in which case, virtually all airplane seats are recliner seats.) It doesn’t get close to comfortable for sleeping on a 10 hour redeye.

  2. I try to avoid Hawaiian so won’t be bothered. In fact, Id be glad not to see fake SYD to USA award availability created by the Hawaiian presence.

  3. I only flew Hawaiian twice in my life as part of Delta tickets to Hawaii that included an inter-island leg with Hawaiian. After these two flights I would prefer to swim between the two islands than fly Hawaiian again. They have the worst customer service I ever experienced in any airline in the world. And I flew over 4 million miles in several big and small airlines all over the place. I really don’t know how to describe their ground personnel attitude. I don’t know if they are jealous you are on vacation and they are working, if they are mad you are leaving their island, …….. as I said I don’t have an answer to understand why they treat passengers like trash. I’ve been to Hawaii with family in 2014 and 2015 and we had an amazing time and could not have been treated better by the people there but when it comes to the airport and dealing with Hawaiian employees it could not be worse. I will avoid flying them as much as I can.

  4. On the other hand, I had a decent experience on HA F PDX-HNL-SYD. The seat, while a recliner, was definitely more comfortable than domestic F. Same for food and service. Good for peak dates when nothing else is available. This is terrible news.

  5. Well then…the hoi polloi have spoken, this is a non-issue. Besides, AA or AS booked with Avios was always a better deal.

  6. First class upgrades on alaska airlines are almost always available, and that LIH to SAN flight I took was actually my favorite domestic first class experience ever.

  7. It’s a big disappointment in my opinion as it was a reliable way to get award tickets to the Hawaiian islands cheaply. I noticed several times that AA had better award availability on Hawaiian Airlines than Hawaiian Airlines did itself. I would check on the HA website and see an itinerary one-way for 25k HA miles in economy and then look on the AA website and see the same itinerary for 22.5K or even 17.5K miles. In fact I just checked PHX-HNL for August 29th and found the HA website has it at 25K miles and the AA website has it at 17.5K miles.

  8. I view this as a positive change. And someone upthread mentioned the best outcome of this already. That is that we won’t be seeing false LAX-SYD results. HNL fares are fair in general, and I’ve never even thought about redeeming miles to Hawaii.

  9. Not sure what’s up with all the anti-HA comments here, but I flew SYD-HNL-SEA on my return leg from down under and found it to be quite pleasant. A330 the whole way. Meal was tiny (especially on the domestic leg) but at least we got a free one – rare these days for domestic.

    The only real challenge was figuring out where to go in HNL to recheck and get on my domestic flight.

    Wouldn’t personally hesitate to get back on a HA flight- redemption costs look like 35k RT right now on Y saver, minus 10% aviator discount.

  10. I don’t get the hate for redeeming AAdvantage miles to go to Hawaii. Next January wifey and I will be going during Off-Peak in Y (I know the horror), for 35000 RT – 10% due to Aviator = 31500 miles each. We open jawed to HNL and from OGG. These are approximately ~$950 flights a piece, didn’t know that ~$0.03/mile is bad in Y.

  11. @Neil S. was that the old or the new first class seat? I’ve found that there was a substantial difference between the two.

  12. Ben, how will this impact awards US to AKL? Will they still price as a single award, or will two awards be required (one to HNL on AA OR AS, 2nd to AKL on Hawaiian?)

  13. @Santastico Most of the people inside of HNL were actually pretty nice to me, especially the Chinese duty-free shop clerks. I flew united the whole way YVR-SFO-LAX-YVR and the service was indifferent.

  14. Lucky, this appears to be much worse than previously described. Currently, AA is not allowing bookings from mainland US to an international destination combining another airline with Hawaiian. For example, on March 28, 2016, there is availability AS SJC-HNL as a business (first) class award, and there is availability Hawaiian HNL-AKL as a business class award, but you cannot book SJC-AKL as a single business class award (you could book this prior to September 1). Not sure whether this is a glitch, or reflects American’s new policy.

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