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WebFlyer Home > News & Advice > Ask Randy

Ask Randy

Dear Abby and Dr. Ruth can solve some of your problems, but they say all miles lead to Randy Petersen. Got a problem? Let him try and solve it, but please remember, lots of people have problems and just like at the deli counter, you might have to take a number. Have a question? Here's your chance to Ask Randy.

Here's what you asked and here's what the guru said:

Dear Randy,

How do I transfer miles from Hawaiian Airlines (transferred there through American Express Membership Rewards) to any other hotel or airline after our plans fell through?

- Rich Fried

Randy replies:

This a fairly common event and typically when it happens there are minimal problems ... except when the redemption is based upon a conversion from another loyalty program, in this case American Express Membership Rewards. (Here's an idea American Express: Might you consider, like other loyalty programs, charging a fee to "redeposit" an award when plans fall through? Why not negotiate with your partners for this option for the sake of customer service?)

So, what are your choices now? Not many. As for hotels and airlines, your only hotel choice with HawaiianMiles is Outrigger Hotels and that's not likely handy if you are based on the mainland. For airlines, your choices are actually pretty good as HawaiianMiles allows redemption with American Airlines, JetBlue and Virgin America as well with several international airline partners. From these three choices domestically, if you can't get there with them, it likely is not worth flying to. And the redemption value is medium. Not great, but not overly terrible. You can find booking information with these partners on the Hawaiian Airlines website.

There are two other easy choices, one not so great, the other pretty great. Let's look at the not so great first. HawaiianMiles is a partner with Points.com and while there is no direct ability to exchange your HawaiianMiles for other hotel or airline currencies, they do offer a peer-to-peer exchange that allows you to trade with other members. The other member sets what his "price" will be to exchange loyalty currency. Currently, there is but a single "trade" available and that is to trade 10,000 HawaiianMiles for 5,000 AAdvantage miles. That is a terrible trade not only looking at the math, but because you can use HawaiianMiles directly for an award flight with American Airlines without any conversion (30,000 HawaiianMiles miles for an AA flight). Whereas with this "trade" on Points.com, you would have to redeem 50,000 HawaiianMiles miles for roughly the same. In this example, the blame is not on Points.com, rather it is on the other member willing to offer up his AAdvantage miles for such low value. My guess is that trades of this nature do take place because members don't always have the time, and certainly not the knowledge, to know what the reasonable value should be and what their other options are.

As I mentioned, there is a second option--it involves hotels--and is a pretty great option for you. You can convert your HawaiianMiles into points in the Hilton HHonors program, which would give you access to over 4,100 Hilton-associated properties in 92 countries. For this conversion, a HawaiianMiles mile is worth 1.5 Hilton HHonors points. An example is 10,000 HawaiianMiles miles equals 15,000 HHonors points (equal to a free room night or almost a free room night in the budget class hotels of the Hilton brand), 20,000 HawaiianMiles miles equals 30,000 HHonors points (equal to a free room night at a respectable Hilton property ... though not the Waldorf Astoria).

There are other far-flung options available to you, but by the time I explained them all to you, you would be back to wishing you'd never planned that trip to Hawaii in the first place.
I hope this helps and I hope that American Express is reading this and works on the "redeposit" idea, even if there is a fee.

Keep watching . . . questions updated monthly!


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