Hawaiian Airlines offers a really frustrating frequent flyer program.
Their airline partner redemptions can be really expensive (e.g. Korean Airlines business class between the U.S. and Korea runs 200,000 miles roundtrip — and doesn’t allow connections to other destinations in Asia). They are restrictive — you cannot combine partners on an award ticket, you cannot have a stopover on an award ticket, and you cannot even book an ‘open jaw’ flying into one city and back from another.
Talking to Hawaiian Airlines agents can be a frustrating experience. They’re on par with Delta agents, they simply don’t know the ins and outs of their program. One must frequently hang up, call back to get what you’re after.
And their call center hours are even quite limited, on the East Coast of the U.S. I have to wait until 2pm to begin speaking to them. One finds oneself on the phone to do most things, as their web functionality is quite limited as well.
This is what their terms and conditions have to say about the taxes and fees charged on award tickets.
HawaiianMiles flight awards are subject to applicable departure taxes, federal inspection fees, passenger facility charges and/or other taxes, fees and charges assessed by appropriate authorities. All taxes and fees are the responsibility of the member and must be paid at the time of redemption.
They add government fees, not airline add-on fees.
Here’s the award chart for Virgin Atlantic redemptions:
Hawaiian offers redemptions in premium economy even, which few programs do on partner airlines. Virgin’s business class often has excellent availability, depending on the particular route. The award chart is competitive with most others for US – London and for US-Asia and US-Africa in business. Meanwhile you can save $750 – $1500 per person in cash by redeeming through HawaiianMiles without fuel surcharges.
Virgin has an excellent business class product, true lie flat seats, and really nice lounges in San Francisco, New York, London, and Hong Kong for instance.
You can transfer points from hotel programs like Starwood to Hawaiian Airlines, from American Express Membership Rewards as well, and you can also earn these points via Amazon purchases (it’s the only mileage program that offers Amazon points-earning).
You’ll be frustrated in almost any call to Hawaiian, but many will find that frustration worth it to book Los Angeles – London – Nairobi for 140,000 miles roundtrip in business class without fuel surcharges.
To find these awards, you’ll want to sign up for a Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer account and search their website for award availability. Note the specific flights that are available as awards on Virgin’s site. Then call Hawaiian to request those flights. Don’t get too frustrated or give up when a Hawaiian agent tells you the space isn’t available, most likely the agent doesn’t know how to search Virgin award space properly, you’ll need to hang up, call back. Many times perhaps. But eventually you should prevail.