On June 4, 2012, Hawaiian Airlines will launch new daily service between New York and Honolulu.
That’s good news for those in the New York area, who currently have very limited options for non-stop flights to Hawaii.
There’s good news on the pricing front as well. For those ready and willing to book now through November 20, Hawaiian is offering an introductory fare of $212 each way for travel between June 4 and June 30.
But for frequent flyers, the really big news lies behind the headlines: ready availability of award seats on what will undoubtedly become, in time, a highly popular route. Which is to say, a route on which frequent flyer awards will be in short supply.
For now, though, there are plenty of seats available to those looking to redeem their frequent flyer miles. And not just to members of Hawaiian’s own HawaiianMiles program, which is of limited interest to most mainlanders. Hawaiian is also a partner in American’s AAdvantage program, which means that AAdvantage members may redeem their miles for Hawaiian flights.
In Hawaiian’s program, award prices for Hawaii-mainland flights are 20,000 miles each way for restricted coach, 40,000 miles each way for restricted first class. In AAdvantage, prices for award travel on Hawaiian flights are 22,500 each way for restricted coach, 47,500 miles for restricted first class. And because AAdvantage members can’t book Hawaiian awards on American’s website, they’ll pay a service charge to book through American’s call center.
Whichever flavor of miles you opt to redeem for Hawaiian’s new flights, redeem them sooner rather than later. As the new service is publicized, and promoted with fare sales, the seats will be spoken for, leaving ever-fewer unsold seats for would-be award travelers.
A Reliable Strategy for Using Miles
As it is with Hawaiian’s upcoming New York flights, so it is with any airline’s new flights, making this a reliable strategy for navigating around the constraints on frequent flyer award availability.
Whenever an airline launches a new service, there will initially be a surfeit of unsold seats. That’s bad news for the airline, but good news for travelers hoping to use their frequent flyer miles.
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