The last miles-for-search tool is officially dead and we missed the funeral: On November 17, 2015 Hawaiian Airlines discontinued the search function on the Hawaiian MileFinder. I didn’t even get to give it a proper eulogy like I did for the prepaid cards we’ve lost over the years (i.e. “This is a terrible loss, but it’s not that big of a big deal and we’ll all move on”).
For those who are unfamiliar with the Hawaiian Airlines MileFinder, it was a toolbar that offered miles for online searches and shopping. What made it so great was that you could earn up to 5,000 miles per month through the search function alone on it. Every 3 searches equaled one mile. Needless to say, I spent a significant amount of time earning miles this way (you gotta do something when things are slow at work).
Then I got busy with manufactured spending, freelance writing, working on a side project (results soon to come), and binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, so I dropped the ball on the whole Hawaiian MileFinder discontinuation thing. I was counting on the MileFinder to keep my Hawaiian Miles from expiring. This happens after 18 months of inactivity, so a few of you out there may be affected.
What options do you have for keeping your Hawaiian Miles active now that the MileFinder search function is out of the picture? Here are 9 ways to keep your Hawaiian Airline miles from expiring:
1. Get a Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card. Hawaiian Airlines has two credit cards, both issued by Barclays, that can be used to stock up on extra miles and keep your existing balance from expiring:
- Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard (35,000 miles after $1,000 spent within 90 days)
- The Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard (35,000 miles after first purchase)
The $89 annual fee on both cards isn’t waived the first year, but it’s a small price to pay for a decent stash of Hawaiian Miles. Having a co-branded card also ensures you’re just one credit card swipe away from keeping your miles from expiring.
2. Transfer Points to Hawaiian Miles. Hawaiian Airlines is both an American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partner. To keep your points from expiring, you can transfer points from either program to Hawaiian Miles at a 1:1 ratio. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 points for Membership Rewards and 2,500 for Starwood Preferred Guest.
3. Use the Hawaiian Airlines Shopping Portal. While the Hawaiian MileFinder’s search function has been discontinued, you can still earn points on purchases using the Hawaiian Airlines Online Mall. I don’t know how reliable this is (the MileFinder was notoriously awful at tracking purchases and searches), so proceed with caution.
4. Earn Dining Rewards Points. Hawaiian Airlines is one of the many frequent flyer programs that offer a dining rewards program. Hawaiian Airlines’ is slightly different in that it partners with Mogl. Earning rates are quite generous at 40 miles per $1 spent on dining. But the program is restricted to California and Arizona. Users earn cash back that gets converted to points (up to 25% cash back), which is even better if you ask me. However, if you want to keep your Hawaiian Miles from expiring, you’ll obviously forego cash back in favor of the miles. If I had to choose between all of the methods listed here to keep my Hawaiian miles from expiring, I’d probably go with the dining rewards option.
5. Book Travel. Whether you’re in the market for a cruise, car rental, hotel booking, or travel documents, Hawaiian Airlines partners with companies that allow you to earn miles on these purchases. This is great if you have upcoming travel you need to book anyway and find that Hawaiian Airlines is offering decent bonuses. Or your expiring balance is worth saving (and foregoing more lucrative point offers for).
6. Credit Miles from a Partner Flight. Speaking of travel, if you’re traveling with one of Hawaiian Airlines’ partner airlines, you can choose to credit your miles from these flights to your Hawaiian Miles account. Of course, I’d check to see that the mileage accrual rates are on par with those of other reward programs. Hawaiian Airlines partners with the following airlines:
- All Nippon Airways
- American Airlines
- China Airlines
- Korean Air
- Virgin America, Atlantic, Australia
7. Buy Miles. This isn’t my favorite method, but a viable option if you’re short on time and want a quick, easy fix is to buy Hawaiian Miles at $14.78 per 500 miles. This is especially useful if you don’t think miles earned from a shopping portal, point transfer, or partner programs will post in time to keep your balance from expiring. Before going this route, I’d consider how much the number of miles you’re trying to save are worth. For example, I wouldn’t bother trying to save 1,000 Hawaiian Miles by paying $14.78 to buy more. If you have few miles, chances are you’re not going to earn enough for an award before they expire again. The last thing you want is to keep paying $14.78 every year. At that rate, you’re better of picking up a co-branded Hawaiian Airlines credit card.
8. Spend or Transfer Hawaiian Miles to Hilton Honors. If you’d rather not acquire more Hawaiian Miles, then you can always transfer them to Hilton HHonors at a 1:1.5 ratio. Miles must be transferred in 10,000 mile increments, which may not be feasible for some of you. Another option is to redeem Hawaiian Miles for award flights, which start at 7,500 miles one-way.
9. Donate Miles to Charity. If you don’t quite have enough Hawaiian Miles for an award redemption or point transfer, you may want to donate miles to charity. Hawaiian Airlines partners with the American Cancer Society, Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Blood Bank of Hawaii, the Coral Reef Alliance, and other reputable organizations. Donations start at 50 miles and as far as I can tell don’t seem to have a limit. This is a great way to unload expiring miles if you don’t have enough for an award redemption.
Do you have any expiring Hawaiian Miles? How do you plan on keeping your account active?