The frequent flyer program of Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t have a ton to recommend it. The earning rates aren’t great. Neither are the elite benefits. And, most notably, the award chart has very few great values to it. By many accounts there was actually only one tremendous award they offered: North America to anywhere Virgin Atlantic flies in Upper Class for 140,000 points. Note the use of the past tense there. The Virgin Atlantic partner award chart was updated in the past couple days (the old one was definitely there 3 days ago when the Virgin America partnership was announced), devaluing the awards by huge margins.
Here’s the old award chart, courtesy of MileValue.com:
And here’s the new award chart from the Hawaiian website this morning:
For starters, awards appear to be priced as to or from London, not from the mainland USA destinations Virgin Atlantic serves. This means getting past London from the USA now requires adding two awards together, one to get to London and then another to continue onwards. The Upper Class award from Los Angeles to London in Upper Class went from 100,000 points to 160,000; from New York City the rate only increased 25% to 125,000 points.
But if you want to continue on, say from New York City to Hong Kong or Mumbai, the rate is now 285,000 points, an increase of more than 100%. From San Francisco that rate is 320,000 points.
It is very, very rare that points ever increase in value. It has happened maybe once or twice that I can recall in the past decade. That’s why hoarding millions of points is rarely a smart move. But it is also rare that such dramatic devaluations as this one happen. Not unheard of, but definitely rare. All the more reason to spend ‘em when you get ‘em.