American Airlines recently cut off the ability to redeem AAdvantage miles for travel on Hawaiian Airlines between the mainland and Hawaii. That was an unfortunate loss, considering Hawaiian Airlines was a dependable source of premium cabin award space, but award space to Hawaii on AA and Alaska Airlines is still available. Had that been the only change, then fine…a loss for consumers but acceptable since notice was given. But AA has played a dirty trick on us: in addition to blocking Hawaiian Airlines award space, AA is no longer allowing routing from the USA to Asia or the South Pacific via Hawaii on a single-award if you include a Hawaiian Airlines segment. This amounts to a stealth devaluation without notice.
No More Routing to Asia or Oceania via Hawaii on AA if Flying Hawaiian Airlines
It never made much sense to use AA miles just to go to Hawaii — other loyalty programs offered better options. But what did make sense, great sense actually, was to use AA miles to go from North America to Asia or the South Pacific via Hawaii in business for as little as 50K each way.
Now you will be charged for two awards if your connection to/from Hawaii is on Hawaiian Airlines. Here’s an example:
- 37,500 miles for Los Angeles – Honolulu on AA
- 62,500 miles for Honolulu – Sydney on HA
The entire trip used to cost just 62,500 miles.
Hawaiian Airlines has an inferior non-lie flat business class, making what was an acceptable redemption (weighing product versus price) now an unacceptable proposition in most cases.
Not the best seat for a 10-hour flight…
AA’s Lack of Notice, Not The Change In Routing Rules, Matters
AA already has an award chart that is arguably far too generous going to Asia (50-55K in business, 62.5-67.5K in first) or Australia (62.5K in business, 75K in first) and it is not a matter of if, but when its award charts will be devalued. The cardinal sin, though, is the lack of notice — a shifty change in routing rules that effectively makes awards almost 40% more expensive (taking a page right out of the Delta playbook).
If AA wants to devalue its chart, it is welcome to — just give us notice. Routing rules are huge and really no different than changing award charts when the outcome is identical: consumers pay more for the same thing. As a matter of policy, I hate strict routing rules like AA has through much of its award charts, but we have learned to work with them and accept them for what they are. AA violates its moral obligation to its customers when it makes such underhanded and unannounced changes to these rules.
(tip of the hat to View from the Wing)