This is the story of how I learned the hard way that you’d better keep track of your own Hawaiian Miles expiration date. Thanks to its 50% off companion ticket and increased 50,000 mile sign-up bonus, I got the Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard in the summer of 2015. After attaining the bonus and using the companion fare, I had almost 60,000 miles.
I knew Hawaiian Miles expired in 18 months, and I have long since canceled the credit card. My Hawaiian Miles account online did not show any mileage activity, nor did it show the expiration date of my miles. The latter was a bit concerning, so I Emailed Hawaiian Miles customer service to ask. Their response, which took two full business days, was less than helpful:
As I was on the road Friday June 9th, and they are closed weekends, I called Monday. Prior to my call, I double-checked my mileage balance online, which, instead of being close to 60,000, now showed a big fat goose egg.
Reaching the customer service rep, he told me that my miles expired on Friday June 9th, the same day they had sent me the return message. I was livid! It took them two business days to say they couldn’t give me information, when the information was that my points expired that day? Their lack of helpful response was not a consideration, and they stood by their policy of not giving any information out via Email. They did, however, present me with an option to reinstate my miles:
Your miles will be reinstated if you purchase 10% of the expired miles. In this case, the purchased amount would be 6,000 miles, at a cost of $177.
$177? To get back fewer than 60,000 Hawaiian Miles? I immediately, but politely, asked to speak to a supervisor. The rep assured me he could help me, and asked to put me on hold again. After about 5 minutes, he came back with another offer:
Purchase 1,000 miles for $29.50, and we will reinstate all of your miles.
I really didn’t want to spend $29.50 today. But after almost 45 minutes on the phone all-told, I felt this was a fair compromise on their part, since I certainly did drop the ball by not adequately keeping track of my expiration date. I accepted their offer, gave a credit card over the phone, and within 5 minutes the miles were back in my account.
As I am not planning a trip to Hawaii anytime soon, I’ll likely transfer them to Hilton at 1:1.5, as I’ll definitely get better value from them at lower-category Hilton properties. But while I doubt I would have paid $177 to get them back, it was definitely worth $29.50 to reinstate these points. Bottom line here, and lesson for all is that you’d better keep track of your own Hawaiian Miles expiration date!
Michael Prodanovich is a contributor to Point Me to the Plane, and author of The Ultimate Guide to Free Travel
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