According to this thread on FlyerTalk, Hawaiian Airlines will be adding an interesting new route to their network in July of 2013. Hawaiian will add nonstop service between Honolulu and Taipei, Taiwan three times weekly. They will be flying this route with their 294 seat A330-200 aircraft.

Scott actually just wrote a mini review of Hawaiian’s A330 product in economy.  You can read it in this post, 20k Points Roundtrip to Hawaii, 45k Roundtrip to Asia, 55k Roundtrip to Australia. The economy seat looks really solid with personal TVs and decent food offerings. First class, though, doesn’t appear much better than domestic first class. Hawaiian’s first class product on all flights that leave Hawaii is a recliner with 42″ of pitch. That means only 4″ more leg room than most domestic first class.

As Scott detailed in his post, Getting to Tahiti with Hawaiian, United, and US Airways Miles and Membership Rewards, there are two big issues with spending Hawaiian miles for an award ticket. First, they charge 20k miles each way from the continental US to Hawaii. That’s what other carriers are charging, but if you live on the west coast, you can actually get to Hawaii for 12,500 British Airways Avios oneway.

In Scott’s very recent post, 20k Points Roundtrip to Hawaii, he discovered that you can actually use Virgin America Elevate points to fly Hawaiian airlines from the continental US to Hawaii for far fewer miles than what Hawaiian charges their own frequent flyer members.

The other big issue is that to get from the continental US to Asia or the Pacific on Hawaiian will cost the price of US-Hawaii plus Hawaii-Asia/Pacific. This method of pricing makes awards for mainlanders to Asia/Pacific on Hawaiian way more Hawaiian Miles than American miles, which can also be used for Hawaiian flights.

For example, a Hawaiian award from the continental US to Japan would be 60k miles oneway–20k from the mainland to Hawaii and 40k from Hawaii to Japan. That same exact award could be as few as 50,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip if you fly during off peak times! For a great step-by-step on booking Hawaiian awards with AAdvantage miles, especially for beginners, make sure to check out Scott’s post, Free First Class Next Month: Award Searches on AA.com.

Hawaiian’s complete award chart can be found here, but I posted Hawaiian’s chart from the US-Philippines below. This is most likely the chart that will be used when the Taipei route officially opens up. 60k for awards originating in the continental US and 105k for first class award tickets. As I mentioned above, the first class seats aren’t that much of an upgrade over normal domestic first class seats. They aren’t angle-flat and they certainly don’t convert to lie-flat seats. I would save the miles in this case. The upgrade just isn’t worth the additional cost in miles.

Each Way Price

Can I include a stopover in Hawaii with either an American or a Hawaiian award?

Yes to both! Because Hawaiian prices the two legs of the award individually, you can build a stopover of whatever length you want into your award. If you are using American miles to book an award on Hawaiian, you get a stopover in each direction at the international gateway city. In this case, it would be Honolulu if departing from Los Angeles. For more information, be sure to check out Scott’s post How to Book Free Stopovers Online: American Airlines. You should probably also brush up with The Five Cardinal Rules of American Airlines Awards.

If getting to Taiwan from the US is the only goal, other carriers offer better options. United Airlines, for example charges 32,500 miles for a oneway ticket. That same itinerary would be 60,000 miles with Hawaiian. Check out the dummy booking I was able to pull up on United’s website below.

Even though an award ticket using Hawaiian miles will probably be a bad deal, there are no nonstop flights offered from Hawaii to Taiwan: most carriers include a stop in Seoul or Tokyo. Hawaii’s new service could add a creative way to break up your long journey from the US to Taipei. You can break up the trip with a stopover in Hawaii before continuing on the 5,000+ mile journey to Taiwan.

How do I get Hawaiian miles?

Hawaiian Airlines is a Membership Rewards transfer partner at a 1:1 ratio. If you have Starpoints (through Starwood Preferred Guest), you can transfer in increments of 20,000 and receive 5,000 bonus miles, a nifty 25% bonus. It’s important to note the delay when transferring Starpoints. It can sometimes take 1-2 weeks for the Hawaiian miles to post to your account, meaning the award you really want might not necessarily be there when the transfer is finally complete.

To really turbocharge your Hawaiian miles balance, there are two credit card signup bonuses you can take advantage of. Both Bank of America and Bank of Hawaii offer cards with a 35k bonus: 20k is awarded after first purchase, and you earn 15k more after spending $1,000 in the first four months of card membership.

FlyerTalkers have discovered that you can get both cards. The Bank of Hawaii card can be found here and the Bank of America version here. For our complete breakdown of the signup bonuses and the other benefits that come with the card, check out the Best Credit Card Offers by Absolute Value.

What other international cities does Hawaiian fly from Honolulu? This could be a great double vacation opportunity.

Check out the chart below to see which cities Hawaiian serves from their main hub at Honolulu International Airport.

The other route I am watching with great interest in the coming Honolulu to Auckland route.

Recap

Hawaii ‘s recently announced expansion to Taiwan is an interesting development for Asian travelers. You could theoretically include a long stopover in Hawaii before continuing on directly to Taipei–no other airline offers that option.

Redeeming Hawaiian miles for this award, though, this probably won’t make sense for those in the continental US. Hawaiian’s award chart combines regions to create a more expensive award ticket. You are far better off spending United or US Airways miles if you want to get to Taiwan from the US. If you truly want to fly on Hawaiian, though, you will spend far less using AAdvantage miles to book your award ticket.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.