alaska airlines plane
Courtesy Alaska Airlines

Although this is posting Monday morning, I’m writing this late after a fantastic MilesTalk Meetup in LA. So it’s late, and I’m exhausted so this will be short and sweet.

Yesterday, as I posted in the MilesTalk Facebook group, Alaska Airlines announced plans to acquire Hawaiian Airlines. If you want the “news news” here is a Reuters article

Me? I just had one thought. Alaska Airlines miles are extremely hard to come by and the program is very good – although it will become “less good” in March when their new unified award chart comes out. They also have partners like Taipei’s Starlux, which partners with nobody else. 

They have no bank transfer partners and really only Marriott Bonvoy transfers in. Hawaiian, on the other hand, is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Hawaiian’s miles aren’t super useful – unless you want to fly to Hawaii. 

If this merger comes to fruition (with an expected timeline of 12-18 months, mind you), there should be a golden, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire all the Alaska miles you want via American Express by transfering to Hawaiian and waiting for the programs to merge. While we can’t know the future for certain, it is hard to imagine Alaska not converting all Hawaiian miles to Alaska Mileage Plan miles 1:1.

(Another option, as group member Pavel pointed out, is the Barclays Hawaiian credit card – but same rules apply – I wouldn’t apply now just in case unless you are happy with Hawaiian miles if it doesn’t happen. There is a business card, so just a hard pull but no 5/24 impact.)

Now don’t transfer anything yet! This could all not happen at all and unless you fly to Hawaii regularly, you don’t want a pile of Hawaiian miles!

But keep this in mind as the transaction progresses. If it does happen, there may be only a small window before Hawaiian stops being an Amex transfer partner – so be ready, but don’t do anything just yet.

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Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram for all sorts of tips on miles, points, credit cards, and travel.

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