Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Amex Points to the Rescue

My aunt is one of my favorite people. While my father is always teaching me things and my mother is always disciplining me, my aunt has always been the fun person in my family.

So when she was trying to use her American Express points to fly first class to Hawaii this week for her and her boyfriend, I was happy to help.

Fortunately, she found award availability on Hawaiian Airlines for her desired dates (80,000 Hawaiian miles / person for a 10 hour non-stop flight in first class from JFK to Maui, which is a redemption of $0.035 per Hawaiian mile).

Fortunately, she had more than enough Amex Membership Reward points which could be transferred to Hawaiian Airlines to redeem them for the free flights ... if she had the Reward Amex card. So she called Hawaiian Airlines and put the award reservation on hold for a week while she would transfer her Amex MR points to Hawaiian Miles.

Unfortunately, she had closed her Rewards Amex card earlier this year and only had a no-fee Amex card. So now, she could only use her points to get statement credits ($0.01 per point). Boooo!

She immediately applied for a new Rewards Amex card so that she would be able to transfer her Amex MR points to Hawaiian Airlines. Even though she was approved immediately online, it was going to take a few days for the card to come in the mail and be activated. And her award reservation hold was going to expire soon, and the cash price was just too much to pay out of pocket for.

When I heard about this situation, I immediately got my father involved. This was June 25 for a flight departing on July 3.

As a result of his January Amex Platinum card (100,000 point sign up bonus) and his May Business Gold card (75,000 point sign up bonus), he had more than enough to transfer over to my aunt's Hawaiian Airlines account.

Also, American Express was running a special promotion where they would give you 20% extra Hawaiian miles for every 1,000 Amex MR points transferred to Hawaiian Airlines. So instead of having to transfer 160,000 Amex MR points, he only had to transfer 134,000 MR points (a great redemption of $0.043 per Amex MR point).

My father went online and linked his American Express MR account to my aunt's Hawaiian Airline account*. The website said that it would take Hawaiian Airlines up to 2 weeks to approve and process the link. That wouldn't work.

Never taking no for an answer, my father called American Express and explained the situation. The super helpful Amex phone rep did his magic and expedited the link approval process immediately. He then asked my father if he would like to make a transfer over the phone. So instead of waiting 2 weeks, he transferred 134,000 Amex MR points to 160,800 Hawaiian miles on a 5 minute phone call.

My aunt then called Hawaiian Airlines and redeemed her new miles to confirm the award booking.

July 4th Disaster averted! Enjoy Hawaii, Auntie!

* It's unclear if American Express MR transfers into other people's frequent flyer accounts is officially allowed, but American Express seems to allow it. 

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