Alaska Airlines to Buy Hawaiian: Get Bonus Miles Now

How to use the Alaska Airlines credit card and frequent flyer program to save on trips to Hawaii, Alaska and beyond.

A plane flies into Lihue airport on Kauai, Hawaii
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a deal that could benefit travelers, Alaska Airlines announced it will acquire Hawaiian Airlines. Customers won't notice changes right away, but there are bonuses to take advantage of now, and a way to rack up miles in anticipation of the merger. You could even score frequent flyer miles worth $660 in airfare.


Alaska Airlines Merger

Alaska Airlines intends to purchase Hawaiian Air (Hawaiian Holdings, Inc.) for $1.9 billion. The merger will expand Alaska's destinations and assume Hawaiian's debt. Alaska expressed support for Hawaiian Airline's strong customer service, focus on sustainability and commitment to Hawaiian culture and employees.

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Alaska Air's $660 Value Bonus Offer

One way to rack up Alaska Air's frequent flyer miles is to sign up for the company's credit card. The Alaska Airlines credit card recently increased its bonus offer for new cardholders. You can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of card ownership. Bankrate estimates that the value of one Alaska Airlines loyalty mile is about 1.1 cents, meaning the bonus offer is worth $660 when redeemed for travel.

For cardholders who are also Bank of America customers, the card delivers a 10% boost to frequent flyer miles earned. So, if you fly 1,000 miles on a trip, your total rewards will be 1,100 as a qualifying Bank of America customer.

This card offers three points for every dollar spent on Alaska Airlines travel, two points on gas, cable, streaming and local transit, and one point on all other purchases. That's a respectable earnings rate for a travel rewards credit card.

Travel perks include free bag checks and an annual companion fare, which easily offset the $95 annual fee. 

Hawaiian Airlines also offers a co-branded credit card with many of the same terms and perks. However, as Bankrate values Hawaiian Airlines miles at only 0.7 cents per each, the current 60,000-mile bonus offer is worth only $420.

Alaskan vs Hawaiian miles

Alaska Airlines gave only the vaguest idea of how the two companies' loyalty programs might change after the deal. In a statement in early December, the company indicated that the two frequent flyer programs will be joined. Customers of the merged airline will enjoy "the ability to earn and redeem miles on 29 global partners and receive elite benefits on the full complement of oneworld Alliance airlines [and] expanded global lounge access." 

It's also unclear if the Alaska Airline's popular companion fare benefit will survive the merger. This annual perk enables Alaska Airlines credit card customers to book a second ticket for $99 (plus fees and taxes). For those planning an expensive, long-haul flight, companion tickets can save hundreds of dollars or more on family trips.

Will you lose your Alaskan or Hawaiian frequent flyer miles after the merger? While there are no guarantees, the new company will want to retain as many customers as possible and is unlikely to strip you of your miles.

When will customers notice changes?

The deal will take another 12 to 18 months to finalize, but the boards of both companies have given their approval. Still, the acquisition could fall apart. The companies' shareholders might vote against the merger. Or the Biden Administration might block the deal as part of an effort to safeguard competition and keep airfare prices down. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has fought against other recent merger attempts; in October, for example, the DOJ sued JetBlue for its plan to acquire Spirit Air.

How will the route map change?

The merger will likely bring Hawaiian Airlines into the oneworld Alliance of airline partners (Alaska Airlines is already a member.) For a sense of how many flights the new entity would offer, see the map below from Alaska Airlines' Investor Presentation from December 3, 2023.

A map showing new routes Alaska Airlines will assume if the merger with Hawaiian Airlines is successful.

(Image credit:

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Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor,

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.