Aloha Airlines suspends flights, terminates frequent flyer miles

By the end of the day on Monday, March 31, Aloha Airlines will have permanently suspended all passenger flights. Also terminated, as predicted in coverage of the Hawaiian carrier's recent bankruptcy filing: Aloha's AlohaPass frequent flyer program.

A week ago, I suggested AlohaPass members redeem their miles for free trips on United, or for other non-Aloha awards, before the carrier shut down completely. If you followed that advice, or if you've already cashed in miles and have a confirmed award booking on United, you should be OK.

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If you used miles to book an award trip on Aloha, "United is offering discounted one-way fares through the end of April that will make it easier ... to return home," says the airline in a March 30 news release. Hawaiian Airlines has also committed to assisting affected Aloha passengers, including an offer of free standby on some flights for the first three days of April.

If you have unredeemed miles in an AlohaPass account, those miles are almost certainly lost.

I tried calling the AlohaPass service center at 4:30 p.m. on March 30, Hawaii time, to see whether it would be possible to make an award booking on United before the official March 31 shutdown. I was unable to reach a customer service agent, which effectively means that no further mileage redemption is possible.

Longer term, there's a remote chance that another airline will acquire the AlohaPass program during the liquidation proceedings. But it's a long shot at best.

Here are the relevant sections of the FAQ on the Aloha website, including the status of the AirAwards credit card:

"Q: Can I continue to use my Aloha AirAwards credit card?

A: Yes. Your AirAwards card is still good for all purchases.

Q: If I have already redeemed AlohaPass Miles for United Airlines travel and it has already been ticketed, is it valid?

A: Yes and we recommend you contact United Airlines at 1-800-UNITED1 to reconfirm your reservation.

Q: Can I continue to redeem AlohaPass miles after March 31, 2008?

A: No, after March 31, 2008, the program will expire."

There's also an FAQ related to the Aloha situation on United's site.

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