How to get discounted luggage on Hawaiian Airlines even with a Delta award ticket

For the first time ever, I redeemed my Delta SkyMiles for an award ticket. While I’ve redeemed miles before under their Pay with Miles program (though that was frustrating because it was before Pay with Miles tickets earned mileage credit), I’ve never had enough miles for a full award ticket. That changed when I booked a Honolulu-Hilo-Honolulu (HNL-ITO-HNL) ticket with Hawaiian Airlines during our happy days extension after the International Coral Reef Symposium (post about the ICRS experience on the way!). $180 saved! 😀


The only downside was that since it was a Delta ticket and thus tagged with my SkyMiles number, I (theoretically) wouldn’t be eligible for the discounted check-in baggage fee that Hawaiian extends to their HawaiianMiles members. Regular rate for Neighboring Island flights (i.e. HNL-ITO-HNL) is $25 per way for the first bag and $35 per way for the second, while the discounted rate is $15 for the first bag and $20 for the second.

*Restrictions may apply. As a member benefit, HawaiianMiles members will enjoy reduced 1st and 2nd checked baggage fees when flying between the Neighbor Islands, traveling wholly within the State of Hawaii … Discount applies to confirmed Hawaiian Airlines revenue tickets and flight award tickets redeemed with HawaiianMiles. Discount is applicable on any fare class ticket. Baggage discounts will only be applied when your HawaiianMiles number is present in your reservation, or added prior to completing the check-in process.

So that’s that, right? Not exactly. I accidentally found a loophole in their setup after signing up for HawaiianMiles and poking around their website.

  1. Sign up for HawaiianMiles! Super easy.
  2. Find your booking in the HA site using Delta’s confirmation code.
  3. HA displays your itinerary with them and a separate HA confirmation code. You can either print this page out or just remember the new confirmation code.
  4. Upon check-in (we used the self-check in stations), use the HA confirmation code instead of Delta’s, input your HawaiianMiles number, and voilà! You’re eligible for the baggage discount 😀

It seems that HA’s system gives a separate confirmation code because it treats the Delta award ticket as a third-party booking, same as a ticket bought through a travel agency.

The funny thing is that I only discovered this during our return leg. When I tried to check-in for the HNL-ITO leg, the self-service station wouldn’t accept Delta’s confirmation code. Since it was the first flight of the day (ugh 5:30 am) and there weren’t any HA staff yet, I ended up checking in online through my phone while my friend checked my bag in under her regular HA ticket. Why the HA website accepted Delta’s code while the self-service station did not, I have no idea. I looked up my flight details the day before we flew back, and that’s when I discovered that HA gives a new confirmation number.

Let me know if this works out for anybody else!

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