About Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Sep 29, 2017

There’s nothing like the thought of spending your vacation on one of the sun-soaked, emerald green Hawaiian Islands, is there?

With the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard’s promotion of 35,000 bonus miles when you sign up for the card, there’s a good chance you could earn enough frequent flyer miles to get a free round-trip to what many consider the ultimate American vacation spot.

On top of that, the card is offering some great perks for companion flyers as well as a free baggage allowance that will let you fill up that suitcase with plenty of souvenirs without paying a dime to haul it to paradise and back.

Now, before you sign up for this card and pack your bags for Waikiki Beach, we want to sort of walk you through a complete picture of what this card has to offer. The ability to say “No” and wait is a powerful one, especially for consumers.

Doing so buys you time to fully comprehend whichever financial product you’re looking at, whether it’s a checking account, car loan or credit card.

We’ve found one of the best ways to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a credit card and how they relate to your situation is to go over the following categories:

  • Rewards and benefits
  • How far the rewards will get you
  • Rates and fees
  • Expert and consumer opinion

So, without any more build-up, let’s jump into the rewards this Hawaiian Airlines credit card gives you.

35,000 Hawaiian Miles

“Hawaiian Miles” is the name of the Hawaiian Airlines frequent flyer program. If you’re not already a member of the Hawaiian Miles program, the airline will assign you a number when you complete your MasterCard application.

Those 35,000 miles can be yours if you can spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of owning your card. That goal should be pretty easy, considering most people’s grocery budget would provide enough spending over three months to hit $1,000.

It will take about 4-6 weeks for those miles to show up in your account, though, so don’t plan on booking a trip the day you hit $1,000.

You also have the opportunity to earn 5,000 Hawaiian Miles if you can spend $10,000 in a year. If you can hit that mark, then Hawaiian Airlines will deposit those miles to your account on your cardholder anniversary.

Your Hawaiian Miles won’t expire as long as you use your card to buy something at least once every 18 months.

Pro tip: Your 90-day deadline to spend $1,000 starts the day you’re approved for the card, not the day you get it in the mail.

2x and 1x Miles Bonuses on Purchases

Whenever you use your Hawaiian Airlines card, there’s a good chance you’re going to earn miles for every dollar you spend. The exceptions are fees you pay related to your credit card, gambling deposits, traveler’s check purchases and other money-type transactions.

You’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend directly on Hawaiian Airlines, but keep in mind that you won’t get the double bonus on any duty-free purchases you make during a flight, per the Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard’s fine print.

Hawaiian Airlines often runs promotions where you can earn miles by booking certain hotels or airline tickets.

50% of a Companion Ticket

The second up-front reward you get with your Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard is a one-time 50% discount on a companion ticket. Companion tickets are tickets you book on your reservation for someone flying with you.

These companion fares have a lot of restrictions, though, the main one being the fact that you can’t buy a companion ticket for a friend if you’re booking your seat with Hawaiian Miles.

That’s right; you’ll have to pay for your ticket in order for your friend to get a discount on his or her ticket.

According to the Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard’s fine print, the 50% discount will be ready around five days after your approved and is good for 13 months from the day your account opens.

15 Months of 0% APR on Balance Transfers

The final reward this card gives you is no interest for 15 months on balance transfers you make within 45 days of your account opening.

You’ll have to pay a fee on the balance transfer, which is something we’ll talk about in a few minutes.

How Far Can Your Hawaiian Airlines Miles Take You?

There are really two ways to answer this question. First, if you live in Hawaii, then the card offers great value because, according to the Hawaiian Miles program, one-way flights are 7,500 points.

If you can get that intro miles bonus and earn the 5,000 miles for spending $10K in one year, then between those perks and your daily spending you should easily earn 60,000 Hawaiian Miles your first year. Those 60K miles are good enough for four round-trip flights within Hawaii.

If you want to fly to Hawaii from the continental United States and vice versa, it will cost you 20,000 Hawaiian Miles each way. However, Hawaiian only flies from the West Coast and Las Vegas.

Basically, the card’s bonuses and points are far more valuable to you if you live in the Hawaiian Islands and travel between them frequently.

The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard’s Benefits

Whereas rewards are something that is miles-based, benefits are those things that you can take advantage of year-in and year-out without having to spend a certain amount of money.

$100 Discount on Companion Seats

Every year on your cardmember anniversary, Hawaiian Airlines will give you the chance to apply a $100 discount to a companion seat.

The same rules we mentioned before apply here – the offer can’t be combined with a rewards ticket nor any other type of discounted seat.

There’s also another catch: You can only apply the discount to flights between Hawaii and North America.

Free Checked Bag

The primary cardholder of the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard will get one free checked bag on flights operated by Hawaiian Airlines. This means that your authorized user isn't allowed to cash in on this benefit. (An authorized user is someone who gets their own Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard but the card number is the same as yours.)

In order to get the benefit, you’ll need to book the flight with your Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard and the Hawaiian Miles account number linked to that card.

The perk is limited to flights between the Hawaiian Islands and between Hawaii and North America. International flights aren’t eligible for the free checked bag.

You can save $50 per flight with this perk; Hawaiian charges $25 for the first bag.

Related: The Best Travel Credit Card of 2017: Why Miles Aren’t Just Miles

World Elite MasterCard Program

The use of the phrase “World Elite MasterCard” in the title of this credit card isn’t just fluff; it indicates that you’ll enjoy several different types of coverages and reimbursements whenever you use your Hawaiian Airlines credit card to book travel and buy things.

Among the benefits the World Elite program offers is rental car insurance, delayed baggage reimbursement, trip cancellation insurance, extended warranties and price protection should the cost of an item you bought drops within 90 days of your purchase.

These various benefits have their own specific set of limitations and rules, so make sure you read through the World Elite MasterCard benefits guide that’s sent along with your Hawaiian Airlines credit card.

The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard’s Rates and Fees

Everything we’ve talked about so far in this review has been positive: rewards and benefits.

But, as with all credit cards, the good news comes to an end when you start looking at a card’s rates and fees. The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite is no different. Here’s a list of the card’s interest rates and fees:

  • APR on purchases and balance transfers: 16.99%, 20.99% or 25.99%, depending on your credit scores
  • Cash advance APR: 26.24%
  • Annual fee: $89
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Late/returned payment fee: Up to $37

The fees here are standard for an airline rewards credit card.

Just keep in mind that, if you choose to make a balance transfer to this card, you’ll be charged 3% of the balance you’ve moved. For example, if you transfer $2,000 to your Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard, Barclays, the bank who issues the card, will charge you 3% of $2,000, or $60.

Expert and Consumer Reviews of the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

The reviews we read from experts praised the card’s rewards and said it’s a good fit for those who travel often between islands in Hawaii, a sentiment we’d agree with.

Consumer reviews of the card are few, but the ones we did read brought up an excellent point. One customer complained that they lost rewards bonuses when they booked a rental car and flight combo.

Turns out Hawaiian Airlines sends you to a different site to do combined bookings and, according to their fine print, that doesn’t constitute a direct purchase from Hawaiian, therefore knocking the rewards rate down from 2% to 1%.

Pros of the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

Based on our research of this card, we believe its best feature is the nice collection of rewards you get: the 35,000 points, one-time 50% companion discount, yearly $100 companion discount and the 5,000-mile bonus when you spend $10K in a year.

Cons of the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

The downside to this card really isn’t the card’s fault; Hawaiian Airlines’ route map is limited to just a handful of West Coast cities and Las Vegas. For this reason, the card may not be the best choice for someone who lives in the Midwest or the East Coast.

Who Is a Good Fit for This Card?

Because of the limited route map Hawaiian Airlines offers, we’d say this card is best suited for someone who flies between the Hawaiian Islands often. This type of customer will maximize their rewards points and will take advantage of the companion discount.

Our last bit of advice is this: Check out our article on the best airlines rewards cards of 2017. We think some of the cards in that article can give you a little more flexibility in terms of where you can fly.

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