Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® Review
In July, Barclays revamped its co-branded credit cards with Hawaiian Airlines. In addition to offering bigger sign-up bonuses, both the personal and business credit cards allow you to rack up miles faster.
In other words, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® and the Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® now make it easier to realize your dream of an island vacation.
Do they stack up well against the competition, though? Read on to find out.
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® Review
Historically, airline credit cards have been a mixed bag. While they offer great airline-specific perks for frequent and loyal flyers, they haven’t always made it as easy to earn rewards as other travel credit cards.
With the new Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, however, you could earn bonus miles on your everyday spending.
When you first get the card, you can qualify to earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. You’ll also earn rewards on regular spending:
3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases
2 miles per dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases
1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
The Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®, which also got a makeover, offers a similar rewards structure. The only difference is that it replaces grocery store purchases with office supply store purchases.
On top of an improved rewards program, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® also offers extra perks to keep you flying Hawaiian:
First checked bag free: You’ll get this perk when you use your card to purchase tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
Flight discounts: You’ll receive a one-time 50% discount on a companion ticket that applies to a roundtrip ticket between Hawaii and North America.
You can also get discounted award flights when you use your miles, and a $100 companion discount each year for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America. The Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® doesn’t offer the annual companion discount.
Big business spenders earn more bonus miles: The Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard® offers 20,000 bonus miles after you spend more than $50,000 per year, and 40,000 miles if you spend upwards of $100,000. The personal version doesn’t offer this perk.
Introductory 0% APR promotion: If you transfer a balance from another credit card to this one within 45 days, you can pay it off interest-free for 15 billing cycles. The only cost is a balance transfer fee, which is 3% of the transferred amount with a $5 minimum. After the intro period, a variable APR will apply, depending on your creditworthiness. The business version doesn’t offer this benefit.
No foreign transaction fees: You won’t have to worry about a fee every time you use your card overseas. Foreign transaction fees can typically run at 3% of the transaction amount.
While the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is new and improved, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should have it in your wallet. Here are some cons to the card to consider:
Limited Redemption Flexibility
As with any airline credit card, you won’t get much value from your rewards miles unless you use them to book free flights with Hawaiian Airlines or its partner airlines. If that’s your only purpose for the card, it shouldn’t be a problem.
But if you want a travel credit card that allows you to redeem your rewards for more than just free flights, consider a general travel card. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, for instance, allows you to redeem your miles for a partial or full statement credit for several eligible travel-related purchases.
Most of the Card’s Best Benefits Require You to Spend Money
The best credit cards offer a suite of fringe benefits, and this one is no different. But if you want to take advantage of the one-time and annual flight discounts the card offers, you need to fork over cash to get them.
That’s because they only apply to companion tickets, which requires you to pay out-of-pocket for your own ticket plus the remaining fare for your companion. Unless you’re already traveling to the islands frequently, you may not get much of a chance to take advantage of those discounts.
The Annual Fee Isn’t Waived
Most top airline credit cards charge annual fees, but some of them waive it for your first year. This card, however, charges its $99 annual fee from the beginning.
The Bottom Line
The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® could be a solid choice for someone who already frequently travels to Hawaii or has plans to do so.
If you’re only thinking about a one-time trip to the islands or you just like the idea of having the option to fly there, this isn’t the only card that can make that happen. As you’re considering Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, be sure to compare it with other airline credit cards, as well as general travel credit cards. And if you’re thinking about getting the business version, compare its rewards and features with other top business credit cards.
Doing your due diligence can take time, but it’s well worth it when you have the right card in your wallet.
First published , last updated
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.