The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard is not one of our top rated airlines credit cards. You can review our list of the best airlines credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full Review of Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard
Decent bonus with manageable spending requirement
First checked bag free on eligible flights
$100 companion discount annually
One-time 50% off companion discount
Miles can expire
Poor earning rates on non-Hawaiian Airlines purchases
- Decent Bonus with Manageable Spending Requirement: The 50,000 miles bonus requires spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. That’s only $667 per month, which is manageable for many families. Other cards with similar bonuses may require spending $3,000 or $4,000 in the first 90 days.
- First Checked Bag Free on Eligible Flights: You can check one free bag on Hawaiian Airlines operated flights as the primary cardholder on flights to North America or neighbor island flights. International flights do not qualify. Authorized users do not qualify for this benefit, either. To get the free checked bag, tickets must be purchased directly through Hawaiian Airlines, using your Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard. Your HawaiianMiles account number must also be associated with the reservation prior to check-in.
- $100 Companion Discount Annually: On each account anniversary, you will receive a companion discount worth $100 off one companion ticket. The discount is good for 12 months from the account anniversary. As long as you use this companion ticket each year, it can justify the $99 annual fee. This discount is valid only on round-trip coach travel between Hawaii and North America that is booked directly with Hawaiian Airlines using the primary cardmember's HawaiianMiles account. The primary cardholder must be one of the passengers, as well.
- One-Time 50% Off Companion Discount: When you open your account, you’ll receive a one-time 50% discount toward a published full coach fare round-trip flight for a companion. It is good for 13 months from the time the account is opened and subject to the same restrictions as the $100 companion discount mentioned above.
- Miles Can Expire: The HawaiianMiles you earn can expire if you have no account activity for 18 months. Many other credit card rewards programs have points or miles that do not expire.
- Poor Earning Rates on Non-Hawaiian Airline Purchases: Non-Hawaiian Airlines purchases earn at most 2 miles per dollar spent. Other rewards credit cards offer higher rewards values in their bonus and other purchases categories.
This Card is Best For
Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard may be a good fit for someone who lives in Hawaii or visits there often and prefers to fly Hawaiian Airlines. The 50,000 miles bonus, one-time 50% off companion discount, and annual $100 companion discount should justify this card's $99 annual fee as long as you can use these benefits before they expire.
The regular rewards earning rates this card offers aren't amazing. That said, some of its other perks, such as a free checked bag and discounted award flights on Hawaiian Airlines, could be useful for frequent Hawaiian Airlines customers.
Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard Bonus
This card offers a bonus of 50,000 HawaiianMiles for spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account. This is a decent bonus for a card with an annual fee, but some other cards with similar bonuses waive their annual fee in the first year.
The miles you earn with the bonus could be used to book four round-trip flights within the Hawaiian Islands or three one-way flights between Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.
The bonus is only available to first-time primary cardholders with new accounts, and it may take six to eight weeks for the bonus miles to be deposited in your HawaiianMiles account.
Rewards Earning Details
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard allows you to earn 3 HawaiianMiles for every dollar you spend directly with Hawaiian Airlines, except for duty-free purchases made in-flight. You’ll also earn 2 HawaiianMiles per dollar on gas, grocery store, and dining purchases. Unfortunately, Target and Walmart are not included in the definition of grocery stores, and warehouse clubs, drug stores, and discount stores generally do not qualify, either. All other purchases earn 1 HawaiianMile per dollar. Depending on the value you get when you redeem your rewards, a 2% cash-back credit card may be a better option for all non-Hawaiian Airlines purchases after you earn the bonus.
There are no limits on the number of HawaiianMiles you can earn while your account is in good standing. You may not earn miles during a billing cycle if you fail to make the minimum payment by the payment due date, your account becomes delinquent, or your account is otherwise in default. Your miles do not expire as long as you have HawaiianMiles account activity, which is defined as either earnings or redemptions, every 18 months.
Rewards Redemption Details
HawaiianMiles can be redeemed in many ways, but using them for flights will usually result in the best value. When you redeem your miles for flights on Hawaiian Airlines, the awards start at 7,500 miles for travel within Hawaii and 20,000 miles for flights between Hawaii and the West Coast of the U.S. There are no blackout dates for awards travel on Hawaiian Airlines.
You can also redeem Hawaiian Miles for flights on partner airlines by calling the HawaiianMiles service center at 877-426-4537. Awards on partner airlines can only be used for round trips and are based on availability, which may be limited. Current partner airlines include:
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
Other redemption options include hotel stays through the HawaiianMiles booking program, hotel gift certificates through Outrigger/Ohana Hotels, car rental gift certificates, select shopping and dining gift certificates, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, donations, and gifting Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club membership to others.
You can transfer your HawaiianMiles to the Hilton Honors program. Each HawaiianMile translates to 1.5 Hilton Honors points. Transfers start at 10,000 miles and must be made in 10,000 miles increments. Miles transfers may take two to four weeks for processing.
You can also transfer your miles to various rewards programs using Points.com. Miles transfer amounts through Points.com will vary.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
As with most programs, maximizing your rewards is a two-part process. First, you need to earn enough HawaiianMiles to redeem. Take advantage of the 50,000 HawaiianMiles bonus by spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account. Putting all of your Hawaiian Airlines purchases on your card will earn you an additional 3 miles per dollar. The other spending categories only offer 1 or 2 miles per dollar. You could earn more in these categories with other rewards credit cards.
Once you have enough miles, you should focus on redeeming your rewards to get the most value per mile. Generally, you're best off redeeming your miles for flights.
As of Nov. 7, 2019, if you want to fly between Honolulu and Maui, you can buy a round-trip ticket for $150. The same flight would cost you 15,000 miles plus $12 in taxes and fees. In this case, your miles would be worth 0.92 cents each.
As of Nov. 7, 2019, if you save up your points, you could get a round-trip ticket in first class from Honolulu to Los Angeles for 120,000 HawaiianMiles plus $12 in taxes and fees. This ticket would otherwise cost you $1,361.61, so the miles you redeem are worth 1.12 cents each.
Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard's Outstanding Benefits
- $100 companion discount annually after each account anniversary
- Discounted flight awards
- First checked bag free on eligible flights
- One-time 50% off companion discount
- No blackout dates
- Send and receive miles from family and friends without a fee
- Other World Elite Mastercard benefits as detailed in new account materials
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard is issued by Barclays U.S., which scored 806 out of 1,000 in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. That score is the same as the national issuer average.
You can contact Barclays U.S. customer service by calling the number on the back of your card, by calling 866-928-8598, or by sending a message through the message center after you log into your online account. Barclays also offers a mobile app.
This card provides a free FICO credit score monthly to help you keep up with your credit.
This card is equipped for chip and PIN transactions, which provide added security and can be useful at unattended terminals in foreign countries where no other payment options are accepted. Additionally, you can lock and unlock the card from the bank's app if you temporarily misplace the card but don’t think it has been compromised.
If you fly Hawaiian Airlines often and can take advantage of the companion discounts it provides in the first and following years, this card might be a good fit for you. Its other benefits, such as a free checked bag and discounted award flights, could mean some additional savings.
Unfortunately, this card doesn't offer strong miles earning potential beyond the initial bonus and Hawaiian Airlines purchases. Anyone looking to maximize their credit card rewards could likely find other credit cards with better earning rates and rewards values.