Hawaii is probably my favorite place in the entire world. In fact, I hope to live there someday! However getting there isn’t always easy, since few airlines service the Hawaiian islands. For this reason I decided to look into the Hawaiian Airlines credit card. I’ve updated this review for 2013 and found some new info you’ll definitely want to know about…
November 10, 2013 Update: Their credit card has been cancelled/discontinued for new applicants. It sounds like it won’t be available again until much later, sometime during 2014.
If you want the best travel rewards right now then check out this new card from Barclays. It earns the equivalent of 2% on every purchase and you can spend that on any travel purchases, including ticket purchases with Hawaiian Airlines. Right now it also comes with a ridiculously lucrative bonus offer:
My old review of the HA cards I will leave up for historical reference only. But just remember their cards are no longer available.
There are actually 2 different cards from Hawaiian Airlines:
- For Hawaii Residents: Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines card
- For Non-Hawaii Residents: Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines card
The rewards and benefits are actually identical… the difference being that Hawaiian residents will have a credit card issued and managed by Bank of Hawaii.
What’s the annual fee?
The Hawaiian Airlines Visa Signature card carries a $79 annual fee and the Platinum version has a $50 annual fee. These fees are pretty reasonable for being an airline miles credit card.
Are the rewards any good?
Both the Platinum and Visa Signature give rewards as follows:
- 1 mile per dollar on regular spending
- 2 miles per dollar on tickets purchased directly from Hawaiian Airlines
- 2 to 10 miles per dollar at Hawaiian Airlines XtraMiles partners (participating businesses in Hawaii)
With the Platinum version a max of 100,000 miles can be earned per year but the Visa Signature has no rewards cap. A small annual bonus is given each year after the card is renewed; 1k miles for the Platinum and 2k miles for the Signature.
I looked over the list of XtraMiles partners and there were dozens of tour companies, hotels, stores, restaurants, and other Hawaiian businesses that participated. Many of them only gave 2x miles (not 10!) but that’s still a good deal nonetheless.
However what I wasn’t thrilled to see was the Hawaiian Airlines credit card miles given for regular spending (only 1 mile per dollar) and for ticket purchases (only 2 miles per dollar). That’s good, but not great, considering how many miles it takes for award flights.
And what are the signup offers for 2013?
The Platinum and Visa Signature Hawaiian Airlines cards typically give a bonus between 10k to 30k miles. As I write this review here’s what the offers were:
- Platinum card = 10,000 bonus miles after first purchase. There is also a one-time $25 off coupon for roundtrip travel between mainland US and Hawaii for cardholder and companion.
- Visa Signature card = 20,000 bonus miles after first purchase and another 15,000 after spending $1k within the first 4 months. There is also a one-time 50% round trip companion discount for travel between North America and Hawaii.
Without a doubt Hawaiian Airlines is the best for servicing the Hawaiian islands. Not only is it frequently rated the best, but it’s also the oldest US carrier to never have had a fatal accident. As far as the folks who issue the cards, Bank of America’s credit card department doesn’t exactly have the best reputation or customer service, but I hear Bank of Hawaii is pretty good.
Both of the Hawaiian Airlines credit cards are good choices, but the AmEx Premier Rewards Gold card is an even better choice. Yes, this site does have an advertising relationship with American Express, but that’s not why I’m making this recommendation. Here’s why…
- 3 points per dollar earned on flights booked with airlines
- 2 points per dollar at US supermarkets
- 2 points per dollar at US gas stations
- 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases
But these aren’t just any credit card points… they are AmEx Membership Reward Points. That means they can be converted to the Hawaiian Airlines miles program on a 1 for 1 basis (as well as many other airlines). So basically, you have the potential to earn a lot more miles using this card! Plus it comes with a boatload of other benefits that the Hawaiian Airlines credit cards don’t have.
Written or last updated November 10, 2013