2014 Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card Review

Posted by CreditCardGuru

After disappearing in late 2013, the Hawaiian Airlines credit card (formerly issued by Bank of America) has re-emerged as the Barclaycard-issued Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard. Those already holding one of the old Hawaiian Airlines Visa cards can expect to automatically receive the new version by mid-April 2014.

What’s changed?

In the past, there were two different personal versions of the card: Visa Signature ($79 annual fee) and Platinum ($50 annual fee). Now, there’s one personal version (although there’s a business version, too). It’s a World Elite MasterCard, and it’s got a (higher) annual fee of $89.

The rewards

One thing that hasn’t changed is the rewards structure. Cardholders still earn:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • 1 mile per dollar spent on other purchases
  • 2 to 10 miles per dollar spent at participating partners (these include various resorts, hotels and car rental companies)
  • Miles for flights taken on partner airlines. The amount you earn varies by airline and route.

There’s no limit on the number of miles you can earn.

The card is running a sign-up bonus of 35,000 bonus miles (after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days), but that may not be quite enough for a round-trip flight. Cardholders do have access to discounted fares — but if there aren’t any available for the flight you want, you could end up paying 40,000 miles and up (sometimes WAY up) for a round-trip coach ticket between ticket between Hawaii and the continental U.S. You can also get one-way tickets between the islands for as low as 7,500 miles.

Redemption options and value

How much your rewards are worth depends on how you spend them. Because ticket prices and rewards availability are always fluctuating, the worth of your miles will fluctuate as well.
Say you’re flying coach from Los Angeles to Honolulu in May. If you fly out on Monday May 5, your miles will each be worth 0.73 cents (40,000 miles required for a $293 ticket):

May 5 Hawaiian airlines dollars

May 5 Hawaiian airlines miles

Flying on May 5: mile value = 0.73 cents each

But if you wait two days and fly out May 7, your value per point will increase to 1.8 cents each if you take an evening flight:

May 7 Hawaiian airlines dollars

May 7 Hawaiian airlines miles

Flying on May 7: mile value = 1.8 cents each

You can also redeem for flights on Hawaiian’s partner airlines (including American, All Nippon, JetBlue, China Airlines, Korean Air, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia). Value varies when you redeem this way, but it allows you to use your points on a variety of itineraries, both within the continental U.S. and in a variety of Asian countries.

If you don’t want to use your rewards for air travel, there are some other options…

You can redeem for merchandise, as well as car rentals and hotel stays. For example, 10,000 miles will get you a $50 gift certificate for Alamo Car Rental or National Car Rental. You can also take advantage of the card’s partnership with Hilton to get 1.5 Hilton HHonors points for each HawaiianMile. You have to redeem in 10,000-mile increments. That means you could use 30,000 of your 35,000-mile sign-up bonus to get 45,000 Hilton HHonors points — enough for one night in a Category 6 hotel (or three nights in a Category 2 hotel).

Extras

Airline cards aren’t just about the miles you earn each time you swipe, but about the extra perks that make travel more pleasant or that accelerate your rewards earnings. This card will get you:

  • One free checked bag: This is for the primary cardholder only (other airline cards kick in a free bag for a companion or two).
  • 5,000 bonus miles: You get 5,000 bonus miles each year you send $10,000 or more on the card.
  • Companion discounts: There are two companion discounts. As with the old card, you get a one-time 50 percent companion discount on a round-trip ticket. With the new card, you also get a $100 discount on a companion coach ticket on each account anniversary. There are some restrictions, however. These discounts are available only on round-trip fares between North America and Hawaii. You also can’t use either discount on code-share flights – or on any kind of ticket besides economy class. And, as is the case with most companion discounts, you have to pay any necessary taxes and surcharges associated with your ticket.
  • World Elite benefits: World Elite benefits generally come with cards that sport high annual fees (take, for example, the Citi Prestige, which has a $450 annual fee). So paying $89 for the suite of World Elite benefits isn’t bad. These include a suite of travel insurance protections, concierge service and travel perks (such as room upgrades and free breakfast, if you’re staying at participating hotels).
  • No foreign transaction fees: Paying an extra 2 to 3 percent with each purchase overseas can add up. This card waives those fees.
  • EMV chip: Not all travel-related cards have this, but this card includes an EMV smart chip, necessary for purchases overseas.

The verdict?

The travel perks of this card don’t really stand out – there are no free checked bags for companions and no priority boarding (a staple on similarly priced cards from other airlines). However, the companion ticket offer is quite competitive. Quite a few airline cards offer companion ticket discounts or straight-up free companion tickets. But many limit those offers to the continental United States. The World Elite benefits are the icing on the cake.hawaiian-airlines

Just watch out for the redemption value – it can dip pretty low, depending on the day and time you fly. Plus, because flights to Hawaii require so many miles in the first place (many more than a domestic round-trip fare), it could take you a while to earn a free round trip, with your regular spending earning only 1 mile per dollar.

Benefits and rewards aside, you must look at the big picture with this card: Unlike a lot of other airline cards from bigger carriers (American, Delta, United), this card is built for very specific routes. With other airline cards, you have a certain amount of flexibility to maximize your points. If the reward flights for your intended vacation destination cost a fortune in miles, you can always decide to vacation somewhere else. Hawaiian airlines, however will get you only to and from Hawaii and select destinations within the continental U.S.

The card makes up for that somewhat with its airline partners, which offer you the flexibility to redeem for routes Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t fly. Still, you have to go through the hassle of booking by phone when redeeming this way. Plus, the value isn’t always the best. Round-trip flights within North America start at 30,000 miles when you redeem HawaiianMiles for an American Airlines flight, even though they start at 25,000 AAdvantage miles when booked directly through American.

If you’re planning a trip between the continental U.S. and Hawaii, though, and can take advantage of the one-time 50 percent companion discount, this card would be a good choice. After you use up the sign-up bonus and that one-time offer, the card will remain a good value if you spend enough to earn the $5,000 bonus each year, fly often enough on Hawaiian to earn extra miles and can use the yearly companion discount.

Looking for a go-to card for other travel? Consider this one, which earns you the equivalent of 2.2 percent back on your spending (and lets you redeem miles for any travel expense) for the same annual fee ($89):


Written or last updated March 12, 2014

30 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. mic l April 20, 2014 at 11:07PM

    pretty sad change over from hawaiian air.didnt hear anything about then going to mastercharge. also not alot of info on what happens with your visa balance. does it roll over to the mastercharge.also agree with the person that said,mastercharge is not accepted as the visa is. what is the intrest rate.?lots of questions and very little answers

  2. Susan March 30, 2014 at 5:35PM

    My husband was approved for the new credit card and received the card only to find out that the annual fee is charged up front. Most card company offers give the first year free. pLEASE comment. He has not activated his card and will not if this is the case.

  3. Pough March 4, 2014 at 3:51AM

    I currently have a Hawaiian Airlines Visa Card with Bank of America. My interest rate (APR) is 10.24%. I do not think it is fair (and probably not legal) to automatically switch me to Barclaycard MasterCard with an APR between 16 and 25%. For those that do not carry a balance this does not matter much. But for those that do carry a balance, it can mean taking longer to pay off balances and paying more for interest each month.

    • Dean March 31, 2014 at 12:55PM

      I too am not in favor with the switch. Visa is accepted everywhere I shop, master card is not. I do not like the automatic switch. I have been with Hawaiian airlines for many, many years but with this move I don’t think I will continue with the credit card or the airline. They have really shot themselves in the foot with this one and forgotten what Ohana means.

  4. Concerned Consumer February 6, 2014 at 7:04PM

    While still uncertain about the integrity of the credit card offers, including the latest, I will say that I am VERY disappointed with Hawaiian Airlines. Indeed, I had a year long saga with them all the way to their senior vice-presidents. Seems clear HA has lost its corporate level “aloha” and sense of “ohana” when it comes to corporate policy-making. Indeed, while claiming HA needed to add an array of extra charges, – e.g., extra leg room, bulkhead seating, baggage, etc. – and alas, to “double” the cost of travel for local Hawaiians between islands – alas, the very people and culture from which it gains its corporate popularity – it simultaneously expanded its reach to Japan, Korea, Australia, et al. These added charges didn’t seem a “solvency” issue, rather a means to foster an already high level of profit sufficient to provide mult-million dollar salaries for execs while general employee salaries took a cut. In sum, I do in the main feel good about the service I receive from line people, yet am “thumbs down” when it comes to the avarice and less than whole honesty of the senior administration of HA – none of which, if I am correct are native.

  5. Branson January 9, 2014 at 8:46PM

    Yep it’s back, just got a email offer today. 35k after $1000 in 90 days. $89 AF

  6. kaukau January 2, 2014 at 10:22PM

    You may now update your site. The wait is over. Happy New Year! The new Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard administered by BarclayCard US is now available via the Hawaiian Airlines website. Happy Travels!

  7. Tigger808 November 9, 2013 at 10:03AM

    I want to share miles for a funeral which can only be done thru the credit card that I was going to apply for just so I could share miles. I hate BOH so I won’t get the check card, what other options are there to share miles if there is no longer a credit card?

    • kaukau November 14, 2013 at 4:20PM

      To Tigger808: first, Condolences on your loss.

      Second: Hate is often waste. Use the BOH check card for your purposes. Until reinstatement of the credit card program, that is the way to go.

      Or investigate one-way versus round trip awards; consider purchasing miles from Hawaiian Airlines to top off; consider the Hawaiian Airlines Toolbar Search Engine to earn miles through web searches. Good Luck, Best Wishes, and Sympathy,

      Cordially Yours

  8. mary November 3, 2013 at 7:11PM

    I’ve had a bad experience with the BofA Hawaiian Airlines card. I was supposed to receive an additional 15,000 airline points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of opening the card, which was opened back in April of 2013 and I met the spending requirement. But, now it’s November and these 15,000 points have not posted to my account. I called Hawaiian Airlines customer service in the past, and the CSR told me that I was entitled to the points and that I simply had to “wait” for them to process. Recently, I emailed them and was told they could not “process my request over email” and that I had to call instead. So I will call, but they deliberately make it a HUGE hassle to get your points and hope that you’ll just forget about them.

  9. Choi June 27, 2013 at 10:15AM

    Do not make Hawaiian mile card or do not use Hawaiian Airline. I purchased some tickets for another airline using this HA credit card mileage a few months ago and tried to check in 2 weeks ago just one day before flight. But that reservation was cancelled and we did not receive any notice from them.
    I even got the confirmation code from HA and assigned seat numbers. But it’s cancelled due to their fault.I called them and to ask reason and what they could do for me. But they did not response clearly and did nothing. Nobody took the responsibilty about that happening and we should argue with them till 5 AM on that flight day and purchased own tickets by paying 2x more money myself at the last moment. I don’t know how I can get this back to them. I’m thinking about sue them…

    • Lee September 22, 2013 at 11:13PM

      I also have very bad experience with Hawaiian Airline, their customer service is really horrible…

  10. TripleTap June 26, 2013 at 8:29AM

    F grade for Hawaiian Airlines credit cards! (I’d say something else but I’ll keep this family friendly) I never got the sign up points – If I did, they must have erased themselves from the paperwork. Then I wonder what happened to points earned from the items I bought. If you live in Hawaii – oh yeah – you’d get points for buying cell phone minutes, electric bill, groceries, etc. But if you’re on the mainland – like I am – too bad so sad! If you got family in Hawaii and they recommend you get the credit card – tell them to read the fine print!

  11. kaukau June 21, 2013 at 11:56AM

    Posters on Flyer Talk report that dissatisfactory BOA HA VISA Business Card support and associated benefits and are not worth the hassle of applying.

  12. kaukau June 19, 2013 at 12:49PM

    It seems that Daraius Dubash of Million Mile Secrets dot com knows that while the personal card applications are not being offered at present, the Bank Of America VISA Signature BUSINESS version is still being issued, and he provides a link as well!

  13. kaukau June 18, 2013 at 11:46AM

    Both Of These Credit Card Offers Are No Longer Available!

    The FIA Card Services (Bank Of Hawaii), and Bank if America issued/serviced Hawaiian Airlines VISA Credit Card Program as featured in thus Blog is UNAVAILABLE at this time. Neither of these credit cards, nor the unmentioned business version are being issued at this time. All offers have been rescinded. None of the links work. You cannot apply for a new card at this time.

    See past posts in this thread for more info and please add!

  14. kaukau June 18, 2013 at 9:17AM

    The fine print said “Limited Time Offer”, and now it is done.
    When a new vendor is in place, a new version will appear.
    Recent Award Devaluation: Hawaii to NYC was 35,000 r/t: now 50,000; Hawaii to Las Vegas: same.

  15. kaukau June 16, 2013 at 12:48PM

    Right now Bank Of Hawaii is only offering a DEBIT card as part of the VISA card program, PBJ; not a credit card.

  16. PBJ June 16, 2013 at 10:45AM

    The Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines card has been discontinued. Bank of Hawaii now offers a Hawaiian Airlines credit card but with a paltry 10k bonus miles offer.

    • Jessica June 16, 2013 at 1:17PM

      Do you know what the rate is and whether you can transfer balances from other cards and still get the benefits?

  17. kaukau June 16, 2013 at 7:34AM

    This HA VISA credit card offer has been discontinued. The only HA VISA card program currently available is the Bank Of Hawaii “Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines VISA Check Card”. This is an affinity DEBIT card used in conjunction with a Bank Of Hawaii checking account.

  18. kaukau June 15, 2013 at 11:26AM

    That was a limited time offer and now it is pau.
    When a new vendor is in place, a new version will appear.
    Devaluation: Hawai’i to JFK now 25k each way……17.5k is pau…….Same with LAS route.

  19. Kauai Joe June 10, 2013 at 10:46AM

    When will Hawaiian Air offer Visa credit cards with a 35,000 bonus again?

  20. myra February 15, 2013 at 10:38AM

    How can I get the most points on my visa sign. card? Can I pay for household things like house payment or a.t.t. wireless etc and get points

  21. Mainland Mike July 3, 2012 at 6:31PM

    Earned Miles are readily visible on the Hawaiian Airlines website using your Hawaiian Miles member number and log on which you set up online. I have the Signature Visa and I spent $20.00 on my card after I received it and was credited, as promised, with 20,000 miles. I then spent the minimum $1,000 within the first four months and received another 15,000 miles, as promised. So, for spending $1020.00 in purchases I would have made anyway on my other Visa, I have earned a free round-trip to Hawaii…even on their new non-stop from JFK. In addition, I received a 25% discount on two tickets to Hawaii, which was not such a great deal since they must be used on full coach fare tickets…so I probably will not bother to use the coupon. I find the $25.00 coupon for round-trip travel for Platinum card members insulting since it must be used for two full-fare tickets. $25.00 off… Really?

    • maui maleko February 11, 2013 at 9:49PM

      Mainland Mike, Did you have to wait for your four month period to expire to redeem your points or did you recieve the rewards immediately after spending the required amount. Also, I too will be traveling to JFK and would like to know how long after applying for the card were you able to book your trip. Thanks in advance.

    • Sue M April 13, 2013 at 4:59AM

      Mainland MIke,
      Were you able to book a flight that was sutiable to you? I’d like to hear bout your booking experience since I am hearing about all the problems with actually using these free points

  22. Helen Jordan March 15, 2012 at 7:50PM

    It is near impossible to find out how many miles one has, let alone use them. Everything is secretive! DON’T GET THIS CARD.

    • mokey’s dad June 19, 2012 at 11:21PM

      Which card is so secretive? hawaiian or amex?

      • Linda July 26, 2013 at 2:52PM

        The Hawaiian air credit card is really great! I have had mine for several years and had no problems. Those of you that are having problems with getting your miles you need to go to hawaiian air and there is a link to recover lost miles.
        I like the card!

Leave a Comment

*