Hawaiian Airlines World Mastercard is offering a generous sign-up bonus and attractive perks but is not your only option to fly to Hawaii on points. Check all your options before applying.
Editor’s Note: This offer is no longer available as of Sept. 4, 2019.
Dear Cashing In,
I saw that the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard just got a huge sign-up bonus. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. Should I get the card? – Zeke
A lot of people want to go to Hawaii. It’s an exotic vacation, but it is still in the United States – although it is still a long flight from most parts of the country.
As you would expect, there are a number of ways to fly to Hawaii using points and miles.
- You could use frequent flyer miles from one of the major carriers, such as Delta, United or American.
- Southwest started flying there this year, too.
- You can also redeem points from a credit card rewards program such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards to purchase a ticket.
Flying to Hawaii using a Hawaiian Airlines card
But there’s another option, too, that’s often overlooked: Using Hawaiian Airlines’ credit card.
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard from Barclays recently raised its sign-up bonus to 60,000 miles – after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days. Usually, anything over 40,000 or 50,000 miles is worth taking a closer look.
So, let’s look at the card:
- Annual fee: $99 (waived first year).
- Earn: 3 miles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airlines purchases; 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases; 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else.
- Perks: First checked bag free. $100 off a companion ticket for round-trip airfare between Hawaii and North America.
You can redeem the miles on Hawaiian Airlines, which flies to Hawaii from 13 North American cities. They’re mostly on the West Coast, but there are also flights from Boston and New York.
Hawaiian Airlines credit card: How benefits, mile redemption work
Hawaiian’s award chart says that flights between the West Coast and Hawaii start at 35,000 miles round-trip for people who have the credit card. Awards at that level might not always be available, and you might have to spend more miles than that for the flight you want.
Another important perk is the companion coupon. That might come in handy if you are trying to use the card to get multiple people to Hawaii.
For instance, you might use miles for one seat, pay for a second seat, and use the 50 percent off coupon for the third person – which means in total, you’d be paying for 1.5 fares to get three people to Hawaii and back.
The other helpful feature is that there’s no annual fee in the first year (then $99 annually). You receive the miles after spending $2,000, but you don’t have to pay an annual fee until many months later.
If you close the account before the annual fee comes due, or even a little after it’s due, you won’t lose the miles you have earned. Generally, it is not advisable to sign up for cards only for the purpose of extracting points or miles and then quickly closing them. But you don’t have to hang onto a card if you are receiving no value from it or aren’t using it.
Hawaiian Airlines credit card: Is it worth it?
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard won’t be for everybody.
Compared with other frequent flyer programs, Hawaiian miles have limited uses. It has five airline partners: Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
And since the airline flies from such a limited number of cities, it probably doesn’t make sense to get the card if you aren’t near any of the 13 locations. You can also use Hawaiian miles on hotels and rental cars, but those tend not to be as good of a deal.
Overall, the Hawaiian Airlines card is one to consider alongside your other options. There are many ways to use points and miles to get to Hawaii. Maybe it’s the one for you.