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Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard from Barclays review

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard from Barclays review

Published: February 12, 2019
Published: February 12, 2019
Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 4.1

In a Nutshell:

This premium airline card offers a hefty sign-up bonus in the first year and attractive perks, such as a $100 companion certificate; but with an $89 annual fee and a ho hum rewards rate, the card’s value falls sharply after its first year.

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Rewards Rate

  • 2:1 on Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • 1:1 general purchases
  • Up to 5,000 yearly bonus miles, after spending $10,000

Sign-up Bonus

  • 35,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in first 90 days
  • 50% companion discount for round-trip fare between Hawaii and North America

Annual Bonus

  • 5,000 miles each year you spend at least $10,000
  • $100 off a companion ticket for round-trip airfare between Hawaii and North America

Annual Fee

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)

17.24-26.24% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

  • Points don’t expire as long as card is used every 18 months
  • No blackout dates
  • No round-trip requirements
  • Share miles with family and friends
  • Can transfer miles to Hilton HHonors at 1:1.5 ratio


  • Limited options for travel outside of Hawaii
  • High award redemption levels on Hawaiian and partner airlines
  • High fees for changes and cancellations

Customer Experience

Other Notable Features: $100 off a companion ticket yearly, one-time 50% discount on a companion ticket, highest World Elite Mastercard benefits, concierge service, lost luggage insurance, travel assistance, car rental insurance, VIP events and experiences, discounts on hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, cruises, shopping

If Hawaiian Airlines is your carrier of choice – and especially if you often find yourself boarding its intra-island flights – you will love what this card has to offer. You get a decent sign-up bonus, two companion ticket discounts, free bag, and other perks that more than offset the annual $89 fee. In addition, Hawaiian Airlines offers a free option to transfer your miles to and from other Hawaiian accounts – an option for which most airlines charge a lot of money.

On the other hand, the earning scheme can only be described as average. Also, the benefits are a bit underwhelming compared to some of the best co-branded airline cards. Most co-branded airline credit cards waive the annual fee for the first year and offer better terms for a free checked bag and/or companion ticket. Most importantly, major U.S. legacy airlines generally offer a better redemption scheme, both for their own flights and those of their partners.

35,000-mile sign-up bonus

The card comes with a fairly generous 35,000-mile sign-up bonus, and the $1,000 spending requirement is relatively low. But this bonus won’t take you too far; it won’t even get you as far as a medium- or long-haul round-trip ticket. The cheapest SuperSaver ticket – if you manage to snag it – from the continental U.S. to Hawaii requires 40,000 miles. The bonus presents a better value if you use it to travel between the islands – then, you can get up to two round-trip flights.

Underwhelming earning scheme

You get 2 miles per dollar on Hawaiian Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar for everything else. This is quite unremarkable compared to the rewards rates on some of the best general rewards cards, which can range as high as 2 points per dollar. It is important to note, though, that many U.S. co-branded airline credit cards offer the same terms that Hawaiian does.

Limited redemption options

The largest drawback of the card is that, outside of a smattering of hotel and merchandise options, miles are only good for travel on Hawaiian Airlines or one of its six partners. The geographic range of this airline network is limited and is mostly designed for travel to and from the Hawaiian islands. If you are not a frequent visitor to Hawaii, you will find limited benefit in this card.

High interest rate

Do not apply for this card if you intend to carry a balance. The APR starts at 16.99 percent for people with good credit and goes up to 25.99 percent. Compared to other rewards cards – which already to tend to charge a high interest rate – that’s really high.

Share miles for free with friends and family

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard holders can transfer Hawaiian miles to and from the frequent flier accounts of friends and family members free of charge. This is a great benefit, as most airline frequent flier programs charge some serious fees for the privilege.

50 percent off and $100 off companion discounts

One of the most valuable of the card’s benefits is a one-time 50 percent discount on a companion ticket. If you are flying to Hawaii with a partner, you can easily save up to $350. The card also offers $100 off companion discount once per year upon your anniversary as a cardholder. This discount is also valid for all published coach bucket fares.

Great travel benefits

In addition to the companion discounts mentioned above, card members also receive a free checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights. The card also comes with some other useful benefits, such as car rental insurance and concierge service. You can freely use the card when you’re abroad, since it doesn’t charge the typical 2 to 4 percent fee for foreign transactions.

Why get the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard?

  • You fly a lot on Hawaiian Airlines or travel frequently to Hawaii.
  • You value perks like the 50 percent off companion discount, $100 off a companion ticket, and a free checked bag.
  • You want to use the zero percent introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers to consolidate high-interest debts.

How to use the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard:

  • Pay cash for cheap flights, redeem miles for expensive flights.
  • Use the 50 percent off companion discount for an expensive flight, use the $100 off for a cheap flight.
  • If you’re using the zero percent Introductory APR, pay off your debt within the introductory period. Do not carry a balance on this high-interest card.

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