Credit Card Review: Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines Elite World Mastercard

by on March 11, 2014 · 34 comments

in Barclays, Card review, Hawaiian Airlines

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Last month, Barclaycard launched all-new Hawaiian Airlines credit cards, which are loaded with a ton of new perks and benefits (plus a pretty solid sign-up bonus).

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The New Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles when you make $1,000 in eligible purchases in the first 90 days
  • Enjoy a Complimentary Checked Bag for the primary cardholder when you use your card to purchase tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines
  • Receive a one-time 50% Off Companion Discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii & North America on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Discounted award travel (5,000 miles off roundtrip award fares from North America to Hawaii).
  • 2X miles per $1 on direct purchases from Hawaiian Airlines, 1X miles on everything else
  • Earn up to 10X miles per $1 with participating partners
  • Every membership year you spend $10,000 or more on the card, you get 5,000 bonus miles
  • Primary Cardholders are eligible to earn a $100 discount off one coach companion ticket for roundtrip travel between Hawaii and North America on each credit card account anniversary.
  • Share miles for free. Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard cardholders can receive HawaiianMiles from friends and family online at up to 10 times per calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • SmartChip technology
  • $89 annual fee

First things first, the sign-up bonus. The 35,000 miles you get for spending $1,000 is not the highest credit card offer we’ve seen lately, but the $1,000 spend threshold is reasonable and Hawaiian miles can be leveraged for valuable redemptions on a number of partners. On Hawaiian, it’s enough for a roundtrip coach award from North America to Hawaii with the opportunity cardholders have to redeem discounted awards of 5,000 miles off roundtrip fares from North America to Hawaii (normally they would be 40,000 miles).

Note: If you already have the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines card, your old card will be automatically converted into this new product sometime in April. You will not get the sign-up bonus unless you apply as a new applicant, but Barclaycard will reimburse all foreign transaction and baggage fees accrued from January 1, 2014 thru your conversion date.

The complimentary checked bag is worth $25 per flight if you’re flying domestic economy (on international routes you get 2 free checked bags), so if you take 4 flights a year, you’ve already made back the value of the annual fee. Plus, unlike the old Hawaiian Airlines cards, there are no foreign transaction fees and Chip+Signature (with pin capability) so the card is much better for international travelers.

You could save hundreds of dollars with the 50% companion discount.

You could save hundreds of dollars with the 50% companion discount.

The other way you can make up for that $89 is with the two other major discounts the card offers. The first is for a 50% off Companion Discount on roundtrip economy flights to/from North America. Per the card’s terms, “Primary Cardmembers are eligible to earn a one-time 50% off discount toward one published roundtrip coach fare for a companion upon new account approval” that you must use within 13 months of your new card being issued.  This discount is valid only on economy travel (no First or Extra Comfort) and does not apply to taxes, fees or surcharges. You also can’t use it on Neighbor Island flights, multi-city reservations, or codeshare flights – so it’s pretty much if you just want to fly from the Mainland to Hawaii on Hawaiian in a simple roundtrip. However, given that even roundtrip economy tickets to Hawaii regularly run in the $400-$500 range (or $700 as in the case above!), getting 50% off one of those is like getting $200-$250 back in value, so you’re already way ahead of your annual fee. Just remember that this discount cannot be applied to tickets you’ve already bought, so if you were going to get this card to try to get a discount on an upcoming trip, you’re out of luck – better just book another vacation to Hawaii!

The other interesting discount is that anniversary $100 off one coach companion ticket. The same terms apply as with the 50% discount, so that’s a nice way to offset the annual fee each year as well if you do travel to Hawaii at least once a year.


You get that benefit automatically upon card renewal each year (ie paying your annual fee), but there’s also another 5,000-mile bonus when you meet a membership year spending threshold bonus – every year you spend $10,000 or more on the card, you get 5,000 bonus miles. That’s like earning an extra 0.5 miles per $1 you spend on everyday purchases, so if you’re not buying many Hawaiian tickets but using the card everyday, your earning rate is closer to 1.5 miles per dollar if you are just stopping around the $10,000 threshold.

As a quick comparison, I thought I’d take Barclaycard’s other major airline card, the US Airways Mastercard as a comparison point, and it comes out ahead in quite a few factors.

That card currently offers 40,000 miles after your first purchase, so a higher bonus with no minimum spending requirement. It offers two $99 domestic economy companion tickets each year, so you’re basically getting a second ticket for $99 – which means you can really max this out on expensive routes. You get a 5,000-mile discount on roundtrip economy awards, and every calendar year you spend $25,000 or more on the card, you get 10,000 Preferred-qualifying miles.

So with the US Airways card, the sign-up bonus is more generous, and with some strategic planning you can max out the award mileage discount on many more economy awards and those companion tickets can be worth a lot if you use them on expensive tickets. It’s also nice to earn elite-qualifying miles on spending, though the $25,000 threshold might be high for some.

However, the new New Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard is a better choice for those really looking to maximize their Hawaii travel thanks to the award mileage discounts, the economy companion discounts, and the lower spending threshold for that 5,000-mile anniversary bonus.

One possible strategy to maximize your credit with Barclaycard might be to get the US Airways Mastercard while it is still accepting new cardholders through 2015 for its domestic travel benefits, and then consider the Hawaiian Airlines card in addition to it to round out your wallet with a great card for Hawaii travel.

However, if travel to Hawaii is your main objective, this new card is an exciting option that can help you score significant discounts and perks on your travels to the islands.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mr. Cool


  • John

    You discovered this card when they started paying you money today?

  • AJ

    As far as I can tell, the only way to fly on a Hawaiian Airlines award ticket from the East Coast is to make a trek up to JFK for their one flight to Honolulu. At least in my case, that involves a preliminary short “commuter” flight from DCA. Otherwise, I would have to take a different airline to California and switch to Hawaiian there.

    In your opinion, Points Guy, is it worth applying for this new Hawaiian credit card and supplementing its sign-up bonus with AMEX Membership Rewards transfers? Or should I stick to my usual reliance on the mainline carriers – each of which has lackluster economy service and limited award availability to Hawaii, especially from the Washington, DC area?
    Thanks in advance for your advice!

  • Bobby

    Hey The Point Guy,

    I’m going to Hawaii on my honeymoon in June. This is obviously a one time round-trip for two, I don’t plan on going to Hawaii again, at-least for a long while.

    Would you still recommend the Hawaiian card over the US airways?

  • Tellitlikeitis

    Cynic ….. or seer?

  • iahphx

    Nothing wrong with pushing cards, I guess — this is a business after all. What is TERRIBLY wrong, however, is failing to mention that Barclays isn’t going to give you every one of their credit cards. After about 2, you’re likely to run into problems. They’re a bit stingy. So you need to prioritize. Unless you have specific need for Hawaii travel, I suspect most readers would prioritize and apply for Barclays’ other travel cards. If the Points Guy wants to improve his reputation in the frequent flyer community as more than just a credit card pusher, he needs to include this more thoughtful advice.

  • Mark smith

    I have the bank America Hawaiian card and opened the Barclay version last month. Any idea how this will work out when they convert? Is bank America just closing the accounts of their card holders for them to be transferred to Barclays?

  • ed

    If you are going to make use of the US airways card, then get that one. If you are in it for the promo for both cards, get the Hawaiian, then get the US Airways a bit later. Then drop Hawaiian when it’s fee time.

    If that crosses a moral line for you, just get the US Airways card. (Assuming you fly US Air regularly).

  • ed

    At this point, he doesn’t need the rep. He can push all the cards he wants as long as there’s a fresh set of newbies wanting in on the rewards game. Those who are in the know don’t need blogs like this. So the primary target and best revenue demographic are the ones will be the little fish who learn the ropes from blogs like this and make TPG a few bucks along the way. At some point, you, too, will graduate to flyertalk or some other community. It is what it is

  • thepointsguy

    That isn’t true- I know people with multiple cards. I’m not telling everyone to get every single credit card possibly available form every single issuer- simply explaining options that are out there. If someone has good credit and sees value in this card, then only they can make the decision if they want this or perhaps a different Barclaycard that better suits their needs. I’m confident that TPG readers are able to make big kid decisions on the financial products best suited for them ;-)

  • thepointsguy

    The first line of this article is that this product launched last month

  • thepointsguy

    You can still use Hawaiian miles for trips other than Hawaii (like transferring to Hilton and redeeming on other partners) so its a solid offer all around in my opinion, but I tihnk US Airways miles are more valuable in general

  • Truthiness

    US airways MasterCard does not give the benefit of free checked bag for the cardholder (or anyone else for that matter).

  • iahphx

    Rapid Travel Chai has an update which I think well summarizes the situation with Barclays, and is consistent with my own experience and those of others I know who’ve played this game for awhile. Here’s the quote:

    Update: the state of play changed drastically in 2013 and continues in 2014. Barclays tightened up considerably for people with existing cards. There
    are still reports of first-time Barclays applicants getting multiple cards, however those with existing accounts by nearly all reports are having
    significant difficulty adding even one card. I have not been approved for a Barclays card since this application spree. Barclays credit analysts
    consistently cite (1) too many applications with Barclays, (2) more than enough credit already extended on existing cards, (3) too many new accounts with other banks, and (4) not high enough usage of existing Barclays cards. Even though I
    have consistently put about $500/month on each card these have been cited as insufficient because of not enough everyday spend. Closing accounts or offers to move credit rarely makes a difference. As always, your miles may vary.

  • John

    And how about the same cards from BofA and Bank of Hawaii for the same exact bonus that have been around for many years.

    So what makes this card worthline of a post besides that your affiliate marketer sent you an email letting you know that you got a new affiliate link?

  • Rob philip

    I have had the same experiences. I think the reps basically make up the excuse on the spot. I actually *did* manage to get the Hawaiian card when I preemptively pointed out that they were giving me far more credit than I was going to use on my Lufthansa card and asked them to transfer $10K to the Hawaiian card. I’d been rejected for various of the reasons you mention above when applying for a new USAirways card late 2013.

  • Ke Sa

    yet YOU’RE still here – flyertalk too confusing for you? Sick of all you whining babies, get your own blog if you don’t like the info!

  • Justin

    Wife applied and was approved which is great! We’ll be using the miles to send my daughter and her new hubby to Hawaii on their honeymoon for sure. I’m not applying though…Barclays has it out for me with all the inq’s I have.

  • Alix

    Rejected online due to existing BoA Hawaiian Card; they claim that it’s the same product and as such denied my application, as I found out from their customer service rep. If I close out the BoA card, how long should I wait to apply again? Or will I never be approved since this is a “transitionary” product and essentially the same card?

  • Travis

    I currently have the Bank of Hawaii version of this card. Will that card get converted to Barclaycard or it’s only the BoA version that’s going to get converted? If it’s going to get converted should I cancel it now and re-signup for the card after Barclaycard takes over for the bonus again?

  • ed

    who’s whining? i was replying to the other guy saying TPG needs to maintain his rep. I’m telling him he doesn’t. I go on all blogs and FT. I’m collecting data points for an app. maybe you should redirect your ire for someone who is doing what you’re accusing me of?

  • Eugene Cho

    Hey Points Guy: I just signed up for this card but you stated that you can redeem a round trip for 35K miles. Where do you see this?

    “On Hawaiian, it’s enough for a roundtrip coach award from North America to Hawaii with the opportunity cardholders have to redeem discounted awards of 5,000 miles off roundtrip fares from North America to Hawaii (normally they would be 40,000 miles).”

  • Tim

    So far my experience with Barclays has been very unpleasant. I had to activate my card by phone because I wasn’t able to do it online. For some reason, BoA did not furnish my social security number to Barclays. Without my SSN they’re unable to allow me to create online access to my account. I’ve called them about 7 times so far and they keep asking me for my SSN and tell me that it’s not in the system. I give it to them and they tell me it’ll take 2-3 days for them to update that information in their system. Every time I give it to them they tell me it’ll take 2-3 days more to update their system. I’m on the verge of cancelling this card. On my last contact with Barclays, I spoke to a supervisor, he also took down my SSN and told me to wait 2-3 more days for the info to be updated. I’ll wait until Monday and try again. I’m not the only person in my household who had a Hawaiian Airlines BoA Visa card that was transferred to Barclays. The other person is also experiencing the exact same problem–missing SSN in their system. He has called numerous times as well.

  • loc1

    I had such a horrible experience, that I closed the account I have had for years. I made a payment to Bank of America as I did not get ANY notice my card was transferring over. Barclay tells me that the payment will transfer over and not to worry. Two weeks later, I get a late notice along with interest and late fee. This was after I was told not to worry and that because of the transfer, there would not be late fees charged for three months. They waived the interest and penalties but now I show a balance on my Bank of Hawaii webpage which got even more confusing. I finally told him just to close the account because I was not going to deal with it. Basically, Barclay took over the Hawaiian Airlines Card which was then changed to Hawaiian Airlines Bank of Hawaii mastercard, preivously owned by Bank of America, now owned by Barclays. Anyone else as confused as I am. And yes – customer service sucked. Hopefully they did not close my US Airways mastercard because at one point, they told me I had three accounts. Horrible, Horrible experience.

  • loc1

    good luck – went through hell and back with the conversion and lost electronic payments.

  • Casey Reed

    How good is the concierge service? Any experiences folks have with getting hard to book dinner reservations and such?

  • chief

    Same thing happened to me. Im utterly frustrated with their customer service and plan on canceling my card as well. I dealt with more phone calls over and over to try and get online access. I get the same response over and over. It may be their way of charging for late fees if payments are not received in time.

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  • C.M.

    Barclays’ service is horrible – please everyone, beware of Barclays. If you have an issue on your statement, they promise to resolve it but they do not resolve anything. I have spent hours on the phone with their “customer service” reps & managers to no avail. This issue started with Hawaiian Airlines’ transfer of bank cards from Bank of America/Visa to Barclays/Mastercard. We are long-time HA rewards card holders in great standing. We pay our balances in full each month. BofA was a great bank with great customer service. This experience with Barclays – which we did not bring on ourselves, has been the worst I’ve ever encountered. My family will be closing out our Barclays card HA rewards card because their level of service does not deserve our continued business.

  • Sharm

    If I wanted to travel from Hawaii to the mainland, does the 50% work as well ?

  • stonebreaker

    the absolute worst co. to ever get involved with. their service so poor compared with fia.

  • stonebreaker

    my experiences exactly, to pour salt on the wounds barclays fee is going up from 50 dollars to 89 dollars,

  • Capt.

    Hawaiian Airlines made a big mistake to dump B of A. The first
    statement from Barclays There were interest charges on 2 months billing. Talking to there Las Vegas Office all I got was the runaround.
    I tried to get a invoice before I paid there billing. I called and got
    the word we don’t isssue bills. I refuse to pay them without seeing
    where my money is going. Another time I was on line trying to
    bring up my account, again the run around. I signed in and they
    asked how much money I earned a year. It is none of there

  • Tonskie

    We’ve had nothing but problems since Hawaiian Airlines switched their credit card from Bank of America to Barclays Bank. Our daughter goes to college about 400 miles from home, so we had her name added to the credit card account and she now has a card with her own name on it (same account number as ours). Almost every time she uses it while away at school, it gets declined, and is treated as if it was fraud (these are typically small charges in the $100 range). We call Barclays Bank every time the card is declined, to tell them that it’s not fraud and that it’s a legitimate charge, and every time they tell us they have made a note in the file to allow her to use her card while she is away at school. But, then the next time she uses it (a week or two later), it is declined again for the VERY same reason. I am beyond frustrated with this bank and will be closing my credit card account, as i just can’t deal with their stupidity, lies, and lack of customer service any longer. Hawaiian Airlines made a HUGE mistake when they switched from B of A to Barclays. Based on all of the negative comments on this page, Barclays Bank will be losing a lot of other customers too. I don’t even care about the points any more. I will find another credit card company that offers airline points, dividends, etc.

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