Increased bonus to 80,000 miles: Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard review
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Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard overview
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard offers an above-average return for a cobranded airline card, but doesn’t come with many benefits. Those who regularly check bags with Hawaiian and can maximize the partner award possibilities will get the most value from this card. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Among the credit cards that don’t consistently get a lot of attention is the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering the airline’s limited route network and that it isn’t part of a major airline alliance.
However, Hawaiian offers some solid partner award-redemption opportunities, including on JetBlue. And, if you are planning a trip to the Aloha State, flying Hawaiian is a fun and thematic way to start and end the vacation.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at everything the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard has to offer and see whether it’s worth picking up. As an added bonus, new cardholders can currently snag an elevated welcome offer of up to 80,000 miles for a limited time.
The information for the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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Who is this card for?
Because all of the card’s major perks are specific to the airline, the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard is best either for flyers who regularly book with Hawaiian or who are saving up miles for a big trip to Hawaii or elsewhere in the airline’s route network. The easiest way to use HawaiianMiles is for flights on Hawaiian Airlines. The card has a reasonable $99 annual fee and its sign-up bonus comes with a relatively low spending requirement, so you can earn a substantial number of miles without breaking the bank.
Sign-up bonus: As much as $720 in value
For a limited time, the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 80,000 bonus HawaiianMiles, worth $720 based on TPG valuations. You’ll earn 60,000 miles after you spend $2,000 on the card in the first 90 days of account opening, plus an additional 20,000 miles after spending a total of $4,000 on purchases within the first six months. That’s well above the usual 50,000-mile bonus.
In a time when some cards are offering sign-up bonuses of 100,000 points or more, this bonus might not sound too exciting at first, but the spending requirement is also a lot lower than on most travel rewards cards. Plus, you’ll get a 50% discount on one published full coach round-trip fare for a companion.
Related: The best airline credit cards
Main benefits and perks
All of the card’s perks revolve around flying Hawaiian Airlines. The card offers a unique feature that lets you transfer miles between accounts, but lacks some run-of-the-mill perks that most cobranded airline cards offer, such as priority check-in and boarding. Benefits include:
- A $100 companion discount for a travel companion on round-trip travel between Hawaii and the mainland on Hawaiian Airlines after each account anniversary.
- A free checked bag for the primary cardholder on Hawaiian Airlines-operated flights between North America and Hawaii and between neighboring islands when booking flights directly with the airline using the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard (HawaiianMiles Pualani Elite members receive this benefit in addition to their usual baggage allowance).
- Shared miles — Primary cardholders can share HawaiianMiles among friends and family without a fee, up to 10 times per calendar year.
- Inflight purchase credit for elites — Pualani Elite Platinum and Gold members are eligible to receive an inflight purchase credit of $10 a day, up to $100 a year. It can be used to cover onboard entertainment, beverages and premium meals.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- World Elite Mastercard benefits — With a World Elite Mastercard, you’ll get an array of value-added benefits such as a $10 Lyft credit after taking five or more rides each month, discounts with DoorDash and cellphone protection.
As a bonus, newly issued cards are made of upcycled plastic waste that has been diverted from entering the world’s oceans, waterways and shorelines.
How to earn points
The earning structure on the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard is better than most cobranded airline credit cards.
The card offers 3 miles per dollar on Hawaiian Airlines purchases, whereas most of its counterparts offer 2 miles per dollar on airline spending. Although not industry-leading, the card has an above-average return on the top everyday spending categories — 2 miles per dollar on gas, dining and eligible grocery store purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Cardholders can also earn bonus miles at thousands of shops and restaurants through the HawaiianMiles Marketplace.
How to redeem points
The most obvious use of HawaiianMiles is for Hawaiian Airlines award flights. Although the program technically publishes an award chart, each award type provides a range of prices rather than fixed redemption rates, meaning that you’ll typically get consistent value from your miles.
To give you a general idea, first-class awards between the mainland and Hawaii start at 40,000 miles one way, but that price can often be 80,000 miles. As a cardholder, you’ll also get automatic discounts on coach awards across the airline’s entire route network.
Although Hawaiian Airlines isn’t part of the three major airline alliances, you can redeem your miles on partners such as JetBlue, Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air. Unlike Hawaiian-operated flights, partner awards have fixed redemption rates — with the exception of JetBlue — and in many cases, they can actually provide a decent value for your miles.
So what can you do with that current 80,000-mile welcome bonus?
You might be able to book a one-way first-class flight between Hawaii and the continental U.S. on Hawaiian with some miles leftover. You could book a round-trip flight to Hawaii in economy, or a round-trip business-class flight within Asia on Korean Air. If you are hoping to fly from one island in Hawaii to another, you can also book those flights starting at 7,500 Hawaiian miles.
Partner awards are not available through Hawaiian’s website, so your best bet is to use ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures) to search for award availability and then call to book.
HawaiianMiles can be redeemed for hotel stays; car rentals; gift certificates; grocery, shopping and dining gift cards; magazines; and newspapers. Miles can also be transferred to Hilton Honors, the Caesars Rewards loyalty program and Points.com. However, these types of redemptions generally offer poor value compared to using them for award flights, so we recommend avoiding them.
Keep in mind that, as of early 2021, HawaiianMiles no longer expire.
Which cards compete with the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard?
Since Hawaiian Airlines is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and a 3:1 transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy, there are plenty of other credit cards that can help you boost your balance of HawaiianMiles while enjoying a different selection of perks.
The closest comparison to the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard in the Amex lineup is the American Express® Green Card. The Amex card comes out ahead on bonus categories, offering 3x points on travel, transit and restaurants. The Amex Green has a slightly higher annual fee of $150 (see rates and fees), but it comes with some travel perks that help recoup that, including an annual up-to-$100 Clear membership credit and an up-to-$100 LoungeBuddy credit. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
The Amex Green Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 45,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first six months (exclusively available on AmericanExpress.com), which is less than the Hawaiian Airlines welcome bonus. Still, those points also offer more flexibility when it comes time to redeem if your plans to fly Hawaiian don’t work out.
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard will likely not be the best airline credit card for everyone. However, if you can use the free checked bag benefit and the partner award possibilities, then it can make a solid case for itself, especially if you are a frequent flyer on Hawaiian. And now that the welcome bonus is up to 80,000 miles, it’s even more compelling.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, please click here.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees