The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard

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Hawaiian Airlines frequent fliers can save money, rack up miles.

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The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard packs a big punch in the first year, but ends up on the ropes after that. Unless you frequently fly Hawaiian, you might find it challenging to make up for the annual fee while earning points in the long run.

Review

In the first year, new cardholders will be spoiled with solid bonuses that add quite a bit of value to The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard. The big one is the extra 35,000 miles you can earn for spending just $1,000 within the first 90 days. In most cases, depending on travel dates, this is enough for the least expensive round-trip airfare from North America to Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai.

On top of that, this card comes with a one-time 50% discount toward a round-trip coach fare for a companion and an annual $100 discount on a companion ticket for round-trip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines. Plus, there’s a 0% introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for balance transfers posted to new accounts within 45 days of opening.

Even with the $89 annual fee, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with just these bonuses alone. It gets trickier after the first year. The rewards system is unimpressive and falls behind the more competitive cards – especially since you need excellent credit to qualify for this card.

You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar on Hawaiian Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else. On the plus side, you can redeem points — without losing value — through its non-flight partners for hotel stays, goods and services. You can even transfer your miles to friends and family.

Who should get this card

In the long-term, Hawaiian Airlines frequent fliers should add this card to their wallet, especially if they check bags. With this card, the first checked bag for the cardholder is free, which is a savings of $25. If you take two round-trip flights with checked bags in one year, then you’ll have more than made up for the annual fee.

For everyone else, this card is worth considering for the first year since you can end up with one free flight and a major discount for a companion. Otherwise, there are certainly more generous travel rewards cards available for people with top credit scores. 

Advantages
  • The sign-up bonus is likely enough to get you a round-trip ticket to most Hawaiian Islands from North America.
  • There’s an opportunity to earn 5,000 bonus miles each year.
  • You can use this card outside of the country without paying a foreign transaction fee.
Disadvantages
  • There is an annual fee of $89.
  • Cardholders will have to use Hawaiian Airlines to get the maximum point value.
  • The APR is on the high side, between 16.99% and 25.99%, depending on creditworthiness.

Fees and APR

  • Annual fee is $89
  • Pay a variable APR of 16.99% to 25.99% on purchases and balance transfers.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Cash advance APR is 26.24%.
  • For 15 billing cycles, new cardholders will get a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers; after that it’s between 16.99% and 25.99%.

Extras, perks and using rewards

New cardholders will earn 35,000 bonus HawaiianMiles miles after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days. In most cases, this can get you a round-trip ticket from North America to most of the Hawaiian Islands in coach.

You must redeem your miles online at HawaiianAirlines.com; you can redeem them for one-way flights and upgrades.

The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard has partnered with many companies so you can redeem your points in various places without losing value.

As a one-time perk, cardholders will get a 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America.

The first checked bag for the primary card member is free as long as they use their card to buy tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.

There are no blackout dates, so you can fly whenever you want.

Members will receive 5,000 bonus miles on their yearly anniversary if they spend $10,000 that year.

You’ll get special perks like 24/7 concierge, travel services and access to unique experiences.

How this card compares

The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®

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Card Details
  • Earn double miles on purchases at FlyFrontier.com.
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99% or 25.99% based on your credit worthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee $69 Annual Fee.
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening. After that, (and for balance transfers that do not post within 45 days of account opening) your APR will be 16.99% or 25.99% based on your credit worthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

With its generous sign-up bonus and no annual fee for the first year, there’s little doubt you’ll get a ton of value out of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard. You can earn 2 miles per dollar spent, which goes a longer way on Frontier than more expensive airlines like Delta or United.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Card Details
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles.  You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise.  This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.

Expedia®+ Voyager Card from Citi
Card Details
  • Earn 25,000 Expedia+ bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening*
  • Points redeemable for $350 towards your stay at a +VIP Access™ hotel
  • 4 Expedia+ bonus points per $1 spent on eligible Expedia purchases including flights, hotels, activities and travel packages*
  • 2 Expedia+ bonus points per $1 spent on dining out and entertainment*
  • 1 Expedia+ bonus point per $1 spent on other purchases*
  • Enjoy Expedia+ gold status each year of cardmembership*
  • $100 Annual Air Travel Fee Statement Credit can be used toward airline incidentals or for either the Global Entry or the TSA Pre √® application fees*
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.99% - 22.99%* (Variable)
Annual Fee $95*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

For those who enjoy a challenge, the Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi offers some of the best points values available from a travel rewards credit card. But this isn’t a card that allows minimum effort, as calculating your redemption options can be complicated.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.