Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®: Is It Worth Its $89 Annual Fee?

Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®: Is It Worth Its $89 Annual Fee?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Businesses looking to earn free flights with Hawaiian Airlines should pass on the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®. Lackluster rewards paired with low value and few transfer options make this card a poor choice, even without considering its high annual fee of $89. Most businesses are better off going with other travel cards like the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card or the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®

The low rewards rate and general lack of benefits on the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® make it difficult to recommend, especially over other travel cards. Usually co-branded airline cards offer excellent value for making purchases with the airline they're associated with. However, even the most loyal Hawaiian Airlines travelers get poor value with the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®, as they will only get a 2% return on Hawaiian Airlines purchases. There are many small business credit cards that will net you more rewards on these types of purchases.

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® features few other benefits outside of earning miles, putting it at a disadvantage compared to other co-branded airline cards. These often include perks that save cardholders time and money when traveling. An example of a card that does this well is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, which features free checked bags and priority boarding. By contrast, the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®—apart from the one-time 50% off companion fare—does little outside of earning miles.

Bottom Line:

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® is not a good airline card, and your business definitely has better options. Instead, we recommend either the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card or the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, which come at a similar price point but are far more valuable.

Benefits and Features

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® lets your business earn miles for making purchases at a rate of 3X HawaiianMiles for every $1 spent on eligible purchases made directly from Hawaiian Airlines; 2X HawaiianMiles for every $1 spent on gas, dining and office supply store purchases and 1 HawaiianMile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Additionally, new cardmembers can receive 60,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, and an additional 10,000 miles after a purchase is made on an employee card. Judging from our valuation of HawaiianMiles—at 1 cent each—we estimate this to be worth $400, which is a substantial bonus for very little required spending.

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® also offers bonus spending miles for businesses that can meet the required yearly spending thresholds. For making $50,000 or more in purchases within a cardmember year, businesses earn 20,000 bonus miles. For $100,000 or more, cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles.

Companion Fare

Businesses that are approved for the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® can also qualify for a one-time 50% off companion discount redeemable for a round-trip coach ticket between Hawaii and other cities in North America. Since this is only a short-term benefit, we don't recommend getting the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® for this benefit alone. To receive the discount, the itinerary must must include a flight for the main account holder and one companion, and it must be purchased with the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®.

Redeeming Miles

Hawaiian Airlines miles can be redeemed for flights serviced by Hawaiian Airlines and its travel partners, which include JetBlue, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. Although the value of your miles will vary depending on when and how they are redeemed, we found that—on average—HawaiianMiles are worth around 1 cent each.

Class
Origin
Destination (Hawaiian Island)
Mile Value
First ClassLos VegasHonolulu (O'ahu)1.3 cents
CoachPortlandHonolulu (O'ahu)1.3 cents
First ClassNew YorkKahului (Maui)1.3 cents
First ClassPortlandKona (Hawaiʻi)1.2 cents
First ClassSan FranciscoHonolulu (O'ahu)1.2 cents
CoachSan FranciscoHonolulu (O'ahu)1.1 cents
CoachPhoenixLihue (Kauai)1 cent
First ClassPortlandHonolulu (O'ahu)1 cent
CoachNew YorkKahului (Maui)0.8 cent
CoachLos AngelesKahului (Maui)0.8 cent
CoachLas VegasHonolulu (O'ahu)0.8 cent
First ClassLos AngelesKahului (Maui)0.7 cent
Show All Rows
{"alignsHorizontal":["left","left","left","right"],"alignsVertical":[],"columnWidths":[],"data":[["Class","Origin","Destination (Hawaiian Island)","Mile Value"],["First Class","Los Vegas","Honolulu (O'ahu)","1.3 cents"],["Coach","Portland","Honolulu (O'ahu)","1.3 cents"],["First Class","New York","Kahului (Maui)","1.3 cents"],["First Class","Portland","Kona (Hawai\u02bbi)","1.2 cents"],["First Class","San Francisco","Honolulu (O'ahu)","1.2 cents"],["Coach","San Francisco","Honolulu (O'ahu)","1.1 cents"],["Coach","Phoenix","Lihue (Kauai)","1 cent"],["First Class","Portland","Honolulu (O'ahu)","1 cent"],["Coach","New York","Kahului (Maui)","0.8 cent"],["Coach","Los Angeles","Kahului (Maui)","0.8 cent"],["Coach","Las Vegas","Honolulu (O'ahu)","0.8 cent"],["First Class","Los Angeles","Kahului (Maui)","0.7 cent"],["","","\u003Cstrong\u003EAverage:\u003C\/strong\u003E","\u003Cstrong\u003E1 cent\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E"]],"footnote":"","hasMarginBottom":true,"isExpandable":true,"isSortable":false,"maxWidth":"1215","minWidth":"100%","showSearch":false,"sortColumnIndex":0,"sortDirection":"asc"}

Businesses can also transfer HawaiianMiles to the Hilton Honors program, where they can be redeemed for hotel stays. The transfer ratio, however, is 1 mile to 1.5 Hilton Honors points. Since we value the Hilton Honors points at only 0.5 cent each, you will take a 25% loss in value by making this transfer.

HawaiianMiles Marketplace

Businesses that make purchases with their cards through the HawaiianMiles Marketplace also have the opportunity to earn additional miles—ranging from 2 to 10 extra miles—with every purchase with participating merchants, many of which are local to the Hawaiian islands. While this can be a decent way to earn extra miles, it is not a feature unique to the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®, as HawaiianMiles members are able to register other Visa and American Express cards with their accounts and receive the same benefit.

How Does the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® Compare to Other Credit Cards?

We always recommend you shop around when looking for a credit card for your business. Below, we've compared the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® to some other travel business credit cards currently available.

Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® vs Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card is better than the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® for earning free flights. Cardholders earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines purchases, 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Alaska miles are more valuable than HawaiianMiles by our estimate.

In addition to better rewards, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card also features a number of carrier-specific perks that add value, including an annual companion fare and free checked bags for cardholders and up to six guests on the same itinerary. It's also worth noting that Alaska Airlines flies to Kauai, Kona, Maui and Oahu. So if you're interested in free flights to Hawaii, the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card is a perfectly viable option.

Highlights:

Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® vs Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is our favorite small-business card because of its excellent rewards for everyday business expenditures. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card lets you Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.. The card's 3X earning rate equates to a 3.75% rewards rate when redeemed for travel. Your business would only need to spend a modest $343 per year on airline tickets with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to make up for its slightly more expensive annual fee compared to the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®. Furthermore, points earned with Chase Ultimate Rewards points this card earns are extremely versatile, with a number of valuable redemption options—as opposed to the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®'s miles, which are best redeemed for Hawaiian Airlines flights.

Highlights:

  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Review

Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® vs Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

Though it is slightly more expensive, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card's more valuable miles program makes it our choice over the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card earns Delta SkyMiles, which we value at 1.3 cents each when redeemed for flights. Not only is this 30% greater than our valuation of HawaiianMiles, but Delta SkyMiles—through its membership in the SkyTeam Airline Alliance—can be used with 19 other airlines, including Air France, AeroMexico and KLM.

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card also includes many carrier-specific benefits that the Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® is missing. These include free checked bags and priority boarding. Although these aren't necessarily make-or-break features, they are definitely nice to have.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 Miles on every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, on every dollar spent on eligible U.S. shipping purchases, on every eligible dollar spent on dining at restaurants. Earn 1 Mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
  • Earn 70,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card Review

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, please click here.

The information related to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Bailey is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, covering insurance. He graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. Bailey's analysis of the insurance industry and driver behaviors has been featured by CNBC, the Houston Chronicle and the National Transportation Bureau Safety Board.

These responses 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.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).