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Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®: Is It Worth Getting?

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®
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Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®: Is It Worth Getting?

Top pick if you're planning a trip to the islands.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0
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Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

4.0/5.0

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

The information related to the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a high-value rewards card for travelers who frequently fly aboard Hawaiian Airlines. The card gives you:

  • 3 HawaiianMiles for every dollar spent on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • 2 HawaiianMiles for every dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases
  • 1 HawaiianMile for every dollar spent elsewhere

On top of the regular rewards perks, this card has special offers and introductory bonuses galore.

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® Review: A card for Hawaiian Airlines loyalists with a generous miles bonus

Miles earned from using the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® can be redeemed for Hawaiian Airlines flights. Don't worry if you want to use miles to visit places other than Hawaii — the airline has routes throughout North America, Asia and the South Pacific.

You can also redeem miles for Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car gift cards, or transfer points to the Hilton Honors program and Points.com. Cardholders can transfer miles earned to family and friends without a fee and even get access to discounted flights through their HawaiianMiles account at hawaiianairlines.com.

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® does have a $0 intro annual fee first year, then $99 annual fee, which isn't unusual for a travel rewards card. But for a card with an annual fee to be cost-effective, you have to make sure the financial benefit you're gaining from redeeming miles covers the fee.

Generous introductory bonus

If you spend $2,000 within the first 90 days of having the card, you'll earn 60,000 bonus miles. It may take up to eight weeks for the bonus to appear in your program rewards account. Keep this in mind if you plan to use the miles for an upcoming trip.

The 60,000-mile sign-up bonus may be enough to pay for round-trip travel in the main cabin or a one-way trip in first class. A one-way travel reward from the East Coast to Hawaii costs as little as 30,000 in the main cabin, while a first-class ticket from the West Coast to Hawaii costs around 40,000 miles one way. Check out the full Hawaiian Airlines rewards chart here.

Free checked bag on the first flight

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® cardholders get a fee waiver for their first checked bag. This offer is not available for codeshare flights from airline partners. You must be flying on Hawaiian Airlines between North America and Hawaii or among Hawaii's islands to take advantage of this offer.

Checked bags typically cost $25 if you're flying from Hawaii to a neighboring island or $30 if you're traveling to North America. Checked bags on international flights and first class are always free.

Companion discounts

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® gives new cardholders a one-time 50% discount on one round-trip companion flight. The offer is valid for 13 months from account opening, and the companion fare must be used for travel between Hawaii and North America.

Codeshare flights with partners are not eligible for the companion discount. The companion flight must be booked with your Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, and you must join the companion passenger on the same flight.

After using the one-time 50% discount, you can look forward to another companion offer each year. The card provides a $100 discount off of a companion fare on each account anniversary.

No foreign transaction fee and $0 fraud liability protection

The card has no foreign transaction fee, which is good news for avid international travelers. You won't have to worry about paying 1% to 3% — the typical foreign transaction fee — each time you swipe the card abroad. There's also $0 fraud liability protection, which means you're not held responsible for unauthorized card transactions if your card is lost or stolen.

HawaiianMiles expire if there's no account activity

Your miles will stay active as long as you use your credit card account. But your miles will expire if there's no activity on your Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® for 18 months, so be sure to use your account every few months to avoid losing your miles.

ValuePenguin's verdict: Best for frequent Hawaii travelers

It's a no-brainer here: The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a card that's best for people who are trying to get to Hawaii and other locations that Hawaiian Airlines serves.

The introductory 60,000-mile sign-up bonus (earned by spending $2,000 within first 90 days of account opening) should be good enough to get you at least a one-way ticket to Hawaii if space is available. As for mile value, a sample flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii costs $438 or 50,000 miles round trip, giving your miles a value of about 0.88 cent per dollar. (The value of your miles can change depending on the price of the flight and the miles required to book.)

Booking an example flight
Example flight
Screenshots taken from the Hawaiian Airlines website, September 2019.

Miles are worth about 0.5 to 0.6 cent per dollar when you redeem them for car rental or hotel gift certificates. You get 1.5 Hilton Honors points per mile if you transfer your Hawaiian miles to the Hilton Honors program. The value of your miles varies when you exchange them through Points.com.

If you don't plan to use Hawaiian Airlines often, you may benefit more from a general travel rewards card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to frequent-flyer programs, and points redeemed for travel carry 25% more value than cash redemptions. We'll cover this card in detail below.

Alternatives to the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a decent card if you use the airline often. If not, these are some alternatives that give you a bit more flexibility:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card gives you 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else. The annual fee is $95.

The introductory bonus is 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Each point is equal to 1 cent. However, points are worth 25% more (1.25 cents) when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. For example, the 60,000-point sign-up bonus equals $750 when redeemed for travel and $600 when redeemed for cash.

A major benefit of this card is that you can transfer your points to other frequent-flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio. There's no foreign transaction fee, and the card comes with $0 fraud liability protection, trip cancellation and baggage delay insurance.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One and is not part of our independent analysis.

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent, Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers you an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase and 10 miles per dollar on participating hotels booked through hotels.com/venture through January 2020. The introductory bonus is 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 within the first three months from account opening.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you more redemption options than what the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® has to offer. You can book travel first and then use miles to pay yourself back. Another option is to call the Rewards Center to book flights, car rentals and hotels. Each mile equals 1 cent, so a $200 car rental would cost 20,000 miles.

Miles can also be transferred to more than 10 travel partners. This card has $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, and there's no foreign transaction fee. The card comes with travel accident insurance and $0 fraud liability protection.

United℠ Explorer Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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United℠ Explorer Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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  • Limited time offer! Earn up to 65,000 Bonus Miles.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Limited time offer! Earn up to 65,000 Bonus Miles.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Fee
$0 for the first year, then $95
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Good
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The United℠ Explorer Card comes with a plethora of United Airlines perks. You get 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants, on hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel, and on United purchases including in-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi. All other purchases earn 1 mile per dollar spent.

The introductory bonus is 40,000 miles if you spend $2,000 within the first three months from account opening. Then you can earn an additional 25,000 miles if you spend $10,000 total within the first six months from account opening. Plus, you and a companion get your first checked bag fee waived. Each anniversary, you get two free one-time passes to the United Club airport lounge. You can use miles for upgrades, hotel stays and car rentals. You can even book flights with other partners in the Star Alliance™ using miles, which gives you more flight redemption options than what's available with the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®.

The United℠ Explorer Card has no annual fee for the first year, but it's $0 for the first year, then $95 for each year afterward. There's no foriegn transaction fee, and the card comes with travel and purchase coverage.

Comments and Questions

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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).