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

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

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.

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a great option if you regularly travel to Hawaii or other destinations served by Hawaiian Airlines, especially for the first year.

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Quick facts:

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 70,000 Bonus HawaiianMiles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Rewards: Earn 3X miles on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases, 2x miles on gas, dining and grocery store purchases & 1X miles on all other purchases.
  • Companion pass: $100 annual Companion Fare discount + one-time 50% off Companion Fare award
  • Foreign transaction fees: 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $99

Pros

  • Ability to earn 70,000 bonus Hawaiian miles as a welcome offer
  • 3 miles per dollar on Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • 2 miles per dollar on gas, dining and eligible grocery store purchases
  • 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars foreign transaction fees
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags
  • Discounts on fares between Hawaii and North America

Cons

  • $99 annual fee
  • Hawaiian Airlines miles not as useful as other airline miles unless you want to go to Hawaii
  • Only 1 mile per dollar earning on most purchases
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Is the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® worth it?

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a worthwhile option for cardholders who travel frequently to Hawaii. The card earns Hawaiian Airlines miles, which are primarily useful for Hawaiian Airlines flights between Hawaii and the continental United States. The initial welcome offer is enough miles for one or two round-trip tickets to Hawaii, depending on how much you spend, where you're flying from and when you want to go.

After the first year, you'll need to regularly fly Hawaiian Airlines to recoup enough value to make the $99 annual fee worth it.

In the following sections, we'll walk you through the details of earning and redeeming miles with the Hawaiian Airlines Mastercard to help you decide if it’s worth it for you.

Earn 70,000 bonus miles

With the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, Earn 70,000 Bonus HawaiianMiles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days

Flights from the U.S. West Coast start as low as 17,500 Hawaiian miles one-way in economy, for Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® cardholders or those with elite status. So with a little extra spending on your card, you could get two round-trip tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines charges more for flights from the East Coast and Central regions of the United States. From the East Coast to Hawaii, fares start at 30,000 miles one-way in economy — still, that should be enough for one round-trip ticket from the East Coast to Hawaii. This 70,000-mile welcome offer is comparable to those of other airline cards, though Hawaiian miles have less flexibility than miles on many other airlines, unless you're flying to Hawaii.

How easy are these miles to redeem? Read our redeeming miles section below

Earn 3X miles on Hawaiian Airlines purchases

Like many other credit cards, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® has a tiered earning structure.

You can Earn 3X miles on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases, 2x miles on gas, dining and grocery store purchases & 1X miles on all other purchases.

This earning structure is comparable to other airline co-branded credit cards, which often have a similar breakdown of categories. Having said that, depending on what other credit cards you have, you may be able to find other cards that give a better return for your spending.

  • For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card gives 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases An Ultimate Rewards point will generally be worth more than a Hawaiian Airlines mile.
  • You may also get a better return by putting your other spending on a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

Redeeming miles

The most common use for Hawaiian Miles is flights to or from Hawaii from the continental United States. A flight to Hawaii can cost as little as 17,500 miles or as much as 130,000 miles, depending on seating class, dates and where the flight originates from.

Hawaiian Airlines has an award chart that’s broken down by region, and there are three different award charts for the West Coast, East Coast and everything in between. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Shorter flights from California and other locations on the West Coast will cost fewer miles than flights from further away.
  • Award availability is another major factor. Rather than blacking out certain dates for award flights, Hawaiian charges more during periods of higher travel. So a flight from California to Hawaii might cost 20,000 miles for most off-peak dates, but 40,000, 50,000 or more miles during peak travel periods like over Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Hawaiian Airlines elite members and those who hold the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® also have access to discounted awards.

West Coast flights to Hawaii: Minimum miles required

Award Amount
Discounted Award Amount
Main Cabin 120,00017,500
First Class 140,000N/A

Central flights to Hawaii: Minimum miles required

Award Amount
Discounted Award Amount
Main Cabin 125,00022,000
First Class 140,000N/A

East Coast flights to Hawaii: Minimum miles required

Award Amount
Discounted Award Amount
Main Cabin 130,00026,250
First Class 140,000N/A

There are a couple of other key ways that you can redeem Hawaiian miles:

  • Inter-island flights: Hawaiian charges 7,500 miles one-way for inter-island flights. While these flights between Hawaiian locations like Honolulu, Hilo, Kahului or Maui are short, they can often be expensive as well. Check the mileage prices to see if using miles may be a better option.
  • Oceania flights: Hawaiian also flies to Japan, South Korea and various locations in Oceania. It's as little as 40,000 miles one-way to Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand in economy class, and 2,500 miles to Pago Pago and Papeete (the capitals of American Samoa and French Polynesia, respectively). Hawaiian also partners with Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and JetBlue, so you can use Hawaiian Airlines miles to fly on these airlines as well.

Other benefits

In addition to providing Hawaiian Airlines miles, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® comes with several other benefits.

Cardholders can take advantage of a one-time 50%-off companion discount for round-trip travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines. The certificate appears as a discounted award when you log in to your Hawaiian Airlines account online. It’s good for 13 months after the card is issued and applies to the base fare amount only. (You'll still have to pay full taxes and fees.)

Each year, you'll also get a $100 discount that can be used when traveling with a companion between Hawaii and North America. The $100 discount is good on a published round-trip coach fare between Hawaii and North America that’s booked directly through the cardholder’s account. You can also redeem this offer through your online Hawaiian Airlines account.

Primary cardholders of the Hawaiian Airlines card will get one free checked bag on most Hawaiian Airlines flights. Authorized users are not eligible for this benefit, and neither are other passengers traveling with the cardholder. The baggage fee waiver is only applicable on flights between Hawaii and the continental United States, as well as intra-island flights. International flights are not eligible for the baggage fee waiver.

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees, which makes it a great card to use when traveling overseas. You can choose to be billed in the currency of the country where you’re traveling without being charged any extra fees.

If you're a Pualani Gold or Pualani Platinum HawaiianMiles member, you can get up to $100 each year towards in-flight purchases on Hawaiian Airlines. You must pay for the purchase with your Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, and you're limited to $10 per day towards qualified purchases. Examples of qualified purchases are onboard entertainment, beverages and premium meals, but not duty-free purchases, seat upgrades or upgrades to a premium cabin.

Drawbacks

Though a solid choice for flights to Hawaii, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® comes with some drawbacks that might lead some travelers to opt for a general travel rewards card:

  • $99 annual fee: The card charges an annual fee starting in the first year. You should be sure that you're likely to get enough value from the benefits each year to justify the fee before you apply.
  • Rewards are mostly limited to flights to Hawaii: Though you have a few other ways to redeem miles, your flight options are mostly useful on flights to and from Hawaii. Unless you fly to Hawaii on a yearly basis, the card won't make much sense.

How does the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® compare to other cards?

Here is how the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® compares to other similar credit cards:

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® vs. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Similar perks with more flight options

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers similar benefits to the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, but has slightly better perks. The welcome bonus is similar, though the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card requires more spending to get the full welcome bonus. However, Alaska Airlines miles are generally more useful, since Alaska partners with more airlines as a member of the oneworld airline alliance. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card also offers a companion fare each year and the free checked bag benefit is good for up to six people traveling with you on the same ticket.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: $75
  • Welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus miles with this special offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Other benefits: You'll also get a Companion Fare each year and free checked bags on Alaska Airlines flights for you and up to six people traveling with you

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Much larger flight network, plus a yearlong companion pass

  • On Chase's Secure Website

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has a welcome bonus that can earn you 40,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which is slightly lower than the bonus on the Hawaiian Airlines credit card. You won't get a companion fare with the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, but the points you earn will help you qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass (including those from your bonus). You'll also get 6,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points each year on your anniversary. Plus, you can use all these points toward flights throughout the United States (and a few other countries), including Hawaii.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining purchases for the first year.
  • Other benefits: 6,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points each year on your anniversary. Points count towards earning the Southwest Companion Pass.

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® vs. American Express® Gold Card

A great option if you don't want to be limited to one airline

The American Express® Gold Card is another card that’s great for travel. It has a much higher welcome bonus and a better earning rate: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply. It does come with a much higher $250 annual fee, though this fee can be partially offset by its Uber Cash benefit and dining credit (enrollment required).

The card's Membership Rewards points are extremely valuable, since you transfer them to over 20 hotel and airline loyalty programs, including Hawaiian Airlines. All in all, it's the superior option for cardholders who want more flexibility in their travel.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: $250
  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Other benefits: Up to $120 in Uber Cash ($10 monthly) toward Uber rides and eats when you add your card to the Uber app, up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly, enrollment required)

Should you apply for the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®?

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® can definitely be worth it for people who regularly travel to Hawaii or other destinations served by Hawaiian Airlines. For the first year especially, earning the introductory bonus miles will definitely be worth the $99 annual fee that you'll pay.

After the first year, however, you'll want to take a close look at the benefits you're getting with the card and decide if you might be better off with another airline credit card.

Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® FAQs

Does the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® have travel insurance?

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® doesn't offer any sort of travel insurance. If you're looking for a card that offers travel protections for missed connections, lost baggage or trip delays, you’ll want to use a different credit card.

How do you link the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® to your account?

When you sign up for the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, you'll enter your Hawaiian Airlines member number on the application itself. If you don't have an existing Hawaiian Airlines account, you'll be provided with one.

What bank is the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® issued by?

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is issued by Barclays Bank Delaware, commonly referred to as Barclays. It’s a World Elite Mastercard, so it can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted around the world.

How do you cancel the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®?

To cancel your Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, simply call the customer service number on the back of your credit card. Any Hawaiian Airlines miles that you've earned will remain in your Hawaiian Airlines account, though you'll lose any unused fare discounts.

Does the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® cover rental car insurance?

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® doesn't offer rental car insurance. If you’re renting a car, you'll want to pay with a card that does offer rental car insurance, take the insurance from the rental car company or use your personal car insurance.

Does Hawaiian Airlines have a credit card app?

There isn’t a separate mobile app for the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, other than the general app offered by its issuer, Barclays. However, you can access your Hawaiian Airlines account information online.

How do I pay my Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®?

The easiest way to pay your Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is by accessing your account online. There you can make a one-time payment or set up recurring monthly payments as well.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

The information related to Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

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).