How to Travel to Hawaii Cheaply with the New Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

HBL_card_rCMY_WE_Voyager_BOH_MMGreat news! Hawaiian Airlines, with MasterCard, Barclaycard US and Bank of Hawaii, recently announced the official launch of their new Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, and I attended their press conference in Honolulu to learn all about this exciting card.

In short, this credit card is a great option for those who have always dreamed of visiting Hawaii, those who only care about going to Hawaii or those that are loyal Hawaiian Airlines frequent fliers.

Here are 10 reasons why the new Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard is worth getting:

1. 35,000 bonus miles
You’ll earn 35,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. That’s enough for a free roundtrip coach ticket from North America. Normally, trips are 40,000 miles but Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard cardholders get 5,000 miles off roundtrip fares from North America.

2. 50% off a companion discount
You will receive a one-time 50% off a companion discount on roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines. This is another great way to offset the $89 annual fee because coach tickets between the mainland and Hawaii run between $350 and $800 depending on where you are traveling from.

3. Complimentary first checked bag
Cardmembers get a complimentary first checked bag when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines. If you’re flying domestically, it’s a savings of $25 each flight and $50 each roundtrip.

4. $100 off a companion ticket
You’ll get $100 off a companion ticket for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines at each account anniversary…gotta love that.

5. Earn 2X miles
Earn 2X miles on direct purchases from Hawaiian Airlines and 1X miles on all other purchases.

6. No foreign transaction fees
Having no foreign transaction fees when you travel internationally saves you between 1% and 3% so that’s a great savings. When I travel internationally, I never use a card that charges foreign transaction fees. It’s just throwing money away.

7. It has a chip
The Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard comes with Chip+Signature with pin capability which makes traveling internationally so much easier. I once couldn’t buy a train ticket in Denmark using the ticket machine because my credit card didn’t have a chip so I had to stand in a long line to have the teller swipe my card. Luckily, the train was late so I made it. The good news is that the United States is finally seeing the light and realizing credit cards with chips are so much more secure than magnetic strips. This article is a good read on that.

Good to know: The chips are sometime referred as EMV and it stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. It’s a technical standard designed to ensure that microchip-embedded payment cards are work with the terminals of merchants who accept them.

8. Earn 5,000 annual bonus miles
Cardholders earn 5,000 annual bonus miles after $10,000 in annual spend. That’s not very difficult to do if you set up all your bills (i.e. phone, cable, insurance…) to charge to your credit card and not go directly from your bank account. That’s what I do with my cards so that I earn points. The key, though, is to monitor the charges and to make sure you pay off the balances in full each month.

9. Earn up to 10X miles at select Hawaiian Airlines partners
If you shop at select HawaiianMiles partners using your New Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, you can earn up to 10 HawaiianMiles per dollar spent. Click here to find participating partners.

10. It benefits the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage
For every new credit card activated between now and May 31, 2014 (my birthday!), the companies announced that they will make a donation to the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage—up to a total of $100,000. I got to tour Mālama Honua, which means “care for the earth,” and it’s a remarkable four-year, 47,000-nautical-mile journey around the world by the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a. The crew are all volunteers; the boat is powered only by the wind and they use the stars as their compass. It’s based on the culture of ancient Polynesian navigators, the Hokule’a aims to inspire a global movement to care for and protect our earth’s natural and cultural resources. Here’s more information.

Here’s more information on the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard (including the $89 annual fee) and how to apply.

Good to know:

  • For those who already have the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines card, they will be automatically sending you the new card sometime in April. Unfortunately, you will not be getting the 35,000 sign-up bonus unless you apply as a new applicant. But the good news is that Barclaycard will reimburse all foreign transaction and baggage fees accrued from January 1, 2014.
  • That said, as always: Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT get a travel rewards credit card if you can’t pay off your entire bill each month. It’s not worth it if you can’t pay them off quickly as these credit cards come with high APRs. But if you can, it’s a fantastic way to travel for cheap.
  • Please note that has financial relationships with some of the merchants mentioned here. may be compensated if consumers choose to utilize the links located throughout the content on this site and generate sales for the said merchant.

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