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.


  1. Can the miles be carried over from one year to the next?

  2. “Cardmembers get a complimentary first checked bag when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.”

    I wonder does just having the card get you a free checked bag even if you purchase the tickets with another credit card or use award miles for a ticket? For example, I get a free checked bag on Delta just for have a AMEX skymiles card even the ticket is purchased using another card.

  3. So I got the card. Then I go to the Hawaiian Air website to check availability. There are virtually no flights available in 2014 at the lowest mileage level, save for 2 or 3 undesirable dates in November. Honestly, I think Delta laughs at these guys. So much for fulfilling your dreams of a trip to Hawaii.

    Perhaps the card has created an undue demand for seats, but I think it’s irresponsible of the airline and the bank to so heavily promote a mileage card when it is next to impossible to redeem the miles.

    • Johnny Jet Johnny Jet says:

      Where do you live? Here’s a helpful guide on award availability

      • Anonymous says:

        New York. And The Points Guy put it best when he said “Hawaiian operates one daily nonstop on this route, aboard the A330. Be advised that award availability for this itinerary at anything below 30,000 HawaiianMiles per segment seems to be extremely limited.” And if a mileage guru of his stature can’t find seats, no one can! True, there is a bit more availability out of their West Coast gateways, but that adds another $350-400 for the connecting flight.

        My original comment stands. Their availability is generally poor — more like Delta than American or United. I think they should “liberate” a few more seats if they want to run with this promotion.

  4. Other than the Hawaiian card, what other credit cards which you use don’t charge a foreign transaction fee.

    • Johnny Jet Johnny Jet says:

      There’s a bunch of them but this is my go to card for int’l travel since it has an EMV chip

      • Just got back from Mazatlan, Mexico after six weeks. In the entire six weeks I was able to use my Hawaiian card exactly 4 times. Was declined everywhere from the grocery store to cash machines. I did get money out at a bank machine but was charged $10.00 for that service. Chase is the way to go. I am so disappointed with this card. Thank god my brother-in-law was my “bank”. Or I would have been totally screwed!!!

    • I use a Chase Sapphire Preferred card that does not charge international transaction fees. It also is a chip & sign. It doesn’t always guarantee that you can use it in Europe. It didn’t happen very often but they wouldn’t accept it in a train stations (even at the counter) & a grocery store. But it worked great 99.5% of the time. Chip & pin might make it to the US someday… They give double points for travel & dining charges. 40,000 bonus points at sign-up. If you buy travel through them you get a 20% discount although I haven’t tried that yet.

  5. Mchael Kelly says:

    When I read wonderful articles like this, I realize how badly we in Europe are treated by credit card companies, with little or no airline cards available to those of us who live in Ireland


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