Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® review

A woman looks out at the dramatic, time-worn landscape at Kalalau Lookout on Kauai, Hawaiian Islands Image:

In a Nutshell

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® offers a lot of value to people who visit Hawaii at least once a year. It also comes with a big sign-up bonus in the first year, solid rewards for everyday purchases and attractive travel perks like an annual companion discount. But the $0 intro, $99 after first year annual fee and limited rewards program make it valuable only for certain travelers.

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These offers are no longer available on our site: Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Pros Cons
Good sign-up bonus $0 intro, $99 after first year annual fee
Annual companion discount Limited travel rewards
Share miles with family and friends up to 10 times a year at no additional cost

 

From our partner


Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®: Solid value for frequent visitors to the Aloha State — but average for everyone else

This airline credit card offers hefty perks. But because you’ll pay a $0 intro, $99 after first year annual fee and the rewards program is heavily geared toward travel to Hawaii, the card is worthwhile only for certain travelers.

Sign-up bonus

New cardholders can earn a sign-up bonus of 60,000 HawaiianMiles after spending at least $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. If that’s a target you know you can hit without stretching your budget, the sign-up bonus miles could make the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® worthwhile for you.

Annual companion discounts

You’ll receive discounts for your travel buddy in two ways. First, you can get a one-time 50% discount toward a round-trip coach ticket between Hawaii and North America for a companion during the first 13 months the account is open.

You’ll also get a $100 discount off one coach companion ticket between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines after each account anniversary (the discount is good for 12 months from your account anniversary). If you can use the $100 discount on a companion ticket to Hawaii every year, you’ll just edge out the annual fee. 

Ongoing rewards

This credit card offers a fairly simple rewards program. You’ll earn …

  • Three miles per $1 spent on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases
  • Two miles per $1 spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
  • One mile per $1 spent everywhere else 

Annual fee

This card comes with an annual fee of $0 intro, $99 after first year, so you’ll have to do the math to make sure you come out ahead. The annual discount on a companion flight to Hawaii is enough to cancel out this fee, but only if it’s a trip you’ll consistently take.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re not just breaking even. Calculate how much you typically spend on Hawaiian Airlines, gasoline, groceries and dining-out purchases, plus general spending, to estimate how many points you’d likely earn each year.

What else you need to know

  • With the card’s Share Miles program, you can share unlimited HawaiianMiles with friends and family (as long as they’re HawaiianMiles account holders) up to 10 times per calendar year.
  • Primary cardholders get their first checked bag free, but only on Hawaiian Airlines flights between North America and Hawaii and between neighbor islands.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees.

Understanding your points and redemption options

You can redeem miles for Hawaiian Airlines flights (with no blackout dates), hotel stays, car rentals with Avis or Budget, charity donations, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and gift cards. There’s no cash back rewards option. You’ll likely get the best value out of your miles if you stick to using them to fly Hawaiian Airlines — but you’ll need to know whether the airline caters to your frequent destinations.

Hawaiian Airlines offers nonstop flights to Hawaii from 13 U.S. cities, along with nonstop flights from Hawaii to American Samoa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Tahiti. Flight awards start at 7,500 miles for one-way flights between the Hawaiian Islands and 20,000 miles between Hawaii and the West Coast. The value of the miles you earn will depend on how you redeem them.

Hawaiian Airlines isn’t part of the three main airline alliances, which limits your transfer options. But you can transfer miles to the following partner airlines:

  • China Airlines Dynasty Flyer Program
  • Japan Airlines’ Mileage Bank
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Korean Airlines Skypass
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer

Check what your HawaiianMiles are worth on other airlines and whether there are any flight restrictions before you transfer them. This will help ensure you’re getting good value for your miles.

Who this card is good for

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a great card if you’ll travel from North America to Hawaii at least once a year with a companion. You’ll also get bonus points in popular spending categories, which can help you maximize the card’s value. But if you don’t often visit the islands, a general travel credit card or different airline card may be a better fit for you.

Not sure this card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.