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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 $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $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
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.
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.
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:
West Coast flights to Hawaii: Minimum miles required
Central flights to Hawaii: Minimum miles required
East Coast flights to Hawaii: Minimum miles required
There are a couple of other key ways that you can redeem Hawaiian miles:
In addition to providing Hawaiian Airlines miles, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® comes with several other benefits.
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:
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.
Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® vs. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Much larger flight network, plus a yearlong companion pass
The welcome offer for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card lets you Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 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.
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 offer and a better earning rate: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 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.
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 $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $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.