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The global coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of frustrated travelers. To cope with their unsatisfied wanderlust, many are banishing from their minds all thoughts of escaping to a tropical paradise like Hawaii.
But if you have the ability, now is the time to get hyper-focused on earning the miles you’ll need for an award flight to the Aloha State. After all, earning points and miles takes time, so you should think about how to use this travel downtime to its fullest.
That’s why now could be the ideal time to look at the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, which will help you make the most of this travel lull by working toward a future trip. Here are six reasons you should consider applying for this card right now.
1. Attractive welcome bonus
Here’s the current bonus you can get with this card: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.. That’s more than enough for a round-trip ticket to the islands from any of 11 cities in the western U.S., and close to what you’ll need for a nonstop round-trip from New York or Boston.
Many travel rewards credit cards require you to charge up to $4,000 in the first three months to earn a welcome bonus. With this card’s relatively low minimum spend, it’s easier to pay off your credit card balance in full every month before interest charges start eating away at your bottom line.
A round-trip off-peak award seat to Hawaii from a western city like Seattle or Phoenix starts at 35,000 miles. Interisland flights start at 7,500 HawaiianMiles. Time your vacation right and you can fly to three Hawaiian islands for next to no cash. From New York or Boston, nonstop award flights start at 52,500 HawaiianMiles round-trip.
Remember that you can book two one-way tickets instead of a single round-trip. So if you or your travel companion have miles with another airline, you can fly Hawaiian one direction and a different airline the other.
2. Earn HawaiianMiles through everyday spending
Every time you use this card, you’ll earn miles redeemable for travel to Hawaii, Asia, the South Pacific and beyond. Purchases made directly with Hawaiian Airlines using the card earn 3 HawaiianMiles per dollar. Use this card at the grocery store, gas stations and restaurants and you’ll get 2 miles per dollar. All other spending earns 1 mile per dollar.
» Learn more: Why I love my Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®
3. Get 50% off a companion fare the first year, and $100 off every year after
On top of your welcome bonus miles, you also get a one-time certificate for 50% off a round-trip companion fare from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii. This certificate expires in 13 months.
Unless you can take two Hawaii trips in the first 13 months of card membership, this is an incentive to let your miles continue to accumulate while you cash in that half-off certificate. Then, every year on your card anniversary, you get a $100 discount on a companion fare. Like the 50%-off certificate, the $100-off certificate is for a round-trip ticket to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland.
4. No fee to share miles with another Hawaiian Airlines traveler
If you want to share miles with a friend or travel companion, many airlines charge fees that can run into the hundreds of dollars. If you have the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, miles transfers are free, letting you transfer miles to or from your account to a partner, a travel companion or just a friend who could use some gift miles. The other person does not need to be a cardmember. As long as you’re a cardmember in good standing, you can send or receive miles with any other HawaiianMiles member without paying a fee.
5. Two free checked bags
Unfortunately, this perk applies only to you, the cardmember, and not companions traveling with you. But you’re still saving up to $140 on bag fees for a round-trip flight between Hawaii and the mainland, which goes a long way toward offsetting the card’s $99 annual fee. Tickets must be purchased directly from Hawaiian Airlines and your flight must be between Hawaii and the mainland or between islands in Hawaii to take advantage of this benefit.
6. No foreign transaction fees
A lot of credit cards will slap a fee on every purchase you make in a foreign country. Often, these fees are around 3%. That can add up to a lot of wasted money. More and more, credit card issuers are realizing they can win over new cardmembers by charging 0% in foreign transaction fees. So never charge purchases abroad unless you’re using a card that, like the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, charges no foreign transaction fees.
The bottom line
With a nice welcome bonus, a reasonable annual fee and opportunities to earn points on everyday spending, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a great way to bank the miles you need to get to Hawaii or beyond.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to Hawaii, the good news is that HawaiianMiles are redeemable with five partner airlines: China Airlines, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air and Virgin Atlantic. So if your dreams have changed by the time you’re ready to travel again, the HawaiianMiles you accrue with this card can take you anywhere Hawaiian’s partner airlines fly.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card