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The Hawaiian Airlines Business MasterCard: Say Aloha to Saving on Business Travel

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If running your small business means a lot of air travel, you’re probably looking for a credit card that will reward you for making so many trips. This is especially true if your company is based in Hawaii or you do a lot of business there, since flying is the best way to move between islands. If this sounds familiar, the Nerds are excited to recommend the The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®.

This card, jointly issued by Barclaycard and the Bank of Hawaii, is the perfect way to say aloha to savings on business travel: You’ll earn double miles on flights booked through Hawaiian Airlines and one mile per dollar spent on other purchases. Plus, the card carries a hefty signup bonus, so you’ll be on your way to a free flight with your first purchase. Ready to learn more? Take a look at the details below.

At a glance
Annual fees $89
Foreign transaction fee None
Rewards program HawaiianMiles — earn 2X miles on direct qualified purchases from Hawaiian Airlines and 1X miles on all other purchases
Signup bonus 35,000 Hawaiian Airlines Miles Bonus after first purchase
Verdict: If your business is located in Hawaii or you travel there often for work, this card is a good pick
Good for:
  • Someone whose business is located in Hawaii or travels to Hawaii frequently for work
  • Someone who travels internationally on business
  • Someone who wants to provide a special reward for their employees (see below)
Bad for:
  • Someone who doesn’t travel to Hawaii frequently for business
  • Someone who wants the flexibility of a cash-back rewards program

In this article:

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®: The basics
Where The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® shines
Opportunities to earn extra miles (and save big bucks) abound
Say mahalo for a job well done
Where The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® falls short
Should I consider The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®?

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®: The basics

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® offers a lot of great benefits:

  • Signup bonus: 35,000 Hawaiian Airlines Miles Bonus after first purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on direct qualified purchases from Hawaiian Airlines and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Earn additional miles based on annual spend – earn 20,000 miles with $50K-$99K annual spend or 40,000 miles with $100K or more in spend
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the United States
  • Earn up to 10X miles at select Hawaiian Airlines partners
  • ShareMiles allows cardmembers to receive miles from friends and family online at 
HawaiianAirlines.com
  • Chip-enabled card for added convenience when traveling abroad
  • No blackout dates
  • $89 annual fee

In addition, CEOs looking for a card to help business run more smoothly will be happy to know that the The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® offers:

  • Complimentary employee cards
  • The option to set controls on employee cards for credit lines, single purchase limits and cash access
  • Easy expense-tracking features so that you know where your business’s money is going

All in all, the The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® provides a lot of great benefits to island-hoppers.

Where the The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® shines

It’s hard to stand out in the business credit card market, but The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® has definitely found a way to shine. In addition to providing a lot of chances to save money and earn bonus miles (see below), the card has some other standout features. For instance:

Easy-to-earn signup bonus – Most credit cards (business and consumer) require you to spend a hefty sum within a certain amount of time to score a signup bonus. But with The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®, you’ll earn a big bonus just for making your first purchase with the card.

International travel features – If bouncing between Maui and Kauai for business is one of your responsibilities as CEO, The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® will earn you big rewards on your airline spending. But if work also takes you abroad, the card still has you covered: It carries no foreign transaction fee and comes chip-enabled. This goes to show that it was created with the business traveler in mind.

Flexible redemption options – In addition to redeeming your HawaiianMiles for seats on Hawaiian Airlines flights, you have other options for using your rewards. For example, you can redeem on a Hawaiian Airlines partner airline (including American Airlines, JetBlue and Virgin America) or you can use them with a participating ground partner. This provides a lot of flexibility for busy CEOs who want to save on whatever travel is on the horizon.

Opportunities to earn extra miles (and save big bucks) abound

As part of our mission to provide our readers with the most detailed information about the cards we cover, the Nerds reached out to Billy Pieper, a vice president of airline co-brands at Barclaycard US, to get some insider information about The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®. Since the card’s website is exceptionally clear, we didn’t have too many hardball questions for him. Our discussion mostly centered around how useful the card is for small business owners in Hawaii. In fact, Pieper said that The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® was “created with the small business owner in mind.” It’s easy to see what he means: Most small business owners are looking for ways to minimize costs and maximize earnings, both of which this card offers in spades. For example:

One-time 50% companion discount – If you and a co-worker need to make a trip between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian Airlines, you can save 50% off of her coach ticket booked with The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®. This one-time savings makes conducting business on the mainland that much more affordable.

Earn up to 40,000 annual bonus miles – Based on how much your business spends each year, you could rack up serious bonus HawaiianMiles toward your next trip. You’ll earn 20,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary with $50K-$99K in yearly spending, or 40,000 bonus miles with $100K or more spent per year. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Earn miles with participating partners — In addition to earning 2X miles on purchases made with Hawaiian Airlines, you could also rack up extra HawaiianMiles by reserving a hotel room, rental car or cruise with a participating partner. (Note: Not all partner bookings earn 2X miles, but  many do.) Just pay with The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® and you’ll be on your way to a free flight to the islands in no time!

Earn up to 10X miles by shopping with partners – Yet another way to earn extra HawaiianMiles is by shopping with participating Hawaiian Airlines partners with your The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®. This is an easy way to boost the card’s earning power if the partners are retailers you normally shop with.

Easily share miles with friends and family – With the Hawaiian Airlines ShareMiles program, you can transfer your miles to friends and family (or vice versa) at no cost. This is a good way to bank extra HawaiianMiles for a big business trip.

Say mahalo for a job well done

Up until now, you’ve probably been thinking that The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® is only a good option for people who do a lot of business in Hawaii. While this is certainly the market Hawaiian Airlines had in mind when they created the card, there is another case to consider: Many small business owners like to reward their employees for a job well done, so why not rack up HawaiianMiles on your business spending and take your staff to the islands for a company getaway?

Since this card offers so many options for earning extra rewards, it’ll probably be easy to build up the miles necessary to take your employees on a truly relaxing corporate retreat. Plus, if you have The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® for your personal spending, you can use ShareMiles to transfer your rewards to your business account if you come up short. Or, bring your family along with the HawaiianMiles you’ve earned on your personal card.

The Nerds can’t think of a better way to say mahalo to your employees for their hard work – and with this approach, you’ll quickly earn a reputation for being the coolest CEO around!

Where The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® falls short

The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® is a good pick, but there are other business credit cards to consider. In fact, some of them might have strengths that The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® doesn’t. For example:

If your business doesn’t involve a lot of travel: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Sometimes the flexibility of a cash-back rewards program is exactly what a small business owner needs; this is especially true if your business doesn’t require you to travel much. If this sounds like you, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a good choice. This card has a $0 annual fee and carries a generous signup bonus: Earn $300 bonus cash back when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll earn a high rewards rate on spending your business is probably already doing:

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, Internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.

All this means is that if your small business keeps you grounded, opting for Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card over The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® might make the most sense.

If you need to travel for business, but not to Hawaii: Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

Doing a lot of travel to Hawaii for work sounds great, but if your business trips are sending you elsewhere, you might want to consider the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card. For starters, this card will provide you with a great signup bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Speaking of which, it allows you to earn travel rewards on the spending you’re likely doing if your business keeps you on the go:

  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, Internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year.

The points that you earn with the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card can be redeemed for 25% more through Chase Ultimate Rewards, or you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to partner frequent travel programs. This means that you have a wide variety of cost-effective options when it comes to cashing in your rewards for business travel.

This card charges an annual fee of $95. This is slightly higher than that of The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®, but note that The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® doesn’t waive the fee for the first year.

If you travel a lot to Hawaii, but Hawaiian Airlines isn’t convenient for you: United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

While the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card isn’t a business credit card, we thought it was worth mentioning because it’s co-branded with United Airlines. As of June 2014, United provides flights to Hawaii out of 40 U.S. mainland airports, while Hawaiian Airlines provides flights out of only 30 (11 direct). This means that if you’re located near an airport that isn’t served by Hawaiian Airlines, but your business takes you to the islands frequently, considering the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card is probably wise.

In terms of card features, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card offers a lot. 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. From there, you’ll earn double miles on United ticket purchases and one mile per dollar spent on all other purchases. You’ll also get a free checked bag for you and a companion; this could add up to a huge savings if your business trips to Hawaii last longer than a carry-on bag can provide for!

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card charges an annual fee of $95.

Nerd note: Flights can’t always be measured in dollars and cents (or miles and points). In terms of customer service, Hawaiian Airlines is truly top-notch. Case in point: They serve complimentary in-flight meals (even in coach!) on all trans-Pacific, South Pacific and Asia flights. That’s hard to come by these days, so be sure to consider these attributes as you weigh your co-branded airline credit card options.

Should I consider The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard®?

If you’re a small business owner who frequently flies to Hawaii or between the islands, this is a great card to consider; you’ll be racking up bonus points with every flight you book on Hawaiian Airlines, which can later offset the cost of travel for work. You should also consider this card if you like the idea of rewarding your employees with a company trip to Hawaii. Knowing that every purchase with the card is getting them closer to a tropical getaway is sure to serve as a morale booster for your staff!

However, if neither of these scenarios applies to you, it might be worth looking into other options. Check out our tool and be sure to stay tuned for updates about small business credit cards – the Nerds are always here to help!