With average temperatures of around 80 degrees year-round, it’s a safe bet that Hawaii’s weather is nicer than wherever you are right now — but it can be an expensive trip to take.
If you’re set on traveling to the Aloha State, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® can help you get there for less, despite its annual fee, which is $0 intro for the first year, then $99.
Here are five things to know about the card.
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1. The sign-up bonus alone could get you there
The card offers a rich sign-up bonus that could be enough to get a free round-trip flight from the mainland U.S., depending on when you fly and what city you depart from.
When you use the card, you’ll also earn:
- 3 miles per dollar spent on Hawaiian Airline purchases.
- 2 miles per dollar spent on gas, dining and grocery store purchases.
- 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
That means that by the time you reach the bonus, you’ll have earned an additional 2,000 to 6,000 points from your everyday spending. Can you feel the ocean breeze yet?
2. While you’re at it, bring a friend
Receive a one-time discount of 50% off round-trip coach airfare between Hawaii and North America for a companion in the first 13 months of card membership. If you plan to use this card for the long term, you’ll also get a $100 discount on a companion ticket each year once you reach your first anniversary.
The savings on companion tickets can help offset the card’s annual fee, as can the fact that you would get a free checked bag.
At $30 for your first checked bag, this card can save you $60 on a round-trip flight. Unfortunately, only the primary cardholder gets this benefit — your companion will have to pay for their checked bag.
3. Miles are versatile
Cashing in miles for flights is the obvious choice, but you have some flexibility in how you use your rewards. You may not get the highest value per mile, but the options are there nonetheless:
- Hotel stays: Redeem as few as 1,000 miles for stays at 300,000 hotels worldwide. You can opt to combine points and cash. You can also buy gift certificates for Outrigger Resorts and Ohana Hotels, and your miles would be worth about half a penny each.
- Car rentals: Exchange miles for gift cards to Avis and Budget at a value of half a penny each.
- Gift cards and merchandise: Miles are worth half a penny each when redeemed for gift cards at a limited number of merchants. Fun fact: 25,000 miles will get you a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses — or it’ll get you an upgrade to first class. Your choice.
- Transfer to partners: Redeem a minimum of 10,000 points to transfer to Hilton Honors at a rate of 1.5 Hilton Honors points to 1 HawaiianMile. You can also redeem at least 5,000 miles and transfer them to the Total Rewards program (which you can redeem at select casinos) at a rate of 1 Reward Credit to 2 HawaiianMiles.
4. Sharing is caring (and easy to do)
Pooling points in preparation of a group trip is simple with the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®. You can share any amount of miles with friends or family who have select Hawaiian Airlines cards for no charge.
Without the card, it costs one cent per mile plus a $25 transaction fee, plus you have to share a minimum of 2,000 miles.
5. Hawaiian Airlines’ partnership with JetBlue makes this card more flexible
In the U.S., Hawaiian Airlines only offers nonstop service from Hawaii to a handful of cities on the mainland. But thanks to the airline’s partnership with JetBlue, more cities have access to Hawaii (albeit with layovers).
You can earn HawaiianMiles on JetBlue flights, earn TrueBlue points on Hawaiian Airlines flights, and redeem points from one award program for flights on the other airline. You can’t, however, earn both HawaiianMiles and TrueBlue points on the same flight — you must pick one or the other.
Also consider: Not totally sold on a Hawaiian vacation? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, a general travel card, may be a better fit: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You’ll also earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The annual fee is $95.
Information about the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.