The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® comes with 35,000 bonus Hawaiian Miles after spending $1,000 on the card in the first 90 days. That’s enough bonus miles for a roundtrip on Hawaiian Airlines from the mainland to anywhere in Hawaii.

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The six main reasons I love this offer:

  1. Hawaiian Airlines has amazing award availability from the western United States to all the major Hawaiian islands.
  2. Cardholders receive a discount on Hawaiian Airlines awards, so instead of paying 20k miles each way between the mainland and Hawaii, cardholders pay only 17,500 miles each way. That means the sign up bonus is enough for a free roundtrip to Hawaii.
  3. Cardholders can receive miles freely from other Hawaiian Miles accounts, so combining miles is easy.
  4. One way awards are bookable for half the price of roundtrips, which adds tons of flexibility and chances for island hopping.
  5. Hawaiian Airlines is my favorite airline to fly between the mainland and Hawaii in economy.
  6. You get a free checked bag on Hawaiian Airlines flights purchased with the Hawaiian Airlines card. That’s $50 off if you want to fly to Hawaii with your golf clubs.

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® is a new product just released this month by Barclaycard. Even if you had a Hawaiian Airlines card from Bank of America or Bank of Hawaii, this is a new card. If you’ve canceled those cards, this one should be available to you with full bonus.

  • Why is Hawaiian my favorite carrier between the mainland and Hawaii?
  • How good is Hawaiian’s award space?
  • How would I maximize a Hawaiian Airlines award to my home state?
  • How does the free Share Miles program?

The Experience

Flying Hawaiian between the mainland and Hawaii is nicer than flying other carriers.

All of Hawaiian’s flights to the mainland are on 767s and A330s, which are widebody planes that feel less cramped than the narrow planes that Delta, American, and United mostly fly to Hawaii.

Hawaiian offers a free pasta meal in economy with a free glass of wine.

Free meal and (paid) personal video monitor on my last Hawaiian flight.

And the flight attendants sure seem friendlier to me, giving you an early taste of the aloha spirit before you even get to Hawaii.

The Award Space Picture

All the routes I checked had great award space in economy at the Saver level as long as you look at the right time of year. This even includes Hawaiian’s 10+ hour flights between New York-JFK and Honolulu.

All the calendar’s below show the cheapest award price for one person on the indicated route. Remember, though, that when the calendar says 20k, folks with The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® will pay only 17,500 miles each way.

Las Vegas (the 9th Hawaiian Island) <-> Honolulu, October 2014Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.19.03 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.19.09 PM

San Jose <-> Honolulu, September 2014

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Phoenix <-> Honolulu, October 2014Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.23.50 PM

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Los Angeles <-> Lihue (Kauai), September 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.24.55 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.25.00 PM

New York <-> Honolulu, January 2015

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.26.49 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.26.53 PM

It costs no extra miles if you need a connecting flight in the islands (and only $2.50 extra in taxes.) Los Angeles to Lihue via Honolulu is still only 20k miles each way or 17,500 miles each way for cardholders.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.25.30 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 3.25.39 PMShare Miles

Most airline programs will only let you share miles between accounts for a steep fee of 1 cent or more per mile. That means that sharing miles kills most of their value.

But Hawaiian allows free transfers TO (not FROM) the Hawaiian Miles account of holders of The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®.

I used this perk when I had another version of this card that was issued by Bank of America. Being able to pool Hawaiian Miles in one account makes family redemptions or First Class redemptions if you’re short a few miles quite a bit easier.

Don’t forget that Membership Rewards transfer 1:1 to Hawaiian Miles and Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Hawaiian Miles with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20k Starpoints transferred.

My Strategy

Hawaii is made for island hopping. For all the similarities between the islands, there are big differences and unique things to do on each island. I would book an open jaw that flew from the mainland to one island and home from a different island.

Then I’d hop between the islands on cash tickets (usually about $80 per segment), with Arrival miles, or with 6k United miles on Hawaiian flights if cash prices are high.

Also see my review of the Andaz Maui at Wailea.

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