Talk of the “islands” has a definitively affluent connotation to us mainlanders. And it makes sense when you think about it, given all that money and islands – particularly the Hawaiian ones – have in common.
For example, Larry Ellison, CEO of the billion cloud computing company Oracle actually owns 98% of Lana’i, Hawaii. Thinking about your financial needs as a chain of islands also enables you to tailor financial products to specific types of transactions and thereby gather a collection of account terms vastly superior to what any one product could provide. It’s called the Island Approach.
The Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card – the product of a partnership between Barclays, Hawaiian Airlines and Bank of Hawaii – is therefore perfectly logical. It plays on our desire as consumers for a vacation as well as our corresponding affinity for travel rewards. The question is, will this card make that long-awaited Hawaiian getaway more feasible, or will it simply perpetuate the idea that “we can go next year”?
WalletHub put the new Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card through our standard review process in order to help consumers determine whether it’s worth putting in their wallets. The following information can be found below.
- 70,000 Initial Bonus Miles: Spending at least $2,000 during the first 90 days you have this card will get you 70,000 bonus miles. That’s enough for a roundtrip coach flight from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii.
- Companion Discounts: Account approval scores you a one-time 50% companion ticket discount for a round-trip flight between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. This offer must be used within 13 months of card issuance, does not apply to any taxes and service charges associated with the ticket, and cannot be combined with any other discounts. Card holders also get a $100 companion discount each year on your account anniversary – also applicable to a round-trip coach flight between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii.
- Free Checked Bag: Card holders get a complimentary checked bag each time they fly with Hawaiian Airlines. Anything free is obviously great, but it is important to note that the free checked bag is contingent on you booking your ticket directly from Hawaiian Airlines (i.e., not through a comparison site like Kayak or Travelocity).
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: Consumer interest in avoiding international transaction surcharges has led to an increase in the number of issuers offering cards without foreign fees. Hawaiian Airlines has clearly gotten the message, and its lack of a foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the United States can help cardholders save up to 9% compared to exchanging hard currency at an airport kiosk or local bank, according to WalletHub research.
- No Blackout Dates: This is becoming more and more common with airline rewards credit cards, but it is nevertheless worth mentioning as a strength.
- $99 Annual Fee: Paying for well-above-average rewards can sometimes make sense, but there are cheaper cards that offer more lucrative ongoing rewards than the Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card.
- Better Ongoing Rewards Available: Unless you make a few trips back and forth to Hawaii each year, you will likely earn 1 mile for every dollar you spend on most transactions. That’s the equivalent of the average rewards card. You should also take into consideration the 2 miles for every $1 spent on gas, grocery store and dining at restaurants. You should be earning more, especially when you’re paying for membership in the rewards program.
- ShareMiles: This is a Hawaiian Airlines program that allows mile sharing between friends and family members. Most, if not all, airlines that offer branded rewards provide such a mechanism, so you should not mistake it as adding value to the card.
- Chip-Enabled Card: Like the vast majority of chip-based credit cards on the market, the Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card relies on chip-and-signature technology. Without getting into the technical aspects, chip-and-signature does not get you anything relative to normal magnetic stripe credit cards when used abroad. The chip merely makes the card seem more sophisticated and therefore more valuable.
The Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card is a logical choice for frequent travelers who are loyal to the Hawaiian Airlines brand given its array of airline-specific perks.
For everyone else, other cards offer better rewards at a lower price point. More specifically, the card’s main attraction is an initial bonus worth a roundtrip from North America to Hawaii. When you factor in the $99 annual fee, you’re playing with a little more than $600 in value.