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This article was last updated Mar 18, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® is a niche card catering to flyers who belong to the Honolulu-based carrier’s HawaiianMiles loyalty program.
Hawaiian Airlines offers non-stop service to Hawaii from 12 U.S. cities, along with flights from Honolulu to Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti, comprising a network of 250 daily flights. The carrier flew 11.8 million passengers in 2018.
Cardmembers can redeem HawaiianMiles with the carrier’s airline partners for flights around the world. Miles can also be used toward travel including hotels and car rentals. But this card only comes with a few airline perks and no travel and purchase benefits.
If you want an airline card that offers more perks and more ways to redeem miles, then the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® may be an alternative to the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®. We look at both cards to help you decide which one works best for you.
Where the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® stands out
After paying the card’s $99 annual fee. A great perk with this card is that cardholders, along with the carrier’s elite flyers, receive exclusive discounts on coach reward flights. The card’s bonus miles are enough to fly between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland using coach saver or flex awards.
Earn 3X miles on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases, 2x miles on gas, dining and grocery store purchases & 1X miles on all other purchases. Cardmembers will appreciate earning higher miles for not only Hawaiian Airlines-related travel, but for the popular dining, gas and grocery spending categories.
Miles can be redeemed for flights and seat upgrades on Hawaiian Airlines, along with flights on Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. They’re good for hotels, rental cars, shopping, dining, magazines and newspapers. You can also transfer them at Points.com and gift or donate them.
Under the Share Miles program, cardmembers can pool and share HawaiianMiles with friends and family at HawaiianAirlines.com for free. You must be a current account member in order to do miles transfers.
Cardmembers can also send and receive HawaiianMiles from friends and family online at HawaiianAirlines.com at no charge up to 10 times per calendar year. There are no transaction fees for HawaiianMiles transfers, no charges per mile, and no minimum or maximum number of HawaiianMiles that can be transferred to cardmembers.
The card comes with a one-time 50% off companion discount for round-trip travel between Hawaii and North America that’s good for 13 months after the account is opened. It also comes with a $100 discount off one companion ticket for round-trip travel between Hawaii and North America every account anniversary that’s good for a year.
Get a free checked bag when you use the card to buy your Hawaiian Airlines flight or when booking an award flight and paying fees and taxes. HawaiianMiles members with Pualani Platinum or Pualani Gold elite status or belong to the Premier Club who also carry the card get another one to two free checked bags.
Where the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® falls short
Cardmembers can’t earn higher miles for non-Hawaiian Airlines travel. If you’re redeeming miles on partner airlines, they can be only issued as round-trip awards and are based on availability except for JetBlue, which has open availability for its reward seats. You must call the HawaiianMiles Service Center to book airline-partner flights.
The 50% off companion fare can only be used for a full coach round-trip ticket. You must fly with the primary cardmember and pay all taxes, fees and surcharges on the ticket. The ticket can only be used on flights between Hawaii and North America.
The free checked bag is only good for inter-island flights and travel between North America and Hawaii. Tickets purchased from third parties, such as Expedia, are not eligible.
The card doesn’t come with perks such as access to the Premier Club airport lounge, or priority check-in, boarding or baggage handling, along with dedicated security lines. Cardmembers don’t get any travel or purchase protections with the card.
Compare it with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
First checked bag free on domestic itineraries & preferred boarding
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
- Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
- Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
See additional details for Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
If you don’t reside in Hawaii or want access to a much larger global airline network than Hawaiian Airlines, then American Airlines could be a better fit for your travel needs. And if you’re flying regularly on American, it only makes sense to have one of its credit cards, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
New cardmembers Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. If you complete all the spending required for the bonus miles, you can book a round-trip Mile SAAver® economy class flight to Hawaii under the AAdvantage® loyalty program.
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases. Miles can be redeemed for flights, seat upgrades, car rentals, hotels, vacation packages, Admirals Club airport lounge memberships, magazines, newspapers, gift cards and Lifelock® identity theft protection services.
Card ownership allows a free checked bag and priority boarding for the primary cardholder and up to four companions traveling on the same reservation for domestic American Airlines and American Eagle flights. But the card doesn’t come with priority check-in or priority baggage handling, nor is there access to the Admirals Club airport lounge.
The card comes with a $100 American Airlines flight discount after spending at least $20,000 during your card year and every year you renew the card. Cardmembers save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases when paying for them with the card. However, this card doesn’t come with a companion certificate.
Members get a discount of up to 7,500 MileSAAver miles to select destinations round-trip under the AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards program. There’s also a MileSAAver discount of 7,500 miles round-trip or 3,750 miles one-way for travel more than 500 miles in distance. For travel less than or equal to 500 miles, the discount is 2,000 miles round-trip or 1,000 miles one-way. There’s also MileSAAver off-peak fares to destinations outside of North America.
|Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®||Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®|
|Annual fee||$99||$99, waived for first 12 months|
|Regular purchase APR||18.24%, 22.24% or 27.24% variable||15.99% - 24.99% (Variable)|
|Rewards||Earn 3X miles on eligible Hawaiian Airlines purchases, 2x miles on gas, dining and grocery store purchases & 1X miles on all other purchases.||Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases|
|Sign-up bonus||See Issuer’s Website||Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening|
|Foreign transaction fee||0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||0%|
The bottom line
Both of these airline credit cards have similar benefits. But the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® comes with priority boarding, along with a free bag for cardholders and four travel companions. The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® only comes with a checked bag for the cardholder, along with a 50% discount on one companion fare and a yearly $100 discount on a companion ticket.
Neither cards come with the travel and purchase protections you see with other credit cards, but both come with mile discounts when booking award flights.
Other airline and travel credit cards offer more points in more popular spending categories than either of these cards. When it’s time to decide which card is better for you, It all comes down to which airline you fly the most — American or Hawaiian.
If the answer is neither, then consider looking at more general travel cards that allow you to use your points for airline travel among multiple airlines plus come with better perks.
Read our roundup of Best Travel Credit Cards.
The information related to the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.