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Hawaiian Air's card switch to affect nearly 300,000 customers

By Dave Segal

LAST UPDATED: 6:38 p.m. HST, Feb 24, 2014

Hawaiian Airlines is switching credit card companies and banks with the launch of a new credit card that will offer additional benefits but will require nearly 300,000 customers to change their accounts.

The state's largest airline will change to MasterCard from Visa and will use Barclaycard US as the issuing bank rather than Bank of America. Bank of Hawaii, which began co-branding the card in 2008, will remain part of the four-way alliance as the marketing and servicing partner. The change will become effective April 28 and current cardholders are expected to receive their new cards in the mail in mid-April. About half of those cardholders affected are Hawaii residents.

Existing Visa cardholders won't need to reapply, but the annual fee and annual percentage interest rate could be higher than what cardholders currently are paying. There will be an $89 annual fee -- some cardholders are paying $50 now -- and the annual percentage interest rate will be either 15.99 percent or 24.99 percent, depending on credit history. Some cardholders now are paying less than 11 percent. Existing cardholders also will get new account numbers and will need to change their information if they make autopayments. 

The new cards come with several benefits, such as a free first checked bag for the primary cardholder anytime a ticket is purchased directly from Hawaiian. There also will be no foreign exchange fees on purchases outside the United States. The first checked-bag fee and foreign exchange fees will be credited retroactively to Jan. 1 through the conversion of the card if the customers already has incurred such fees. This is for existing Hawaiian Airlines Visa Signature and Visa Platinum cardholders. 

Existing Visa cardholders can continue using their cards to receive HawaiianMiles until the switchover. Besides not having to pay the first checked bag fee for domestic ($25) or interisland ($17) travel, as well as getting foreign exchange fees waived, other benefits for both new and existing cardholders include a $100 companion discount on each credit card account anniversary for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian. There are also 5,000 bonus miles available every year that the cardholder makes $10,000 or more in purchases with their card.

New Hawaiian cardholders will receive 35,000 bonus HawaiianMiles when they spend $1,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days and a one-time 50 percent discount on a coach roundtrip companion fare between Hawaii and North America on Hawaiian that must be completed no later than 13 months after the card is issued.

In addition, for each new credit card activitated now through May 31, the companies will make a donation up to $100,000 to the Polynesian Voyaging Society's Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.  

HawaiianMiles frequent flyer members, who don't currently have a Hawaiian Airlines credit card, can apply for the new card at or at any Bank of Hawaii branch.

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