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

By Dave Segal

LAST UPDATED: 06:38 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 HawaiianAirlines.com or at any Bank of Hawaii branch.

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HAJAA1 wrote:
Ha! I got my letter a week ago and funny they don't mention the $89 fee, up from $50 for the platinum card. Also, only 1 bag now is free. Goodbye to this card. I'm headed to the Citi !!
on February 24,2014 | 01:23PM
what wrote:
Yep, these cards are a bad deal. If it takes you 3-4 years to save up enough points for a free ticket, you will have spent $270-$360 on annuals fees. You could have just bought an unrestricted no-hassle ticket for that price. And even when you can use the points, you often get less than 1.5 cents per dollar value. Might as well get a card that pays you cash back instead of worthless "miles", with no annual fee.
on February 24,2014 | 01:58PM
Not to mention, based on the rate alone if you use the card in the sense they want you to with the $1000 initial purchase in 1st 30 days, most people continue to use and the anticipated interest paid will double the $270-$360 you've just described.
on February 24,2014 | 02:31PM
busterb wrote:
Not to mention, Haw'n Air has that horrible pasta with the olives thingy. What were they thinking?
on February 24,2014 | 08:12PM
gary360 wrote:
Nothing is "FREE".
on February 25,2014 | 02:23AM
scuddrunner wrote:
This card is as bad as the airline! Heck, USAA has a CC with unlimited FF miles, no annual fee and 9% interest. Then you can fly on "any" airline you want. Don't fall for the "airline card", shop around! This not a good deal.
on February 24,2014 | 01:45PM
pauliboy wrote:
i wasn't interested in getting this card when i first got the promotion in the mail. read the fine print @ $89 annual fee? pfft, forget it! since it's now an automatic carryover, for sure i'm going to cancel this account.
on February 24,2014 | 01:49PM
d1shima wrote:
Yup! I was looking for the info on the yearly fee, too. Now I understand why that was withheld. Got XXBDestinations?
on February 24,2014 | 01:52PM
cojef wrote:
Still keeping my Costco/American Express card, it is not accepted everywhere but that suits me fine. A vendor loses a sale, that's all. I can be bull-headed just as much as the vendor.
on February 24,2014 | 02:08PM
Geb wrote:
It's not about the vendor being bull-headed. It's about the high fees and length of time that AMEX takes to pay the vendor. You're probably the type of customer that uses their credit card for a dollar purchase just because you can.
on February 24,2014 | 04:30PM
4watitsworth wrote:
I didn't see the increase in annual fee in my letter either but if you can use the additional benefits they're giving, it might be worth it. I make enough miles to earn a one-way ticket to the West Coast and round trip to the neighbor island each year. I never leave a balance and pay on time so I don't pay any interest or penalties. I guess it depends on how much you use your card and how often you travel.
on February 24,2014 | 02:43PM
nonpolitic wrote:
Get, the card, spend the $1,000, get the miles, pay off the $1,000, close your account. 35,000 miles and 50% off companion fare for $89.
on February 24,2014 | 02:58PM
kiragirl wrote:
That is what I did but still have my card. The initial enrollment is a good deal except you must pay for your own ticket and cannot use mileage. I think I will use my mileage for interisland trips and cancel the card unless I can get free 1st baggage using mileage.
on February 24,2014 | 04:16PM
nonpolitic wrote:
I say buy the airline and companion ticket with the card (more than likely you're more than half way to the $1,000 by then), pay it off, and cancel it. Then it's a good deal for $89.
on February 24,2014 | 04:44PM
kiragirl wrote:
That is what I did so I have a bunch of mileage. I kept the card because I felt the annual fee was okay plus I intend to use it once I have my 60k miles with this other card. The other small negative is that Hawaiian flies to limited destinations are limited.
on February 24,2014 | 05:27PM
Anonymous wrote:
Bad! MasterCard really blows. Online gambling only takes Visa...lol . CPB changed a to MasterCard a while back and they suck too.
on February 24,2014 | 03:00PM
localguy wrote:
Hawaiian Airlines CEO approved this new credit card deal, a bigger kickback for Hawaiian and him. Will he ever be surprised when the majority of current card holders realize how the CEO shafted them, dumping the card for one offering a much better deal at lower cost. Just another in a string of management fiascos from the CEO, his standard.
on February 24,2014 | 03:01PM
raphaeldag wrote:
I already get 2 free bags, and don't book flights for other people. So, I will be cancelling when the $89 fee kicks in. Too bad. I liked the Hawaiian mileage points. This would be a good time for a news article which looks at the various credit cards, annual fees, and benefits.
on February 24,2014 | 05:14PM
SchofieldSoldier wrote:
THis is a good card, for $89, spend $1000 in first 90 days, and $9,000 more in the first year and you wind up with 55,000 miles, enough for 3ea one ways to Las Vegas.....all for $89...unless you are one that pays interest. One of the better mileage cards out there.
on February 24,2014 | 06:12PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
I pay off my balance each month so I couldn't care less if they charged 50% interest. But I always preferred Visa, I want TWO free bags like I enjoy now, not ONE. And the annual fee??? Citibank charges no fee and miles are good on much more airlines. Hawaiian Airlines can kiss $89% of my....
on February 24,2014 | 09:22PM
HAW715 wrote:
I think many are misinterpreting the remarks concerning new cardholders. It is my belief that if you are an existing Hawaiian Visa cardholder, you will not be eligible on conversion for that 35,000 mile benefit and companion half fare ticket,
on February 24,2014 | 09:32PM
paniolo wrote:
That's how I'm reading it also. Only the NEW people that are APPLYING for the first time and not current VISA cardholders. I hope they clarify this.
on February 25,2014 | 11:31AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
The obvious query is why couldn't have HA gotten those changes transparently, that is, without changing credit card companies? Methinks those increases in fees, and especially the annual fee, to be a washout and even dare I say profitable for HA, together with offering additional perks. As they say, a lunch is not free unless u r a minor until age 18. So all u Keiki, ENJOY, until u got to paddle ur own canoe!!! Because Hawaiian Airlines is in a sense pulling a scam, knowing that they have us by our u know what !!!
on February 24,2014 | 10:19PM
HLOEWEN wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 24,2014 | 11:04PM
what wrote:
God (tm) doesn't like liars.
on February 25,2014 | 12:20AM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
If you travel overseas a lot, the no foreign transaction fee is huge. For me the card will pay for itself in a month.
on February 24,2014 | 11:42PM
what wrote:
Capital One has no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee, and cash back. Light years ahead of this Hawaiian card.
on February 25,2014 | 12:18AM
kixco wrote:
I received notification of the switch from VISA to MasterCard and I don't recall seeing an 89.00 fee mentioned at all in the correspondence. I won't pay this much to keep the card, so I guess it is "Aloha" to Hawaiian Miles (and I've been a customer for close to 20 yrs),
on February 25,2014 | 02:08PM
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