One Mile at a Time posted recently that the links to sign up for the Hawaiian Airlines credit cards — issued by either Bank of Hawaii or Bank of America — both stopped working and appeared to be removed from the respective banks’ web sites. I’d noticed this, too, around the same time and just assumed there was something buggy. I have had trouble finding the Hawaiian Airlines Visa on Bank of America’s web site before even when it was still available via Hawaiian Airlines’ site.
A new post by Jett Rink on MilePoint suggests that the cards may not be coming back at all. The story after speaking to a phone representative was that the Bank of America version will be re-issued as a BankAmericard Cash Rewards card. (Incidentally, my first credit card at 18 was a cash back rewards card from Bank of America. I hated them so much I still don’t regret canceling it and losing what would now be a 10-year credit history.)
I haven’t heard any similar rumors from Bank of Hawaii, but given that both applications disappeared around the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me. The only cards currently being offered on the Bank of Hawaii web site are Visa and American Express versions of their MyBankoh Rewards card. Sounds a lot like the BankAmericard.
This is pretty disappointing for me. You could earn 70,000 HawaiianMiles pretty easily by applying for both cards at the same time. Yes, each card had a $79 annual fee, but that was a small price for 70,000 miles that could be converted to 140,000 Hilton HHonors points — and back then Hilton HHonors points were actually worth something. Cardholders could also combine their points with no fee.
A couple could easily accumulate 280,000 Hilton HHonors points for a 5-night stay at the Conrad Koh Samui for just $316. Well, not anymore, and for more than one reason. I used about half of our HawaiianMiles for three nights at the Conrad Hong Kong before Hilton’s devaluation. I used a few more for some tickets to Maui.
But what I liked the most about HawaiianMiles was that there were some fun uses for them, too. After booking our flights and hotel, I used some leftovers to buy a new pair of Maui Jim sunglasses (any pair, tax and shipping included). I was also able to get a $50 National Car Rental gift card to save on our rental while In Maui or anywhere else. Other options were gift cards to local stores. You could pay for nearly every part of a Hawaiian vacation with those miles, not just the flight and hotel.
These sunglasses were probably the only time I ever really considered buying merchandise with miles. For $300 sunglasses, a $79 annual fee is a good deal with miles left over. I hope this isn’t the end of the Hawaiian Airlines credit cards, but if it is, I’ll have my new sunglasses to remember them…