We were traveling back to Los Angeles from Maui the other day, when toward the end of the flight, the attendant mentioned a credit card deal over the intercom.
At first, we were a bit surprised to hear the pitch, which lasted what seemed like a full five minutes or longer as the pilots were focused on making their final approach to LAX.
The credit card offer was apparently an exclusive one, and they let that be known to all the passengers on the flight.
Is the 50k Hawaiian Airlines Offer Really Only Available In-Flight?
Instead of the publicly available 35,000 bonus miles, you could earn 50,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles when you spent $1,000 in the first 90 days from account opening with the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard from Barclaycard.
Other than that, the offer appeared to be the same. They mentioned the one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip travel (in coach) between North America and Hawaii.
Oh, and the complimentary checked bag for the primary cardholder if/when the card is used to book travel directly with Hawaiian Airlines.
There was also the usual $89 annual fee, which was not waived the first year.
In short, the offer from the sky came with an additional 15,000 Hawaiian Miles, which is nothing to sneeze at, assuming you want the card.
We meant to get a paper application, which they were passing out to passengers, but kind of forgot, perhaps because that long and slightly aggressive pitch put us in a bizarre dreamlike state. Not sure, but we forgot. Darn it!
Anyway, we wanted to see how truly exclusive the offer was once we got back home. Was it really only available to passengers on a Hawaiian Airlines flight? Or was that just part of the pitch?
It wasn’t long before we found out that it was indeed a non-public offer, but like most other things in life, there was a way to get the deal without being on a flight or mailing in that paper application.
How to Get the 50k Hawaiian Airlines Credit Card Offer
We quickly found out that there was a way to populate the 50k offer by starting the online booking process with Hawaiian Airlines.
In short, you have to go to the Hawaiian Airlines website and select a flight, any flight, and go through the process of pretending to buy a plane ticket.
You don’t have to pretend if you really want to book a flight on Hawaiian.
Anyway, it involves quite a few steps, including selecting the flight, picking a seat, entering in personal information, and so on. Eventually you get to the payment screen, which is the key part of the process.
If, and only if, you select Credit / Debit Card for payment method will the 50k offer show up. If you select Gift Cards / Gift Certificates or masterpass it will not appear.
So, once you click the radio button next to Credit / Debit Card the offer should appear to the bottom right portion of the screen. Then you can click on the offer and snag the extra 15k points, all without actually buying a plane ticket.
Pro tip: Don’t log-in, but do select a one-way flight and skip seat selection (scroll down during that part) to save yourself some time during the quasi-booking process.
As to what those extra 15,000 Hawaiian Miles are worth, you can refer to their award chart. It’s practically enough (you need 20k) to fly one way to/from Hawaii and North America.
It’s also enough for a round-trip flight between different Hawaiian Islands.
Alternatively, the extra 15k miles could be used for a bigger reward, such as a flight to Australia, New Zealand, or Tahiti.
Moral of the story is to always do some digging for the best available offer before you apply. Sometimes it takes a bit of extra legwork, but it can certainly be worth the trouble.