Hawaiian Air MasterCard - proceed with caution

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Jan 21, 2018
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This is more of a "buyer beware" cautionary tale, as ultimately, the situation is my fault for not scrutinizing the VERY fine print.

In June 2017, we took a vacation to Hawaii and flew Hawaiian Air. On the flight back to the mainland from HNL, the flight crew was really pushing the Barclay's Hawaiian Air MasterCard. It seemed like a great promotion...spend $1700 (or something like that) in the first 90 days and receive 50k bonus miles that never expire plus a 50% discount off of a companion ticket (that expires after 13 months). It almost seemed too good to be true, but I read through the print on the brochure and couldn't find a "catch". The flight crew also pressured us to turn in the application before the plane landed (I can't remember if I did or not). There were plenty of people sitting around me who were just as excited as I was about the prospect of getting two round trip tickets for 1/2 the cost of one ticket, which is exactly how I planned to use these rewards.

Fast forward to January 2018, and I tried to book two tickets on the Hawaiian Air website. My first clue there was a problem is the website won't let you book two tickets at the same time, paying for one with points and paying for the other with "cash". If you don't have enough points for BOTH tickets, you get an error message saying you don't have enough points and a prompt to buy more. This is a problem because I would be flying with a minor and my preference is to purchase our tickets together to insure we are sitting next to each other.

My Hawaiian Air account has a "terms and conditions" link for the 50% off companion pass, but it doesn't specifically address buying one ticket on points and the other using the companion pass. The only thing it says is "Offer not valid on HawaiianMiles flight awards bookings". Nowhere does it say that the 50% off companion pass is only valid if you purchase the first ticket with "cash" and not points.

So, I called Hawaiian Air customer service, and at first they tell me I'm violating the terms and conditions of the pass. But, I was looking right at the terms and conditions as linked to my account, and it clearly does not say thatwhat I want to do isn't allowed. Then, the rep tells me that I can't do what I want to do because "the booking system doesn't allow it". I didn't appreciate the conflicting excuses, but in the end, customer service refused to help me.

I have since done some Google searching and have found a couple of messages on travel boards that discuss this issue, and I also found a different link to the "fine print" on the restrictions of the card. In a different location (on the Barclay website), I found this: "Offer may not be combined with, applied to, or applied toward HawaiianMiles flight awards redeemed using miles."

So, I guess the Barclay sight (sort of) clearly states that you can't combine the companion pass with a ticket purchased with miles. I'm 99% certain that the brochure for the card given to us on the plane did NOT say this, and I'm absolutely certain that the flight crew did not mention this restriction during their multiple promotions of the card on the flight home.

I'm sharing my story because I don't want anyone else to sign up for this card thinking they can combine their points with the 50% off companion pass. Technically, I'm only out the $89 fee for the card, but I've been looking forward to this return trip for so long, and at this point, paying full price for one ticket to get 50% off the other isn't really an option. The flights just cost too much, and flying on Hawaiian Air is too inconvenient for me to buy a ticket with them if I can't use both my miles and the 50% off pass. I NEVER would have signed up for this credit card had Hawaiian Air/Barclays been upfront about these restrictions.

What is my desired resolution? Hawaiian Air and Barclays should make it VERY clear in all brochures and on all websites that the 50% discount off of a companion ticket can NOT be used if the first ticket is purchased using points. I feel like the information given to customers on their flights by the flight crew is at best misleading, and at worst bait and switch. Especially since the crew pressured customers to turn in their credit application before the plane landed. There is no way customers can adequately search the terms and conditions while in the air, and this restriction is not easy to find. Also, the terms and conditions for the 50% off promotion are not the same when I view them in my Hawaiian Air miles account vs. when I view them on the Barclays Hawaiian Air MasterCard website. I know I should always be wary of offers that seem "too good to be true", but I also think that Hawaiian Air is being (intentionally?) misleading about the restrictions on this credit card promotion
 
Sep 19, 2015
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I am a bit confused. TXtransplant you wrote:

The only thing it says is "Offer not valid on HawaiianMiles flight awards bookings",

So does this not take mileage tickets out of the equation completely for the discount ticket?
 
Jul 3, 2016
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TX, thanks for the 'fore warning'. My wife and I are planning a trip to Hawaii in March. We booked our flights using a Capital One card (the advertised a lot on TV) and had enough 'miles' for two tickets, guess what no problem...we paid for the flights using the Capital One card and then had Capital One just erase the charges on our bill. Pretty cool actually. I have used the card for car rentals also and no problem, just pay for the travel bills with the card and viola, the bills get erased from your account (provided you have enough miles of course). I was definitely thinking about getting one of the Hawaiian Airline cards but not now. At least not till I figure out a 'work around' on the deal you described or Barclay's/Hawaiian Airlines fixes this problem if they do fix it.
 
Jan 21, 2018
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I am a bit confused. TXtransplant you wrote:

The only thing it says is "Offer not valid on HawaiianMiles flight awards bookings",

So does this not take mileage tickets out of the equation completely for the discount ticket?
That was not how I read that statement. I read that to mean that you can’t combine the 50% off coupon and points to pay for the companion ticket (for example, a situation where you don’t have enough points for the full fare, so you combine points with the discount). I do not think that language alone excludes what I wanted to do (buy one ticket with points and pay “cash” for the second ticket, but also use the 50% discount)

However, based on the language on the Barclays website, that’s obviously what is meant by that statement. But why have two different statements in two different places? And how hard is it to have a statement that explicitly says something like “50% off discount for a companion ticket can only be used when paying the full/cash price for the first ticket”. And certainly that information should be on the credit card brochure and on the information you receive in the mail when you get your card (it’s on neither).
 
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Jan 21, 2018
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TX, thanks for the 'fore warning'. My wife and I are planning a trip to Hawaii in March. We booked our flights using a Capital One card (the advertised a lot on TV) and had enough 'miles' for two tickets, guess what no problem...we paid for the flights using the Capital One card and then had Capital One just erase the charges on our bill. Pretty cool actually. I have used the card for car rentals also and no problem, just pay for the travel bills with the card and viola, the bills get erased from your account (provided you have enough miles of course). I was definitely thinking about getting one of the Hawaiian Airline cards but not now. At least not till I figure out a 'work around' on the deal you described or Barclay's/Hawaiian Airlines fixes this problem if they do fix it.
I have the Capital One Venture card. I’ve had it for several years, and I love it for all the reasons you mention above. I’ve gotten a $1000 travel credit every year that I’ve had the card. This was my first experience with a rewards card specific to one airline, so I’m sure I made a rookie mistake. I just don’t want anyone else to repeat it.

The good news is, I did have 64k miles bewteen my account and my son’s. I combined the miles and for $177 bought the 6k miles I needed for two round trip tickets out of San Diego on the exact dates I wanted (I originally planned to fly out of Phoenix). So, we have to get ourselves to SAN and back, but that’s pretty easy to do from our home airport, and we will spend an extra day there and visit the zoo. So, my points were not a waste, I just won’t ever use the companion pass.
 
Dec 7, 2017
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It is a completely unreasonable interpretation of a companion certificate that you buy one ticket with miles and get one free. It's buy one get one free - not get one free and get one free.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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From the Barclays website. Note the red italics:

Companion Discount Benefits: New primary cardmembers are eligible to earn a one-time 50% off discount toward one published roundtrip coach fare for a companion. One-time 50% off discount is valid for 13 months from account open date. Allow up to 5 days after account approval for companion discount to be available for use. Upon payment of annual fee, the primary cardmember is eligible to earn a one hundred dollar ($100) discount off one coach companion ticket on each credit card account anniversary, which is valid for 12 months from account anniversary. Discounts are valid for only coach fare for named HawaiianMiles member's companion for roundtrip travel between North America and Hawaii booked directly through the primary cardmember's HawaiianMiles account using his or her Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard and is subject to change. Named HawaiianMiles member and their companion must be booked on the same reservation: discount will be applied to the companion coach fare. Ticketing by E ticket only. Discount not applied to taxes, fees, and surcharges. Government taxes and fees and carrier-imposed fees will be applied to each ticket purchase. Other restrictions apply. Cost subject to change. Fares are subject to availability. Additional baggage charges may apply. Offer may not be combined with, applied to, or applied toward HawaiianMiles flight awards redeemed using miles. Offer not valid on Neighbor Island flights, multi-city reservations, codeshare flight itineraries operarted and/or marketed by Hawaiian Airlines or other airline partners, First Class or Extra Comfort fares, or open tickets. Discount cannot be applied to tickets already purchased. eCertificate offer can only be redeemed through HawaiianMiles' member's account on HawaiianAirlines.com. eCertificates are not transferable, have no cash value, and will not be replaced if lost or stolen. eCertificate may not be combined with, applied to, or used in conjuntion with any other discount, promotional offer or tour package. eCertificate does not apply to vacation package bookings, including flights booked with a hotel on HawaiianAirlines.com. Flights booked in H and K class of service may not qualify for other airline frequent flyer miles. Standard Hawaiian Airlines eCertificate terms and conditions apply. See HawaiianAirlines.com for complete terms.
 
Likes: krisseye
Jan 21, 2018
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From the Barclays website. Note the red italics:

Companion Discount Benefits: New primary cardmembers are eligible to earn a one-time 50% off discount toward one published roundtrip coach fare for a companion. One-time 50% off discount is valid for 13 months from account open date. Allow up to 5 days after account approval for companion discount to be available for use. Upon payment of annual fee, the primary cardmember is eligible to earn a one hundred dollar ($100) discount off one coach companion ticket on each credit card account anniversary, which is valid for 12 months from account anniversary. Discounts are valid for only coach fare for named HawaiianMiles member's companion for roundtrip travel between North America and Hawaii booked directly through the primary cardmember's HawaiianMiles account using his or her Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard and is subject to change. Named HawaiianMiles member and their companion must be booked on the same reservation: discount will be applied to the companion coach fare. Ticketing by E ticket only. Discount not applied to taxes, fees, and surcharges. Government taxes and fees and carrier-imposed fees will be applied to each ticket purchase. Other restrictions apply. Cost subject to change. Fares are subject to availability. Additional baggage charges may apply. Offer may not be combined with, applied to, or applied toward HawaiianMiles flight awards redeemed using miles. Offer not valid on Neighbor Island flights, multi-city reservations, codeshare flight itineraries operarted and/or marketed by Hawaiian Airlines or other airline partners, First Class or Extra Comfort fares, or open tickets. Discount cannot be applied to tickets already purchased. eCertificate offer can only be redeemed through HawaiianMiles' member's account on HawaiianAirlines.com. eCertificates are not transferable, have no cash value, and will not be replaced if lost or stolen. eCertificate may not be combined with, applied to, or used in conjuntion with any other discount, promotional offer or tour package. eCertificate does not apply to vacation package bookings, including flights booked with a hotel on HawaiianAirlines.com. Flights booked in H and K class of service may not qualify for other airline frequent flyer miles. Standard Hawaiian Airlines eCertificate terms and conditions apply. See HawaiianAirlines.com for complete terms.
Yes, I acknowledged that in my very first post. I found that language on the Barclays website when I did a search yesterday, and I refer to it in my OP.

However, there are still several problems.

1) The information given to us on the plane (both verbal and in a brochure) did not mention this restriction. You have to go digging around on the credit card website to find it, which people aren't going to be able to do in-flight. And the flight crew pressures you to turn in the paperwork before the plane lands. I won't go so far as to say that the flight crew said you could use the 50% off pass with the miles, but I know I wasn't the only person on that flight who had that idea. I felt like the deal might be "too good to be true", so I scrutinized the brochure before turning in my application. Also, the paperwork that Barclays sent me with the card does not mention anything about this restriction (I reviewed it all yesterday).

2) The terms and conditions on the Hawaiian Air website is different. In my Hawaiian Air mileage account, there is a link to the terms and conditions of the 50% off a companion ticket offer. The language is VERY different that what you copied and pasted above from the Barclays website. I explained that in my original post and in a follow-up comment.

I personally think that HA is intentionally being vague about this in order to make the card look more attractive than it is (because, otherwise, it's not a very good rewards card). Why else would they have different info on the HA website vs. the Barclays website? And it wouldn't cost them anything to put a statement on their website and their promotional materials saying something to the effect of "the 50% companion pass discount can ONLY be used when the first ticket is purchased at the full cash price".

Should I have expected this to happen? Probably so. But, this is the first time I've tried to use airline miles that I've earned from a credit card promotion for a ticket. Usually, I just use the travel eraser feature on my Capital One card. All I'm trying to do is share my experience so that other people don't make the same mistake. I also think Hawaiian Air should make the language about this restriction more upfront and direct, but I'm not holding my breath on that.
 
Jan 21, 2018
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#9
It is a completely unreasonable interpretation of a companion certificate that you buy one ticket with miles and get one free. It's buy one get one free - not get one free and get one free.
First of all, to clarify, I never expected to receive two free tickets. I never expected to get anything for "free". My intention was to pay for one ticket with points (that I earned through using the card and paying the annual fee), and I would get a discount on the second ticket. The offer was presented as getting 50k points and 50% off of a companion ticket. Maybe I was naïve to think that I could combine the offer and pay for the first ticket with miles, but this confusion could easily be prevented if the terms and conditions were clearly stated in the brochure handed out on the flights.

No airline or credit card should be leaving their terms and conditions up to "interpretation". It literally costs the airline NOTHING to include language that explicitly addresses this issue. There is no reason to let customers "misinterpret" the terms of an offer, only to find out they are wrong months later. And I believe the airline and the credit card have an obligation to make sure that the information they do post about the terms and conditions is consistent across all sources. There is no reason why the language about the restrictions should be different on the Hawaiian Airlines website compared to the Barclays website.

I have not asked Hawaiian Airlines for anything, and I recognize that ultimately this was my mistake. If sharing my experience can prevent others from making the same mistake, then I'm happy to do it. This was my first attempt to use airline miles and a companion pass offer. I don't think there is any reason to tell someone who is sharing their mistake in an attempt to help keep others from making the same mistake that their expectations were "unreasonable". The implication is that I somehow should have "known better", which is not particularly useful to the discussion. I've learned my lesson; I'm just trying to help others.
 
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Carrie Livingston

Moderator
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Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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@TXTransplant thank you for sharing your story and your caution about the card. One thing you might do is contact the exec's for Hawaiian Air and let them know your frustration and also about the differences in the terms. I would imagine they would want to fix that.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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TX transplant if something reads "Offer
That was not how I read that statement. I read that to mean that you can’t combine the 50% off coupon and points to pay for the companion ticket (for example, a situation where you don’t have enough points for the full fare, so you combine points with the discount). I do not think that language alone excludes what I wanted to do (buy one ticket with points and pay “cash” for the second ticket, but also use the 50% discount)

However, based on the language on the Barclays website, that’s obviously what is meant by that statement. But why have two different statements in two different places? And how hard is it to have a statement that explicitly says something like “50% off discount for a companion ticket can only be used when paying the full/cash price for the first ticket”. And certainly that information should be on the credit card brochure and on the information you receive in the mail when you get your card (it’s on neither).
I do not quite understand how one can interpret "Offer not valid on HawaiianMiles flight awards bookings", any other way that than mileage award tickets are not part of this promotion -- in any way, shape, or form -- to me this absolutely excludes anything to do with mileage tickets.

The promotion is buy a ticket for X dollars, and companion ticket is 50 percent off of X. If X is a mileage ticket, what is the value of it? What is the dollar cost? What if the airline decided that the fare is the fully refundable economy fare, which is usually at least double, sometimes triple,a restricted economy fare, and only charges 50 percent of it?

I do not see how the promotion is misleading, it never would have occurred to me to interpret it any other way.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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I fully concur. This card is a scam and is pretty much useless. We got it with same hype and had to spend 89 the hard way. We don’t use any more and will cancel card. Barclays Bank was useless and unresponsive. Don’t fall for it. Smile and say No Thank You.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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TX transplant if something reads "Offer


I do not quite understand how one can interpret "Offer not valid on HawaiianMiles flight awards bookings", any other way that than mileage award tickets are not part of this promotion -- in any way, shape, or form -- to me this absolutely excludes anything to do with mileage tickets.

The promotion is buy a ticket for X dollars, and companion ticket is 50 percent off of X. If X is a mileage ticket, what is the value of it? What is the dollar cost? What if the airline decided that the fare is the fully refundable economy fare, which is usually at least double, sometimes triple,a restricted economy fare, and only charges 50 percent of it?

I do not see how the promotion is misleading, it never would have occurred to me to interpret it any other way.
It is a useless card, trust me.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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@TXTransplant thank you for sharing your story and your caution about the card. One thing you might do is contact the exec's for Hawaiian Air and let them know your frustration and also about the differences in the terms. I would imagine they would want to fix that.
I also had problems and Hawaiian Air said they have nothing to do with Barclays Bank card.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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This is more of a "buyer beware" cautionary tale, as ultimately, the situation is my fault for not scrutinizing the VERY fine print.

In June 2017, we took a vacation to Hawaii and flew Hawaiian Air. On the flight back to the mainland from HNL, the flight crew was really pushing the Barclay's Hawaiian Air MasterCard. It seemed like a great promotion...spend $1700 (or something like that) in the first 90 days and receive 50k bonus miles that never expire plus a 50% discount off of a companion ticket (that expires after 13 months). It almost seemed too good to be true, but I read through the print on the brochure and couldn't find a "catch". The flight crew also pressured us to turn in the application before the plane landed (I can't remember if I did or not). There were plenty of people sitting around me who were just as excited as I was about the prospect of getting two round trip tickets for 1/2 the cost of one ticket, which is exactly how I planned to use these rewards.

Fast forward to January 2018, and I tried to book two tickets on the Hawaiian Air website. My first clue there was a problem is the website won't let you book two tickets at the same time, paying for one with points and paying for the other with "cash". If you don't have enough points for BOTH tickets, you get an error message saying you don't have enough points and a prompt to buy more. This is a problem because I would be flying with a minor and my preference is to purchase our tickets together to insure we are sitting next to each other.

My Hawaiian Air account has a "terms and conditions" link for the 50% off companion pass, but it doesn't specifically address buying one ticket on points and the other using the companion pass. The only thing it says is "Offer not valid on HawaiianMiles flight awards bookings". Nowhere does it say that the 50% off companion pass is only valid if you purchase the first ticket with "cash" and not points.

So, I called Hawaiian Air customer service, and at first they tell me I'm violating the terms and conditions of the pass. But, I was looking right at the terms and conditions as linked to my account, and it clearly does not say thatwhat I want to do isn't allowed. Then, the rep tells me that I can't do what I want to do because "the booking system doesn't allow it". I didn't appreciate the conflicting excuses, but in the end, customer service refused to help me.

I have since done some Google searching and have found a couple of messages on travel boards that discuss this issue, and I also found a different link to the "fine print" on the restrictions of the card. In a different location (on the Barclay website), I found this: "Offer may not be combined with, applied to, or applied toward HawaiianMiles flight awards redeemed using miles."

So, I guess the Barclay sight (sort of) clearly states that you can't combine the companion pass with a ticket purchased with miles. I'm 99% certain that the brochure for the card given to us on the plane did NOT say this, and I'm absolutely certain that the flight crew did not mention this restriction during their multiple promotions of the card on the flight home.

I'm sharing my story because I don't want anyone else to sign up for this card thinking they can combine their points with the 50% off companion pass. Technically, I'm only out the $89 fee for the card, but I've been looking forward to this return trip for so long, and at this point, paying full price for one ticket to get 50% off the other isn't really an option. The flights just cost too much, and flying on Hawaiian Air is too inconvenient for me to buy a ticket with them if I can't use both my miles and the 50% off pass. I NEVER would have signed up for this credit card had Hawaiian Air/Barclays been upfront about these restrictions.

What is my desired resolution? Hawaiian Air and Barclays should make it VERY clear in all brochures and on all websites that the 50% discount off of a companion ticket can NOT be used if the first ticket is purchased using points. I feel like the information given to customers on their flights by the flight crew is at best misleading, and at worst bait and switch. Especially since the crew pressured customers to turn in their credit application before the plane landed. There is no way customers can adequately search the terms and conditions while in the air, and this restriction is not easy to find. Also, the terms and conditions for the 50% off promotion are not the same when I view them in my Hawaiian Air miles account vs. when I view them on the Barclays Hawaiian Air MasterCard website. I know I should always be wary of offers that seem "too good to be true", but I also think that Hawaiian Air is being (intentionally?) misleading about the restrictions on this credit card promotion
You are 100 percent correct on everything you posted. Barclays Card is useless and you will learn after you pay the fee for the card. We will cancel ours very soon. Hawaiian Air folks say they have nothing to do with Barclays and will not advocate in any way. And, to make it worse, Barclays is useless to talk with. Don’t fall for this folks.