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Last updated on April 12th, 2021
First Hawaiian Bank United® Card
20,000 Miles After Spending $1,500 in the First 6 Months
- 5x miles per $1 spent on groceries for the first $10,000 spent, or until 12/31/2021, whichever occurs first
- Double miles on gas, groceries, and United flight bookings
- 2 complimentary United club passes each year
- First 2 checked bags free on United flights
- Miles never expire
- No foreign transaction fees
- Regular Purchase APR: 16.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Intro Balance Transfer APR: 2.99% for 8 months from account opening date
- Balance Transfer APR: 16.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance APR: 18% fixed
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each Cash Advance, whichever is greater
- Penalty APR: 18%
- Annual Fee: $99
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
At a Glance
The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card is an airline card that offers its best value with everyday use. The card earns double miles on the daily commute – and when buying groceries – with no annual fee for the first year.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Travel with United at least once a year and check bags when they fly
- Use their credit card to regularly purchase groceries
- Prefer to fly with United or Star Alliance carriers
- Can travel enough and take full advantage of the card’s benefits to justify a $99 annual fee
First Hawaiian Bank United® Card Review
The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card is an airline card best suits those who prefer to earn airline rewards on every spending – and not travel categories. The card, from United Airlines, earns quality rewards on gas and groceries – and it features a hefty signup bonus.
Introductory Bonus Miles
The card comes with an enticing introductory offer. New accounts receive 20,000 miles after making $1,500 in purchases in the first 6 months. These miles have an approximate value of $260, with the valuation depends on the worth of MileagePlus miles. These are the currency of United’s frequent flyer program and have a value of 1.3 cents per mile.
The $260 of the bonus miles comes from a paltry $250 spend for each of the first six months. This is an easy proposition, especially considering the card’s ability to rack up miles quickly. Alternatively, booking a family vacation quickly meets this spending requirement.
Double Miles on Gas and Groceries
The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card earns 2X miles on gas and grocery purchases. In many ways, this is the crucial feature of the card. Receiving double miles on the daily commute is a bonus that many airline cards simply lack. The United Explorer Card from Chase earns 2X miles, but on hotels and restaurant transactions. And while the AAdvantage Platinum Select from Citi earns 2X on gas, it lacks the same rate for on groceries. That double mile boost for supermarket purchases makes the card a great option for anyone who wants to earn towards their next vacation while making their weekly grocery run.
The 2X MileagePlus miles equate to 2.6% cash back on every purchase in those categories. That rate is tough to beat, even in the cash back credit card space. Reaching the $1,500 bonus requirement with these categories offers the opportunity at additional miles. The total haul may reach 28,000 miles for $1,500 in spending – a value of $364. The 2X miles, however, extend beyond just gas station and supermarket purchases.
Double Miles with United Airlines
The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card also earns double miles on United purchases. Earning 2X miles with the airline isn’t unique. That’s not to say, however, that it’s unwelcome. The 2X miles on direct flight bookings mean the card offers value when traveling, as well.
Of course, there are plenty of airline cards that offer value for booking flights. In fact, pretty much all of them do. It’s, therefore, the combination of how to earn double miles that makes this card appealing.
Every other purchase with the First Hawaiian Bank United® Card earns a single mile per dollar spent. Miles never expire if the MileagePlus account remains open.
How to Redeem Miles
Redeeming miles with the First Hawaiian Bank United® Card is straightforward and easy. Miles are redeemable through the MileagePlus portal.
Options for redemptions are standard, as you find with other airline programs. These typical redemption options include flights, hotels, merchandise, and more. The best values come from flight bookings. These bookings apply to United flights, as well as with Star Alliance carriers. The Star Alliance consists of over 25 global airlines. Current members include Air Canada, Avianca, Lufthansa, and more. Domestic flight awards start from as low as 10,000 miles. European flights, meanwhile, start from 30,000 miles.
Other redemption options include hotel bookings through the portal. MileagePlus members can also use miles for rental car bookings with Thrifty, Hertz, and more. In addition, they can use miles to buy merchandise from brands like Apple – or gift them to family.
Redeeming miles for anything other than travel, however, offers the lowest redemption value. Purchasing merchandise, for example, costs more in miles than in cash. For these reasons, it’s best to stick to flights when redeeming. Other decent options include seat upgrades or airport lounge access.
Airport and Travel Perks
Airline cards are great for travel perks, but it’s here that the First Hawaiian Bank United® Card struggles. While the card does offer real value, it also lacks perks other competitors have.
Said value comes from two free bags when checking luggage on flights. While this only applies to United flights, it is still a substantial savings. Luggage fees are approximately $30 per bag with the carrier. This means that a roundtrip offers potentially $120 in savings. That more than pays for the $99 annual fee.
Additional value comes from two complimentary airport lounge passes every year. This equates to a $100 value. For a couple traveling together, two free checked bags and lounge access sounds great. It’s even better for a solo traveler, as they enjoy United Club access on both journeys. That value extends further thanks to no foreign transaction fees. The latter perk makes the card a powerful tool worldwide – thanks to MasterCard’s near-global acceptance.
Unfortunately, the card lacks what many competitors offer: statement credits. There’s no statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees, for instance. The United Explorer from Chase, however, does offer this perk. While it’s only a $100 value saved every four years, it is still worth noting.
Intro APR Offer
The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card comes with a decent introductory APR offer on balance transfers. New accounts enjoy a 2.99% APR for the first eight months on transfers. Ideally, an intro APR period is 0%, but that’s rare in airline cards. The only option to do so is with the Allegiant World Mastercard from Bank of America. That card, however, lacks the international access the First Hawaiian Card offers.
The 2.99% intro APR offers a nice opportunity for those with small balances to pay them down before regular interest rates kick in. The rate is competitive with other airline cards, hovering around the 17% to 18% range. This means that the card won’t punish balances too severely, especially as it is a fixed APR. Still, it’s advisable always to plan your spending accordingly to avoid incurring interest penalties.
Should You Apply for the First Hawaiian Bank United® Card?
The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card is a quality airline rewards card for those who love to travel. The 20,000 miles bonus is easily attainable and the miles on offer with everyday spending are enticing.
Double miles on gas and groceries is the key perk here. The United Explorer Card is the closest comparison to the First Hawaiian Card, but the former earns 2X miles on travel and dining. These categories have their appeal, but for everyday spending the value lies with the First Hawaiian offer.
The biggest blemish with the First Hawaiian Bank United® Card is the $99 annual fee. It’s essential to make sure this is the right card before applying. Some travelers like to downgrade cards once the annual fee kicks in, so they maximize points and minimize spending. With Chase, that’s easy, as the Explorer Card is downgradable to the no annual fee TravelBank Card.
With First Hawaiian, however, that’s not possible. The First Hawaiian Bank United® Card is their only personal card for airlines, so customers must bear the $99 fee. The card offers significant value for the $99, however. For the commuter, the 2X miles quickly add up. The same is true for those who prefer to use their credit card on the weekly grocery trip. The earing accelerates further thanks to 1X miles on all other purchases. Using the card in these spending categories & taking advantage of the free bags on United more than recoups the annual fee.