Airport lounge access is a perk that more and more travelers are used to because there are so many ways to get it. Many airlines offer it to their elite status holders, and many credit cards offer it as a benefit. So they’re not just for first- and business-class travelers.
The opportunity to get a snack before boarding and enjoy a soda or cocktail is appealing to many flyers, given the cost of food and beverages in airports. It’s also nice to get free Wi-Fi, as not all airports offer it. And if they do, you’re likely to have a slow connection.
If you’re based in Hawaii or fly to the destination for business or pleasure, you're probably familiar with Hawaiian Airlines, the state’s flag carrier. In addition to intra-island flights, it also flies to several international destinations.
Where are the lounges, and how do I get in?
Hawaiian offers Premier Lounges in the following Hawaii airports:
Hilo, Hawaii Island, below Gate 6.
Honolulu, Oahu, near Gate A18.
Kahului, Maui, across from Gate 17.
Kona, Hawaii Island, next to Gate 10.
Lihue, Kauai, near Gate 5.
You can access the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Clubs with Gold or Platinum status in the airline’s Pualani frequent flyer club. Another option? Buying an annual membership for $299, which provides access to Hawaiian Airlines-operated Premier Clubs for you and two guests.
Membership includes more than just lounge access, though. You also get priority check-in and boarding, plus a fast track through security. It also comes with two free checked bags, complimentary in-flight entertainment and the airline’s “Unlimited TV & More” pack.
Plumeria Lounge for international business travelers
Hawaiian Airlines has a brand new new 3,600-square-foot Plumeria Lounge in Honolulu. It’s available to business-class travelers flying to international destinations, including American Samoa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Tahiti. Lounge guests will find fresh food and snacks, as well as Maui Brewing Co. beer and a selection of wines. It also features high-speed Wi-Fi and USB charging stations.
If you’re not flying business class on an international itinerary and you want to check out the Plumeria Lounge, you can buy a $40 lounge pass for the day. If you are a member of the carrier’s frequent flyer program, you can get a discounted pass. Pualani Gold members can get in the lounge for $35, and Platinum elites can access in for $30. You can purchase the pass during check-in online or at the lounge’s reception desk.
International lounge access
Although the airline does not operate any lounges outside Hawaii, it does offer access to international lounges through partners like All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Japan Airlines and Qantas Airways.
Here are the lounges and locations Hawaiian Airlines business class travelers on international itineraries can access:
Brisbane, Australia: Plaza Premium Lounge.
Sydney: Sydney International Business Lounge.
Tokyo-Narita: JAL Sakura Lounge.
Osaka, Japan: ANA Lounge.
Sapporo, Japan: Royal Lounge.
Tokyo-Haneda: Saluara Lounge.
Seoul-Incheon: Asiana Business Class Lounge.
Auckland, New Zealand: Strate Lounge.
The airline has a co-branded credit card, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, which has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $99 — but it doesn't offer lounge access. However, it does currently have a sign-up bonus: Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 90 days It also earns 3x on Hawaiian Airlines flight purchases and 2x on gas, dining and grocery purchases. And it comes with a free checked bag and a one-time 50% discount for a companion flying with you between Hawaii and North America, so it might be worth applying to snag those benefits.
Unless you fly in and out of Hawaii or around the islands on a regular basis, it’s probably not worth paying a $299 annual fee for lounge access. But it may be worth it if you need the extra perks that Premier Club offers, like priority boarding and free checked bags.
The day rate for the new Plumeria Lounge is a good deal, especially if you have elite status and can get the discounted rate.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
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