The Guide to Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Elite Status

Hawaiian Airlines has two levels of elite status, plus a lounge membership with some similar elite benefits.
Sally French
By Sally French 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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If there’s anything better than flying to Hawaii, it’s flying to Hawaii with perks in tow. While front-of-the-cabin seating can feel out of reach for most travelers, those who are able to earn elite status with the HawaiianMiles program from Hawaiian Airlines can enjoy a luxurious journey to one of the most desirable vacation spots on earth.

Here we cover everything you need to know about the perks and benefits of earning Hawaiian Airlines Pualani elite status.

What is Pualani elite status on Hawaiian Airlines?

Hawaiian Airlines has two different elite status levels — Pualani Gold and Pualani Platinum. At a glance, here's a breakdown of the two.

Pualani Gold

Pualani Platinum

How to earn

Fly 30 segments or 20,000 miles in one calendar year.

Fly 60 segments or 40,000 miles in one calendar year.

Checked bags

Two free checked bags per member.

Three free checked bags per member.

Priority boarding

Zone 2.

Zone 1.

Bonus frequent flyer miles on revenue tickets



Complimentary upgrades

Complimentary upgrades to Extra Comfort Seats on all flights, 50% discount on upgrades to first/business class on flights to neighboring islands.

Complimentary upgrades to first/business class on flights to neighboring islands, plus at least two upgrade certificates.

Lounge access

Premier Club access for the member and two guests.

Premier Club access for the member and two guests, Plumeria Lounge access with international flights and access to select international partner lounges.

Hawaiian Airlines Pualani elite status extensions

Most Pualani Elite status members who held status in 2022 got their status extended through Feb. 29, 2024. Members would have received an email notification by Dec. 29, 2022, indicating eligibility for this status extension.

Pualani Platinum members receiving a status extension also received two upgrade certificates, valid through Feb. 29, 2024 (though any unused 2022 upgrade certificates expired on Feb. 28, 2023).

A closer look at Pualani levels and benefits

Pualani Gold benefits

How to earn: Fly 30 segments or 20,000 miles in one calendar year.

  • Free checked bags: First two bags fly free.

  • Priority boarding on flights: Zone 2.

  • Bonus frequent flyer miles when flying on a revenue ticket: 50%.

  • Priority check-in and baggage handling.

  • Exclusive Reservations customer service line.

  • Discounted award flights when booking online.

  • Complimentary upgrades to Extra Comfort Seats on all flights and a 50% discount on upgrades to first or business class on flights to neighboring islands.

  • Premier Club access at Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului and Lihue for the member and two guests.

  • Earn 500 HawaiianMiles on any neighbor island flight.

Pualani Platinum benefits

How to earn: Fly 60 segments or 40,000 miles in one calendar year.

Pualani Platinum members earn all of the Gold benefits above, in addition to:

  • Free checked bags: First three bags fly free.

  • Priority boarding on flights: Zone 1.

  • Bonus frequent flyer miles when flying on a revenue ticket: 100%.

  • Access to The Plumeria Lounge at Honolulu airport for the member and one guest when flying internationally.

  • Access to select international partner lounges for the member and one guest.

  • Complimentary upgrades to Extra Comfort Seats or first/business class on flights to neighboring islands.

  • Complimentary upgrades to Extra Comfort Seats on North America and international flights.

  • Two complimentary upgrade certificates for business/first class on longer flights. Pualani Platinum members who earn 75,000 miles in one calendar year will receive six upgrade certificates, plus one certificate for every additional 10,000 miles after 75,000 miles.

Premier Club benefits

How to earn: Purchase it for $299.

While a Premier Club membership isn’t technically a level of elite status, it does offer some of the same benefits:

  • Free checked bags: First two bags fly free.

  • Priority boarding on flights: Zone 2.

  • Access to Premier Clubs in Honolulu, Hilo, Kahului, Kona and Lihue for the member and two guests.

  • Two one-time passes to The Plumeria Lounge at the Honolulu airport.

  • Discount on award flights booked online.

  • 500 HawaiianMiles for each neighbor island flight.

  • Waived fee on a secondary driver when you book a rental car with Avis or Budget.

How to get elite status with Hawaiian Airlines

The elite status tiers — Platinum and Gold — are earned through frequent flying. Premier Club membership isn't earned; it’s bought. That's convenient if you want Hawaiian Airlines elite status benefits, but don't actually fly the airline all that much.

Unlike many airlines, with Hawaiian you cannot qualify for elite status through a co-branded credit card. So you’ll need to do some serious flying if you want to earn Pualani elite status.

Here's how to earn each:

Pualani Gold

Pualani Platinum

30 segments or 20,000 miles.

60 segments or 40,000 miles.

Buying Premier Club membership

Premier Club membership is a bit different from the two status tiers, as it comes at a literal cost; it can be purchased annually for $299. Alternatively, you can redeem 40,000 HawaiianMiles for Pualani Premier membership.

Given NerdWallet's valuation of a HawaiianMile at 1.2 cents, 40,000 miles are worth $400. If you can save your miles to book a future airfare, you're probably better off. But if you want Premier Club and you don't want to actually pay for it, then paying for it with miles may be worth it.

Premier Club members receive some but not all of the perks of Pualani Elite passengers, though it also offers its own unique benefits. You'll get two free checked bags, express check-in, priority preboarding and security, Premier Club access and two one-time passes to The Plumeria Lounge.

Existing members can renew their memberships for $249 or 35,000 miles (which NerdWallet values at about $350).

Is Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club membership worth it?

Most of the Premier Club benefits overlap with the same benefits received through the earned Hawaiian Airlines status, so it generally doesn’t make sense to pay for Premier Club membership if you already have Pualani Gold or Platinum status.

If you’re in it for the free checked bag, you’ll likely save by instead holding the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®, which has a $99 annual fee and gets you two free checked bags on mainland-to-Hawaii and interisland flights booked directly with Hawaiian. That's cheaper than the Premier Club membership and allows you to check one bag free when you use your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.

The people who would benefit most are travelers who would use the lounge access and generally spend more than $299 on food and drinks at the airport every year for themselves and two companions. Even then, it might be worth considering a travel credit card with Priority Pass membership instead since it’ll give you access to many more lounges, and The Plumeria Lounge is included in Priority Pass.

Can you earn Hawaiian elite status through a status match?

While Hawaiian has no publicly-marketed status match program, you can always ask — it's worth a shot.

Sometimes, if you have elite status on one airline, other airlines are willing to let you use it as leverage to get their own elite status on a trial basis. Some airlines widely advertise their status match programs, as they want more loyal customers. Hawaiian is not one of those airlines, but that doesn't mean you can't get a status match. Here's a guide to the best way to request a Hawaiian Airlines elite status match.

The best HawaiianMiles Pualani elite status benefits

Shorter lines at the airport

The perks of being a Pualani elite member begin as soon as you arrive at the airport, with Platinum, Gold and Premier Club members able to use the first class check-in lines with up to two guests, even if you only purchased airfare in the cheap seats.

Once checked in, Pualani elite members will not only receive Priority TSA Security access (where available), but they’ll also enjoy priority boarding. Gold and Premier Club members will have Zone 2 boarding privileges, while Platinum members will be allowed to board with Zone 1.

Free checked bags

Gold and Premier Club members can check two bags for free, while Platinum members can check three bags. This benefit applies only to Hawaiian Airlines-operated flights. Compare that to the usual Hawaiian Airlines checked bag fees to see how much you save:


First checked bag

Second checked bag

Within Hawaii



Between Hawaii and North America






Oh, Hawaiian Airlines also throws in priority baggage handling for Gold and Premier Club members, which means your suitcases will be the first to hit the luggage carousel — and you’ll be the first to hit the beach.

Lounge access

The Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club.

The Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

All elite members (plus two guests) get access to the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Clubs, which are located at the Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului and Lihue airports. Premier Clubs offer Pau Hana snacks, soda, juice, coffee and tea free of charge. There are ample charging outlets and free Wi-Fi. And should you need support from staff to change your flight, there’s a dedicated customer service agent for lounge guests.

Plumeria Lounge

The Hawaiian Airlines Plumeria Lounge. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

If you have Pualani Platinum elite status, you and a guest have access to the Plumeria Lounge if flying on an international flight out of Honolulu. The Plumeria Lounge tops the Premier Clubs in some ways by offering complimentary hot food, beer and wine. But even still, temper your expectations. Food quality is just mediocre (think small sandwiches and a vat of soup).

You’ll also have access to select international partner lounges in cities including Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; and Auckland, New Zealand to make your flight to Hawaii a little bit nicer. See the full list of the international lounges (and opening hours) here.

Booking benefits

Pualani elite members don’t have to wait until they arrive at the airport for their perks to kick in. All members will have access to reservation benefits, including greater seat selection when booking online, discounts when booking award flights with Hawaiian Airlines miles and access to an exclusive reservation line.

Additionally, Pualani Gold members receive a 50% miles bonus on revenue tickets, while Pualani Platinum members will earn a 100% bonus.

All Pualani elite members will receive 500 bonus miles on intra-island flights.

Seat upgrades

Hawaiian Airlines Extra Comfort Seats

With status, you’re eligible for upgrades, including these Extra Comfort Seats. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

Seat upgrades are one of the most valuable parts of any airline loyalty program, and Pualani elite members will not be disappointed in their upgrade options.

Both Gold and Platinum members (and up to six travel buddies on the same reservation) are eligible for complimentary upgrades to preferred seats, which are basically better (although not first class seats), when available.

On flights within Hawaiian, Platinum members will receive free upgrades to available first class seats, while Gold members will be able to upgrade to the front of the cabin at a 50% discount.

For flights to North America or international destinations, all members are eligible for upgrades to Extra Comfort Seats based on availability. Platinum members can use one upgrade certificate to get a business/first class upgrade on flights less than 3,500 miles or two upgrade certificates on flights more than 3,500 miles.

Additional perks

Pualani Gold and Platinum elite members are eligible for complimentary fare holds. This allows them to hold a ticket at a specific fare for a set period of time before they either purchase the ticket or cancel at no cost.

Platinum members receive the extra benefit of having a guaranteed economy class seat when flying to neighboring islands on a revenue ticket, up to 72 hours before the flight’s departure.

How much is Hawaiian status worth?

According to our most recent analysis of Pualani elite status, here's how much each level of Hawaiian elite status is worth versus how much it costs to earn:

Pulani Gold elite status

  • Value of elite status: $620.

  • Cost to earn: $2,400.

  • Rewards rate: 26%.

Pulani Platinum elite status

  • Value of elite status: $2,040.

  • Cost to earn: $4,800.

  • Rewards rate: 43%.

Keep in mind that these estimates assume a lot about how much you take advantage of the benefits. For example, a traveler with Pualani Gold status who only flies once in a calendar year will accrue far less benefit than someone who flies a dozen times.

Is Hawaiian elite status worth it?

Whether you’re a frequent visitor to the Hawaiian islands or are taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip, Pualani elite status can elevate your Hawaiian adventure.

Regular visitors to the islands (or residents) might opt to make most of their flights on Hawaiian in an effort to reach status through frequent flying. And even first-timers might consider a Hawaiian Premier Club membership to net them a better flying experience for that first visit to the Aloha State.

In NerdWallet’s annual analysis of the best airline elite status programs, we sought to determine how much value the major U.S. airline loyalty programs deliver to flyers. Here's how Hawaiian's Pualani status program did.

Pualani Gold

Pualani Platinum




Cost to earn



Elite reward rate



Hawaiian is already one of the more fancy airlines — and it only gets fancier with elite status. First class check-in, airport lounges and complimentary upgrades will make you feel like your vacation has started even before your plane has left the runway.

How to maximize your rewards

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