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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 fortunate enough to earn elite status on 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.
How to qualify for Pualani elite status
Hawaiian Airlines has three different elite status levels: Pualani Platinum, Pualani Gold and Premier Club status.
In order to earn Pualani Gold status, travelers must fly 20,000 miles or 30 segments in one calendar year. Earning Pualani Platinum status requires flying 40,000 miles or 60 segments. Meanwhile, Premier Club status can be purchased annually for $299 or 40,000 miles. Premier Club members receive some but not all of the perks of Pualani Elite passengers.
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.
» Learn more: Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles: The complete guide
Benefits 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.
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.
Once they’ve 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.
Pualani elite members will also have access to the Hawaiian Airlines Premier Clubs, which are located at the Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kahului and Lihue airports.
Finally, your perks don’t end when your flight is over — elite members also receive priority baggage handling, which means your suitcases will be the first to hit the luggage carousel, so you’ll be the first to hit the beach.
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 a wide range of 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.
» Learn more: Here's how much your points and miles are worth
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 are eligible for complimentary upgrades to non-first-class seats, when available. 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.
» Learn more: How to get cheap upgrades to first class
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, up to 72 hours before the flight’s departure.
The bottom line
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. 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
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, 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