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Your next trip to Hawaii could include access to an exclusive airport lounge

Feb. 25, 2021
5 min read
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Airport lounge access usually requires airline status, a credit card or a membership to a lounge network like Priority Pass. But at the newest lounge in Honolulu (HNL), none of the three will fly. Instead, you can only access the lounge if you're staying at one of four resorts on the island of O'ahu.

As reported by Jeffsetter, The Ko Olina Club Lounge opened earlier this month and is open to guests and timeshare owners staying at the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa, Beach Villas at Ko Olina, Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club or the Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina.

There aren't many details surrounding the lounge itself. According to its website, it's located on the first floor of Terminal 2. You won't have tarmac views, but the lounge's windows open into the airport's Japanese Garden. This means you could expect the lounge's interior to be peaceful and an excellent place to decompress before your flight.

The amenities appear to be limited. Soft drinks and snacks are available for purchase, but you won't find substantial food offerings or alcoholic beverages in the lounge. That said, you will find comfortable seating, Wi-Fi and charging stations, which is no doubt better than sitting in a crowded terminal before your flight.

The lounge is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you must make a reservation on Ko Olina Club's website. Due to coronavirus restrictions, guests can make one reservation per day for up to five travelers. As you'd expect, masks are required in the lounge except when eating or drinking.

Related: The 10 best Priority Pass lounges around the world

Accessing the Ko Olina Club Lounge

Guests at Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa can access the Ko Olina Club Lounge. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

As mentioned above, you have to be a guest at one of four resorts to access to Ko Olina Club Lounge:

The only points-bookable option is the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club. This hotel is a Category 6 Bonvoy property, meaning award nights cost 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points apiece if there's standard availability, not a bad deal given nightly rates are usually well over $350.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

On the other hand, you can use Capital One points to cover stays at the other three properties. TPG's Summer Hull stayed at Aulani Disney Resort and Spa in 2019 and had a great stay.

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That said, I wouldn't recommend staying at one of these properties solely for lounge access. There are plenty of (nicer) lounges at Honolulu airport, and a ton of resorts, hotels and vacation rentals in O'ahu.

Related: Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii right now

Lounges as a resort amenity

While this lounge may be a little underwhelming, it's interesting to see more resorts add airport lounge access as an amenity. They allow guests to get a taste of their resort as soon as they get off the plane as well as allow guests to enjoy their resort experience after they leave the property.

Many leisure travelers only fly a couple of times a year and may not have airline status or have a credit card that grants lounge access. This makes the travel experience extra special and leaves a great impression on the resort that runs the lounge.

This isn't the first time we've seen this amenity. Previously, Four Seasons operated a standalone lounge at Honolulu airport. This offered similar amenities to guests at Honolulu airport, but access was only granted to guests of the Four Seasons Lanai. This is likely because getting to the resort requires flying to Honolulu and then taking a quick flight to Lanai (LNY).

And, many prominent resorts in places like the Maldives and Bora Bora run airport lounges to greet guests, check them in and ensure a smooth transfer to the property after what for many is a long journey.

I'd like to see even more resorts offer lounges. It makes the resort experience more luxurious and could make all the difference for occasional travelers — especially during a pandemic when sitting in a crowded airport lounge isn't ideal. That said, I'd like to see future resort-operated airport lounges have better amenities, like a bar, food and showers.

Related: TPG readers’ favorite airport lounges around the world

Bottom line

The Ko Olina Club Lounge is an interesting take on the airport lounge. Instead of gaining access with a credit card or business class plane ticket, it's open to travelers staying at a specific resort. As leisure travel continues to recover, it's possible we'll see more of these kinds of lounges popping up in other top tourist destinations around the world.

Feature photo by 400tmax/Getty Images

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023