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

Feb 25, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club Pricing
(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.

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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.