Hawaiian Airlines Pualani elite status: What it is and how to get it

A couple walk along beach in Hawaii.Image: A couple walk along beach in Hawaii.
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If you fly Hawaiian Airlines frequently, having Pualani elite status can make for a more rewarding travel experience. Unlike some other airlines, Hawaiian allows you to buy into one of the program’s elite status tiers.

At a glance: Hawaiian Airlines Pualani levels

The Hawaiian Airlines Pualani program offers three elite status tiers beyond the basic free membership to HawaiianMiles. Here’s how they compare.

Priority boardingSeat upgradesNeighbor island seat upgrades
Premier Club  

Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Premier Club

With most airlines, you have to meet certain requirements to qualify for elite status, such as earning a minimum number of points, spending a certain amount on flights or completing a predetermined number of flight segments.

While the Hawaiian Pualani Gold and Platinum status tiers have such requirements, the Premier Club level doesn’t, so you can reach this level even if you’re not a regular flyer with Hawaiian.

What does Premier Club status get you?

You won’t earn any bonus miles when you book flights with the airline, and many of the level’s benefits are relatively basic. But you’ll get discounted award flights, along with a few other benefits.

You’ll also get two free checked bags on every flight, plus access to the Premier Club check-in line, the Premier Club lounge and priority security screening at select airports.

How do I qualify for Premier Club status?

You don’t have to meet any flight or spending requirements to get Premier Club status. The annual club membership is available for $299 or 40,000 HawaiianMiles.

Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Gold

You can earn Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Gold elite status with travel segments or miles.

What does Gold status get you?

With Pualani Gold status, you’ll earn 50% more miles when you book flights with Hawaiian Airlines.

In addition to the benefits you’d get as a Premier Club member, Pualani Gold also offers complimentary upgrades to preferred seating on neighbor island flights and extra-comfort seats on flights to North America and international destinations.

You’ll also get discounted upgrades to first class on the day of departure, complimentary fare-hold reservations and free same-day standby on neighbor island flights.

How do I qualify for Gold status?

To earn Gold status, you’ll need to have 20,000 miles or 30 segments. Your elite-qualifying miles and segments must be earned on a revenue fare on flights operated by Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Platinum

As the highest status level with Hawaiian Airlines, Pualani Platinum comes with a suite of perks for loyal flyers.

What does Platinum status get you?

Pualani Platinum members earn 100% bonus miles when they book flights with Hawaiian Airlines.

On top of the Gold status benefits, Platinum members also get certificates that are good for first-class upgrades. The number of upgrades you’ll receive depends on how many miles you earn with the airline each year.

Platinum status also comes with a guaranteed seat in economy on neighbor island flights up until 72 hours before the flight departs.

How do I qualify for Platinum status?

To qualify for Hawaiian Airlines Pualani Platinum status, you’ll have to have 40,000 miles or 60 segments under your belt from Hawaiian Airlines flights that were earned on a revenue fare, not miles.

Which Hawaiian Airlines Pualani status is right for me?

If you fly Hawaiian Airlines regularly, it might be worth it to work toward elite status. But depending on how often you travel, you may be wondering which status level you should shoot for.

Here’s what to consider.

If you don’t fly often enough to earn status

Pualani Premier Club may not come with the same perks as Gold and Platinum status, but one of its greatest benefits is the fact that you can get in without earning it.

Also, you’ll still get some solid perks like free checked bags, priority treatment, discounted award tickets and more.

If you simply want a better seat

If you’re not picky about being in first class, Pualani Gold status may be good enough with its preferred seat and extra comfort upgrades. You can also get first-class upgrades on select flights, so you’ll still have that option if you want to try it out.

If you want first-class upgrades

Pualani Platinum status offers a lot of perks, but getting several first-class upgrade certificates may be the most valuable. If you prefer to fly in style and maximum comfort, it may be worth it to target the airline’s top elite status tier.

Hawaiian Airlines credit cards

The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® won’t help you earn elite status, but it can make it easier to rack up HawaiianMiles that you can use to book award flights. There’s also a version of the card for small-business owners — the Hawaiian Airlines® Business Mastercard®.

Before you apply, for the card, check out our full our full review of the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®.

About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.