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It’s official! AA adds lounge access on flights to Hawaii which makes this tropical destination a must-visit this summer. Eligible premium-cabin passengers can now stay at Flaghship Lounges and Admirals Club lounges and enjoy premium amenities like chef-inspired meals, cocktail bars, comfortable seats, and shower suites prior to boarding.
For everyone’s information, American Airlines has never “EVER” offered this feature to all domestic first-class passengers on inbound and outbound Hawaiian flights.
This is why AA loyalists are really excited about this update because flying to or from Hawaii takes about 5-10 hours depending on the distance, and having a place to rest (for FREE) before or after your flight makes a big difference.
Locations Where AA Adds Lounge Access On Flights To Hawaii
American Airlines used to offer Flagship Lounges only for passengers on long-haul business cabins or for nonstop premium transcontinental flights between Miami and New York to California.
- Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX)
- New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
- New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO)
- New York (JFK) and Orange County (SNA)
Now, AA adds lounge access on flights to and from Hawaii for the following routes below. Take note that not all AAdvantage elite members will have access to Flagship Lounges and Admirals Club but only those who are first-class passengers on nonstop flights.
- Honolulu (HNL) and Dallas (DFW)
- Honolulu (HNL) and Chicago (ORD)
- Honolulu (HNL) and Charlotte (CLT)
- Maui (OGG) and Dallas (DFW)
- Kona (KOA) and Dallas (DFW)
Needless to say, there is a major concern for overcrowding in these lounges for two main reasons. First, Hawaii has eased down on travel restrictions since June 15 so expect a surge of tourists flying to Hawaii in the following months to come. Second, vaccinated Americans are now eligible to travel to certain countries abroad which could also cramp up these lounges even more.
However, international traffic is still on the lower levels compared to pre-pandemic times so these American Airlines lounges won’t be too crowded as everyone expects.
When Will American Airlines Flagship Lounges Reopen?
American Airlines Flagship Lounges are based in five locations across the U.S. – Chicago, Miami, New York (JFK), Los Angeles, and Dallas/Fort Worth. All of these lounges have closed since March of 2020 due to the pandemic but travelers will soon be seeing these five outposts gradually reopening this Fall of 2021.
The timing is definitely perfect as AA adds lounge access on flights to Hawaii. It’s also worth mentioning that American is planning to open another outpost in Philadelphia.
Here is the expected reopening schedule for American Airlines Flagship Lounges. The list below also includes the outposts that include Flagship First Dining.
- Miami (MIA) – Reopening in September 2021 (Has Flagship First Dining)
- New York (JFK) – Reopening late in Fall (Has Flagship First Dining)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Reopening late in Fall (Has Flagship First Dining)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Reopening late in Fall (Has Flagship First Dining but will remain closed)
- Chicago (ORD) – Reopening late in Fall (Doesn’t have Flagship First Dining)
Eligible travelers who are flying to airports that don’t have Flagship Lounges will still have access to all Admiral Clubs. Most of these Admiral Club lounges have already reopened since last year.
Using Your Points To Fly To Hawaii
Hawaii should definitely be on your travel bucket list this year. A lot of Airlines have updated their travel policies to convince people to start traveling again like United bringing back its hot meals for Hawaii flights and Delta restoring in-flight service on its transcontinental routes.
While most of us are still recovering financially due to the pandemic, that shouldn’t stop you from booking that Hawaii trip. You can use credit cards to strategically earn points or miles and book cheap award flights to Hawaii.
Here are some recommended cards that you can sign up for:
The Amex Gold card is a great mid-level card that can still get your premium benefits such as:
- Getting 60,000 points welcome bonus after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership.
- Earning 4X at US supermarkets on purchases (up to $25,000 per calendar year).
- Earning 4X at restaurants (includes delivery and takeout).
- Earning 3X on flights booked directly with the airline or American Express Travel.
The Amex Platinum Card gives cardholders a wide range of features as well great earning rates on travel. Here are the cards features:
- Earn 100,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months of getting your card
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases within the first 6 months).
- Earn 5X on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year).
- Complimentary access to the Amex centurion lounges.
- Earn 5X on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of Chase’s Premium Ultimate Rewards cards. It does come with a pricey annual fee of $550 but it’s compensated by a huge array of benefits such as:
- 60,000 welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
- $300 Annual Travel Credit that used to offset travel purchases made on your account.
- Earn 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
- Earn 5X total points on air travel.
- Earn 3X points on other travel and dining.
- Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- Airport lounge access with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great mid-tier travel card. For only a $95 annual fee, the card gives account holders a wide array of benefits such as:
- 100,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership.
- Get a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit.
- Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R).
- Earn 3X points on dining.
- Earn 2X points on all other travel purchases.
Not to mention, Chase Ultimate Rewards allows you to transfer your points to multiple transfer partners giving you more flexibility for award redemptions. Chase now has a total of 11 transfer partners since they recently added Aeroplan to their program.
Thoughts From Points Panda
Among the Big 3 U.S. carriers, it’s only American and United that has a separate lounge for business class passengers. Delta doesn’t have a business-class-only lounge because it allows economy passengers to have access to Delta Sky Clubs as long as they have Delta Medallion Status.
United’s Polaris Lounges does not have a scheduled reopening date as of the moment, but even if they reopen, outbound and inbound business-class Hawaii flights still don’t have lounge access. It’s worth mentioning that United brought back hot meals on their Hawaii flights but American Airlines is still the better option with their new lounge policy.