The best American Airlines Admirals Club that I’ve visited is at Honolulu International Airport. The lounge is also called the Sakura Lounge and serves Japan Airlines Business Class passengers and Air New Zealand Business Class passengers. Perhaps the extra money from hosting those passengers allows American Airlines to offer the expanded food options compared to most of its lounges.

Like all 50+ American Airlines Admirals Clubs, you can get access with:

  • Admirals Club annual membership, which is $500 for the first year for folks without American Airlines elite status
  • Admirals Club 30 day membership, which is $99
  • Admirals Club One-Day Pass, which is $50
  • The Citi AAdvantage Executive credit card, which comes with Admirals Club membership included with its $450 annual fee
  • Your transcontinental Business or First Class boarding pass when flying New York to California or Miami to Los Angeles
  • Your international Business or First Class boarding pass to Europe, Asia, Central and South America and Mexico City

I had to access the Admirals Club with my AAdvantage Executive credit card. Holding the AAdvantage Executive card is like having Admirals Club membership, so I was able to bring my friend in as a free guest.

Alcohol

The Admirals Club in Honolulu offers Heineken, Budweiser, Miller Lite…

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… red and white wines…Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 6.49.33 AM

…and a variety of liquors.

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All alcohol is self-serve. There are a number of sodas and juices at the soda machine with which you can create your own cocktails.

Seating Areas

The seating in the club is in a bit of a U-shape. In the middle is a long row of tables with one chair on each side.
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Along two walls are desks divided by partitions. I like to sit in these seats, especially during the day when they overlook the beautiful gardens below.Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.12.42 PM

In the food area are a few tables with four seats.Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.12.47 PM

Food

The food at the Honolulu Admirals Club is what sets it apart from other Admirals Clubs and domestic lounges generally. While most Admirals Clubs only have a few small snacks for free, my friend and I each ate a full meal before our flights.

Every time I’ve visited, two soups have been available. Last night they were minestrone and chicken noodle. In the past, I’ve seen potato chowder. I really like the minestrone and potato chowder, though I think the chicken noodle is just OK. (My friend really liked the chicken noodle.)
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Because the lounge serves Japan Airlines passengers, there are instant noodles and hot water. Because the lounge is in Hawaii, there is spam musubi. My brother really liked the instant noodles. The spam musubi is, of course, gross unless you grew up in Hawaii.Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.13.03 PM

There are Famous Amos cookies and Chex Mix.Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.13.09 PM

There is a full display of vegetables, with ranch dressing available, and a fruit salad of pineapple, strawberry, grapes, and melons. The fruit sald was fresh and delicious. It was also presented better than this picture captures it.Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.13.16 PM

A sandwich tray with turkey, ham, and tuna also has rolls and dessert pastries. I loved the turkey sandwiches–I think I had about eight–and my friend said the tuna sandwiches hit the spot. These pastries, not sure what they were, were good, but not as good as the mini doughnuts with chocolate frosting that came out later in the night.
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My friend and I had a few cups of soup, fruits and veggies, sandwiches, and dessert. He had a glass of wine to get sleepier for his redeye, while I hydrated with water and pineapple juice. It was his first lounge experience, and I’ve set unrealistic expectations for Admirals Clubs, which do not offer nearly this much food for free anywhere else that I know of. (Post your favorite Admirals Clubs in the comments.)

Internet

I had never had a problem with the lounge’s internet until last night. It cut out after downloading about one tenth of a show I wanted to watch on the plane, and I head someone else complain she couldn’t connect. This is a huge issue for a lounge, and one I trust will be corrected.

Bottom Line

My favorite Admirals Club is in Honolulu for its expanded food options and garden views. I don’t pay $50 a visit or $500 a year because lounge access is included with two of my credit cards.

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