Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See our Advertising Policy
Aloha! It’s time for your monthly dose of Hawai’i travel updates for December 2023. I’ve got the lowdown on some exciting developments, hotel news, upcoming events, and more. So, grab your Kona coffee and watch the update video below for additional commentary.
Big News: Alaska Airlines Buys Hawaiian Airlines
Without a doubt, the biggest bombshell to hit the Hawaiian travel scene is Alaska Airlines buying Hawaiian Airlines. This shocking move left everyone, including yours truly, utterly blindsided. I had to delay my latest video (and this article) just to fill you in on the scoop. Here is what I know about this acquisition.
Alaska Airlines is shelling out a whopping $1.9 billion to acquire Hawaiian Airlines. They claim they’ll keep both brands separate, but let’s not forget Alaska’s past experience with the Virgin America merger, which was, well, not great. We’ll have to see how this plays out. Employees, especially pilots and flight attendants, are understandably anxious about the future.
Now, check out this fancy diagram showing Hawaiian’s and Alaska’s routes. Sure, there’s some overlap, but overall, it’s a pretty harmonious match. These two airlines will be expanding their routes from Asia to Hawaii and the west coast of the mainland United States. While there are a few overlapping routes, the number of flights on one airline versus the other is quite different. So, overlap concerns are minimal.
But here’s what’s really bugging folks: What’s going to happen to their miles and loyalty status? That’s the million-dollar question. The merger is projected to take about 12 to 14 months to sort out. But, don’t forget, it could all be for naught if the government puts its foot down and says, “No can do.”
And, of course, the burning question on everyone’s mind: Will we get Beecher Cheese with our POG on inter Island flights? I promise to keep you posted on that critical issue.
Also, read about The Best Way To Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Hawai’i
Moving on to hotel news, I’ve been keeping an eye on a few developments around Oahu and the other islands.
- AC Hotel Honolulu: The walls are finally coming down, and this downtown Marriott property is taking shape. I snooped around a bit and saw a cozy coffee shop on one side and a swanky bar lounge through the window. Rooms are now available with points if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy member. Dynamic pricing is in play, so you might want to wait a bit before staying. I’ll try to get some photos to share soon.
- King’s Village Revamp: Over in Waikiki, the old King’s Village site is transforming into the new Hilton Grand Vacations Club. Construction is moving forward at a brisk pace, and it’s a welcome sight after months of inactivity, likely due to COVID.
- Trump Tower Rebrand: The Trump Tower in Waikiki is getting a complete rebrand as it joins the Hilton LXR Hotels and Resorts family. It’s a prime location across from Halekulani and Fort DeRussy Beach Park. I’ve heard great things about the restaurants and staff here, so this rebrand is intriguing.
- The Bluefish: If you’re into sushi, there’s a new spot in Waikiki called The Bluefish. It’s on Beachwalk and offers a unique dining experience. Check it out if you’re in the area and share your thoughts.
- Cirque du Soleil: Cirque du Soleil is putting on a special show just for Hawaii at the Outrigger Beachcomber. They held an open call for local talent, which is a promising sign that they’re making progress. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us!
Now, let’s dive into some exciting events happening in Hawaii this December:
- Honolulu Marathon (December 10th): This marathon starts at Ala Moana Beach Park, winds through downtown Honolulu, and finishes at Kapiolani Park. It’s a big event, so plan accordingly if you’re traveling around the island on that day.
- Honolulu City Lights (December 2nd – December 29th): This family-friendly event features stunning Christmas light displays and various setups throughout downtown Honolulu. It’s a must-visit if you’re on Oahu during the holiday season.
- Christmas and New Year’s at The Prince Waikiki: The Prince Waikiki is known for its top-notch Christmas decorations and New Year’s celebrations. Be sure to check out their unique outdoor bar area.
- Halekulani New Year’s Eve: If you want to welcome the New Year in style, consider the Halekulani. They have exclusive events, but keep in mind that some are for guests only.
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks at The Grand Wailea (Maui): If you’re on Maui for New Year’s, The Grand Wailea is the place to be. They put on an incredible fireworks show, and this year, it’s extra special after the fires that affected the island.
That’s a wrap for your Hawai’i travel updates for December 2023. I want to thank all of you for following along this year. I’ve got plenty more exciting trips, flight reviews, lounge reviews, and hotel reviews planned for the coming year. If I don’t bump into you on the islands or in Waikiki, I’ll catch you in the hotel lobby. Aloha!