We’re just a few days away from a family getaway to Maui, and the best part of it all is that our total out-of-pocket cost so far for flights and hotels has been less than $300- for 5 people! Oh how I love points and miles!
Back in March, Dad and I visited Australia, and just days before our trip, we decided to make some changes to our itinerary so that we could meet some friends in Tokyo for a few days on our way back to New York.
Since Tokyo – New York was considered an “off peak award” with American Airlines at that time, our return flight from Haneda was only 25,000 AAdvantage miles a piece (and ~$44 in taxes), and we were even able to get a free one way out of it for a later date because American Airlines allows one free domestic stopover on International award redemptions. We chose Maui as our free oneway. In the end, our ticket looked like this: HND-JFK (stopover), then we’d “continue on” to Maui approximately 7 months later.
Keep in mind that Citi AAdvantage credit card holders also get 10% of their redeemed miles back, knocking this Tokyo-NY-Maui ticket to just 22,500 miles.
Now that Dad and I had tickets squared away, it was time to book the same award tickets for Mr. Points Traveler, Mom, and my brother Anthony. Anthony is currently living in South Carolina, so it was most practical to have him depart directly from Columbia (CAE). He will be meeting us in Dallas and then continuing on to Maui on the same flight segments we are already booked on. The award ticket prices for Mr. Points Traveler, Mom, and Anthony were 17,500 AAdvantage miles a piece (+ 10% of the miles back from the credit card).
A few months ago, Mommy Points blogged that American Airlines was having a discounted award ticket redemption price of 15,000 miles each way for travel between September 11 – December 17, 2013. I was naturally tempted to rebook using the lower rate, but unfortunately that would require a complete redeposit (plus redeposit fee) to save 2,500 miles each. Of course, the fee would be waived for AAdvantage Executive Platinums (which I am not).
For the return flights, we were able to book 5 tickets on the same itinerary from OGG to EWR for 20,000 United miles each. Since I have top-tier elite status with United, I was able to book everyone in an E+ seat, and we have the option for free flight changes and redeposits if we decide to extend our stay for a day or two.
Since we are arriving in Maui fairly late at night after what will be a long, exhausting day traveling in coach (thank goodness for Gogo), we are spending our first night at the Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport (category 5) by using our Marriott free night certificates that we earned from previous “stay 2, get 1” MegaBonus promotions. This hotel has a convenient and free airport shuttle, so we don’t have to worry about renting a car late at night.
For the next 3 nights, we transferred Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt GoldPassport (22,000 points a night), to stay at the brand new Andaz Maui at Wailea hotel that just opened up a few months ago. I luckily won 22,000 GoldPassport points at FTU in Tampa, and I was also targeted for several “bonus points” promotions over the last couple of months just for being a Hyatt Visa card member. I believe I earned 13,000 bonus Hyatt points just by meeting spending thresholds on the card, so I don’t feel as guilty for transferring too many valuable Ultimate Rewards points into hotel nights.
Mom and Dad used two free night certificates for their room from the Hyatt Visa, as well as 22,000 Ultimate Rewards points for the 3rd night. A standard room is going for around $400 a night during the times we will be visiting, so it was refreshing that as a family, we were able to save ~$2400 in hotel costs!
After booking the rooms, we applied for a Hyatt Diamond trail so that we’d be able to enjoy daily hot breakfast each day at the Andaz, among other perks such as bonus points, welcome amenities, and possible upgrades. The Hyatt Diamond trial grants you Diamond status for 60 days, and there is an option to keep the status until February of 2015 by completing 12 stays in that 60-day time period (ambitious, I know).
We’re still ironing out the details of the rental car as I continue to see the best available deal possible. If anyone has any suggestions, or if you know of any intriguing car-rental promotions, please feel free to share!
This will be the first time in Maui for all of us, so if you have further recommendations for local food options, activities, and “must-dos”, feel free to let us know. As of now we are considering the following:
- Feast of Lele Luau – Considered the best on the island, but it’s also pricey at $115 a head.
- Warren & Annabelle’s Magic Comedy Dinner Show – Heard some good reviews, could be a fun night out.
- The Road To Hana – Hearing mixed reviews; is it worth it?
- Hiking/Snorkeling – Would like to spend a good portion of the trip staying active – any recommendations would be appreciated!
- Flights from EWR to OGG for Dad and I: Free Oneway on American Airlines
- Flights for Mom, Anthony, and Mr. Points Traveler to OGG: 15,750 each (17,500 + 10% back on Citi AAdvantage Card)
- 2 Rooms at the Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport for 1 Night: Free using free night certificates from Marriott’s MegaBonus promotion
- 3 Nights at the Andaz Maui at Wailea for Mr. Points Traveler and I: 66,000 Hyatt GoldPassport points
- 3 Nights at the Andaz Maui at Wailea for Mom, Dad, and Anthony: 2 Hyatt Free Night Certificates and 22,000 Hyatt GoldPassport points
If anyone has any recommendations for our Maui trip, please do share – we especially like “local” experiences and food!