Another Luxury Stay in Hawaii. How I’m Staying at the Andaz Maui, for Free

It’s not a duplicate post. Previously I wrote about how I was staying two nights in Maui at the Waldorf Astoria, completely for free. By picking up the Hilton Honors Reserve card, I earned two free nights at almost any Hilton property in the world. At over $500 per night, that means I’d pickup a weekend stay at the Waldorf Astoria for free, instead of spending over $1,000.

But since I decided I wanted to go to Hawaii for 10 days, I knew I had more nights I’d need a place to stay. I had an idea of where I would stay in Oahu, so first I wanted to finalize my stay in Maui.

As nice as the Waldorf Astoria is, some say that the Andaz Maui is even nicer. Scott Mackenzie of the travel and reward blog, “Hack My Trip” calls it the nicest hotel on the entire island. He recently stayed and wrote a  fairly in-depth review of the place. While it would be my preference to be able to stay in one hotel and not have to move around, I only had those two nights available at the Waldorf Astoria, (unless I wanted to spend $500 a night.)

A quick google map search of the two properties gave me some great news. They were almost literally right next to one another, less than a mile down the beach. A nice 15 minute morning walk down the beach and I’d be able to check out and check in with ease.

 

Two of the nicest hotels in Hawaii are virtually right next to one another.

Two of the nicest hotels in Hawaii are virtually right next to one another.

The Andaz Maui was pricey as well though. If I booked right now for a trip in January I could get the early rate at a, “discounted” $405 per night over the usual $449 rate. A lower price sure, but $400 for a one night’s stay is still $400.Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.24.14 PM

And don’t forget the additional charges. That $405 becomes a bit more when you figure in local tax, state tax, resort fees, etc, etc.

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It might just be the nicest hotel in Hawaii however spending over $900 when it’s all said and done for a two night stay is a pretty major expense. But because I’d put together a plan, I’d be able to stay at the Andaz Maui completely for free. Here’s how.

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The Andaz Maui is a Hyatt property, meaning in addition to paying for the room you could also utilize Hilton rewards points, what they call, “Gold Passport” points. While Hilton has close to 4,000 properties around the world, Hyatt has far fewer. However the advantage with Hyatt is that their properties tend to cost fewer points. While the Waldorf Astoria in Maui would cost 70,000 points for a single night, the Andaz Maui cost just 25,000.

So for just 50,000 points I could save over $900 and stay at maybe the nicest hotel in all of Hawaii. Unfortunately, as I hadn’t stayed in a Hyatt for a while, and I did not have any Hyatt specific credit cards, my Hyatt Gold Passport balance was virtually nil.

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But that’s alright, because I knew one of the most important rules in the miles and points game was to diversify. Because I’d picked up the Chase Sapphire Preferred card many months back, I knew I’d be able to use their Ultimate Rewards Points. Instead of being tied to a specific airline or hotel, I could transfer those points to one of 11 different partners, one of which, was Hyatt.

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The transfer process is simple and instant. I just logged into my chase account, selected the transfer option, chose Hyatt, and entered in the number I wanted to send over to my Hyatt Gold Passport account.

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30 seconds later I refreshed the page on my Hyatt account and I saw the 50,000 points had gone through. I went back to the booking page, selected the option to book with points, and one minute later I’d received my confirmation.

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I was now staying for four nights in Maui, at two of the most luxurious hotels in Hawaii, just off my points. What would have cost me over $2,000 in luxury hotel costs, I was getting completely for free. Because I put together a plan and knew how to best leverage my miles and points, I was able to enjoy the luxury stay that most people would normally just look upon and utter, “Ah I wish I could afford that.”

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5 Comments

  1. August 15, 2014 / 3:22 pm

    Hawaii is on my list of places to go but I always seem to get deterred by the lack of all-inclusives. When I think “beach,” I think “unlimited Mai Tais. I must unlearn that habit =)

    • Steve Bierfeldt
      August 15, 2014 / 4:49 pm

      Heh. Fair enough Holly.

  2. Matt
    August 19, 2014 / 8:10 pm

    Steve,

    Really enjoy reading your blog! New follower as of your Tom Woods show appearance. I was just wondering a few things; if you don’t want to keep your credit cards open after you use the free miles (I have a few cards that are over 10 years old), what is the best way to cancel them? (phone, email, letter, etc. . .) Also what is the effect on your credit report if you open these types of cards and use them for a year, then close them? Thanks again for the inspiration!

    Matt

    • Steve Bierfeldt
      August 20, 2014 / 9:49 pm

      Hey Matt, great to have you as a follower. A phone call is more than fine, just give them a call and tell them you’re, “thinking of canceling the card.” Sometimes it might make sense to keep it open. I was all set to cancel a Delta card and they offered me 15,000 miles to keep it for another year. I did the math and it worked out. I’ve heard of people getting the full year’s fee waived.

      I’d recommend calling at about the 10 1/2 – 11 month mark after you’ve opened a card, if a fee is scheduled to kick in, and then see if it’s worth it. If you’re dead set on canceling a card, (but again, consider not, because it may be worth it for you) a phone call is fine. Your credit report will just show opening and closing, rather your credit score will probably drop a few points. Remember that length of credit and credit utilization are aspects affecting your score. However unless you’re getting hit with an astronomical fee, I’d never cancel a card that you’ve had for 10 years. Keeping old cards open is one of the best ways to help your credit score. If there’s no fee, just stick it in a drawer and make a charge every six months or so.