I’ve said before that a good portion of emails I get have to do with visiting Hawaii via miles and points. So today I wanted to highlight one particular exchange (with reader’s permission) and add a few additional thoughts.
Now that we have tickets to Kauai, I wanted to start thinking about our hotel options.
I’m not usually as psycho about hotels as I am about flights (booking 11 months out), but some advance planning may be necessary if credit card applications are required. I’m specifically thinking about the Grand Hyatt Kauai and applying for the Hyatt card (again).
Does the Hyatt card no longer offer 2 free nights? It looks like the current offer is 40K, so 10K less than would be required for 2 nights. Is that right? Is there any word on the 2 free night offer coming back? Is the Hyatt card still churnable and not subject to 5/24? I first got the card in 2014 and cancelled in Jan 2017. My wife got hers in 2014 and still has it. Could we get it again?
I know that Chase points transfer to Hyatt, but I wouldn’t be thrilled to liquidate my valuable/flexible Chase currency for a hotel when less expensive lodging options would be available. Like you, I’m not prissy about where I stay. It’s more important for me to be able to use my Chase points for United flights to NZ than to stay in very high-end hotels.
Interestingly, on our most recent trip to the Big Island we had 3 free nights at the Fairmont Orchid from the old Chase card (retail price ~$700/night) and we paid for one night at the Sheraton (cost ~$200). Guess which hotel our kids liked better? Right….the Sheraton.
In these situations I’ll often turn to my Prestige 4th night benefit. One of the reasons I’m not usually motivated by hotel points/cards is because the places we most enjoy visiting (e.g. NZ, Ischia, a small island in Italy, Croatia, etc.) don’t have a lot of chain hotels. Plus, we aren’t huge fans of big chain properties overflowing with guests.”
“Hi, Seth! Personally, I think Hyatt properties in Hawaii are kind of overpriced via points. So I understand why you don’t want to part with your valuable UR stash. That being said, my cousin-in-law stayed at Hyatt in Kauai and loved it. It looks like there is a ton of things to entertain small kids on-site and that’s important for families.
Chase Hyatt Visa is not currently subject to 5/24 rule. Technically, the bonus is 45k points after adding an authorized user. So, this may be a decent option for Kauai. Once you meet the minimum spend, you will have close to 50k Points. Both of you are eligible for new bonus because it’s been more than 24 months since you’ve received it, but your wife will have to cancel her card first. Of course, it depends on what other cards you have in mind. There is obviously an opportunity cost in going after Hyatt offer.
There is sometimes a way to get an extra $50 credit on top of points when you do a dummy booking on Hyatt.com However, if you decide to apply, I suggest you use your wife’s personal referral link instead since she’ll get 10k bonus points. Go to www.chasereferafriend.com to generate referral link.
She can cancel the card after getting the bonus points and use your referral link to apply. Makes sense? That will give you more than enough for 4 nights, with points leftover. I can’t give an exact timeline, but I would think waiting one month after canceling would be sufficient. But who knows how Chase will feel about it.
Be aware, points availability around Christmas may or may not be there. You would be booking far ahead but still, it is a concern. I would certainly have a Plan B for points, just in case.
Overall, with kids, a condo is probably a better fit for you. You would have to share one small room at a Hyatt, which is not ideal. Plus, the cost of food at the resort is outrageous. So lots of cons to consider if you go this route. I also don’t like the area where Hyatt is located. It’s a bit blah, in my opinion. I like Wailua (where we stayed) a lot better. Then again, most people love Grand Hyatt Resort in Kauai. I’m a bit of a contrarian, so keep that in mind.”
Few additional thoughts
Ultimately, I would never tell folks not to burn UR points on Hyatt properties in Hawaii. If you’ve done research and concluded that it’s the best option for your family, go for it. That said, I strongly recommend you consider opportunity cost when doing so. A year ago Nancy published a post on this very topic.
She was debating on redeeming points on two rooms at Hyatt in Kauai, and ultimately decided on a condo. Here is why:
Rather than burn 50,000 UR points per night/for two rooms via transfer to Hyatt, she could book a condo for 13,165 UR points per night. ( If you are new to this hobby, see why applying for Chase Ultimate Rewards cards first can make a lot of sense.)
And that’s just one example. There are plenty of condos and vacation rentals that will give you better bang for your UR points.
There are three things you should consider, IMO:
1) Are your Hyatt points coming from Chase Ultimate Rewards?
If you have a huge stash of Hyatt points from work travel, it could definitely make sense to burn it on a resort in Kauai. With UR currency you are giving up other valuable options like transfer to Southwest or ability to book revenue travel at 1.25 -1.5 cents per point.
2) How much time do you plan to spend at this resort?
If you will be gone most of the time exploring the island, it makes no sense to pay for facilities you won’t be using. Many condos in Hawaii have a pool, and that may be all you need. Plus, you won’t be tempted to hang out at the resort which can be a trap preventing you from seeing the real Hawaii. You can find amazing pool facilities in Orlando, no need to fly 10 hours to enjoy them.
Of course, with kids, having few fun things to do on-site is important. When we went to Kauai, we rented an apartment connected to someone’s house. No pool or spa in sight, but I loved it. Plus, we could see mountains from the porch. #NoRegrets
That being said, I wouldn’t rent something like this now when we have kids. I would look for easy beach access and some sort of pool on-site.
3) Do you have Globalist or Explorist status with Hyatt?
Having Club lounge access can be a game changer for families. My cousin-in-law was able to apply her Explorist upgrade to a wedding anniversary stay in Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa As a result, their breakfasts and dinners were taken care of. Both she and her husband said it was a fantastic place to vacation. Here is the view from the Club lounge, where they enjoyed seeing whales playing in the water each morning. Not too shabby, right?
If your Explorist status will expire at the end of this month, make sure to read my post on matching to MLife Gold while you still can. You may or may not get your 4 lounge certificates in March, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with transferring UR points to Hyatt program so you can use them in Hawaii. If that’s what you want, by all means, go for it. That said, this option is not a no-brainer, so I recommend you consider the alternatives before pulling the trigger.
If you are not in the market for any other credit cards, applying for Chase Hyatt Visa (read about it here) could certainly make sense. If you don’t normally stay in a Hyatt and are only interested in the program because of its Hawaii properties, why not consider it so you can save cash? Got Explorist status via elaborate system of MLife matches and re-matches? Even better.
Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.