I’m back! My family just returned from an 11-day Hawaii trip, visiting Kauai and Oahu. Overall, it was a great trip with just a few hiccups (what trip doesn’t have hiccups, right?)
I can’t wait to tell you all about it! I’ll be writing more in-depth posts about what we did in Hawaii, but for now here is an overview of what we did and saw:
Waipouli Beach Resort
We could not have been happier with this resort, which we booked using Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Our condo was very large, and we were right across the street from two grocery stores, a McDonalds, a bakery and several other restaurants.
Wings Over Kauai
We took a flight on our first day in Kauai. I definitely rank this as a must-do on Kauai! So much of the island is not accessible by roads or boats. We saw Waimea Canyon, the Napali Coast, rainbows and dozens of waterfalls from the air!
Sugar Cane Canal Tubing
My husband and boys did this on our second day in Kauai. Although it was cold, they all loved it!
While the boys were tubing, my daughter and I took a tour of the Steelgrass Farm to learn about growing and making chocolate! We also tasted a variety of tropical fruits grown on the farm.
Last Saturday, we took a boat to the Fern Grotto. We listened to local music and learned to hula on the way.
ATV ride at Kipu Ranch
This excursion ranks right up with the airplane tour for me. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the landscape in Kauai is. Our ride was only 2 hours, and it went by so fast. Plus, we could swing on the same river rope used in the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, and plunge in a waterfall pool.
We visited six beaches on Kauai! My kids love the beach, and each beach was so different.
Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa
We stayed for four nights at Aulani on the tail end of our trip. Of course the kids loved it. We rented a cabana for the first time anywhere, and attended our first luau onsite.
For more photos and video clips, watch my vacation music video:
Hawaii Trips are Not Just for Rich People
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed some comments on my Facebook news feed in a few different discussions about people who vacation over Spring Break and multiple times a year. I saw comments like “Must be nice to be so rich to afford trips every year” and “They are probably in credit card debt since they travel so much.”
I jumped in on a few of those conversations to give my 2 cents. If you have good credit and follow a few miles and points blogs, taking trips is totally within reach of most families. Yes, even Hawaii trips! This is the second time my family has traveled to Hawaii on miles and points, and we’re neither rich nor in credit card debt.
Leana recently listed some high-value credit card bonuses, and she has written several posts about getting to Hawaii on miles and points.
Cards to consider if you are under 5/24: (Note: Some offers may have changed or are no longer available).
Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4000 in the first three months. Add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first three months for an additional 5000 points, for a total of 59,000 points after meeting the minimum spend. Annual fee is waived the first year. Chase Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to several airlines for flights to Hawaii including United, Southwest, Singapore, British Airways and Korean Air.
Chase Southwest cards currently each have 50,000 bonus points after spending $2000 in the first three months. While the annual fees are not waived ($69 for the Plus card and $99 for the Premiere version), if you earn 110,000 points in one calendar year you can get a companion pass. Southwest will start selling tickets to Hawaii at the end of 2018.
Cards to consider if you are over 5/24:
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard with 50,000 bonus AA miles after spending $2500 in the first three months. The annual fee is waived the first year. If you and your spouse both apply, that’s 100,000 points and enough for four one-way tickets to Hawaii!
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard has 50,000 bonus AA miles after making just one purchase and paying the annual fee of $95 within the first three months. Quick and easy!
Chase British Airways Visa has 50,000 bonus Avios (miles) after spending $3000 within the first three months. The annual fee is $95. You can use Avios to book flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines to Hawaii. My family used Avios on our last trip on Alaska Airlines!
Let me know what questions you have about Kauai or Aulani, and I will either answer below or in a separate post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.