Hotel-Hopping In Hawaii Using Points!
I recently took a week-long trip with my girlfriend to Oahu and paid for the entire stay with points. During our 6-night stay on the island, we experienced 4 different hotels at various price levels - ranging from the budget-friendly Hyatt Place all the way to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Residences.
If you are planning a trip to Hawaii soon, hopefully this will give you an idea of the points required! I'll be adding full reviews of each individual property at a later time.
Note these were prices at the time of our booking and it may fluctuate substantially depending on time of year and other factors. Also note that since my trip, Hyatt peak/off-peak pricing has taken effect (award chart), and Marriott recently announced they are scraping award charts altogether and moving to fully dynamic pricing. This devalues both programs, especially Marriott's Bonvoy program.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences - Waikiki Beach ($$$)
Cash Price: $632 (1N, including taxes)
Upgraded Room Price: ~$730 (estimate)
Paid With: $200 Amex Platinum FHR credit + 40k Amex MR points + $32.39
Redemption Value: 1.5cpp (original), 2.2cpp (with FHR credits and upgrade)
Out of Pocket Cost: $32.39
- $100 FHR experience credit (eligible to use on food, spa, etc)
- $60 FHR breakfast credit
- FHR 12pm noon early check-in
- FHR 4pm late check-out
- no resort fees at this property
- additional 10k Marriott point earning (since this is considered a paid stay)
The main goal here is to use up the newly added annual Fine Hotels + Resorts (FHR) credit that now comes with the Amex Platinum card. As part of the FHR booking, we also got an extra $160 which we spent on food. Additionally, I used 40k Amex MR points to pay for the remaining charge at 1cpp. This is not ideal value since there are many ways to get even more value, however, for the sake of simplicity and abundance of Amex points, I am more than happy to keep the extra cash (for investing) and save some hassle. If you are looking for a place to use up the $200 FHR credit and want to spend (almost) 2 days relaxing at the property, you won't be disappointed. Alternatively, the room can also be booked with around 70k Marriott Bonvoy points, but you will not receive the FHR benefits and earn points on the stay.
[Full Review] Review: Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach, Hawaii (FHR)
Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach ($$)
Cash Price: $594 (2N, including taxes and resort fees)
Upgraded Room Price: ~$700 (estimate)
Paid With: 30k Hyatt points (15k/night)
Redemption Value: 2.0cpp (original), 2.3cpp (upgrade)
Out of Pocket Cost: $0
Resort fees waived for award bookings and actually includes useful benefits such as:
- beach chair rental
- beach umbrella rental
- boogie board rental
- sunscreen & after-sun aloe gel (so useful!)
- reusable water bottles
- GoPro rental
This was by-far our favorite redemption and in our opinion the best value for money (whether on points or cash)! The staff also went out of the way to decorate our room (more details in full review), and the resort fee actually includes very useful benefits (unlike most other properties). Note this property is not oceanfront and is actually about a 2-block walk from the beach. This turned out to be a plus for us as it was nice to have a modern hotel in an area that is not bustling with tourists, but also super convenient whenever we needed to hit up the beach. However, if you are looking to wake up with oceanfront views, this may turn out to be a disappointment.
[Full Review] Review: Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach
Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa ($$)
Cash Price: $324 (1N, including taxes and resort fees)
Upgraded Room Price: ~$450 (estimate)
Paid With: Marriott 35k Free Night Certificate + $42.53 taxes and resort fees
Redemption Value: 0.8cpp (original), 1.2cpp (with upgrade)
Out of Pocket Cost: $42.53
- resort fee includes the following
- we received a welcome amenity (not guaranteed, more details in full review)
This is definitely a big property with much more foot traffic around the complex compared to the previous 2 hotels. The main goal is just to use up my 35k FN certificate from my Amex Marriott Bonvoy Business card, so it is harder to value this redemption. One way to look at it is the $125 annual fee redeemed for this $300+ hotel room, so it is definitely worth it. This is even before factoring in any other benefit from the card such as the $165 telecommunications credit for 2021, which means Amex is paying me just to keep this card + giving me a free night! Overall, the views aren't bad, and while the common areas look a little dated, the rooms themselves are fine! It is also right across from the beach so great if you plan on going by/in the water during your stay. Note that they did recently increase the resort fee to $50 + taxes (mine was $37 + taxes).
[Full Review] COMING SOON!
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach ($)
Cash Price: $427.89 (2N, including taxes and resort fees)
Upgraded Room Price: ~$470 (estimate)
Paid With: 24k Hyatt Points (12k/night)
Redemption Value: 1.8cpp (original), 2.0cpp (upgrade)
Out of Pocket Cost: $0
- resort fees waived for award bookings and includes the following
- we got early check-in (not advertised benefit)
- complimentary breakfast
The entire facility felt a bit dated and definitely not as nice as the other properties we stayed at. That being said, for a no-frills budget Hyatt, it was exactly what we expected. The hotel actually allowed us to check-in super early (~9am) so that we could drop off our stuff before getting the rental car, saving us from having to lug our luggage everywhere or to store it in the hotel storage. Even though this wasn't an advertised benefit, I'm really happy they offered it! Unfortunately the best room they could offer (at least to us) at the time was a high floor corner unit with partial views of the ocean. This was completely fine since we spent most of the day out anyways. Overall, if you are looking for an affordable point redemption hotel one block from Waikiki beach that includes free breakfast, this is a solid choice to consider! Though, for 3k/night more Hyatt points, I would probably go for the Hyatt Centric instead! You can earn Hyatt points through the Chase World of Hyatt credit card or since Chase is a transfer partner of Hyatt, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards over 1:1 instantaneously.
[Full Review] COMING SOON!
Overall, we were able to redeem for over $2000 worth of hotel stays for virtually no out-of-pocket costs! We went during one of Hawaii's least-traveled periods, so using points redemptions may save you even more money if you plan on traveling during peak season. Stay tuned for full in-depth reviews of each property coming soon!
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