Destination of the Week: Maui

by on February 17, 2012 · 22 comments

in Destination of the Week, Fairmont, Hawaii, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood

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One of Maui's most famous sights...the whales that pass through here on their yearly migration.

TPG might be spending his weekend on Kauai, but there are plenty of other Hawaiian vacation spots including this week’s Destination of the Week: Maui. We had the new TPG intern from NYU, Ryan, help us out with this huge list of properties where you can earn and burn points on Maui this winter, as well as the various options for flying to the island, so check it out and let us know if we’re missing anything, or if you’ve stayed at any of these!

Magical Maui
Maui has something for everyone: beautiful beaches for those who prefer a lazy holiday, and stunning land and seascapes for adrenaline junkies seeking a thrill.

Maui is an adventure-lover’s paradise where you can go zip-lining above the bamboo forest and the ocean at Kapalua or visit the world’s largest dormant volcano at Haleakala National Park. Spend a day on the water whale-watching, outrigger canoeing or snorkeling or scuba diving. On the isolated eastern side of the island near Hana, you will find one of Maui’s hidden gems, the Red Sand Beach, which looks like a gorgeous alien landscape. Back on the more populated west end of the island, stop by the old whaling village of Lahaina to get a glimpse of Hawaii’s colorful past.

Maui’s main airport is Kahului (OGG). While the majority of flights arriving here originate from Honolulu, the airport does receive several flights directly from the U.S. Mainland.

Alaska Airlines flies directly (not necessarily non-stop) from Oakland, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose and Seattle; American comes from Los Angeles and Dallas; Delta from Los Angeles; Hawaiian from Las Vegas, Oakland, San Jose, Seattle and seasonally to Los Angeles; United to Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco; and lastly U.S. Airways offers service to Phoenix.

Even with all these direct flights, several passengers must still connect though Honolulu Airport located on the island of Oahu (which is about a 30 minute flight). In fact, the HNL-OGG route is one of the busiest routes in the U.S. (more passengers fly HNL-OGG than LAX-JFK annually!).  Speaking of JFK, Hawaiian Airlines is launching their new service to Honolulu June 4th.

Award Travel
Award travel to Maui on Alaska Airlines starts at 20,000 miles each way for Super Saver Coach awards, while Choice Awards begin at 27,500 miles each way. American offers their MileSAAver Off-peak award for only 17,500 miles each way as well as their MileSAAver Peak Awards for 22,500 miles each way. Delta still does not offer one-way awards so their redemption options start at 40,000 miles roundtrip for low availability. Hawaiian Airlines offers Coach SuperSaver awards at 20,000 miles each, Coach Saver awards at 30,000 miles and Coach Flex for 40,000 miles. United starts at 20,000 miles each way and US Airways offers Off Peak awards starting at 35,000 miles roundtrip. Basically, you can use miles on any of the alliances to get to Maui. Be sure to check out this post on ways to maximize off-peak award travel on American and US Airways in order to determine if you can take advantage of these lower redemptions to Hawaii.


Thanks to representation from most of the major hotel chains, there are a lot of fantastic hotel point-redemption opportunities on Maui.

The Fairmont Kea Lani.

Fairmont Kea Lani Maui: The Fairmont Kea Lani recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and covers 22 beachfront acres near Wailea. All accommodations are either suites or villas, and the smallest rooms are 840 square-foot one-bedrooms (including private lanais). Suites include sofa beds, marble bathrooms with double vanities and soaking tubs. The resort’s 37 private villas are two-story three-bedrooms and come with luxury car rentals from the airport and daily breakfast. Other fun amenities include a 140-foot waterslide, three swimming pools (one is adults only), a children’s activities center, and four restaurants plus a bakery-deli. The hotel also has the Spa Kealani and access to the Wailea Golf Club. Only Fairmont President’s Club Platinum members qualify for free nights (and only one per 10 paid nights). However Fairmont President’s Club members receive complimentary in-room internet and local calls, use of Fairmont Fit workout gear and airline mile bonuses on partners which include American, Alaska, Cathay, Etihad, Lufthansa, Singapore and United. Two great perks: no resort fees and complimentary self-parking, so no hidden costs there. Rates start at $499 in March.

The Grand Wailea's network of nine pools.

Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea: Also located in Wailea, the Grand Wailea is one of Waldorf Astoria’s flagship properties, and underwent a $50 million renovation back in 2009. It has a whopping 780 guest rooms and suites, starting at 640 square feet. One hundred of them are club-level rooms in the Napua Tower. There are also private two-story townhouses at Ho’olei that guests can rent out. The hotel’s Spa Grande is 50,000 square feet and the largest spa in Hawaii. Guests have access to the Wailea Gold, Wailea Emerald, and Wailea Blue courses, as well as the Wailea Tennis Center. The hotel has nine pools connected by a water features including whitewater rapids, The Wailea Canyon pool has six waterfalls and a swim-up bar, while the Hibiscus Pool is adults only. Kids ages 5-12 can participate in Camp Grande activities. The hotel offers six restaurants and will soon open their new restaurant from Hawaiian celebrity chef Alan Wong called Amasia which will be Asian fusion. Rates in March start at $369 a night. Free nights start at 80,000 HHonors points since February-March is part of high season, a bit more than you’d be able to score even with the new 60,000-point sign-up and spend bonus with the Hilton HHonors Surpass card.

A double guest room at the Hyatt Regency Maui.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa: Located on family-friendly Ka’nnapali Beach, the Hyatt Regency has 806 guest rooms and suites with private lanais including some new Respire-by-Hyatt hypo-allergenic guest rooms. The resort has 9 restaurants and bars including Japengo for Asian-Hawaiian fusion, the oceanfront Spa Moana, and activities like the “Drums of the Pacific” sunset luau, and a nightly stargazing class with a resident stargazing expert. The lowest rates we could find in March were $389 for a Resort View Room.  This is a Category 6 hotel, so free night redemptions require a minimum of 22,000 Gold Passport points for standard rooms, 27,000 for club rooms, and 33,000 for suites. The Chase Hyatt Visa gives two free award nights your first year (one for approval and one when you spend $1,000 in the first three months if you’re just a new or basic Gold Passport member), and Platinum status as long as you’re a cardholder. If you’re already a Platinum member when you sign up, you get two free night awards and two suite upgrade awards after your first purchase, and Diamond members receive two suite upgrade free night awards after first purchase.

Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa: This resort is located between two popular beaches on Maui: Wailea and Ulua, and near the Shops at Wailea complex as well. Guests also have access to the series of courses at the Wailea Golf Club. The resort has three full-service restaurants including the Mediterranean-inspired Mala Wailea, a snack bar and a Starbucks. The on-property spa is called Mandara, where you can get a traditional lomi lomi massage, of course. On the grounds, there are three pool areas—one for adults only, and one with waterslides for kids and families. Standard rooms start at 437 square feet with one king or one queen bed (though the next category has either a king or two queens and is only slightly more expensive), and rooms come standard with marble bathrooms, bath-shower combos, little sitting areas, just 27-inch flatscreens, cable, and internet for a fee.Rates start at $349 a night in February-March. This is a Marriott Category 6 property, and requires 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points (25,000 with PointSavers) for a free night redemption.

Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, Lahaina: This is a Marriott Vacation Club property where non-owners can nonetheless book stays in guest rooms and villas that range from studios to three-bedrooms. Villas include living and dining areas, full kitchens, washer-dryers, and private balconies, while the master suites in the larger villas have king-size beds and their own private baths with separate tubs and showers. There are a few casual dining options here including two pool bars, and a small grocery market onsite. It also has the Hale Mana Wellness Center spa and gym, three outdoor pools and the MAZE Kid’s Club. Best of all, WiFi is free and there are no resort fees. Rates start at $451 in March. This is a Marriott Category 6 property, and requires 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points (25,000 with PointSavers) for a free night redemption.

Pool cabanas at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua: The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is located on a century-old pineapple plantation and has 463 guest rooms and suites decorated with dark woods, green travertine marble bathrooms, and Hawaiian-inspired art.  The resort just completed a $180 million renovation which included a complete refurbishment of all rooms, a new fitness center and a new 17,500 square-foot Ritz-Calrton Spa with 15 treatment rooms and volcanic stone grottos. The signature restaurant is The Banyan Tree with fresh seafood and local produce on the menu, and there’s a new Japanese restaurant called Kai Sushi. There’s a 10,000 square-foot tri-level swimming pool, and access to DT Fleming Beach, plus two 18-hole championship golf courses. Rates start at $519 in March. This is a Tier 3 Ritz-Carlton property, so free night redemptions require a minimum of 50,000 points per night—the same amount as the sign-up bonus you get from the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa from Chase.

Just to note, there is another Marriott Vacation Club, the Molokai, Maui and Lanai Towers at Kaanapali that’s also a Category 6 property, and there will be a brand new Kahului Airport Courtyard opening in July 2012 that will be a Category 4 property requiring 20,000 points (15,000 Point Savers) for a free night.

The beachfront at the Westin Maui.

Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Kaanapali: This hotel’s got 731 rooms and 27 suites with standard Westin amenities like the Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Shower. It’s got one of Westin’s signature Heavenly Spas and the Westin Kids Club in which kids can participate in water slide races, koi fish feeding and lei-making lessons. The resort has five swimming pools and two water slides, five restaurants and lounges which include their upscale restaurant Tropica Restaurant & Bar, and the Wailele Polynesian Luau show with an extreme fire knife dance. The hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to the downtown Lahaina as well as the other Starwood properties in Maui, so you can save on a rental car. Rates start at $349 in February. This is a SPG Category 5 property requiring between 12,000-16,000 Starpoints for a free night redemption, or 4,800 Starpoints + $90.

A Studio Villa at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas.

The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas: Also at Kaanapali, this is a property of Starwood Vacation Ownership timeshare villas that’s suited for families. It offers three types of villas: studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom. Studios start at 480 square feet and all units come with kitchenettes equipped with full-size refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves and glass cooktops, plus in-room washer-dryers, pullout sofas, flatscreen TV/DVD players, plus Westin hotel features like the Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Shower. The resort has a large swimming pool, three casual restaurants, a grocery and a market, as well as a WestinWorkout Gym and its own 10,000 square-foot Heavenly Spa, the Spa Helani. Rates for February-March start at $379. This is a SPG Category 6 property requiring between 20,000-25,000 Starpoints, or 8,000 Starpoints + $150.

The sunset cliff-diving ceremony at the Sheraton.

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa: This resort is also located on Ka’nnapali Beach and has 508 rooms and suites, including 20 ‘ohana (family) suites, a huge freshwater swimming lagoon, four restaurants and bars plus a Starbucks, and a nightly Cliff Dive ceremony which dates back to the opening of the hotel in 1963. Rates in February start at $369 ($349 in March). This is a SPG Category 5 property requiring between 12,000-16,000 Starpoints for a free night redemption, or 4,800 Starpoints + $90.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • soma

    1. Shouldn’t you get permission from the publisher to post these pictures? There is no reference to the original origin of these images.

  • Jamison

    You forgot 25,000 avois for a LAX-Hawaii roundtrip……… redemption in terms of using BA avois

  • Valerie M.

    Myself, husband and 2 daughters stayed at the Westin Maui last July. It was spectacular. The room was comfortable, clean and the view was spectacular. Food at the Tropica was delicious and all of the Westin staff were top notch. I would definitely recommend. Maui is very beautiful and low key. It’s no wonder why my New England relatives retired there many years ago.

  • Dr. Bob

    “Kahului Airport Courtyard opening in July 2012 however it doesn’t list what category it will be for point redemption yet.” – Website shows a Category 4

  • Steven Kekich

    Couple of things as I was in Maui this past October…
    1) Point of clarification – Hana is on the east side of the island. The road must have been repaved in the past several years because it was a smooth drive. However, if you decide to take the trip I would budget a full day for it so that you can stop at various places along the way for hiking and exploring. On the way back towards the airport stop at Big Mama Fish House for dinner. It was spectacular!!!
    2) We stayed our first four nights at Grand Wailea and it was great. The pools were great and this part of the island was calm and very relaxing. The Spa at the hotel is a must! I am not much of a Spa person but my girlfriend dragged me along for a couple hours and I was very glad that she did.
    3) Our last four nights we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and it was amazing as well. The renovation is great and this was a great campus with several cute shops and restaurants in the area. I played The Plantation course and I do not think the post called enough attention to how world-class this golf course is. Each year the PGA Tour plays here and the views are incredible in addition to the crafting of the course. Anyone who plays golf should schedule a tee time here. I secured a twilight rate for about $160 where I was able to tee off at 1.30 pm and was able to see the sunset over Molokai as I was coming down the 18th hole. Simply amazing!

  • TravelShooter

    Most are free publicity photos from properties, vendors.
    But it seems the ThePointGuy is morphing into TheTravelPromotionGuy…?
    Hope this remains a place to easily find best credit card bonuses…

  • The Points Guy

    Thanks for the extra information based on your trip, and for catching the typo on Hana and the red sand beach, we fixed it.

  • Eric

    Thanks for the extra information based on your trip, and for catching the typo about Hana. We fixed it.

  • Eric

    Thanks for catching that, I added in the information.

  • Eric

    These photos come from the web sites of hotels and airlines in the stories, which are generally free to use for content like this.

  • Jenny

    I love these “Destination of the Week” posts. They give me more ideas on where to visit and how to get/stay there! Keep up the great work!

  • Darin

    Went to both the Westing Spa & the Westin Ocean Resorts Villas 2 weeks ago would stay at the Villas hands down any day of the week (particularly if you have a family although my wife and I were there by ourselves). Also if you’re an SPG memeber you have a decent shot of getting on the mailing list and getting a “random” offer of $800 for 5 nights 6 days which includes your car rental no taxes. There are a # of those offers floating around that I heard about as well when I was there (we got the $800 offer). You also get 7k points for simply coming and an additional 7.5k points if you listen to their presentation. Well worth the 1.5 hours. We did book a return trip for next year (not at rack rates) but it’s far more expensive then the $800 but less than $400 per night (return trip is 7 nights 8 days) plus we got 50k points for booking the return trip. Beautiful beautiful property well worth it. Also if you know someone who owns a property at the resort you can get them to add you to the mailing list probably the best/easiest way to get on it.

  • Sherylz

    Thanks for the post! I’m planning a trip to Maui in April, and it’s my first trip paid for solely with points (I’m new to this)! I’m so excited, and I enjoyed reading your post. We used AA for airfare, and I’ve booked all of our nights at the Hyatt using points. And I still have some AA points left over that I used for a rental car. Yippee!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget about Avios! They’re distance-based so LAX-OGG is only 12,500 miles in Economy and 25,000 miles in Business each way, any time there’s space on American or Alaska! That’s a whole lot less than what American charges if you’re originating from the west coast.

  • Steve

    United also flies from Chicago to Maui non-stop on Saturday

  • Johnson332

    These trip report posts add no great value. There are always some mistakes and anyone can pull this information together themselves.

  • Aeroman

    I don’t understand why people are complaining so much on here. If you don’t like the pictures or the information then move on! Everyone seems to be the expert and if there is one or 2 typos then reply with a short courteous message and not a self-righteous reply. I believe the purpose is to get people talking about the destination; not to point out the author’s lack of information.

  • Eric

    That non-stop flight actually doesn’t seem to exist anymore, which is why we didn’t include it. The last evidence of it I could find was when it was offered seasonally over the summer of 2010 from June-August.

  • Scottrick

    I would advise against staying in Wailea. It feels like being in Newport Beach, CA, not Hawaii, plus the drive there is all strip malls and outlet centers.

    But then, everyone has their preference. It depends on what you’re looking for.

  • Eggss4

    Comprehensive overview. I just got back from here yesterday and think this might have been more helpful with a bit more context of what’s around the property. Also worth mentioning, there’s a small airport (JHM) in Kaplaua that offers prop plane flights back to HNL…if you stay at a property with a free airport shuttle to JHM you could save $30 or $40 going to OGG.

  • Jason

    @ Jamison – Is there anyway you can tell me how to do this? I have 1ook MR points and 130k AA miles, and would like to fly out of San Diego to Maui, or LAX to Maui, if possible. Sorry, I’m pretty new at this! Thanks.

  • colleen0894

    I’m reading everyones comments and appreciate reading everyones reviews and advice. We will be heading to Maui, Westin Villas for 10 days and then a condo in Wailea for a week. Wondering if anyone had good tips for a rental car. A family of 4, with carseats- UGH! Trying to get a decent car for a good rate, not necessarily interested for the entire time. Any tips or advice on this would be much appreciated!

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