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Book this, not that: Hawaii resorts edition

Sept. 22, 2021
6 min read
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Pandemic-era travel to Hawaii has been full of stops and starts as the islands cope with COVID-19 realities in the middle of the ocean. Now may not be the time to head to Hawaii given a surge in cases and a request by local officials to hold off on tourism for a bit, but if you're planning a future getaway to Hawaii, you might have gotten overwhelmed by options.

In addition to having to decide which Hawaiian island is right for you and how to get there, there are dozens of points hotels for you to choose from. But, as with anything in life, the options are not all created equally, so we’re here to help.

In today's installment of "Book this, not that," we're going to look at some Hawaiian island awards you want to book -- and a few you should probably stay away from. Of course, this isn't to say that these are the only hotels worth booking in Hawaii, but these are simply a few that we believe deserve some extra attention.

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Book: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

The Andaz Maui is one of several World of Hyatt properties on Maui, and it's the highest-end of the bunch. The hotel is in an ideal location and the grounds are beautiful. Be sure and pencil in an evening just to watch the sunset from the stacked infinity pools.

Standard rooms cost 30,000 Hyatt points per night, which may seem high, but with cash rates normally over $1,200 per night, you're almost guaranteed to get incredible value from your points. There's normally a $48 daily resort fee, but that's waived on award stays so you can enjoy perks like free mixology and stand-up paddleboard lessons for free.

Oh -- and the food here is solid, including the included Hyatt Globalist breakfast, so try to lock up status before your trip.

Related: 5 pitfalls to avoid when booking hotels

Skip: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Although the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki is one of the most famous hotels in the country and Hilton waives resort fees on award stays, it probably isn't worth your points.

It's a massive hotel so there are frequent long lines for everything from check-in to restaurants. Unless you're lucky enough to get a renovated room, your room will likely be well past its prime. Even before the pandemic, the elite benefits for Hilton Gold and Diamond guests had a reputation for being underwhelming. Standard award nights typically cost 60,000 points but we're going to pass on this one for now and save our points for something else.

Book: Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui

Marriott’s Wailea Beach Resort. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Marriott Bonvoy has a whopping 12 properties on Maui, but the Wailea Beach Resort stands out from most of the rest.

The resort sits on 22 acres of land in the Wailea area of Maui, which is known to be one of the sunniest parts of the island. It's just steps from the ocean and offers plenty of activities for guests of all ages, including five pools and an awesome waterslide. There are also not one but two great beaches that offer swimming, snorkeling and other water activities.

This is a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy hotel so award nights will range from 50,000 points to 70,000 points. Keep in mind, Marriott won't waive the $38 resort fee on award stays, but you'll get a free night for every five consecutive nights you book with points.

Related: 26 Maui hotels you can book with points

Skip: AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea

AC Hotel Maui Wailea. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Located a 10-minute walk from the Wailea Beach Resort is the AC Hotel by Marriott Wailea. The hotel just opened in April, and was even on TPG’s list of the most anticipated hotel openings of this year, but is one you'll likely want to avoid in most situations.

This is a cookie-cutter hotel geared more toward business travelers. The beach is a trek from the hotel and there were just 11 lounge chairs by the pool when we had a TPG staffer check it out. At 40,000 to 60,000 Marriott points per night, it's definitely worth paying the small additional premium to stay at the Wailea Beach Resort instead.

Book: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

As long as you are OK relaxing and playing at a pretty massive resort, the Grand Hyatt Kauai is a lush, sprawling, oceanfront property with a variety of pools ranging from an adult pool to a lagoon pool, a winding river pool and even a waterslide.

Grand Hyatt Kauai. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Stays at this property are often north of $500 with cash, but you can book standard award rooms with two queen beds or one king bed for 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Grand Hyatt Kauai. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you really want to live it up in paradise, deluxe suites that often sell for $2,000-$3,000 per night can sometimes be booked for 50,000 Hyatt points per night.

Related: Booking 3 weeks in Hawaii with miles and points

Bottom line

Hawaii is home to dozens of points hotels and there's no one right or wrong answer on which one is best. However, based on the TPG team's experiences, we can tell you that some are certainly better choices than others.

When traveling to a place like Hawaii, you probably want to ensure you have easy access to the beach and aren't waiting in lines all day — and not all hotels can offer that. That said, if you have your heart set on one that we suggest skipping, it could certainly still be the right fit for you.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases