Book this, not that: Getting the most from your hotel points in Maui

Apr 8, 2022

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The aloha spirit is calling from the Valley Isle of Maui.

Now is an appealing time to visit the island, with flights for under $250 round trip and an end to the dreaded Hawaii Safe Travels COVID-19 QR code system. That said, the price of hotels across the island has skyrocketed. Even 3-star select service hotels like the AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea are going for north of $1,000 per night; prices are easily double that for something beachfront.

Thankfully, Maui is home to some very friendly points hotels where you can strategically redeem your points at a high value. And when you combine a lucrative point redemption with a fifth night free and hotel elite status, your long-awaited Hawaiian vacation may now be more possible than before.

In this chapter of “Book this, not that,” we’re heading to paradise to identify the hotels that offer excellent value when redeeming points. Plus, we’ll show you a few you should avoid.

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Book this: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

A pool at the Sheraton Maui. (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Located adjacent to Black Rock on the island’s west side, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa is a great bet for travelers looking to stay on the beach. Black Rock is one of the most accessible and premier beaches on the island for snorkeling. When I snorkeled there a few years ago, I remember seeing a sea turtle less than five feet away; it was sensational.

In all fairness, the Sheraton is an aging property that could use a makeover. But for many, being close to the beach and having a stupendous pool are most important — and the Sheraton offers both.

You can book a stay for between 50,000 and 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. While that might sound steep, the alternative is to pay between $759 and $1,000 per night.

A five-night stay over Labor Day weekend will set you back 228,000 points. If you pay cash for the same room, you’ll shell out $4,691.06. This means that you’re getting more than 2 cents per Marriott point, which is roughly 2.5 times our recent valuations. Unfortunately, you’re still subject to the $40 per night resort fee when booking on points.

Related: Massive in Maui: A Review of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Skip that: Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

While the Grand Wailea is next to some of the poshest resorts on the island, like the Fairmont Kea Lani and Four Seasons, I didn’t think it lived up to the hype.

Finding a standard room for 110,000 Hilton Honors points here is like finding a needle in a haystack. Besides a few nights in the fall, you’ll need to spend around 500,000 points per night for a premium room award. And that premium room is just a king room with a garden view (as opposed to the standard terrace view).

At 640 square feet, the standard rooms are spacious, but since the hotel doesn’t have any standard suites, Diamond upgrades are only provided up to an ocean view room.

If you really want to stay at the Grand Wailea, I suggest using a free weekend certificate from a Hilton cobranded credit card to stay at the hotel when there’s a standard room award.

Related: Managed expectations: A review of the Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Book this: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

(Photo by Sarah Silbert/The Points Guy)

Sprawled over 15 luscious acres, the Andaz Maui is one of Maui’s highest-rated and newest resorts. Its multiple infinity pools and Polynesian-inspired architecture make for an inviting escape.

Like the Grand Wailea, award space is hard to come by, and the award chase has only been made worse by the property moving last month from a Category 7 to Category 8 award. If you find award space, award nights cost between 35,000 and 45,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Looking at its availability, there’s some space on weeknights. For example, on the night of April 26, you can spend 40,000 World of Hyatt points for a king room. The cash price for the same room is $1,969.06 with taxes and fees. You’re getting almost 5 cents per World of Hyatt point — roughly triple our valuations.

As with all hotels in the World of Hyatt portfolio, the $48 Andaz Maui resort fee is waived on award reservations.

Related: Beautiful but cold: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii

Skip that: Courtyard by Marriott Maui Kahului Airport

When you see a hotel in Maui that you can book for as little as 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you might be inclined to book right away. But make sure you understand what you’re getting at the Courtyard Maui before you book.

For one, as evident from the hotel’s name, it’s next to the airport. It sits across from a massive Costco, and there’s nothing unique about this hotel to indicate that you’re in Hawaii.

If you ask any veteran traveler to Maui, they’ll likely tell you not to stay in Kahului if you’re looking for a Hawaiian vacation, as it’s largely a shipping port. I suppose that Kahului could be a central location if you’re willing to drive to the island’s main attractions, but given its location and uninspired vibe, the Courtyard Maui is one that I’d pass on.

Related: 26 Maui hotels you can book with points

Book this: Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea

Residence Inn Maui
(Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Last month, I found an $89 flight from San Francisco and hopped on a plane to Maui for the weekend. With only one full day on the island, I wanted to stay somewhere well-located while avoiding unwanted costs like resort fees and parking charges. The Residence Inn Wailea did not disappoint.

Although the Residence Inn is known as an extended stay brand, the Residence Inn Wailea felt more like an upscale Marriott Vacation Club property. As an Ambassador Elite member, I was upgraded to an ocean view suite, which featured a separated living room and bedroom.

As with all Residence Inn hotels, breakfast is included for all guests, and self-parking is a bargain at just $30 per day (it’s double that at the Grand Wailea down the street). There’s also no resort fee at the Residence Inn, a rarity in Maui.

Award rates start at 40,000 points per night here. A five-night stay over a weekend in May is 160,000 points or $4,984.31 if you use cash. You’re getting more than 3.1 cents per Marriott point, which is almost quadruple our valuations.

Skip that: AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea

AC Hotel Maui
(Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Despite it being the newest addition to the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio in Maui, TPG was tremendously underwhelmed with the AC Wailea when we reviewed the hotel last summer. With housekeeping, WiFi and food and beverage hiccups, it’s a “last resort” in Maui.

Cash prices are high, at around $1,000 per night. So you could be getting a great value using your points instead of using cash, but the hotel isn’t a place where I would opt to stay.

Since both the AC and Residence Inn start at 40,000 points per night, you’d likely be in for a much better stay at the Residence Inn (located next door), which has much larger rooms and better reviews.

Bottom line

With off-the-chart cash prices, it’s becoming hard to find a 5-night stay for under $5,000 in Maui. Fortunately, your points can deliver tremendous value if you’re hoping to land a good redemption on the Valley Isle.

Remember that Marriott and Hilton offer a free fifth night when you use points. Unfortunately, IHG doesn’t have any properties in Hawaii, but there is an ample array of Marriott and Hyatt options on Maui.

By finding discount flights to Hawaii, using a corporate code when renting a car and leveraging your hotel’s elite status and points, you can plan a vacation to Maui without breaking the bank.

Feature photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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