How to use Hilton points for a Hawaiian vacation
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Hawaii is without a doubt one of my favorite spots on earth. I know I’m not alone — the islands have almost 10 million visitors a year — yet as magical as it is (and it really is), Hawaii is also one of the most isolated inhabited spots on earth.
Related: Best way to fly with kids to Hawaii
Getting to and staying on this remote island chain can be time-consuming and expensive, which that makes it the perfect destination for using miles and points to make a dream a reality. Some of the most useful points for booking lodging on Hawaii are Hilton Honors points. Hilton has some great properties spread across the Hawaiian Islands and you don’t pay resort fees on Hilton award stays. That really matters in Hawaii where resort fees are common and potentially expensive.
Earn Up to 150,000 bonus Hilton Points
- Hilton Honors Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. Terms apply.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 125,000 bonus points after after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply.
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of cardmembership. Terms apply.
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases the first three months of opening your account. Terms apply.
Hilton Award Properties in Hawaii
Hilton has 11 properties across four of Hawaii’s island (not counting its Grand Vacations timeshare properties), ranging from budget-friendly to high-end. To help you narrow your search, here’s a roundup of your choices for booking in Hawaii using Hilton points and the current price range for a standard room — keeping in mind that Hilton has done away with published award charts. Consult Hilton’s Points Explorer tool to get an idea of the range of any property’s award rates, which are dynamic. However, the redemption rate for a night in Hawaii is usually pegged to the upper end of the property’s award range.
Oahu Hilton Properties
|DoubleTree by Hilton Alana – Waikiki Beach||50,000 points per night|
|Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki-Beachwalk||70,000 points per night|
|Embassy Suites by Hilton Oahu Kapolei||70,000–80,000 points per night|
|Hampton Inn & Suites Oahu/Kapolei||40,000–50,000 points per night|
|Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort||60,000 points per night|
|Hilton Waikiki Beach||60,000 points per night|
|Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach||50,000 points per night|
Big Island Hilton Properties
|Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo – a DoubleTree by Hilton||48,000–50,000 points per night|
|Hilton Waikoloa Village||54,000–60,000 points per night|
Maui Hilton Properties
|Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort||95,000 points per night|
Kauai Hilton Properties
|Hilton Garden Inn Kauai/Wailua Bay||44,000–50,000 points per night|
Experience Volcanoes on the Big Island
The Big Island, otherwise known as the island of Hawaii, is the island for adventure. With Kona, Hilo and Volcanoes National Park, there’s no shortage of activities. Here are some of our favorite Big Island activities.
For 50,000 Hilton points per night, you can stay at the newly renovated and rebranded Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo DoubleTree in a room with one king or two queen beds with a view of Hilo Bay. This places you an easy 30-mile drive from Volcanoes National Park. Since Hilton waives resort fees on award stays, even parking is free because it is usually included in that fee at the Grand Naniloa, a rarity in Hawaii.
On the other side of the Big Island is the massive 62-acre oceanfront Hilton Waikoloa Village, which can go for 60,000 Hilton points per night. There’s so much to do here that the hotel has its own tram and boat transportation system. You’ll find multiple pools, a snorkeling lagoon (where turtles come in from the ocean), a waterslide and more.
Before your stay, be sure to pick up Hilton Gold or Diamond elite status either via a status match or as a benefit from one of the cobranded credit cards, such as the Aspire Card, so you can enjoy free breakfast.
Relax and Play in Style on Maui
If you want to visit one of Hilton’s crown jewels, consider the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria property, on Maui. This top-tier resort hotel has a water elevator, nine pools on six levels, a waterslide, waterfalls and beachfront location in upscale Wailea. The downside to this perfection-on-paper resort is the number of points (or dollars) it costs per night — it can run 95,000 Hilton points per night for a standard room, so even a 150,000-point welcome bonus won’t go very far.
This is when you turn to your Hilton weekend award nights. If you have the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, with an annual fee of $450 (see rates and fees), you get one weekend award night upon opening the card and one for each year of cardmembership, as well as the chance to earn another night by spending $60,000 annually on the card. Several other Amex Hilton cards also give you the ability to earn weekend award nights with annual spending on the cards.
With the Aspire card, you also get an annual $250 Hilton resort statement credit that’s easy to use in Hawaii at a property like the Grand Wailea. By employing some strategy with the right cards (and perhaps the right traveling companion), you could string together a weekend of award-night stays and then use points during the week.
Experience the Magic of Kauai
All of Hawaii’s islands are special, but Kauai is a favorite. The green mountains, dramatic sunsets and laid-back atmosphere make it all-around perfection.
Hilton doesn’t have a huge presence on Kauai, but there is the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay that is very near the family-friendly Lydgate Beach and the Smith Family Garden Luau. If you haven’t been to the Smith Family Garden Luau, it is fantastic, with tasty food and a great performance.
This Hilton property is near the halfway point between the magical northern half of the island and the sunny southern half. Spending 50,000 points per night to stay here instead of paying the $300+ summer rate isn’t a bad deal.
Take in History on Oahu
Oahu has so much more to offer than just Waikiki. But Waikiki makes for a great spot to overnight on the front or back end of your trip since so many flights go through Honolulu. There is more than enough to do in the Waikiki area for 24 hours, and to make all of those must-dos an easy reality, you can book the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Resort for 60,000 points per night.
If you need more room to spread out, you can book a one-bedroom suite with a pull-out couch at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach for 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night. As with all Embassy Suites, you get free cooked-to-order breakfast and access to the complimentary drinks, snacks and weekly entertainment at the evening poolside reception.
While in Honolulu, you can experience a bit of history with a visit to Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Status Makes It Sweeter
You can receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status just by having the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card. This is enough to score you additional points, space-available upgrades, late checkout and even free snacks or breakfast, depending on the type of Hilton property you are visiting. This would be very handy at properties such as the Grand Wailea since Waldorf properties are now included in the Hilton brands that provide free breakfast of some sort to Hilton Gold elites and above.
Having Hilton elite status also means that you get the fifth night free on award stays. There are Hilton properties in Hawaii at 50,000 points per night, which means you just need to get to 200,000 Hilton points to enjoy a five-night vacation somewhere like Hilo or Kauai.
Hawaii is popular for good reason and with more ways than ever to fly to the islands, now is a great time to get serious about using your points and miles to create a Hawaiian vacation.
Here’s more trip-planning advice for your Hawaiian vacation:
- These are the best times to visit Hawaii
- How to use 7,500 Citi ThankYou Points to get to Hawaii
- 5 reasons to fly Hawaiian Airlines to Hawaii
- How to fly in a lie-flat seat to Hawaii
- Everything you need to know about inter-island travel in Hawaii
- You might want to book this Kauai Marriott now — but don’t stay until 2020
- Southwest’s ‘second wave’ of Hawaii expansion Is now underway
- Things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island with kids
- 11 fun activities to do with kids in Kauai
Featured image of the Hilton Waikoloa Resort by Summer Hull / The Points Guy
This card offers 125,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months. Terms apply.
- Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
- Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
- $95 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees