How to Use Hilton Points for a Hawaiian Vacation
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Without a doubt, one of my favorite spots on earth is Hawaii. Since the islands have almost 9 million visitors a year, I know I’m not alone in that line of thinking. As magical as it is (and it really, really is), Hawaii is unquestionably far from the mainland, and is actually one of the most isolated inhabited spots on earth.
Related: Best Way to Fly With Kids to Hawaii
Getting and staying on this remote island chain can be time-consuming and expensive, but for us, that means it is the perfect time to use miles and points to make the dream a reality. One of the most useful points programs for booking lodgings on a trip to 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, which really matters in Hawaii where resort fees are not only common, but also 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.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership, plus a $100 Statement Credit after your first purchase on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 12/31/2019.
- 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 3 months of Card Membership.
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first four months of opening your account.
Hilton Award Properties in Hawaii
Hilton has 10 properties (not counting its Grand Vacations timeshare properties) ranging from budget-friendly to high-end and spread out across four of Hawaii’s islands. 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. Though, when booking an award night in Hawaii, the redemption rate 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||76,000–80,000 points per night|
|Hampton Inn & Suites Oahu/Kapolei||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||46,000–50,000 points per night|
|Hilton Waikoloa Village||56,000-60,000 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||50,000 points per night|
Experience Volcanoes on the Big Island
The Big Island, otherwise known as the Island of Hawaii, is not to be skipped if you are up for some adventure. With Kona, Hilo and Volcanoes National Park waiting for you on the Big Island, 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, since it is usually included in that fee, 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. On the 62 acres, you’ll find multiple pools, a snorkeling lagoon (with turtles that come in from the ocean), a waterslide and more.
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 on-paper-perfection is the number of points (or dollars) it costs per night. This property can cost 95,000 Hilton points per night for a standard room, so even a 150,000-point welcome bonus won’t go very far at this resort.
However, this is when you turn to your Hilton weekend award nights. Right now, both the Amex Hilton Surpass and the Amex Hilton Business Card include a weekend award night in the welcome bonus for a limited time. If you have the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (See Rates & Fees), you get one weekend award night for each year of card membership, as well as the chance to earn a second night by spending $60,000 annually on the 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 I do play favorites with Kauai. The green mountains, dramatic sunsets, laid-back atmosphere and all-around perfection make it one of my absolute favorite spots on earth.
Hilton doesn’t have a huge presence on Kauai, but they do have 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, you really should go because it is a fantastic luau with tasty food and a great performance.
The location of this Hilton property near those spots means it 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, while enjoying the must-do nearby activities, 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 there’s no escaping that 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 Memorial 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 such as Hilo or Kauai.
Hawaii is popular for good reason, and with more ways than ever to fly to the islands popping up, 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
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business Amex, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Amex, click here.
This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.
- Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
- No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
- Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
- Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Low $95 annual fee