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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.

In light of the currently increased Hilton Amex bonuses of up to 150,000 points (some offers ending August 28), here are ways to use Hilton Honors points for a Hawaiian vacation:

Earn Up to 150,000 Bonus Hilton Points

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

Here’s how to maximize Hilton Honors redemptions.

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.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

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.

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 before your stay so you can enjoy free breakfast.
Hilton Waikoloa (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Hilton Waikoloa (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

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.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Wailea
Photo courtesy of the Grand Wailea

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.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Waterfalls on Kauai (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

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.

Hilton Hawaiian Village (Melanie Lieberman / The Points Guy)
Hilton Hawaiian Village (Melanie Lieberman / The Points Guy)

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.

The USS Arizona Memorial is closed for repairs this year. (Photo by Glowimages / Getty Images)
The USS Arizona Memorial (Photo by Glowimages / Getty Images)

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.

If you want to upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status, the easiest pathway is to get the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, which comes with automatic Hilton Diamond status.

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.

Here’s what Hilton Honors elite status is worth.

Volcanos National Park (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Volcanos National Park (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Bottom Line

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:

Featured image of the Hilton Waikoloa Resort by Summer Hull / The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex, please click here.
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.

Know before you go.

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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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