As some of you know, we recently had an opportunity drop into our lap – a friend of Blogger Hubby offered us their timeshare in Oahu for a week at the end of September. I have never been to Hawaii and Blogger Hubby had been there a L O N G time ago. This offer was made to us a few days before Labor Day so we needed to get our act together and fast.
First, since we were still in Michigan we needed to find flights on our points. None of the small airports near us had flight the times that we needed for a connection in Detroit. Our next option was to drive the 4 1/2 hours south to Detroit Metro Airport. I was saving our UR and UAL points for our trip to South Africa for next summer and therefore needed to use our American Express Membership Reward points. Looking at many of the airline schedules and using the ITA Matrix, United appeared to be our best bet.
American Express membership points do not transfer to United Airlines though they do transfer to Singapore Airlines which is in the Star Alliance with United. UAL requires 80,000 points to fly in Business Class to Hawaii; Singapore Air, through their award chart only requires 60,000 points. To me, a frugal point saver, that is a significant difference. Miles were transferred to Singapore Air (I did it online, you can do it online or by phone). A quick phone call, once the points were deposited into the KrisFlyer account that I had previously opened, and my seats were booked. I had spent some time on the UAL award site choosing my flights that had award availability, and those flight numbers were given to KrisFlyer. Seats were booked! A tool to help you find the number of award miles needed from many airlines is Milez.Biz
Next up….planning what to do and where to go after our week in Oahu. We knew we only wanted to go to two islands but the three that came to mind was Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Before we made that decision, we needed to see where our hotel points would take us to. We seemed to have more options for Kauai and the big Island so that made our decision process a little easier. In Kauai, it was a no brainer for us. We had opened the Chase Hyatt credit card last fall and when you do, you get 2 nights free at ANY Hyatt worldwide.
I had heard so much about the Grand Hyatt Kauai that I wanted to spend two nights there. We arranged an early morning flight on Hawaiian Air (7:40 AM) so we could maximize our time in Kauai. We were able to stay here since we had opened a Chase Hyatt credit card last year and you get two free nights at any Hyatt in the world. Since these would expire in November, we thought this was a good use of those two free nights.
Next up, where to stay on the Big Island. As I had mentioned in a previous post, Blogger Son #2 had WWOOF’ed in Kona and he suggested that we stay around that area. I had lots of Hilton points so we booked the Hilton Waikoloa Village for three nights. We had arranged a late afternoon flight from Kauai to the Big Island so that we would have almost 3 full days in Kauai and since we were flying home from Kona at 9 PM, we would have almost 3 full days on the Big Island as well. We used our points from the Hilton American Express card – about 50,000 per night. I had lots of points as I had just purchased a number of Vanilla Reloads at a grocery store and as most of you know, you get 5 times points at a grocery store when you use this card. Knowing your bonus categories really help. I had also opened last year a Bank of Hawaii and a Hawaiian Airline credit card where I received 35,000 from each card. Nothing spectacular but they transferred over to Hilton at a 1:2 ration – for every Hawaiian mile, I received two Hilton points. Did all this for a total of 140,000 points.
Next up, it becomes a reality and you’ll read about the flight to Oahu.