Think you can’t afford a trip to Maui? Think again! Let me show you how to vacation at the finest resorts for very little cash!
My wife and I recently vacationed on Maui for 15 nights. Our biggest expenses were the dog sitter (almost $550) and the rental car (about $750).
How did we do this for such little cash? Let me explain… First of all, most hotel chains and airlines have loyalty programs, which are completely free to join. So join every one of these that you think you might ever use. We are currently members of Hyatt Gold Passport, Starwood Preferred Guest, Fairmont President’s Club, Hilton Honors, Hawaiian Miles, and many more.
Now that you have joined some of these programs, if your credit is good, you should apply for credit cards that are partnered with them. Please note that the spend minimums may change from time to time, and most cards have an annual fee (although most are waived for the first year).
Click here for a Hilton Honors card from CitiBank. That card will get you two free nights at ANY Hilton hotel, if you spend $2500 within 4 months. We used our two free nights at the Grand Wailea on Maui. They upgraded us to the Concierge level, and we got free food and drinks 3 times a day! American Express also offers a Hilton Honors card, but I believe the one from Chase is better. Both are offered on that same page.
Click here for a Fairmont card from Chase. You’ll get 2 free nights at any Fairmont, for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. You’ll also get 2 free breakfasts for two. We used our two free nights at the Fairmont Kea Lani, on Maui. We got almost all of our meals here, for free, and we also got a free room upgrade.
Click here for an American Express SPG card. They are currently offering 30,000 SPG points if you spend $5,000 in 6 months. The SPG card is one of the best rewards cards you can own. SPG is a huge family of hotels; Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, Meridien, and more. Use points for a 4-night stay, and get a 5th night, free! We used our free nights at the Sheraton Maui. We could have also stayed at the Westin Maui, for the same points. SPG points can also be converted to airline miles.
Click here for a Hyatt card from Chase. You’ll get 2 free nights at any Hyatt, worldwide, after spending $1,000 in 3 months. We used ours at the Hyatt on Ka’anapali Beach, during our previous visit to Maui. You can also use them at the brand-new Andaz Maui, in Wailea. Both are great resorts. Each year, you’ll get a free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt, which does not include the Maui hotels, but does include most of their San Francisco hotels, and many other great locations.
Our flights were covered by Hawaiian Miles. You can get a Hawaiian Miles card from Bank Of America here. You can get 35,000 Miles by spending $1,000 in 4 months. Depending on your travel dates, that can be enough for one R/T flight to Maui. You also get a 50% companion fare coupon. Hawaiian Airlines generally charges the same amount of points to Maui, from any mainland airport. If you prefer Alaska Airlines, BofA also offers a card for them. I recently got one, and was given 30,000 points just for qualifying!
The rental car companies also have loyalty programs. Our favorite rental car agency on Maui is Alamo. We rented a convertible, and had our choice of Sebring or Mustang. We took the Mustang, of course.
Our final week on the island was at our timeshare at the Westin KOR. If you join SPG, you might get an offer from them like we received a few years ago. We got 5 nights in a condo, and a rental car, for less than $600, and we weren’t even required to go to a sales pitch. But we did go on the tour, and we did buy, and we don’t regret it.
The Westin KOR has a kitchen in the room, and BBQ grills on the grounds, so you can really save money on meals. But there are a lot of great places to eat on Maui, both cheap and expensive.
I hope this helps you plan an affordable trip to Maui!