How I booked a $6,950 Trip to Maui for $33.60

We were lucky enough to experience two days at the Andaz Maui in Wailea last January. It’s one of the newest luxury properties in Maui and is worth all the accolades. I’ll review the hotel in greater detail after we return from this trip.

Instead, I give you a hunky photo of Ed chillin’ in one of the four infinity pools at the Andaz.

2015-01-04 13.02.58

For this trip, June turned out to be the best time. Upside: we get to bring Mattie. Downside: we’ll be traveling to an already popular destination during peak time. This means limited award availability for flights/accommodations, a less likely chance of an upgrade even with my Hyatt Diamond status, and a slew of other first world problems. Despite these “inconveniences”, I am very happy that we will be flying three people and staying 11 nights in paradise for a pretty sweet deal.

I firmly believe that with proper planning and flexibility, anyone can book a similar trip. Please note that I am including links to credit cards. I do not have any affiliation with these companies and don’t earn a dime from the referral. I would only sign up if you can pay off the full balance each month as the interest fees would negate any benefit.

Flights

To fly to Maui during peak season, you’re looking at around $750 roundtrip per person. That’s $2,250 for the three of us. No thanks. I’d rather save my money for Morimoto Maui.

Cost 

  • Total: 67,50o points plus $16.80 in security taxes
  • Value: $2,250 (the value of the actual airfare is $3,984, but if we had to pay cash, we’d book the cheapest flight)

Flight to Maui on United Airlines 

  • We are flying on United for 22,500 miles per person.
  • The fastest way to to earn United miles is to sign-up for their credit card. Currently, the sign-up bonus for their United MileagePlus Explorer Business card is 50,000 miles. The first year is free. That’s enough for a roundtrip ticket to Maui!
  • Another tactic is to sign-up for one of my favorite cards, the Chase Ink Business Card. Currently, the sign-up bonus is 60,000 Ultimate Reward points. These points transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, and many other airlines/hotels at a 1:1 ratio. The first year is not waived, but the $95 fee is well worth the 60,000 points. If you’re a member of the military, Chase will waive these and other fees.
  • If you don’t think you qualify for a business card, think again. Read this article by one of my favorite travel bloggers, Million Mile Secrets, to learn three ways to qualify for a business card.
  • Additionally, you can also sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to get the same 1:1 transfer benefits. Currently, the sign-up bonus is 50,000 points when it’s normally 40,000 points. The fee for the first year is waived! Please note that you will not be able to transfer to travel partners with the no-fee cards: Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire.

Flight from Maui on American Airlines 

  • I was able to find availability on American Airlines using their MileSaver fare class for 22,500 AA miles. This fare class books up very quickly which is why I booked our trip 6-months in advance.
  • Because Ed and I both have American Express credit cards, we were able to take advantage of an awesome trick: if AA.com offers a MileSaver fare, then you can book this flight on BritishAirways.com, a OneWorld airline partner. On AA.com, the flight is 22,500 points. On BA.com, the flight is only 12,500 points. The reason is because BA charges by distance. For those of us on the west coast, it only costs 12,500 points to fly to any island on Hawaii. Unfortunately, as of last year, Amex points no longer transfers to BA at a 1:1 ratio. Instead, they will transfer at a 5:4 ratio – e.g. 250 Amex points for 200 BA Avios. I know this sounds painful. In reality, it took me less than five minutes to transfer and book these tickets online.
  • You can earn transfer points from American Express card that earns Membership Rewards to British Airways. Last year, Ed was targeted for a 100,000 American Express Platinum offer. The standard is 40,000 points.
  • You can also earn Avios by signing up for the British Airways card. Currently, the sign-up bonus is 50,000 to 100,000 Avios depending on spend. The $95 annual fee is not waived, but again, worth it.
  • Our Total: 45,000 points plus $16.80 in security taxes

Hotel

11 nights at the Andaz Maui will cost you 275,000 Hyatt points (25,000 points per night). It’s pretty tough to accumulate this many points in a short amount of time. However, with some planning, it is fairly easy to stay six nights for free. There are other beautiful Hyatt properties in Maui. The Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali is 20,000 per night.

Cost

  • Total: 225,000 points plus two free nights from Ed’s Hyatt credit card. As you can see below, this is a savings of more than $4,700. We will still have to pay the $458.26 in resort fees.

Hyatt Andaz June 2016

  • Sign up for the Chase Hyatt credit card and get two free nights at ANY Hyatt hotel once you complete the minimum spend of $1,000 spend over three months. This is how we stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun for free. You’ll also earn 5,000 Hyatt points when you add an authorized user. The first year’s $75 fee is waived. For each year you keep the card, you earn a free night at a category 1-4 hotel. There’s a ton of great category 4 options and they all range for $100+ a night. Therefore, this card is a no-brainer! I also love that you earn 2 points at restaurants, airline tickets, and rental cars.
  • I am a Hyatt loyalist because their program is extremely generous. One example is that they will allow you to combine nights with your significant other. So, if you wanted to go to Maui on your honeymoon, sign-up for two cards and you’ve earned four free nights.
  • Next, sign up for the aforementioned Chase Ink or Chase Sapphire Preferred card. These points transfer 1:1 to Hyatt. You’ll need 50,000 points for another two free nights.

The downside of Andaz Maui is that they charge a $40 resort fee. This gets you things like free yoga classes, unlimited usage of Go-Pro, poolside towel service etc., It does not include parking. At some properties, you can get the resort fee waived if you’re elite status (e.g. SPG Platinum, Hyatt Diamond). Good luck trying that here (though, I certainly will). Since we will get the “Breakfast Experience” at Ka’ana Kitchen for free with my Diamond status which would cost $47 per person, I will begrudgingly pay the resort fee.

Let me know if you have any questions or need help booking your next trip to paradise.

 

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