This might be one of my favorite travel hacking successes! Mainly because it was relatively easy and I was able to plan it just a few short months before the trip. It was also the first trip that we booked both, our flights, and all but 1-day of our accommodations using points. Here’s a brief summary…
2 Person 10-day Hawaii Vacation Cost Breakdown:
- RT Airfare (Detroit to Kauai with first class seats on the way there) – $11.20 (smh… you can’t get out of taxes)
- OW Airfare (Kauai to Honolulu) – $50 (again with the tax)
- Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa Kauai (6 days/5 nights) – $0.00
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort (4 days/3 nights) – $512 (only because we decided to stay an extra night). This would have been $0.00 also!
Total Roundtrip Air + 10-day Resort Accommodations for 2 people = $573.20 …thumbs up to that!
Total we “would have paid” = A whopping $6,627!!! *Obviously you can vacation to Hawaii for a bit cheaper then this, but seriously, we got an amazing $6,000+ vacation for NEARLY FREE!
Here’s how we did it:
The tried and true travel hacking method; We signed up for a few credit cards and earned the signup bonuses by meeting the minimum spend requirements. (Note: Using what the travel hacking world calls “manufactured spending” is an easy way to meet the minimum spend requirements and not “actually spend” any money). Ya, its pretty awesome!
Here are the cards we used:
- U.S. Airways Premiere Mastercard (U.S. Airways has since merged with American Airlines so this card is now AA Advantage Aviator Mastercard): 50,000 bonus points
- Hyatt Visa Signature: 2 Free Award nights + 75,000 bonus points
- Citi Hilton Visa Signature : 40,000 bonus points
We booked our award flights on American Airlines. Detroit to Kauai was 37,500 AA miles for a first class ticket (awesome value)! A flight from Kauai to Oahu is pretty cheap, but it’s also only 1,000 AA miles which is a great use for any leftover miles you’re not sure how to spend. Our flight home from Honolulu to Detroit was 50,000 AA miles.
Hyatt has an excellent points value! For as little as 25,000 points you get a nights stay at an AMAZING top rated resort on Kauai! So just by signing up for the Hyatt card and easily earning the bonus, we were able to stay at the Grand Hyatt Resort for FREE for 6 days!
In Honolulu we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort on Waikiki Beach. This place is huge by the way! We had a good amount of Hilton points from previous stays (thank you work trips), and to get the rest of our nights for free we used the Citi Hilton Credit Card sign up bonus. The points value isn’t as good as Hyatt so we ended up paying for one extra night. But a total of $512 for 4 nights at a top resort on Waikiki beach isn’t too bad right!?
So what do you do with all this savings?
1. Go on a helicopter ride over Kauai.
2. Dive in some of the most beautiful spots on earth.
3. Have steak dinner on a luxury yacht along the Napali Coast.
4. Take surfing lessons.
5. Cruise around the islands with the top down.
6. Or… just eat A LOT of shave ice!
Instead, maybe you’ll just chose to relax on the beach and not spend anything… either way, you’ll have an amazing vacation for next to nothing!
Bonus tip: If you’re renting a car in Honolulu, you can get $50 off if you flew in on Hawaiian Airlines (which if you’re coming from another island you most likely did). They won’t tell you this so you have to ask! And don’t be shy to ask for a little extra… my savvy husband got us an upgrade to a convertible just with a little negotiating…and being handsome of course 😉