Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to Maui, The Greek Islands, Pacific Coast Highway, Argentina /Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, Cape Cod & The Islands, Iceland, Geneva, Canadian Rockies, Rome, Israel, Peru / Inca Trail, Stockholm, Chicago, Paris, Hanoi, Austin, Puerto Rico, Bruges, Salzburg, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Jamaica, India/Golden Triangle, Auckland, Singapore, Moscow, The Oregon Coast, Seattle, and Portland.
So this weeks travel destination includes the Hawaiian Islands. I received the following email from reader Greg:
“My wife and I have read your reports on the various Hawaiian Islands, and the reader input on those trips (and Maui as well) but what we want to do is spend an extended period of time there island hopping- and we want to do it as close to free as possible. We are fairly new to all these tips and techniques for acquiring free travel, so are just finishing what this hobby would call a first churn. We are limited to just one of us applying for a credit card. What we would like input on are any tips readers may have in areas that we won’t be able to get for free based on their experiences. .
We realize that Hawaii isn’t the optimal use of points- but don’t care. We can stay in 3 star or above hotels, and will use miles to fly first class from PHX unless we find out it is a much, much better use of miles to drive to LAX- or somewhere else close to there (we live in North-Central AZ). A 7 hour drive would have to save us a whole lot of miles to be considered, though. A big area of concern to us is the expense of inter-island travel, and how to get around that. Thanks so much.”
Another question Greg had was what 2-3 credit cards should he apply for to get free hotels. Here are my tips:
- Hyatt Rewards Credit Card – Can use the two free nights you get at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. This is a great hotel that I’ve personally have stayed at. You could also use the two free nights at the Hyatt Maui (although I’ve heard the one in Kauai is better). You can also get one or both of the Chase Ultimate Reward earning cards (Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Cards) and transfer the 40,000 or 50,000 points (depending on the card you get) directly to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. This will get you another 2 nights free by redeeming points.
- Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card – You will get two free nights, but only valid for weekend nights (Fri, Sat, Sun). You might be able to use these two free nights at the Grand Waila in Maui. The only caveat is that these two free nights are only valid for standard rooms so you will need to call Hilton and see if this hotel has standard rooms and if they take the two free night vouchers.
- American Express Starwood Preferred Credit Card – I’ve heard good things about the Sheraton in Kauai which requires 12,000 points a night but is available for Cash & Points often. This will give you two free nights once you earn the 25,000 points by hitting the minimum spend. It is very close to the Hyatt Kauai. There is also a Sheraton in Kona that goes for 10,000 points a night.
The reason that I did not mention Honolulu is because you can typically find relatively cheaper hotels in Waikiki beach, so if your points are being spent elsewhere then this might be a place to find an extremely reasonably priced 3 start hotel.
If you’ve ever to the various Hawaii Islands, please help out reader Greg by commenting below.
Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!