Planning a trip to Hawaii – Part 2

Planning 1 | Planning 2 | Planning 3 | Travel | Disneyland  (1234) | Arrival | Surfing | Aulani | Excursion | Hyatt

This is Part Two of Three on planning a future trip.  Look for Parts One and Three.

Lodging

Our initial thoughts on lodging in Hawaii included a stop at Aulani, which is Disney’s resort on Oahu, plus a hotel at the beginning and end of the trip.  Our discussion focused on using the beginning and end of the trip to see the rest of the island and the Aulani portion of the trip for relaxing and enjoying that resort.  Since the flights didn’t work out exactly like we wanted, we now had to work in a Disneyland portion of the trip as well.  While it isn’t a forced addition to the trip, it does add expense and complications in the form of lodging.

Our supply of hotel points had rapidly depleted because we had allocated most of them to trips to Walt Disney World this year.  We decided to take advantage of some more cards to see if we could get free rooms at the start and end of the trips.  Chase has a Hyatt credit card that will give you two free stays at any Hyatt property after spending $1000 within the first three months of opening the card.  You also get a free stay at a category 1-4 Hyatt property every year after paying the annual fee.  There are two Hyatt hotels in Honolulu on Waikiki beach.  This would take care of two of the nights.  We also targeted the Citibank Hilton HHonors Reserve card, which will give you two free weekend nights at any Hilton property after spending $2500 within the first four months of opening the card.  There is a beautiful Hilton property right on Waikiki beach as well, so that was another two nights taken care of.  The certificates for the free nights should arrive in a few weeks, so I will book those hotels when they arrive.  (Update:  The Hyatt award certificates arrived and we booked the two nights at the Hyatt.  The Hilton certificates didn’t arrive in time and the resort we wanted booked up.  So, Plan B was to use transfer some Chase Ultimate reward points to Hyatt and book the same hotel for the beginning of the trip as well.  If the Hilton award availability opens up, we can always book it and cancel the extra nights at the Hyatt.)

We decided to fill the time in between those two stays by staying at Aulani.  Aulani is a Disney property and Disney is definitely not in the business of giving out free hotel stays.  Since it is a Disney Vacation Club property, we looked into renting DVC points.  We decided to use our favorite website for that purpose, David’s Vacation Club Rentals.  We put in a request for 7 days at Aulani that would have cost $2300 for a standard view.  Disney wanted $4800 for the same room, so it was quite a savings.  Unfortunately, there were no standard view rooms available.  We had to move up to a pool view room that costs $2700.  That’s a bit more, but much less than what Disney would have charged us, even for a standard view room.

We also needed to find a place to stay for the 5 nights we would be spending in Los Angeles.  We still had 60,000 IHG points in our account, so we looked around Disneyland for an room.  There is a Holiday Inn a few blocks from Disneyland that would have given us at least two nights for free, maybe three.  However, since we weren’t sure how much we would want to walk to and from the hotel after walking around Disneyland all day, we decided to pick a new Holiday Inn Express across the entrance to Disneyland instead.  Since the hotel isn’t built yet, there are no reward nights available.  Hopefully, reward nights will become available to bring down the cost of the room.  The cost of the room for 5 days is going to be $800.  Not horrible, but not free either.

So, lodging on the trip would cost us $2700 for Aulani plus $800 for Disneyland for a total of $3500.

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