Doing Hawaii with points


two men wearing sunglasses and leis posing for a pictureHawaii is calling. If you’d like to answer that call, we discuss this week on Frequent Miler on the Air the various tools you can use to make that trip get out of your dreams and into your inbox. We had a very long episode this week as we had a lot of segments to discuss before we even got to the main event, but as always you’ll find the timestamps below and in the show notes on Youtube and all of your favorite podcast platforms.

Elsewhere on the blog this week, we’ve released (some) details about this year’s Frequent Miler team challenge and we recap the best award search tools, remind you which Hyatt properties to book before Tuesday, and more. Watch, listen, or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.

00:56 Giant Mailbag: IHG Suite Upgrade Clarification
Frequent Miler Challenge Update
13:46 Card Talk: Wyndham credit cards
29:00 What crazy thing….did Citi do this week?
32:51 Mattress running the numbers: Wyndham portal promotion
39:08 Wyndham points on sale
43:02 Award Talk: A multi-night stay on Hyatt free night certificates
45:21 Award Talk: Marriott bookings before the gloves come off
Main Event: Doing Hawaii with points
56:38 How to get award flights to Hawaii
56:37 Book with miles directly with the operating airline (AA Web Specials, Delta and United flash sales)
1:03:03 Partner awards: United via Turkish Miles & Smiles
1:07:55 Partner awards: British Airways for Alaska or American
1:08:10 Partner awards: Air France and Virgin Atlantic for Delta
1:08:48 Tools for searching for award flights
1:11:21 Hawaiian miles to upgrade from economy to business class
1:13:23 Wyndham
1:13:45 Book Vacasa rentals with Wyndham points
1:17:04 Wyndham points for Wyndham timeshare properties
1:21:46 Hyatt points for Hawaiian accommodations
1:23:35 StayWithPoints
1:28:50 Is Hilton worth it? What about Marriott?
Timeshare deals
1:38:49 Question of the Week: Why is Greg’s wallet so full of Citibank cards?

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This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

Scratch Hawaii off your bucket list with just 2 credit card points bonuses

a man wearing a hat and standing in front of a lake

Hawaii is a surprisingly easy destination to cross of your bucket list with just two new credit card bonuses. This is especially true right now because of the Wyndham and Vacasa partnership, which gives you access to plenty 1-bedroom Vacation rentals for just 15K Wyndham points per night, but in this post I present a couple of ways to cover a trip for two (or maybe even more!) people to Hawaii with just two new cards. This hobby is a lot of fun because it is possible to make these bucket-list-type dreams happen with a card or two.

Party of 5: Frequent Miler’s 2023 Team Challenge

a group of people posing for a photo

The 2023 iteration of our Frequent Miler team challenge is shaping up to likely be the most fun we’ve had yet. That’s because this year, the entire Frequent Miler team is traveling together as a party of 5, with two teams competing to win points from Greg for planning the most epic end of the trip. This post explains the outline of what we’re doing and how we can win Greg’s favor.

Best Hyatt Category 1-4 Hotels & Resorts (⏰ book before 3/28)

a swimming pool and a beach

If you’re sitting on Hyatt free night certificates, now is your time: don’t forget to make your bookings for properties moving up and out of reach while you still can — category changes kick in on Tuesday. Stephen previously published full details of the changes, so don’t forget to see that post also for other properties slated to increase in price in just a few days.

Which award search tool is best?

cartoon of a man in a trench coat holding a magnifying glass

The past couple of years have seen the dawn of a number of great award search tools that can greatly reduce the amount of time and effort necessary to find and book awards. Greg has recently updated this post with information about a couple of new tools, and when you look at the resource overall there are a lot of things out there to up the convenience factor significantly. It’s worth mentioning that the things that these tools do can mostly be done on your own, but as someone who searches for award travel often I can say that these tools really save me a ton of time.

Bummer: Capital One Shopping quietly removes Walmart, Safeway, and more gift card redemptions

a man with his hand on his chin

Update: I initially included this post in our week in review to alert readers to the fact that Capital One had removed Walmart and Safeway gift cards, but late last night I updated the post to note that Safeway cards are back — and Capital One Shopping has added some other redemption options that may be of broad interest, including, DoorDash, GrubHub, Xbox, Saks, and more.

Choice Choice choices in Australia

a screenshot of a web page

Choice Privileges is a niche program, but one destination where Choice points can really come in handy is Australia. That’s not because of the luxurious options with Choice Privileges but rather because of the ability to book large suites (in some cases with 2 or 3 bedrooms) for the price of a standard room. There’s also the fact that most chains have a relatively limited presence outside of the major cities in Australia, whereas Choice is a bit more established off the beaten path. It won’t be your top play of 2023, but if you’re planning a trip to Australia, particularly with a family, keep Choice in mind.

Hyatt Centric Portland: Bottom Line Review

a couch with pillows on it

Have you always wanted to visit downtown Portland, Oregon? If you drive a car with a stick shift, maybe you want to avoid the Hyatt Centric Portland. Or maybe you want to stay at the Hyatt Centric Portland because it’s the only place where the valet department will be honest about the fact that they don’t know how to drive a stick. I’m not sure which is the right answer, but Tim’s review didn’t really instill a lot of desire in me to visit this one.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep a close eye on this week’s last chance deals to be sure that you catch the best of them before they’re gone.

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BA Avios West Coast – Maui for 13k each way on AS in Econ is a bit of a sweet spot.


I recently went to Maui via miles/pts for (near) free. Flights(UA): C1-Turkish-15k RT. Grand Wailea (P1-P4: FNCs + Aspire Resort CRs).


What a long show. You got to the main event by the time you sometimes end your show.

Mary W

Planning a trip to Kauai for January 2024. Grabbed a few nights at the Grand Hyatt, but could only get a suite (which will be lovely, but a lot of points). As for Vacasa on Wyndham points: I’ve researched this EXTENSIVELY over the past week, including calling Wyndham. Under $500 per bedroom per night with all fees and taxes means under $320 before fees and taxes. There are very few options at that price level, and they’re all in marginal old (1960s-1980) condo developments, mostly with no views or on-site amenities. I found none that I would be comfortable staying in, on the entire island.

Mary W

Maybe prices will drop closer in, but I have quite a bit of date flexibility in January and every set of 3-4 nights I’ve tried has turned up about 4-6 options under $500, all low-rated and/or without views, with no pool in complex, etc. I did call Wyndham about some units that seemed acceptable but were just over $500. No go.

Mary W

Actually it seems the taxes and fees are pretty consistent. I will revise my number downward — a unit at the complex Grant didn’t like much is among those 14 1-bedrooms you saw. Rate for that unit is $317, but it’s about $5.37 over $500 after taxes/fees. So the cutoff is probably $311 or so. I’ve researched all of the condo developments and many of the specific units under that price and they are… problematic. Maybe some people would be happy with them, but I would not.

BTW, zero availability for Wyndham timeshare condos (not through Vacasa) for Kauai in January. There are 4 Wyndham complexes there iirc. Maybe they don’t release them until closer in?

Last edited 1 year ago by Mary W

i just booked this 1 br unit ( and am quite pleased the way it looks for only 13,500 wyndham points/ night.
btw this is my 3rd booking using vacasa on Kauai

Last edited 1 year ago by slaven
Mary W

Enjoy! It’s over $500/night in January, so I can’t book it. Note that the washing machine in the condo is broken, per the listing.


i booked it for jan 2024. washing machine is a recent issue and am sure they will fix it within the next 10 months

to give yourself more options add on another night as certain places have minimum stays (or a 2nd BR)

Last edited 1 year ago by slaven
Mary W

That unit never came up in all my searches. It does look really nice! It appears to be available (for cash, at least) on some nights that would work for me, but the price is over $565 per night, all-in. Was the cash price for your dates over $500 with taxes and fees? The phones are closed for the day today, so I can’t check on points availability.

Mary W

Just tried to book this exact unit for January 26-29 and was told “it is not available for redemption.” It is available for cash on the same dates.