A reader wanted to know which credit card was the best to get free hotel stays in Maui. I have a generic post with what I think are the best hotel credit cards, but here’s another example of how that list needs to be customized based on your destination. Since I hadn’t looked closely at it, I decided to go ahead and do the research for two reasons. First, this way you can find out which is the best hotel credit card for Maui, and second, you can see the process I go through to determine which hotel offers the best redemption rates.
Clearly, the answer will vary based on a lot of your personal preferences. However, in this post I’ll do a cost analysis to get an idea of which cards stand out as the best options for hotels in Maui, Hawaii.
For consistency, I’ll assume that a person is considering staying for a week from October 11th – 17th, 2013.
Starwood Personal or Business Card
With the Starwood credit cards, you’ll be able to get a sign up bonus of 10,000 Starpoints and an additional 15,000 after spending $5,000 in the first six months of card membership.
During the dates in question, there are now cash and points available.
Starwood gives you your fifth nigh free, so with credit cards the best you could hope to do is 48,000 points for five nights. (That would be the points from two credit card applications – either two personal cards [i.e. a husband and a wife] or a personal and a business credit card application.)
Five nights would cost $1645.00 so you’d be getting 3.427 points savings per dollar. This excludes any sort or resort charge or extra person charges. As such, the best Starwood value per credit card application would be $856.
Obviously, if you didn’t stay exactly five nights, you’d get a lot less value out of your points.
Hilton (Various Credit Card Offers)
I was disappointed to find that I couldn’t find any hotel availability at either Hilton brand hotel in Maui. If a person were traveling with other dates, they’d want to factor Hilton into the equation, but not in this case. I actually like to stay at Hiltons because it is easy to get Gold status which comes with free breakfast.
You can check this post to see the eligible Hilton earning credit cards.
Chase Hyatt Credit Card
The Chase Hyatt credit card offers two free nights as part of their sign up bonus (after spending $1,000 in the first three months). There is also a way to maximize this offer by getting your two nights in a suite.
The Hyatt Maui is a Category 6 Hyatt hotel. Hyatt probably has the most possibility in terms of luxury and as far as finding a way to make all seven nights possible in the same hotel.
You’ll see the category options below:
With two credit card applications, you’ll be able to get 4 free nights. However, Hyatt is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards. This means with an additional 66,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you can get the other 3 nights for free.
Ultimate Rewards earning cards:
Chase Sapphire Preferred = 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Ink Bold or Ink Plus = 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
Chase Freedom (as long as you have at least one of the other cards above) = only offers 10,000 points after spending $500, but has rotating categories where you can earn 5x miles.
Value from one Chase Hyatt application is worth $878 if redeemed in Maui. Value from Ultimate Rewards is 1.995 cents per point.
The Chase Marriott credit card offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
The cheapest way to do your stay is at the Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport. Essentially, it costs 20,000 per night with the 5th night free. A credit card application could get you two free nights, but you can combine points with a spouse. (They need to transfer points for a specific booking.) As a result, my suggestion would be to get two cards (both partners) and end up with a combined total of 100,000 points. You could turn that 100,000 points into 6 nights.
Using cash and points, you’d pay $199 plus 100,000 points to get 7 nights.
As far as a dollar value, you’d get a $500 value out of your application if you can combine points to get the 5th night free. While this is not the most valuable use of points, it does allow you to get more nights than any of the other mentioned options.
Marriott is also an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, but you wouldn’t be getting all that great of a value out of your points.
For me, the goal is to always get the most value out of my points. Honestly, I think it’s a more fair comparison to compare prices to Hotwire or a similar discounted site than to the retail hotel prices. Personally, I doubt I’d pay $300+ per night.
As you can see, you could get a condo with 3.5 stars and 90% recommended for $895.56 for 7 nights.
That’s actually a good value.
With Ultimate Rewards, you can even cash out your points (not that I really suggest it). You’d need 90,000 points to get $900.
However, even if you just wanted a cheaper hotel, you could use the Ultimate Rewards search tool, and you’ll see the cheapest hotel is the Aston Maui for 65,988 points.
Club Carlson. This is currently one of my favorite hotel credit cards because of their free night bonus. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Club Carlson hotels in Maui.
Also, I didn’t see any Priority Club locations in Maui.
Research Conclusion: Best Hotel Credit Cards for Maui
After all this research, you’ll need to do some inward looking to decide which is ‘best’.
- How do you define value? Do you want as much luxury as possible? Do you want the ability to get as many ‘free’ nights as possible?
- Do you care more about maximizing your points or just getting to travel for free?
- Will you have enough points to take advantage of benefits like free 5th night?
- Do you have another trip planned where you could get more value out of the points?
Typically, there are destinations where one program stands out in terms of offering the best value. Maui doesn’t seem to be such a destination.
What would I do if I were spending a week in Maui?
In this situation, I’d seriously consider going the Hotwire or Priceline route, just because that fits me. I wouldn’t want to redeem 90,000 Ultimate Rewards to save spending $900. I could use those 90,000 Ultimate Rewards points to save thousands on flights. If I were going to do the luxury route, I’d probably save my Hyatt free nights for an even more expensive hotel like Paris or Tokyo. I wouldn’t want to use my Starwood points because I’d prefer to save them for a time when I’d get more value. The only program I’d personally consider is Marriott.
Still, you’ll need to analyze all the options and ask ‘what options makes me the most excited?’ In the end, that’s probably the best way to go for a stay in Maui, Hawaii.
Did I miss any good redemption options? What would you do?