Hawaii had always been out there as an option, but I had never given it serious thought for a vacation until I had to scramble to plan our fall 2020 vacation.
Why not? I don’t really know. It is far and generally not cheap, but that hasn’t stopped us for other destinations. Maybe it was less exciting and exotic being a US state?
Regardless, it was our leading option for the fall 2020 trip for a while, and it seemed like an fun place to travel. I wanted to make it work at some point. I was also confident that James would enjoy it.
I decided to look at it for a late spring trip in 2021. I was somewhat confident it would be open for travel by spring 2021. We were hemmed in by James’s kindergarten graduation and trying to make my family’s beach vacation on the other side. So, we did not have a large window and settled on late May.
I found United Airlines flight awards (only available in economy) and booked three round trips with Turkish miles. Yes, Turkish miles. They are a star alliance airline and have an award price of 15,000 miles roundtrip for anywhere in the US (including Hawaii). That meant all three of our flights to Hawaii were just 45,000 miles. A ridiculous bargain.
That said, it’s a pain. You have to email several Turkish centers and wait for a response. Then you have to submit a form and hope everything goes smoothly while the award space is available. If you succeed, you prize is an award at about 35% – 40% of the cost of using United Miles.
Hand-in-hand with the flight award was finding award space at the Andaz in Maui. I had hyatt points and a suite upgrade that I wanted to use, and the Andaz was an excellent hotel by all accounts. They do play games with award space, but I was able to get a room for the dates we wanted.
That led to picking out the stops. I knew we wanted to do Maui and Kauai from previous research and feedback. The only other stop I seriously considered was working in the big island, but 2 stops was good with only 10 nights.