Just a quick post summarizing how the Maui trip became possible and how I go about maximizing the travel experience and saving a bunch of cash along the way with this hobby…
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4 award tickets on Southwest Detroit to Oakland (via Chicago Midway) for 62,400 points (15,600 each) and $20 fees total
1 night at Hampton Inn Alameda at Oakland airport for $101.92 all in. Fully reimbursed by Barclay Arrival points. Earned 2,620 Hilton HHonors points total
4 award coach tickets flying on Hawaiian Airlines Oakland to Maui for 90,000 American AAdvantage miles and $10 fees total
2 free nights at the fantastic Andaz Maui with full buffet breakfast for four (as Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond with Diamond Elite Status trial) due to the 2 night at any Hyatt benefit for its Visa card. Mandatory Valet Parking fee for 2 nights of $60 was fully reimbursed by Barclay Arrival points. I earned 1,374 Gold Passport points (1k was the Diamond Amenity bonus)
3 free nights at the incredible Fairmont Kea Lani (1 complimentary Platinum night, and one complimentary night each for spending $12k on our two Fairmont cards after paying the $95 annual fee per card). Ate about $300 of amazing food using Platinum/Premier dining certs and some gift cards by cashing in Fairmont Visa points. $30 daily resort fee was taken care of by such Fairmont gift cards (still have $250 gc’s left!). An additional Platinum benefit was the BEST meal for two we ever had at the Ko restaurant!
4 door Jeep Wrangler car by Thrifty was total (after taxes) $475.58 (after a confiscatory charge of $100 for getting the 4 door as the 2 door was too tiny after looking big enough in the pictures!). FULLY reimbursed by Barclay Arrival points
4 coach tickets flying Island Air from Maui to Honolulu for 20,000 United miles (5,000 miles each ) and $10 fees total
4 coach tickets flying on Alaska Airlines from Honolulu to San Jose for 90,000 American AAdvantage miles and $10 fees
1 day full size rental car picked up at San Jose airport for $29.39 (Ford Fusion). Fully reimbursed by Barclay Arrival points
2 nights at the Hampton Inn Alameda $203.83 all in. Fully reimbursed by Barclay Arrival points. Earned 10,241 Hilton HHonors points
4 award tickets on Southwest from San Francisco to Detroit (via Denver) for 40,560 points (10,140 points each) and $20 fees
This is how TBB rolls…
I did NOT want to separate us! And I wanted to see Maui during kids’ Spring Break. And I was not going to be denied!
I wanted to use American miles as I have over 1 million of them!
We are perfectly fine flying coach so we can maximize our trips. We are not snobs 🙂 You will be flying coach more, I…guarantee it!
Could I have done better? Sure! But I do value my time. Goal has been always to minimize cash outlay to redirect it to…well, us on the ground lol.
Trying to burn AA miles all the way was pointless. Therefore, Southwest to the west coast was the way to do it.
Initial Alaska Airlines flight was canceled and we were automatically rebooked at earlier and totally inconvenient flights. Kept fighting and finally got a decent return flight.
I went with the Hampton Inn Alameda hotel as the rate was good and did not seem that good of a deal to burn other hotel points. Flights out of it were very early in the am and 1 night getting in was close to midnight. Plus, this is why you have the Barclays Arrival card (insert imaginary affiliate link). I wanted my kids to get grounded after the Andaz and Fairmont experience lol.
In retrospect the Jeep was fine and glad to have it in Maui! Thrifty has some OLD cars and crappy service!
The Andaz Maui full ocean view (stretching it) we had goes for $500 to $600 per night.
The Fairmont Kea Lani deluxe ocean view suite we had goes for $900+ per night.
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Love Maui, great report. Thanks
I enjoy your blog thank you so much for doing what you do ! Glad you had a nice time I am heading Maui soon an staying at the same hotels.
Welcome back! Glad you had such a great trip!
You have such a cute family. Cherish these times! That is what the game is about. They grow up fast. Mine are all grown and we all get together twice a year – Xmas and August and it is a blast! You have the right idea TBB!
I just stayed at Andaz Maui and it is fantastic. One small note though – the $30 per night is not a resort fee hit rather the valet parking fee. So if you didn’t have a car, there would be no fee at all (hence why calling it a resort fee isn’t correct)
@ralph thanks for the fee clarification as afaik, Hyatt a Diamonds are not charged resort fees.
@george – the full reimbursements from the Arrival card – are these from the sign-up bonus or do you really put that much spend on the card that that the 2.2 ish rebate covered all those costs?
My Arrival sign-up rewards are long gone.
I read so many posts that extol the card for its rebate benefit but each time I go to use it, I get so little satisfaction. Rather than appreciating the rebate, the fact I still need to pay the 97ish percent in cash, is depressing. It just never seems worth the effort.
OTOH, the 6% back on the AMEX Blue always seems to have a greater impact than I expect?
I stopped reading at the word Coach. Tsk Tsk
Great job George! How many Barclays points do you have left? Very methodical way of using miles/points. Where is your next trip to?
The common man says
Nicely done. I may be alone in this, but I hate a room with a view of the Pool. In the situations above, I prefer just the view of the ocean without having to block off images of overweight and/or overtanned folks lounging by the pool.
The common man says
this is hilarious btw.
You forgot to insert links for the Barclays arrival card
Two points I forgot to mention in my post yesterday about the blog world’s reaction to AA changes.
First, I wanted to say that when I see a tax guy taking his family to Hawaii the week before April 15, I am reminded that there is hope for a better world.
Second, I should have ended by saying that while the AA changes and bloggers’ reaction to them were very disappointing, I would really be pissed off if I was paying for any of this.
Ramsey...... on a mission to end Blogger pretentiousness says
Looks like the kids had a trip they will always remember. Are you all going thru P.M.V.D. (post Maui Vacation Depression) right now?…. How many points did Mrs. Buzz earn shopping at the Wailea shopping center? That place is for the very wealthy, like bloggers……Now that you have rid the internet of Blogger trip reports with toilet bowl pictures, I invite you to join me in ridding the B’sphere of credit card salespeople waving champagne glasses at us from First Class. LETS END BLOGGER PRETIOUSNESS, …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Gary VFTW wrote about how much he hated the W hotel in Austin. Gary, REGARDING THE HALLWAY PICTURES, maybe you could just call the manager instead of posting pictures and jeopardizing someones livelihood. Those housekeeping people work their ASS off, physically demanding work without much compensation, satisfaction or RESPECT. I wonder if you have ever had a job where you broke a sweat? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd how petty of you is it to complain that they didn’t have chocolate cake for room service, eat some fruit for God’s sake. Why order room service in Austin of all places?
That’s because you’re American. 😉
Frequent Miler just commented in PFdigest that Amex is stepping back from affiliates, and they’ll all have to pull their links after tomorrow, hence the desperation last chance blog entries.
Wake us up when Chase is gone too and we can all sing Kumbayah back in FT.
You forget there is still Citibank(and they are desperate) and Barclay’s bank and probably some other bank as well. But Chase is probably coming soon.
If operating expenses are getting higher, they will be forced to re-evaluate their game too. The mega devaluations from all corners was one big sign.
I feel sad that someone will not be able to DP us anymore.
@Helixcardinal: Congrats, it is an Elite group 😉
@ Tom: Thank you! We enjoyed the hotels very much. I think not having to pay out of pocket contributed to it!
@ Jay: Thanks, glad to be back. It’s been non stop work on tax stuff trying to defeat the Tax man!
@smittytabb: Thanks a lot. Time goes by so fast! Son thinks we are not as cool as he thought he were when he was younger. We may not have more than one or two of these trips together…
@Ralph: Yes, thanks for pointing that out. I edited the post. I just can’t stand mandatory resort (or valet parking) fees.
@bk3day: Mostly from spend. I was Vanilla ODing for a long time around here! I have the old 5% Amex Blue card that was minting cash at CVS (only lasted for less than 3 months). THAT always felt so more satisfying. Back to the Arrival card becoming the go to every day card for me.
@MIleageUpdate: I am getting used to it before we all started paying 1.5 million for that F seat!
@ After these go through I will have less than 20k Arrival points left. I am treating myself to an all F trip to Hong Kong (via Frankfurt, Bangkok, LA, Phoenix) in October flying LH (now on C, hope F opens up), TG, CX and US. Plenty of time in the lounge in BKK. And 5 nights in HKG.
Next family trip? I have no idea at this point. Too busy, too many places.
@ The common man: I agree but I am not that picky. What ticked me off a little was that I was cheerfuly told at the Andaz “upgraded you to a full ocean view”. Blog reader was there and he showed me what a real full ocean view really is! Besides, the balcony furniture at the Andaz is horrendously uncomfortable. I LOVED the balcony at the FKL! Very funny link. I saved it and will feature it here someday, thanks!
@ Steve: One day Steve, one day. Come to think of it, if the current trend continues you will see bloggers pumping the Arrival card 24/7…
@ Sam: I do not have a traditional tax practice, in fact I refuse to do taxes alone. I just do the taxes for my financial planning clients. I have done them for so long that I think I can now do them with my eyes closed! Kids’ schedules are too tight for me to say no to a Spring Break family vacation. Today I knocked out four and am delivering one tomorrow as it can not be efiled. The no extensions streak is alive! I agree with your 2nd point too 😉
@ Ramsey: Me and Gary went at it a little bit on Twitter the other day. I happen to see this:
GL: Time to ring the ’emergency call button’ as 1h50m into flight still no water refill.
Me:Tip: Get up & go get it! #brilliant @garyleff: Time to ring the ’emergency call button’ as 1h50m into flight still no water refill.
GL: Pro tip, sitting in a window seat, it’s reasonable for FA to stop reading + bring me water instead of seat mate getting up.
Me: When u need to go to the bathroom u can get some water, this ain’ t no Cathay! Out of all the injustices in the world smh 😉
Sometimes I wonder too…
@ Jeff: God bless Chase Bank 🙂
@ James: Yep, saw that. I think the mega bloggers kept them. Very few. Which is so unfair. What a phucked up and warped industry this is…
@ AgendaGuy: It will be Barclays cards 24/7 365 days. Even my cat could get Barclays links. This place is unpredictable. A good or bad quarter and they could be back again for a short term bank run. Hope not many bloggers make long term plans counting on them fickle banks.
The last line in your 2nd comment had me rolling on the floor, buahahhahahahahaha. Psychic income my friends. I mean, where else I could get stuff that is as entertaining! Thank you.
@StuckinTraffic: It appears they are consolidating and withdrawing from this space. When you combine it with devals and inching closer to revenue based awards, well, I hope none of these bloggers made long term plans on pushing cards alone. Too bad Travel Summary just quit his job, perhaps not the best timing!,
I find it quite surprising that DansDeals and FM lost their Amex links. Were they really not reaching quotas?
Dan had so many “the sky is falling” Amex posts “Apply fast before May 1st!!!”
I don’t know the answers. It’s so hard to find these answers. I want to see if TPG and MMS and OVFTW lost them as well…
Yeah, Dan sure did.
Hey, Milevalue suddenly discovered the Thank you card lol.
Ramsey...... on a mission to end Blogger pretentiousness says
@GL: Time to ring the ‘emergency call button’ as 1h50m into flight still no water refill.
Buzz, its ok to ring the call bell if you want something, but Tweeting about it, is being a Dick about it.
Yes this twitter thing can be something…just like that stupid girl tweeting a terrorist threat to American Airlines, how more stupid can you get!
My wife does our taxes.
Game, Set, Match.
Well, good for you. Hope you get refunds 🙂
@TBB shouldn’t you be advising everyone to ensure they do not have any refunds, why should we give Uncle Sam and others interest free loan, what are we credit card companies?
As for the hotels and the god awful resort fees, only legislation like airline ticket prices will be way to get them to stop that nonsense.
Hey George – did you see that Gary posted a referral link to a 50k HH card on twitter? He justified it by saying that he is trying to keep diversified. Sounds like he is trying to keep those lame HH card links going….but Just think…a whole 50k HH points….that will get you one night at the Hampton Inn Tulsa Airport!!
It is hard to resist the $$$ dough! I even did the Uber link and got crap for it (and nobody clicked on it anyway!). So, I am not surprised at all.
What I am more pissed off about is him blogging about the One Vanilla/BB trick. With 30,000 plus newsletter subscribers you care to guess how long it will be before this card type gets added to that infamous “cash only” list? It’s all about the clicks and the “expertise” aura. They justify it by “helping” their readers (like MMS). What that means is all true hobbyists get hurt. And THAT’s the problem…
Check the latest article I tweeted. TPG and this Mighty Travels dude get quoted. True experts my arse! Consumer journalists are now getting the hang of the cards to Money orders angle this MT so cheerfully self quoted. Yikes