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Maui

Travel

Happy Maui-versary! – our anniversary in Maui

March 12, 2017

Last year I got Lacey a push-pin travel map for our anniversary.  It’s a really cool map, but I realized that it might have been kind of a sucky gift for an anniversary.  Anniversaries probably call for a little more effort than just ordering something online.  My bad.  This year, Lacey and I put our heads together about 4 months in advance and came up with an awesome idea.  Rather than doing material gifts, we were going to spend our 2nd wedding anniversary in Maui, HI.

This trip was a rare case because we actually paid for most of it out-of-pocket and did not use any rewards points.  We did, however, get 1 of our flights for $99 + taxes while using the Alaska Airlines “companion fare” that comes with this card.  So we still saved about $600 dollars on flights.  Our tax returns covered the rest of the trip including a 5 night stay in an ocean front studio suite at the Honua Kai Resort.

The Honua Kai is beautiful.  The resort has multiple pools, a water slide, a lazy river, a charming ocean front restaurant, and easy beach access.  We would definitely recommend staying here if you’re planning a trip.  It is located on the northwest side of the island, minutes from Ka’anapali Beach and Lahaina.  The studio we stayed in was incredible.  We had a full kitchen (where we baked our wedding/fun-fetti cake), living room, large bathroom with a tub and shower, and a large patio equipped with furniture.  The best part was the sliding glass door leading out to the patio.  You could slide and fold this door together creating an “open air” feel leading from your room out to the resort and ocean.

While we didn’t have much planned for this trip, there were a couple of things we really wanted to do.  I wanted to see some waterfalls and Lacey wanted to do some cliff jumping.  We knocked out both pretty quickly and stumbled upon some awesome plants, animals, and geography along the way.  We visited the Heart Shaped rock near the Nakalele Blowhole and we happened upon the Twin Falls and Garden of Eden along the road to Hana.

We spent our final evening in Lahaina on a bench facing the ocean and sunset.  We shared a giant shaved ice while marveling at nearby whales as they lept out of the water.  So incredible!

For us, this was the perfect way to spend our 2nd anniversary.  Hopefully this becomes a Thompson tradition!

Maui, HI

Maui, HI

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the Honua Kai sent us an anniversary gift!

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baking our wedding cake!

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Rewards Points Travel

Points Planning for Maui Part 2

February 21, 2016

It’s time to follow up on our initial Points Planning for Maui post! To recap our progress so far, both Lacey and I signed up for the Chase Hyatt card and received the “2 free nights” reward.  So right now, we have 4 free nights ready to use for Maui (hopefully to be used at the Hyatt Andaz resort).  So while we’re still going to work on getting a couple more nights for free in Maui, we’re going to shift  our focus toward earning our free flights for this trip. Here’s why…

I’ll start off by sharing a very valuable tip that I’ve learned with credit card rewards programs. …they have targeted offers.  This means that the rewards program might randomly email you or snail mail you a reward offer that is more valuable than any other offer that is available to the general public.  Sometimes these targeted offers will literally pop-up when you login to your online account.  My advice for you is to create an online account for every reward program you may ever use.  Even if you aren’t planning on signing up for the program’s card right away, you’re putting yourself in a good position to be possibly targeted for a bad ass offer down the road.

So the next time you’re browsing your favorite points travel sites/blogs, keep in mind that the offers you see on these sites MAY NOT be the best available offer.  You might find a public offer of 35k bonus miles and think that’s the only option, but if you create an online account for that card, you just might be targeted for a higher bonus offer.

Why am I telling all of you this? Well, this very thing just happened to me.  On January 29th, I created an online account for United Airlines “Mileage Plus Explorer” program.  The current public offer for their credit card is only 30k bonus miles.  Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!  Just yesterday, not even a month after creating my Mileage Plus account, I received a snail mail targeted offer for 50k miles. Yay!

Points Planning for Maui offer

You can see that I initially tore this in half and almost threw it away.

Right away, I had a hunch that 50k bonus miles would get us from Boise to Maui.  When I double checked, I found the below flights on United’s website. Looks like if Lacey and I both sign up and receive this reward, we can get to Maui for 45k miles and $11.20 each.  So if all goes well, this is how we’ll get our flights.  Dropping a $20 spot, instead of the $1400+ it would cost if we were to pay in full, seems like a pretty fair swap 🙂

Points Planning for Maui Flights

Right now you might be saying, “well that’s cool for you guys, but what am I gonna do?  I didn’t receive the 50k targeted United offer.”  My response to that is for you to hop on United’s site right when you finish reading this post and create an account.  It took less than a month for me to receive the targeted offer and I’ve heard and read stories of people getting the targeted 50k mile offer right after creating an account.

Another great option right now is the American Airlines 50k bonus offer at this link.  Make sure to go to aa.com first and look up flights from your airport to Maui (or wherever you want to go) and make sure 50k miles will cover your trip.  I did a quick browse and saw that the 50k AA bonus would get me to Maui as easily as United.  Lacey and I already received that bonus in the past (which we’re using for this trip) so we can’t sign up for it again.

So hopefully you now have a couple of solid options to get your free flights.  Keep in mind that the American Airlines offer is a limited time offer.  It could expire at any time.  If you think this is the card for you…jump on it now.  Also, the United Mileage card is sponsored by Chase Bank.  Chase Bank is implementing a new rule starting in April that will prevent anyone who has signed up for 5+ credit cards in the past 24 months from being approved for any more Chase cards.  This is a huge deal to all the points travelers of the world.  You can read more on this topic from one of our favorite travel blogs here.

I’ll post another update in a couple months to let you know how we’re progressing with the Maui trip.  Like I said earlier, we’re still shooting for another 1-2 free hotel nights for this trip so I’ll keep you posted when we figure out how we’re going to make that happen.

You all should have a good plan by now for how you’re going to do this trip, but please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Good Luck!

 

Below are a couple pics from our last trip to Hawaii about 7 years ago…just a couple of crazy kids fallin’ in love 🙂

Lacey in the ocean

Ice cream in Kona

Falling in Love in Hawaii

Sick hat bro! …in my defense, Jason Mraz was really popular back then.

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Rewards Points Travel

Points Planning for Maui

January 9, 2016

One thing we’ve learned since getting into the reward points traveling game is that it takes a lot of planning ahead.  So even though we just finished booking our big trip for May, it’s already time to start planning our next adventure.  While we’d love to book another 2 week multi-city trip, it’s not very realistic with our work schedules to take this much time off in the same year.  That being said, we are going to be working toward a free trip to a single location for this fall…Maui.

Being that Lacey and I have just begun planning for this trip, it would be perfect timing for any of you that are interested in taking a similar vacay, to start planning with us.

After receiving some excellent tips from our friends in regards to rewards traveling to Hawaii, Lacey and I have settled on our initial plan.  Here goes…

Step 1: Getting free Hotels

We just signed up for the Chase Hyatt Card.  The reward bonus for this card is 2 free nights at a Hyatt property.  We’re looking forward to using these rewards to stay at the beautiful Andaz Maui.  With Lacey and I both signing up for this card, we’ll obviously receive 4 free nights total.   We’re only looking to spend 5-6 nights in Maui total, so this Hyatt card is going to take care of most of our hotel costs for this trip.  This card has $0 in sign up fees and only has a spending requirement of $1,000 over 3 months to receive the 2 free nights.  Pretty awesome!  We’re still going to work on getting 1-2 more free nights for the trip but haven’t yet decided on where we want to stay.  I have my eye on the Grand Wailea Resort from Hilton 😉

Andaz Maui from Hyatt

Andaz Maui from Hyatt

Step 2: Get Free Flights

Once we get the reward nights from the Chase Hyatt card for the hotel stays (likely 2 months-ish from now), we’ll start working on our free flights.  The tentative plan right now is to use the British Airways card for our travel.  British Airways partners with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, as well as some others that should help give us some solid options for traveling from Boise to Maui.  The rewards we’ll receive from the sign up bonus should be enough to get us to Maui, but if not, there are a few different cards we could get from partners of BA to help supplement our airline points.  As we’re still a couple months out from signing up for the BA card,  this plan could very well change depending on any new rewards offers that other airlines may come out with this spring.  We’ll keep you posted if we find any better options.

Maui Flight

Step 3: Get Free Stuff in Maui

Thanks to some awesome advice from our new friend Bryce at 10xtravel.com, we now know that if we take the Capital One Venture card on our vacation with us…and use it for all additional expenses at the hotel (food, spa service, excursions, etc.),  the reward bonus of 40,000 points we’ll receive from this card will help us wipe out up to $400 of expenses during this trip.  Pretty awesome tip!  There are obviously exclusions and exceptions that you’ll want to read about before assuming the types of travel expenses this card will take care of, but if used correctly, this card will be a huge help.

To wrap it up for now, Lacey and I are super excited at the opportunity to travel more this fall.  We’ll keep you updated on our progress towards Maui.  Let us know if you have any questions, tips, or anything else you’d like to share.

 

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