With the arrival of the corona virus pandemic, we decided to postpone our September trip to Portugal until next fall. Hopefully by then, things will be starting to return to something that resembles normal and we will feel comfortable traveling internationally once again. In the meantime, I have A LOT of vacation time to use up or lose by the end of the year. So now what?
Although I am not sure we will actually end up traveling anywhere this year, I have been toying with the idea of a trip to Maui to replace the Portugal trip for this fall. That is assuming 1) we feel safe traveling and 2) travel opens up enough to do so by then. Half jokingly, I mentioned Hawaii to my husband and he was instantly on board.
Thinking about Hawaii, read this post from my friends at Your Mileage May Vary:
Hawaii had never been one of my bucket list travel destinations. But last year my husband picked our trip and we went to Oahu for 6 days and really liked it. We thought late October was a great time for visiting Hawaii. So I started looking at my points and miles to figure out a potential strategy if we get serious about going this fall. Since we still plan to go to Portugal next year, I don’t want to use the points we have set aside for that trip. I will have to take advantage of other options that we have available to make it work as a budget trip.
We have a nice bank of Hilton points and some Free Weekend Night Certificates that we can use. We also have some Hyatt points available. So I was thinking of doing the same type of itinerary we did in Oahu where we split our 6 nights between 2 hotels, spending 3 days in Waikiki and then 3 on the North Shore. We got to see a lot more of the island that way and experienced both the fast paced city and the laid back local areas. When looking on the Hilton website, I found the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. The rooms go for around $480 per night for our dates. We have the Free Weekend Night Certificate and enough points for 2 or 3 additional days. I would need to find another hotel for 2-3 nights to finish out a 6 night stay.
Southwest runs cheap interisland flights for $39 for traveling between Maui and Oahu and the return flight is almost exactly the same price whether we fly home from Maui or Oahu. If we were to spend 4 days in Maui, we could fly to Oahu and stay at the Hyatt Centric for 2 nights. We realllllllly liked that hotel, and the location was great for walking everywhere (like Duke’s for a slice of Hula Pie!)
So What’s the Problem?
One problem we encountered when booking our room last year, was some kind of block that hotel is doing for points bookings. I had a hard time getting it all worked out. Hyatt showed the room was available for 15,000 points per night, but when I actually transferred my points and went to finalize the booking, it wouldn’t let me. It was super scary because within 5 minutes of checking the availability, I moved the points and still got shut down when trying to book the reservation. That meant my points were stuck with Hyatt, but I still had no room. I was very surprised and disappointed. I pondered what to do about it until the next day, then called and spoke with a manager at the site. He was really nice and super apologetic. He worked some kind of magic and even upgraded us to an ocean view suite level room (which was amazing.)
Fast forward to June 1st 2020. I went to the Hyatt site to see if the number of points we needed for a reward night is still the same as last year and to check room availability. The points are indeed the same but the website gave me a No availability message for my dates. Since our dates are wide open at this point, I changed the search dates multiple times and every time got the same message. Hmmmmm…….what game is this? I remembered after struggling with our booking last year, reading a post suggesting that some Hyatt hotels were being a little shady with points bookings. Ugh.
The rooms are only $235 per night, which isn’t bad, but I have the points! They also charge a $33 per night Resort Fee which gets waived if you book a Rewards Stay. So if we were staying their for 2 nights, we would save $66 in Resort Fees plus $470 for the room rate which totals out to $536. That’s a lot of Garlic Shrimp and Shave Ice my friends. I called Hyatt’s corporate booking site directly (not the hotel yet) to see what’s going on. The Agent also seemed surprised that she could not find any available rewards nights. She took down my information and told me that she would look into the matter and get back to me within 48 hours.
As of the publish date on this post, I am still waiting to hear back on the determination. If Hyatt corporate can’t get an answer for me, I may have to call the hotel directly and try my luck that way. I still have the Managers contact information from last year, but I would prefer not having to go that route. We could surely stay somewhere else, but it really bugs me that they are getting away with blocking rewards stays at their property. I hope I can not only get if fixed for us, but for other people as well.
Overall Hyatt is one of my favorite hotel chains and I hope that we can figure this issue out. In the meantime, I am just doodling a loose plan, keeping my eye on how things are going with this virus and how Hawaii’s plan for reopening to tourism progresses.
Dream, Plan, Save, Adventure!