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New Big Trip: Anniversary Lodging

At the end of this year, The Miles Dad and I will have been married 20 years. TWENTY YEARS. Obviously, we want to celebrate that by going to Hawaii.

Actually, this trip was our kids’ idea, three whole years ago. Our oldest daughter Nutmeg gave us a card informing us that we’d be headed to Hawaii, and that she and her sister were socking away money to make it happen. They had even approached my parents to hatch a plan for my parents to fly to California to babysit them while we were gone.

How could we say no to that?

Over the past few years, my kids raised about $750 towards this trip! Isn’t that amazing? They held a rummage sale at which they also sold snacks, and they threw in various money that they’d earned doing odd jobs or pet sitting. I would actually urge them to keep more of their money for themselves. I don’t know how many times I insisted, You don’t have to do this. But, as they would tell me, they really wanted to.

Now that the time for the trip has come, of course, $750 will provide us with some fun outings and wonderful dinners, but to get the airfare and lodging, we’re gonna need miles and points. Today I’m gonna share our plan for lodging.

We’ve never been to the island of Kauai, so that was a target for us right away. We had the opportunity to amass a ton of Hilton Honors points easily with the 100,000-point bonus on the Hilton Honors Surpass Amex (after spending $3,000 in the first three months; $75 annual fee) and the Hilton Honors card (50,000 points after spending $1,000, then an additional 25,000 after spending another $1,000; no annual fee). Yes, you can apply for both. By the way, those are my affiliate links, so if you want them, please click through this site so I can get a bonus.

My bonus rewards were credited to my Hilton account very quickly after I hit the minimum spends — before I had even paid the bill, in fact. My Hilton Honors account went from having 2,000 miles in it (which I actually earned by staying there) to having 231,213 points. And by the way, the Surpass card also conferred gold status upon me, and gave me access to the Priority Pass network of airport lounges. I didn’t need either of those things since I already got them through the American Express Executive Platinum Business Card (another referral link!), but if you don’t have a fancy card, the Surpass is a good way to get those benefits as well.

The Hilton on Kauai is the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay. It looks nice, with pools and a narrow park separating it from a nice beach.

The room we want is one with an ocean view lanai, of course. If this weren’t such a special trip, I’d select a lower level room and hope that the hotel upgraded us to a room with a lanai as a privilege for being Gold members. But the lanai room is only 3,000 points more per night than the next lower room, and I’m not taking any chances. So I’m spending 65,000 points per night to book the exact room I want.

Luckily, Hilton offers the fifth night free when booking with rewards, so five nights in that premium room will cost us “just” 260,000 points, plus about $100 or so in hotel fees. So I just need 30,000 more Hilton points before I can book the room. A friend recently signed up through my referral link, so I’m hoping to see those points hit my account soon.

All told, the cost of this stay? About $150 in hotel taxes and fees, plus the $75 annual fee that both Erik and I paid for our Hilton Surpass cards. So, $300 for five nights at a decent hotel in a gorgeous location. Works for me!