Reposted on 3/17/20 at 7:30am
Updated 3pm PT on 3/14/20: I was planning on going to Kauai in March but have rescheduled my trip to Kauai for June. I have cancelled / rescheduled all the reservations below.
Good afternoon everyone, I hope your Friday is going well. As a sequel to yesterday’s post (I Cancelled My Trip to Ireland), we decided to go to Kauai instead for Laura’s spring break (we went to Kauai 2 years ago for Laura’s spring break as well). I checked flights from the Bay Area to Hawaii and flights were in the $100-$130 price range each way to all the Hawaiian Islands. Prices were so cheap that it was a better deal to pay for flights than to book award tickets.
Laura had ~52K Southwest Airlines Points in her account, so we booked 2 roundtrip tickets from Oakland (OAK) to Lihue, Kauai (LIH) using 50,292 SWA points and $22.40 in taxes/fees ($5.60 per person per flight). About an hour later, I checked the flight prices and saw a price drop. I immediately rebooked the SWA flight for free and saved 8,174 SWA points. This morning, I checked the flights again and saw more price drops. I quickly and easily rebooked those flights using the SWA app. After the dust settled, our SWA flights now cost a total of 35,087 SWA points (a savings of 15,205 SWA points in ~12 hours). I kind of feel bad that the prices keep dropping so dramatically (but I will keep checking the flight prices to see if they get any cheaper).
Now that flights were booked, I did some research on hotels. Surprisingly, hotel prices were higher than I expected, but I searched for hotel awards using Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Wyndham (no IHG or Radisson properties on Kauai). For the last 2+ years, I have been sitting on a stash of ~75K Wyndham Rewards Points. As luck would have it, there was availability at 2 of their resort properties where 1 bedroom condos / villas were available for 15K Wyndham points / night. I tried to book the resorts online but it kept giving me an error message saying “you do not have enough points.” I had plenty of Wyndham points in my account, so I am not sure what the issue was. I called the general Wyndham Hotels customer service number and they said I needed to speak to the Wyndham Rewards team. After getting transferred over, I was told that the resort properties in Kauai (and maybe all Wyndham resort properties worldwide) are managed by a company called ExtraHolidays. I had to call them directly at 1-800-428-1932 and speak to an agent to book the Wyndham resorts in Kauai.
The rep at ExtraHolidays was very friendly and knowledgeable about the Wyndham resorts in Kauai and helped me make my reservations at the Club Wyndham Bali Hai Villas in Princeville (north shore) and at the Shell Vacations Club Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy in Kapaa (east shore). The rep was able to see availability that I couldn’t see online and completed the reservations in a few minutes (I would have preferred to spend 5 days in Princeville, but availability was only there for the first 3 nights). Even though the ExtraHolidays website is not as snazzy as other hotel websites and their properties are not super hip and cool, I was able to get 5 nights free in Kauai in 2 of the places we really wanted to stay.
For our last night in Kauai, we needed a 1 night reservation at another hotel. We were considering another stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay (near the Lihue airport) where we spent 5 nights last time, but after reading many positive reviews of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Koloa (south shore), we decided to spend 25,000 Hyatt points for a 1 night reservation. I wish we could stay longer at this resort, but 1 night is all we can do (on this trip).
I am more used to booking trips 8-10 months in advance, so I don’t often get a chance to book trips last minute. It is fun and I like the adrenaline rush, especially when you can score cheap flights and redeem hotel points for the hotel reservations. I am sad that I had to cancel our trip to Ireland, but when life gives you lemons, fly to Kauai and make a tropical drink. If you have any questions about booking our trip to Kauai, please leave a comment below. Have a great weekend everyone and safe travels.