Success Story: A Hawaiian Honeymoon for less than $800!

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Our very FIRST Reader Success story comes from our friend Brooke who we helped to plan an unforgettable honeymoon to Hawaii! They were able to utilize Southwest, Chase, and Hyatt Credit Cards to save over $6,000 in travel! If you are interested in your own travel success story, be sure to reach out to me or Dave for more help!

Written By Basic Travel Reader Brooke

Brief Introduction

We are Jeff and Brooke D’Amico from the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. I, Brooke, met Lisa while living in Bradenton, Florida through a mutual friend. After I moved back to NY, I connected with Lisa on Facebook after seeing a post about needing someone to help with a Totally 90’s Bar Crawl in Syracuse, NY. While working several Bar Crawls together, I learned about Lisa and Dave’s hidden talent for Basic Travel Strategies. Therefore, when it came time for my husband and me to get married, of course, I reached out to get some tips for planning our honeymoon to Hawaii.

 How did you get there? (What airline/method)

At the time of booking, Southwest did not yet fly to Hawaii. We were able to utilize the Southwest Companion Pass to book our flights from the east coast to LAX at buy one get one free flight. We then used our Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to book our flights from LAX to OOG.

Getting to Hawaii:

  • Sun, Sept 23: Rochester (ROC) > Los Angeles (LAX): I booked using 14,730 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. The cost should have been about $220. Because I had the Southwest Companion Pass, I was able to add Jeffrey on for a mere $5.60.
  • Los Angeles (LAX) > Maui OGG: 18,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points each. These flights should have cost about $230 each.

Return Home:

  • Sun, Sept 30: Maui (OGG) > Los Angeles (LAX): 18,000 each using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. It should have cost about $230 each.
  • Mon, Oct 1: Los Angeles (LAX) > Rochester (ROC): 20,897 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. The cost should have been about $310. Again Southwest saved the day and I was able to add my companion for only $5.60.

Total Points/Cost:

  • Southwest: 35,627 & $11.20
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 72,000

Total Spent: $11.20

Estimated Savings:

  • Southwest Flights: $1,060
  • Chase: $920

Total Savings: $1968

Where did you stay?

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort:

  • Sun, Sept 23: 1 night Ocean View- 43,806 Chase Rewards points
    • Normally $519 plus taxes & fees*. Estimated cost $645 per night
  • Mon, Sept 24 – Thu, Sept 27: 4 days/3 nights Partial Ocean View- 75,000 Hyatt points
    • Normally $507.11 plus taxes & fees*. Estimated cost $630 per night
  • Thu, Sept 27 – Fri, Sept 28: paid $507.11 plus taxes & fees*
    • Estimated cost: $630
  • Fri, Sept 28 – Sat, Sept 29th: 1 night Ocean View- 36,083 Chase Ultimate Rewards points + $115.51 cash
    • Normally $519 plus taxes & fees*. Estimated cost $645 per night

*There is a $46.87 resort fee plus 10.25% occ tax and 4.17% state tax per day.

What was the best thing you did there?
  • Snorkeling with GoPro (snorkeling gear and GoPro included in Andaz Maui resort fee)
  • The Feast at Mokapu Luau @ Andaz Maui
What was the best thing you ate there?

Toss-up between:

  • Dinner @ Morimoto Maui Restaurant @ Andaz Maui
  • The Feast at Mokapu Luau @ Andaz Maui

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Lahaina:

Sat, Sept 29: 1-night Partial Ocean View with Club Lounge Access (Discoverist perk).

  • Transferred 25,000 Chase Rewards points to Hyatt points.
    • Normally $322 plus 4.17% state tax, 10.25% occ tax and $33.33 resort fee/day. – Estimated cost: $402
Bonus Points
after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Bonus Points
after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

$95 Annual Fee

And what was the best thing you did there?

  • Oceanfront Cabana
  • Feeding the penguins

And what was the best thing you ate there?

  • Japango Restaurant @ Hyatt Regency (awesome live band)
Total Estimated Cost: $3,889.11

Total Points/Cost:

  • 104,889: Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 75,000 Hyatt Points

Total Spent: $745.51

Estimated Savings:

  • Andaz Maui: $3,810
  • Hyatt Regency: $402

Total Should have cost: $4,212

Details of the trip: What kind of activities did you do while there?

  • Oceanside Massage @ Four Seasons Spa & Resort (purchased on Groupon)
  • Drove through the Lava Fields and along the oceanside with the Jeep top off
  • Parasailing (scheduled through Concierge at Andaz Maui)
  • Jetskiiing (purchased on Groupon)
  • Sunrise on Haleakala Summit (almost 10,000 feet above sea level). Note- you must reserve entry to National Park months in advance, however, our concierge told us that additional tickets are released weekly. I cannot remember on which day of the week. Make sure to wear a warm coat and bring a hat and gloves if you have them!! This was by far the most breathtaking experience of my life! Be aware- the drive is extremely long and winding to the top with a very rapid increase in altitude.
  • The Road to Hana Maui- (definitely download the app, Road to Hana Maui, GyPSy Guide – some of the stops we made included the black sand beach, the rainbow Eucalyptus trees, The Blowhole at Waianapanapa and The Botanical Gardens) << Keep the jeep top on during the drive, coconuts seem to fall a lot from the trees along these winding roads

How many points did you use?

  • Approximately 176,889 Chase Rewards points  << My husband and I both got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card
  • 75,000 Hyatt points << I got the Chase Hyatt card
  • 35,627 Southwest points (and Companion Pass) << I got the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier and Plus cards

What are the Do’s and Dont’s of the area?


  • Attend a traditional Luau, go jetskiing in the warm ocean waters, and definitely don’t miss out on the Sunrise on Haleakala Summit (book months in advance, if possible)!!
  • Also, if you stay at the Andaz, drink your weight in their fresh-squeezed POG juice at the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet)


  • Stay on the Road to Hana past dark. You want to plan enough time to get as far as you’d like to go and back before the sun begins to set. The winding roads to Hana get very scary, especially along the coast after dark.

What is your favorite piece of travel advice?

We highly recommend getting a Jeep with a removable top.

If you could change one thing about the trip, what would it be?

Can’t think of a thing!!

Final thoughts?

Remember to slow down and enjoy every minute!

Overall Costs/Savings:

Total Spent: $756.71 and 287,516 points

Should have Cost: $6,180.11

Total Amount Saved: $5,423.29

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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We're Dave & Lisa

An easy-going, fun-loving couple who have a passion for adventure and exploring the world! Our strategies have saved us over $100,000 in travel over the last four years, and our goal is to help you do the same.

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