Should we go to Kauai, Buenos Aires, or St. Martin?

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Emily received a targeted offer to get 25% of her US Airways miles back if she redeems them for award flights.

Should We Go To Kauai Buenos Aires Or St Martin

Did You Get an Offer for 25% of Your US Air Miles Back?

Help Us Choose!

Our top picks are:

  • Buenos Aires in Argentina
  • Kauai in Hawaii
  • St. Martin in the Caribbean

But we’re finding it hard to decide.

So we’re wondering if you (the best blog readers!) could help out in the comments about what you liked or did NOT like about any of these destinations!

1.  Buenos Aires, Argentina

US Airways doesn’t fly to Buenos Aires, but we can use a partner airline such as United to fly to Buenos Aires in Argentina.  

I’ve read lots of great things about Buenos Aires and I’m looking forward to eating great steak while Emily would love the Tango dancing.

I’m also looking forward to checking-out the Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires which costs ~$540 a night or 18,000 Hyatt points a night.  Of course, we’ll use points!

Should We Go To Kauai Buenos Aires Or St Martin

18,000 Hyatt Points per Night at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

2.   Kauai

Because we had such a great time in Maui last year, Emily and I want to go to Kauai (for the greenery and outdoors-y activities) and stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

The Grand Hyatt is a Category 6 Hyatt hotel and costs 22,000 Hyatt points a night.

Should We Go To Kauai Buenos Aires Or St Martin

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Is 22,000 Points Per Night

3.   St. Martin

Emily had fun celebrating her birthday in the Dominican Republic, and I’ve never been to the Caribbean, so I was thinking of St. Martin.  I’ve always wanted to watch the planes at Maho beach!

We could stay at the Raddisson Blu in St. Martin.

Should We Go To Kauai Buenos Aires Or St Martin

Raddison Blu in St Martin

Bottom Line

We’re running out of time since we have to use our US Air miles by November 30, 2013 to get 25% of our miles back.

And we can’t decide between Buenos Aires, Kauai, or St. Martin.

So, where do you think we should go or NOT go?

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60 responses to “Should we go to Kauai, Buenos Aires, or St. Martin?

  1. You cannot go wrong with Kauai. We have been there three times in the last 10 years and love it! And the Grand Hyatt is fabulous!

  2. I suggest St. Martin for 100% purely selfish reasons:
    I’m going to Kauai (staying at Grand Hyatt) in November (if you end up there and then, let me know!)
    Our next (and future) beach trips will likely be to the Caribbean, with St. Martin and that Radisson Blu as a likely choice. I’d love to see the trip report!

  3. Mix things up a bit. You went to Hawaii last year, and Emily went to the DR recently, so go to Buenos Aires.
    Admittedly, of the three, only Kauai is on my wishlist, though, and I’ve never been to the other two. But I’ve found that I enjoy vacations more if I vary them-culture on trip, nature the next…

  4. St. Martin! Kauai is gorgeous and I would move there in a heartbeat, but St. Martin is an awesome ‘island hopper’ destination and I would love to see your report. We are thinking of going to St. Martin, so please go and figure out how to have an awesome vacation there!

  5. Go to BA. Went there last month flying Air Canada down and staying at the Park Hyatt. Great city and spectacular hotel. Highly recommended.

  6. Usually the best bet is to go where you haven’t been before and your imagination is painting wonderful pictures.

    Now having said that I go to Hawaii every year and never tire of it.

    And, honestly, I just do not get the lure of the Caribbean. For me it was filled with poor, somewhat resentful people and I just have no need to return.

    But to each his own.

  7. Buenos Aires since I really want to read your trip report when you return!

  8. I have been to both Kauai and St. Maarten. I would pick Kauai in a heartbeat. Spectacular scenery! We did like St. Maarten, but I would recommend St. John for your first trip to Caribbean. More impressive IMHO Why is it not on the list? 🙂 Also, I heard St. Lucia is spectacular as well.

  9. I would go to Kauai, Last year we loved it so much that we went twice in the same year. We absolutely loved it. Its not really a resort type of Island, there is so much outdoor stuff to do there. Its a very laid back place.

  10. Why do we care?

  11. Of the three, I’ve only been to Kauai (twice and going again this March, staying at the GH every time which is fabulous) and I actually don’t have much of a desire to go to the other two. However, given that you recently said you hope to start a family soon, I would say go with Buenos Aires now. The Grand Hyatt Kauai is an excellent family vacation, and I think the Caribbean would also probably be a good place to take a little one (given the shorter flight times, nice beaches, etc). We have taken my son on many trips to Hawaii and Europe, but I would imagine someplace like BA would be more enjoyable being just the two of you. I often say to my husband that I wish we would have started this miles and points hobby before we had children because there are a few places I would have liked to have gone as just the two of us.

  12. I’m not a big fan of HI for some reason. I think there are much better deals to be had in the Caribbean, and St. Martin is beautiful. St. Martin for sure D; just don’t hang on the fence!

  13. Buenos Aires but a) get your electronic visa in advance and b) google “blue dollar” and bring a lot of US dollars. The savings over credit card spend for using US dollars is amazing. Like 40-60% off. Well worth foregoing points for.

  14. Go to Buenos Aires, great hotel and service, lots of good steaks and tango.

  15. I would go with Argentina and would love to hear the trip report. This destination is on ny wishlist.

  16. I second St. John but stay in St. John not St. Thomas. We use our Starwood points and stay at the Westin. You have never seen such a wonderful small island. Great for history and hiking as 3/4 is National Park.

    As for St. Martin, I wouldn’t recommend it. I found it to be dirty and seedy. Just my opinion but I would never go back there. However, if you do decide to pick St Martin, make sure you take the ferry over to Anguilla. It’s about a 20 minute ride and spend the day at Gwens on the beach. Sand is like flour and water crystal clear blue. Cuisinart resort is something to see as well. They grow a lot of the food they serve there. Gwen’s father was our taxi driver and took us for a tour all over the island. Beautiful! Highly recommend!

  17. How about someplace else? My wife and I are going to be stacking this deal with the off-peak to Europe and the 5k off each ticket for having the US Airways mastercard.

    We’re either going to Munich or Zurich in February for a winter getaway and most likely skiing/snowboarding. It’s something that you may not normally think of doing (at least we didn’t), but when two of us can fly round trip to Europe for 30k *TOTAL* (I got the 50% off deal), it’s something that we just can’t pass up!

  18. I have been to all three, in fact I just got back from BA last night. I would choose St Martin, I have found this island to be safe,friendly and have 28 beaches to choose from. Second choice would be Kauai, you can’t go wrong. I love the Hyatt. BA a good place, but I would suggest you have a good steak at home and vacation some where else.

  19. Why not all three 🙂 … but if you had to chose, I’d definitely go with Buenos Aires!

  20. I would pick St. Maarten for two reasons.

    1. The airport. Stand on the beach and watch the big planes land 40 ft. over your head. I was standing off to the the side (so I thought) while a plane took off and it blew my baseball hat off my head about 100 yds into the ocean. It’s an unreal experience watching them come in over the top of you.

    2. There is an awesome French bakery on the French side that serves the tastiest sandwiches, desserts and pastries. Sorry I can’t remember the name but it was delicious and cheap.

  21. Just going to throw this out there, but have you both considered Beautiful Butte Montana? It’s very nice this time of year, none of the awful green color all over the place, instead you’ll be surrounded by amazing earth tones. The people of Butte are not tough and roughly like you hear, but actually 10 times tougher than you had heard. The views of the beach are not so good, but the worlds most polluted open pit mine is in eye shot of most of the downtown hotels. Anyway just wanted to throw it out there as option #4. Good luck

  22. Daraius,

    Let me start by saying how sorry I am that you and your lovely wife have to make such difficult and painful decisions. Don’t you long for the simple days when all you had to decide was hot dogs or bologna sandwiches?

    I haven’t been to Argentina, but I have friends who say it’s great. Apparently, there are additional expenses involved with the travel there.

    St. Martin is a wonderful place and I was there on a cruise many years ago. We were only there for several hours one day as a port of call, so I can’t really speak to the whole “island experience”.

    Kauai!! Oh, now that is another story! With my limited knowledge of these other places, I would have to choose Kauai hands down! I have been there for twice for a week each time in the last year and I will be going back as soon as time and miles/points permit! The diversity, beauty and friendliness of this little slice of paradise make it my all time favorite island destination! From the grandeur of the Waimea Canyon to the majesty of the Napali Coast to the beaches of Hanalei Bay, I can’t say enough good things about Kauai. Super friendly people and small town charm just add to the feeling that you simply belong there. Whale watching season starts soon and I doubt you will see more of them anywhere else. The Kauai Coffee company is a great free excursion. So many things to see, so little time!!

  23. We spent 5 days at the Radisson Blu in St Martin this past January. We loved it! Our room was paid for with points from my Club Carlson Visa and we were upgraded to a Marina Suite! The hotel grounds were gorgeous and the staff was very nice. We happened upon Grand Case’s Harmony Festival- A street party held in Grand Case on Tuesday nights from Jan-Apr. There were steel drum bands, a parade, locals displaying their wares and tons of awesome food. It was a blast!

  24. Sounds like everyone has their favs! I do agree that if you’re starting a family soon, then I’d chose BA also.

  25. My husband and I just returned from Buenos Aires and decided on South American over Alaska because we thought Alaska would be a more family friendly trip when we have children. We loved Buenos Aires and stayed at the Park Hyatt. The hotel is unreal, the service unparalleled and we loved Buenos Aires. I might urge you to venture outside the city as well. Argentina is a breathtaking country. I second studying the blue dollar. By traveling with $100 and $50 bills, we were often able to get 9.8 pesos per dollar paying in cash in restaurants and vendors. We did exchange money through an exchange house in Mendoza when we arrived in the country but the rate is lower there. The Park Hyatt in BA set us up with a company that took us to a Boca Jrs. vs. Rosario match on the night Boca was celebrating its superclassico win. A once in a lifetime experience! Sorry for the novel.

  26. Having been to all 3 I say go to Buenos Aires.

    Thanks for the heads up on the mileage refund. We spent 180k on US Airways this year so we can get a few miles back

  27. BA for sure. Went 1.5 years ago. Such great and diverse neighborhoods. The visa is a drawback but with the exchange rate you will essentially make up for it. Plus you can go to Mendoza and tour the wineries, see the falls up north, or go to Patagonia. The visa is good for 10 years, so you can return again and not pay the visa fee.

    Side note – watch out for fake pesos. This was the only negative experience of our whole trip, which turned into an interesting souvenir that always sparks a story.

  28. Well, as the saying goes, if you love Kauai, tell your friends to go to Maui – so you should go to Maui! We just spent 2 days at the GHK last month (thanks to the Hyatt card) and it was FABULOUS – but we’ve been to the island 5 times before and were able to just chill by the pool without thinking “oh, we have to go check something else off our to-do list!” (and we had spent 5 nights in a house in Hanalei beforehand). Kauai is a beautiful island and you should definitely get out and explore it – BUT I agree with Sarah and Lynn above that if you’re planning to start a family soon, perhaps BA is a better choice for you right now.

    We’ve been to Kauai with kids three times now – when the oldest was 9 months, then when he was 2.5 yo and his brother was 7.5 months and then just now with a 4.75 yo and a 3 yo. It is a great family-friendly destination (if you survive the long flight!).

  29. I say Buenos Aires. Mainly because I want to read your trip report. I have been to BA a few times, and I really like it.

  30. Such different choices! Unless you’re really in the mood for beach, Buenos Aires will be a lot more fun. And if you have a week, you can throw in a few days in Patagonia or Iguazu Falls, which are both way cooler than anything on tropical islands.

    Be warned that you may be recognized! BsAs is the only place I’ve ever been recognized by a blog reader other than a frequent flyer mile conference. 😉

    Call me if you pick BsAs and I can give you some suggestions based on whatever you tell me are your preferences.

  31. Argentina!!! Just be very careful since the economy is so bad over there, assaults are more and more frequent. But is worth just to see the beautiful architecture and the “Churrasquerias”. Drink a “mate” on my name, I don’t think you are going to like it though. :/ Have Fun!!!

  32. I received the 50% rebate, but will not be able to use it. We are going to Europe in three weeks but the tickets were already booked and we will not be able to take another vacation until next November. We plan on going to Kauai next November, would it be possible to book the tickets for Sept. with the 50% off then just change the dates to November when availabilty comes up?

  33. charles alan satterwhite

    Go to BA. You will not regret it! the other trips can be done easier or on shorter time periods enjoy South america!

  34. Kauai – from your blog, you are beach lovers all the way. You all wander from island to island, including DR and Maui. And Kauai is better beach than the Caribbean. Kauai is quiet and a great honeymooner island. Perfect prior to kids. I actually don’t see it as a kid place but that is my two cents,,,just too quiet. Maybe older children who enjoy hiking surfing and yes again surfing. I personally like Maui the best of the Hawaiian Islands but that is typical for someone who has been to Hawaii lots including 10 times in last 7 years. I have never been to BA but then again I love beaches. Been to SM and probably 70 percent of the Caribbean nations (not to be confused with no where near 70 percent all the islands) but as they generally say about the Caribbean, same sh–, different island.

  35. I recommend Buenos Aires. My wife’s family is half Argentine and we’ve been there a few times, sampled the sights, steak, and sensual foot movement that is the Argentine Tango (different from the European Tango…) I ALSO recommend an overnight bus trip or flight to Mendoza where most of the wine comes from. My absolute FAVORITE destination in the world is Mendonza based on on a few days spent there enjoying vineyard tours, olive orchard tours, and the architecture of the city itself. They have a park equal to the size of the city. Each street is lined with trees, the street being named after the type of tree lining it. And the FOOD!!!!

    Now you make me want to go.

    I believe Mendoza has a Hyatt or Hilton that is also a casino. Not my cup of tea, but FYI if you want to use points.

  36. I’ve been to all three (in Kauai right now). Do you want beach or city? That should be considered. Otherwise, all three are fabulous.

  37. We went to BA with our 14 month old son… for everyone who is saying to do it before you start a family, I get it: it’s a great city destination and we would have been able to do more if we hadn’t had our son with us. BUT, I’ve *never* encountered the kind of hospitality we received in BA with a baby in tow. Our son was doted on by **everyone**! We found it to be quite family-friendly, and I’d go with a young baby or toddler again in a heartbeat – probably when they’d be young enough to not need their own entertainment. Next year, we’re heading to Kauai with our son who will be nearly 4 at that time, and our new baby girl who’ll be almost 1 then. Staying at the GHK and very much looking fwd to it! I think you can’t go wrong with BA or Kauai. I haven’t been to St. Martin and have no desire to go, so I’m of no help with that!

  38. BA is really something to see in Nov-early Dec, btw. Google image search the jacaranda trees. We were there the first week of Dec a couple of years ago and the blooms were just fading. It was sunshine and 75-80 degrees every day, while at home in Iowa, it was starting to snow 🙂

  39. Kauai of course. Head to the north shore. You might see Puff the magic dragon.

  40. In Kauai right now at GHK. Fabulous and off season.

    • Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! We really want to go to all 3 places, so let’s see what happens next year.

      @Tammy – I’m not sure that would work, and even if it did, you’d pay a change fee to change the dates with US Air.

  41. I suggest St. Martin. We have a great time driving to the different beaches. You are also a ferry ride away from the fabulous St. Barths and Anguilla. They both have beaches to die for. You can pack a lunch, catch a early ferry, and spend the whole day on each island.

  42. My hubby and I are going to Kauai & Oahu at the end of January (booked with AA miles). I’m new to this blog and have never earned hotel points before and don’t really know the ropes. What are the best avenues to earn hotel points and is it too late to earn a free night or two with our trip only 3 months away?

  43. Each destination its’ own unique qualities! St Martin is the smallest land mass in the world to be shared by two different nations. The blue Caribbean waters and the beaches are magnificent! Kauai is an interesting and magngnificent! We followed Fodor’s with a rental car to do our own beach tour one day. I rolled in the sand where Thornbirds was filmed. I “washed that man right out of my hair” where South Pacific was filmed. The movies set are endless on the beaches of Kauai. Be sure to take a helicopter tour which will be much cheaper if you take time to do a resort promo tour. Buenos Aires has lots of energy, free tango in the streets, free walking tours getting by locals, and lots of wonderful food! All that said, if you’ve never been to the Caribbean you might enjoy St Martin for relaxation and beauty! Whatever you choose will be fabulous! Enjoy!

  44. We were in Kauai a few years ago; it’s a wonderful, magical place.

    That said, I would recommend Buenos Aires. I’ve wanted to go there myeself for many years, but it is difficult with a family. So go now, while you can! Architecture, history, food, diverse people, wine, dancing….do it!

    Thanks to you, I am taking my family of 4 plus grandma and grandpa to Honolulu and Kauai in Feb 2014. We are in Kauai 2/1-2/6, staying at the Westin Princeville not far from GH. If you are in Kauai at the same time let me know – I would be honored to buy you and your lovely wife a few drinks, shake your hand and say “Thank you” in person!

  45. Cabana Las Lila’s in BA. Only downside is that it makes it hard to go back to US steak. I second he Mendoza suggestion. Great side trip!

  46. Argentina!!!

    Combine 5 days in Buenos Aires with a trip to the south. I recommend Bariloche, for the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see and Calafate so you can go see the Perito Moreno Glaciar….Mendoza if you like Malbec Wines would be nice too.
    I love Buenos Aires, but Spanish is my first language so there is a little bias. Fantastic restaurants, abundant cultural life ( in Spanish), amazing tango shows…did I mentioned the fantastic restaurants?….

  47. I was targeted also for the 25% back – unfortunately don’t have the time to take advantage of it, though. I thought I remembered something about the rules saying the flights had to be operated by US metal – i.e. Europe would be okay, but South America not okay – to get the discount in points? Maybe I’m not remembering correctly.

  48. You have been to Bora Bora so after going there I think St. Maarten and most of the Caribbean will be a letdown. However I will say that Anguilla was a very lovely destination and only a ferry away from St. Maarten. I have been to both and I really enjoyed Anguilla (beautiful empty beaches!) while St. Maarten was just OK to me.

    Since your last few trips have been beachy. My pick would be Buenos Aires for a change of pace. Food, culture, art, history, beauty! Just remember that you have to pay a reciprocity fee online to enter Argentina which can run about $150 per person. We had to pay it on our trip this past May. There was no way around it 🙁

  49. Am I the only one who hasn’t got the offer?

  50. BA is a wonderful fabulous city rich in history and culture and the Hyatt is blow your mind fabulous; i go regularly for business and if love Tango check out the Malingas-food is great and a side trip to Bariloche and sailing on its awesome lake will give you the trip of a lifetime
    Went sailing during a side ski trip under a full moon and in may be the most awesome thing I have done in visiting 75 countries

  51. As much as I love Hawaii, I would choose BA. And last I checked, if you enter Argentina via ferry from Uruguay (or land from Chile), there is no reciprocity fee. Uruguay is a wonderful country itself. Fly into Montevideo if your miles will allow it and see Montevideo and/or Colonia del Sacramento for a day or two, then take the short ferry from Colonia to BA (which is roughly $50-60 or so if you book at least 30 days in advance). Then you can fly out of Argentina on the return leg.

  52. [email protected]

    The nickname for the beach in St. Martin is Sandblast beach. One of the I funniest sights we saw was a young woman sun bathing topless perfectly lined up with the center line of the runway as if she wanted the pilots to give her a wing waggle. My nine year old daughter was appalled. Of course Sandblast beach was not a place we expected to see a topless young woman.
    We’ve been to Kauai twice, St. Martin twice.
    If you go to St Martin, the Frech side is nicer and you must go to Pineal island. The best images you see of St. martin are usually taken on Pineal Island.

  53. Well since you alrady been to the best of the Hawaian Islands, Maui, I wouldn’t bother with Kauai.
    Maybe the island of Hawaii would be a close 2nd because it is so different. As far as St Marin, there are manynice Caribbean islands, and a lot were mentioned by others.

  54. St martin. It’s my fav Caribbean Island. It’s remote if you want and urban if you want. It’s large enough to offer both. Fabulous!

  55. If you look at the responses above, most mention Kauai. Why? Because it is an island like no other. The waterfalls, the trails, the farmer’s markets, the helicopter tours of “the mini Grand Canyon”, but above all the people. The Grand Hyatt Kauai is spectacular and if you go, plan a meal at the Beach House restaurant. Hike the falls and pull the Awapuhi off the plants to smooth your hair while you hike to the falls and jump in for the best hair treatment ever. Snorkel in Poipu with giant sea turtles. I am warm just thinking about our trip there last summer…and our next trip this summer 🙂

  56. Kauai!
    My husband and I just visited for one week last week of October. We stayed in Courtyard Marriott Coconut Beach for 5 nights (located in Kaapa, half way between north and south Kauai plus lots of local ) and then 2 nights in Grand Hyatt using Chase Sapphire Points (Club Room which gave us access to the Grand Lounge on the 3rd floor which served breakfast, snacks, appetizers and dessert each day)….it was well worth the points! Plus, this also gave us access to their Anara Spa. First 5 days we were super busy exploring the island – it is gorgeous and absolutely breathtaking. Major attractions we visited were: Waimea Canon, Opaekaa Falls, Wailua Falls, Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanakapiai Beach and Falls (this is a 8 miles strenuous roundtrip. Make sure you start early…and bring water shoes as its muddy the second half of the trail and you cross streams a couple of times but you will be rewarded). We booked a helicopter tour ahead of time and spontaneously with Kauai Couple Massage by the beach after our hike (they met us at Courtyard). Restaurants to check out Kountry Kitchen, Pono Market,

  57. Buenos Aires. End of discussion.

  58. Thats easy…Buenos Aires!!!