Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Emily Jablon: Daraius and I went to Maui, Hawaii in March 2013. We loved Hawaii so much that we decided to return, but this time to Kauai. Kauai is more laid back and less built-up than Maui.
We went to Kauai over Valentine’s Day week, which made for a very romantic getaway. Using our miles and points made it even better!
Winter Getaway to Kauai – Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Using Miles and Points to Get to Kauai
- Part 2 – Only $10 for 2 One-Way United Flights From Austin to Kauai
- Part 3 – Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
- Part 4 – Grand Hyatt Garden Suite for 87% Off
- Part 5 – 3 Free Nights & a Partial Ocean View Upgrade at the Grand Hyatt Kauai
- Part 6 – Activities in Kauai
- Part 7 – Adopting a Little Girl
- Part 8 – The Many Pools of the Grand Hyatt Kauai and more…
- Part 9 – Southside Eats
- Part 10 – More South Kauai Eats!
- Part 11 – Shave Ice Bigger Than Your Face and More Yummy Meals!
- Part 12 – Flight From Kauai to Austin
- Part 13 – Conclusion and Blog Giveaway
Our Flights From Austin to Kauai
Daraius and I booked our flights from Austin to Kauai on United Airlines. We flew coach to save our miles, and because most of the flights were shorter. The total travel time was ~12 hours.
And because we used United Airlines miles, we only paid $10 for both tickets!
Our tickets would have cost ~$2,500 if we paid cash on United Airline’s website! Though you could probably find a better price on other airline or travel sites.
Our 1st flight was from Austin to San Francisco (3 hours), and then from San Francisco to Los Angeles (1 hour).
We had an hour and a half layover in San Francisco, which turned out to be only 30 minutes due to a mechanical problem delaying our flight from Austin.
There wasn’t much legroom.
We had an hour layover in Los Angeles. So Daraius and I had lunch at Wolfgang Puck. Daraius ordered a BBQ chicken pizza. It was very bland.
I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with French fries. The fries were delicious! They came with a garlic Parmesan cheese on top. Yum!
After lunch, we went to the gate.
We were among the 1st to board because we have the Chase United Explorer card.
Our next flight was from Los Angeles to Kauai. It was ~6 hours. The flights all went quickly.
I brought a few books to read and took naps between reading.
I slept on Daraius’ lap for a while!
After my nap I was full of energy and ready to explore Kauai.
Before I knew it, we had landed in Kauai!
We collected our bags…
…and headed to the Hertz counter.
We used our Citi ThankYou Points to book an economy car, which saved us $413!
We waited for the Hertz shuttle bus to take us to the rental cars.
We declined the extra insurance, because our personal car insurance also covers rental cars.
We almost got a Ford Fusion, but then we tested the car charger and it did not work. We had to request another car because we needed our GPS to help us navigate the island. So we got a Nissan Versa, which is a bit small, but zippy.
How You Can Do It Too!
We redeemed 20,000 United Airlines miles each and 17,500 American Airlines miles each for 1-way flights in coach to and from Austin and Kauai, Hawaii. We could have redeemed our miles for First Class seats but we like saving those for longer flights.
We used 41,295 Citi ThankYou points to pay for our car rental.
Daraius transferred 103,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt points for 3 nights in a Garden View room. And 3 nights in a Garden View suite at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.
How Many Miles And Points You Need:
- Coach: 35,000 United Airlines miles and 35,000 to 45,000 American Airlines miles
- First Class: 100,000 United Airlines miles and 95,000 American Airlines miles
The American Airlines coach award tickets were 1-way off-peak awards which cost 17,500 to 22,500 American Airlines miles per person and 40,000 to 50,000 American Airlines miles during regular times.
How to Get the Miles and Points:
The easiest way to get miles and points for Kauai is by applying for credit cards.
Earning United Airlines Miles
1. United MileagePlus Explorer Card
You could get up to 50,000 United Airlines miles with the United MileagePlus Explorer card after completing the minimum spending.
Earning American Airlines Miles
1. Citi American Airlines Executive Card
You get 100,000 American Airlines miles when you spend $10,000 within 3 months using the Citi American Airlines Executive card. This is the fastest way to get a lot of American Airlines miles!
But spending $10,000 in 3 months might be tricky. So here are some tips to make your minimum spending.
2. Citi American Airlines Cards
Note: You are allowed 2 Citi personal cards within 65 days. But you can NOT apply for 2 Citi personal cards at a time. Apply for the regular Citi American Airlines card 1st. Then wait 8 days before applying for the Citi American Airlines Executive card.
Tip: If you do it in reverse, it will NOT work.
3. American Express Starwood Cards
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express each get you 25,000 Starwood points when you spend $5,000 within 6 months. As always, terms and conditions apply.
Starwood points transfer to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. You’ll also get a 5,000 point bonus each time you transfer 20,000 points to American Airlines.
If you earn the bonus on both cards you will have 60,000 Starwood points (50,000 bonus points + 10,000
points from completing the minimum spending).
You can transfer Starwood hotel points to American Airlines. 60,000 Starwood hotel points transfers to 75,000 American Airlines miles (60,000 miles + 15,000 transfer bonus), more than enough miles to get to Kauai!
Earning Citi ThankYou Points
1. Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
You get 20,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,500 within 3 months on the Citi ThankYou Preferred card. So you’ll come up a little short on the ThankYou points you need for the car rental.
2. Citi ThankYou Premier Card
If you have time before your Kauai trip, the Citi ThankYou Premier card gets you 50,000 ThankYou points.
But it’s spread out over 2 years. You get 20,000 points after spending $2,000 within 3 months. And you get another 30,000 points after spending $3,000 within the 1st 3 months of the 2nd year.
You might be better off using Ultimate Rewards points for your rental car.
Earning Ultimate Rewards Points
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
You get 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to certain airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio. So 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points becomes 40,000 airline miles or 40,000 hotel points.
2. Chase Ink Cards
The Chase Ink Plus and (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold card each get you 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after completing the minimum spending.
Do you know the 3 ways you may qualify for a business credit card?
Note: You can apply for 1 personal and 1 business card from Chase at the same time. But you do NOT have to wait 6 months between Chase applications.
Daraius and I enjoyed our United flights from Austin to Hawaii. We especially liked saving our miles by flying in coach. The miles we saved
are almost enough for a return trip!
The goal of all our trips is the destination. In our following posts on the Grand Hyatt Kauai and the picturesque scenery, you will see why it doesn’t matter how you get to Kauai, as long as you get there!
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 16,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another trip report!