[Disclosure: Emily & I get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. We don’t write about all the credit cards available in the US, but only the ones which get us miles and points or cash back for Big Travel with Small Money!]
Emily: 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
Flight from Kauai to US Mainland
We left the Grand Hyatt and drove to the airport, which only took about 20 minutes.
We were seated near the front of the plane and were among the 1st to board.
17,500 miles was a good deal for this award ticket. We like stretching our miles to get more Big Travel with Small Money!
The exit row seats had plenty of legroom…
There was slightly more legroom which made for a comfortable flight. Saving our miles is what made us happiest!
We also received a small blanket.
We had plenty of room to spread out because the flight wasn’t full.
Some 3-seat rows were empty, and some passengers moved to those empty rows to get better sleep. Daraius and I were the only ones occupying our 3-seat row.
There were snacks, drinks, and pastries available.
The lounge was mostly empty and the decor was a little dated.
Daraius suggested we play a board game to pass time, but I was too tired from the flight.
We were impressed with the quality of food. It was much better than most US lounges.
The Centurion Lounge wasn’t terribly busy, either. I liked the warm wood paneling and modern furnishings.
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 to 45,000 American Airlines miles
- First Class: 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 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 American Express Starwood Personal card and the American Express Starwood Business card 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!
It cost us each 17,500 American Airlines miles and $5 in fees to fly from Kauai to the US mainland. We didn’t mind the coach seats because we saved so many miles. And the flights were short enough and went by fast.
If you have the chance to check out the American Express Centurion Lounge in Dallas, definitely try the food. It’s excellent!
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