After completing my sister’s trip to Maui, I visited the Big Island on points/miles. I had flown over to Maui using the Turkish Airlines great deal for 15K roundtrip. I added the Big Island portion of my trip after I had already booked my flight home from Maui. Since I wasn’t flying home from Maui, I lost that last portion of my flight. It was really hard to cancel that portion as it was on a United flight with Turkish points. I honestly didn’t want to even worry about it since it was only 7.5 miles. As an added plus, my sister got to stretch out on her flight home since my seat was vacant! Visiting the Big Island on points/miles is easy – let’s talk about it today.
I flew Hawaiian Airlines from Maui to the Big Island. The inter-island flights are cheap and fast so I just paid $71 for the 30-minute flight. Before I started travel hacking, my husband and I had purchased a few timeshares so the bulk of my stay was in one of them. However, there are a lot of hotels you can stay in on the Big Island and we did spend 2 nights at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Many of our readers love it there and I’ve always wanted to stay there.
Our stay there was 70K Hilton Honors points/night which is pretty standard. We used my friend’s points and she doesn’t have status with them as she no longer has her Hilton card. I did email them and say that I had Gold status and asked if we could take advantage of that status. The reply was that we could and we were upgraded to a nicer room. Ours was a nearly $600 room with a better view. Additionally, we received an $18 food credit each day. I know that this resort is a prime reason for visiting the Big Island on points/miles.
This is a large property so they provide a tram to help get you around. I thought the food at the Lagoon Grill and Nui Italian was really good. However, there are not a lot of other food options at the resort so I think that many people go off the resort to eat.
This hotel is located on one of our favorite beaches Mauna Kea. It is really a perfect location with excellent snorkeling close to the black rocks. They also have paddle board rentals and the water was definitely calm enough to use them when we were there. My son stayed there a few years ago and raved about it. However, it is a little spendy at about 85K/night (cash value is almost $900).
If you want to stay more economically, perhaps using a Marriott free night certificate or two, this is the hotel for you. It is located closer to Kona also and some people prefer that. I actually prefer the newer area of Waikoloa, about 25 minutes north. This hotel can be booked for as little as 38K points so you could use a 35K certificate and top it off with points. It would make a budget-friendly family stay. Let me know your review if you’ve ever stayed there.
We also love Hapuna Beach so a stay at the Westin here would be a great choice. Additionally, it runs as little as 57K a night so you could use a free night certificate and top it off for a stay here.
Here are some other Marriott possibilities. They run about 47K a night for the second resort. I had trouble finding availability for the Ocean Club.
There is some Destination by Hyatt choices. I found availability for 40K/night at one of them for October. I didn’t spend much time searching so I know you can find more.
The other Hilton stays are more expensive but generally are not just hotel rooms. They generally have more room and a kitchen, more like a condo. I like that there are so many hotel options when visiting the Big Island with points/miles.
When we are on the Big Island we primarily go to the beaches and stay by the swimming pools. Some of our favorite beaches are:
A ton of hiking and other activities can be done on the Big Island. Go here for a great list. I’ve done many of these things in the past but this trip was low-key and more about relaxing.
My favorite place is the cheapest. Island Fish and Chips is located in Kings Shopping Center in Waikoloa and has the best Ono fish and chips! I could honestly eat every day there!
I could have cried this trip as the Lava Lava Beach Club was closed for renovations! It is one of my favorite spots for coconut shrimp; on every trip, we go at least twice there. Everything is delicious!
If you are wanting a fancy schmancy dinner, Roy’s is the place to go. One of the things I love most about travel hacking is that my trips cost so little, that I can afford a nice dinner! Roy’s doesn’t disappoint.
We went here one day just as people were walking in with freshly caught fish. Needless to say, it was some of the best fish and chips and fish tacos we’ve ever had! If I’m ever down Kona way, we go to Quinn’s Almost by the Sea!
This place has it all! Want a burger, prime rib, salad, sandwich, or pizza? You got it and way more economical than most food in Hawaii and really good. If you are with fussy family eaters, it’s the perfect one-stop eatery. We went there twice for dinner and liked everything we ordered.
For the flight home, I decided to look at some Hawaiian Miles that I got when I first started travel hacking through the Barclay Hawaiian Miles card. I had never used my 60K signup bonus so I started investigating. I found a business class flight from Kona to LAX in business for 40K points and booked it.
I really liked this business class – very modern and streamlined in colors blue and brown. I thought it was much prettier than most and the food was very good too. My only complaint is that the blanket was thinner than I would’ve liked and they kept it freezing in the cabin. The crew was super friendly and helpful and all in all, it was a great experience.
Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii on points and miles made for a great trip. It feels like you are on the moon at first with all the black lava rocks but is gorgeous near the ocean. We highly recommend a trip there if you want a break from Maui and Kauai trips!
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