Best Ways to Use Hotel Award Night Certificates and Points in Hawaii in 2024

If you’re traveling to the Aloha State, these are some of the best hotels for points and award night certificates in Hawaii.

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Updated May 13, 2024
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An integral part of any successful Hawaiian getaway is making sure you choose the best lodging, so you enjoy yourself while in the Aloha State. It may not seem like you would need more than the beauty of the islands themselves, but staying at a fantastic hotel or resort can enhance your entire travel experience.

For frequent travelers, using free hotel night certificates is an effective way to save money on hotel rooms while also reaping the benefits of staying at highly-rated properties. Let’s dive into some of the best ways to use free night awards in Hawaii for Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt properties.

In this article

How to use your Marriott Bonvoy award nights in Hawaii

Marriott has over 7,000 properties and 30 brands across 131 countries worldwide, so it’s no surprise there’s a strong Marriott presence in Hawaii. Marriott free night awards are typically separated into two categories: a free night worth up to 35,000 points or a free night worth up to 50,000 points. To earn free award stays at Marriott properties, use some of the best travel credit cards that earn Marriott points or points you can transfer to your Marriott Bonvoy account.

Here are some of the best Marriott resorts for your free night awards in Hawaii:

Wailea Beach Resort

Image courtesy of Wailea Beach Resort

The Wailea Beach Resort is a Category 7 Marriott property, which means it’s in the second-highest tier of Marriott hotels (Category 8 is the highest). Category 7 properties typically require 60,000 points per night, but you can often find award availability for 50,000 points on off-peak days. This opens up an opportunity to use a 50,000-point free night award.

Searching for off-peak award availability is the only way to use a free night award here, but it also makes sense if you plan on adding more nights by using points. You can then combine a few award nights and save tens of thousands of points compared to standard or peak award pricing.

Considering how this property sits along the southwestern coastline of Maui in the beautiful Wailea area, you’re likely going to want to spend more than just a night here. Enjoy relaxing days at the outdoor pool as you take in ocean views and unbelievable sunsets. Or take strolls along the Wailea Beach Path and put your toes in the sand along Wailea Beach.

Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is a Category 6 Marriott property that sits on the Big Island. It’s located in the northwest corner of the island, basically on top of the popular Hapuna Beach and Hapuna Beach State Park.

As a Category 6 property, you typically need 50,000 points for an award night at this hotel, though this number can jump to 60,000 on peak nights or drop to 40,000 on off-peak nights. Unless you only have availability at certain times of the year, consider looking for award nights during the off-season to further stretch your points and award nights.

A 50,000-point award night certificate is good enough to get you an award night at this property most times of the year. This will set you up with direct access to the beach and as much ocean viewing as you please from the pool and other areas of the hotel.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

Image courtesy of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, part of the Autograph Collection, is another Category 7 property. This property’s standard award night price is 60,000 points per night, but it drops to 50,000 points on off-peak nights. It’s possible to use a 50,000-point award night certificate to book a room at certain times of the year.

Located just north of the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is next to the Mauna Kea beach. You get direct access to the beach and beautiful ocean views as you walk around the property grounds or dine in certain areas.

Honorable mentions

For other Marriott award night options in Hawaii, consider the following properties that didn’t make our top three but still have a lot to offer. All three of these properties are Category 5, and rooms can be booked using a 35,000-point award night certificate.

Consider these credit cards for Marriott

Card name Welcome offer Travel benefits Annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card Earn 3 Free Night Awards after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening (each night valued up to 50,000 points)
  • Free annual night award (35,000-point value)
  • Automatic Silver Elite status
$95
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $6,000 in purchases in the first 6 months
  • Free annual night award (85,000-point value)
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
  • Up to $300 annual dining credit ($25 per month)
  • Priority Pass membership

    Select benefits require enrollment.
$650 Terms apply.
Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card Earn 3 Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months. Each Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points, for a total potential value of up to 150,000 points, at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees. Terms apply.
  • Free annual night award (35,000-point value)
  • Automatic Gold Elite status
$125 Terms apply.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless offers a free annual night award each year worth up to 35,000 points. Marriott award nights worth up to 35,000 points won’t get you into the best Marriott properties, but you still have a few choices of Category 5 hotels in Hawaii. This includes the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. In addition, the bonus points you earn with this card can be redeemed for award nights at any Marriott property as long as you have enough.

This card also offers automatic Silver Elite status, which provides late checkout when available and a 10% points bonus on your paid stays. Silver Elite members also get free internet and Marriott’s Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, which means Marriott will pay for a nearby stay if they can’t honor your reservation.

Learn more about this card in our Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is the top-tier Marriott credit card, offering a slew of premium travel benefits, including a valuable free annual night award worth up to 85,000 points. This is enough to get you into premium Marriott properties in Hawaii depending on your dates, including the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui. And you get to enjoy additional benefits at Marriott properties since this card also provides automatic Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status.

Platinum Elite members get all the perks of Gold Elite members, plus a few extra. This includes a 50% points bonus on paid stays, a 4 p.m. late checkout when available, lounge access, free breakfast, and room upgrades at check-in based on availability.

Learn more about this card in our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card review.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

This card is similar to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, but it’s designed for small business owners. The Marriott Bonvoy Business provides a free annual award night worth up to 35,000 points, and you get automatic Gold Elite status. Gold Elite members can enjoy perks like bonus points on hotel stays, late checkout, room upgrades, and more.

Learn more about this card in our Marriott Bonvoy Business review.

How to use your Hilton Honors award nights in Hawaii

Hilton has over 6,500 properties across 18 brands and 119 countries worldwide, including 11 hotels in Hawaii. Hilton award nights typically start at 5,000 points, though it’s more like 50,000 for properties in the popular Hawaiian Islands. However, Hilton award nights typically have few restrictions regarding which Hilton hotels offer award availability, including expensive Hilton properties.

Here are some of the best Hilton options for your free night awards in Hawaii:

Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria

Image courtesy of Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria

The Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria on Maui is Hilton’s most expensive oceanfront property in Hawaii. You’ll need to use 95,000 points for a standard room award night here or use a free award night obtained from a Hilton co-branded credit card. If you’re able to combine a few award nights through points and free night awards, it could be well worth it.

The sprawling Grand Wailea grounds are beautiful enough on their own, with multiple pools, restaurants, gardens, and even a rope swing. But you can also enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on beautiful Wailea Beach, which makes this property that much more enchanting.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

The Hilton Waikoloa Village is on the Big Island along the northwestern coastline. The property’s location is unique, as it sits near Wailua Bay, a lagoon, and multiple beaches.

Award nights here aren’t as expensive as the Grand Wailea on Maui, but it’s still a high price-point of 60,000 points per night. However, since that’s a 35,000-point difference from the Grand Wailea, you could potentially get more nights with points and free night awards here compared to the higher-priced Waldorf Astoria property.

And it’s not a bad location to be spending your time. Nearby attractions include the beaches and ocean, but also a luau next door and pictures with dolphins.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Image courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is a popular Hilton property that sits next to a lagoon and a beach along the southern coast of Oahu. Award nights typically start at 60,000 points, which is the same as the Hilton Waikoloa Village property. If you have free award nights to use, you should be able to find award night availability, though it may depend on the time of year you’re planning to travel.

This property has five pools, including one with a water slide. It’s also in a happening area of Oahu, so there’s plenty to eat, see, and do, even if you don’t want to travel far. You have loads of restaurant options and multiple beaches to choose from for relaxing, including one right out the front door.

Honorable mentions

If you want to stretch your award nights further using points, consider one of these hotels that typically starts at 50,000 points per night:

Consider these credit cards for Hilton

Card name Welcome offer Travel benefits Annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
  • Free Night Reward after $15,000 in spend in a calendar year
  • Automatic Gold status
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
$150 Terms apply.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • Free Night Reward annually
  • Automatic Diamond status
  • Up to $200 back per year ($50 in statement credits each quarter) on eligible flight purchases
  • Up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually at participating Hilton Resorts
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
$550 Terms apply.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Earn 175,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $8,000 in purchases in the first 6 months (offer ends 6/5)
  • Automatic Gold status
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
$195 Terms apply.

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Amex Surpass doesn’t automatically provide a free night award, but it’s possible to get one after spending $15,000 on your card in a calendar year. In addition, you’re able to earn Hilton Honors points on your purchases, and you'll enjoy complimentary Gold status in Hilton Honors. Select benefits require enrollment.

Hilton Honors Gold members get a fifth-night free benefit and 80% points bonus on paid stays, daily food credit or continental breakfast, and space-available room upgrades.

Learn more about this card in our Hilton Honors Surpass Card review.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors Amex Aspire is a premium credit card that’s often recommended as the best hotel credit card. This is because it provides plenty of value through its benefits, including a Free Night Reward (with very few restrictions) and the opportunity to earn another after spending $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.

You also get up to $200 back per year ($50 in statement credits each quarter) on eligible flight purchases, up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually at participating Hilton Resorts, and automatic Diamond status. Select benefits require enrollment.

Hilton Honors Diamond members receive all the benefits of Gold members, including daily food credit or continental breakfast, fifth night free, and space-available room upgrades. However, they also get executive lounge access, a 100% points bonus on paid stays, free premium internet, and their room upgrades can include one-bedroom suites.

Learn more about this card in our Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Business Amex is similar to the Amex Surpass, but it’s meant for business owners. 

Hilton Honors Gold status is complimentary, and you can earn Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on your card. Moving from Gold to Diamond would increase your points bonus on paid stays from 80% to 100% and give you executive lounge access and the opportunity to get space-available room upgrades that include one-bedroom suites.

Learn more about this card in our Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review.

How to use your World of Hyatt award nights in Hawaii

Hyatt has over 1,000 properties spread across 20 different brands in 68 countries, including a wide selection of Hawaii hotels. Hyatt award nights typically start at 5,000 points, but the cheapest option in Hawaii is 12,000 points at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. (Free breakfast, anyone?)

Hyatt free award nights are typically good for any Category 1-4 Hyatt property, though it’s possible to get an award night for any Category 1-7 property through World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards.

Milestone Rewards are for any World of Hyatt members and are based on your nights stayed at Hyatt properties or how many base points you’ve earned. For example, 30 nights stayed or 50,000 base points earned would get you a Category 1-4 free night award and your choice of two club access awards, earning 2,000 bonus points on your next stay at a Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Caption by Hyatt, or UrCove hotel, or enjoing a $25 FIND experience credit. But if you stay 60 nights or earn 100,000 base points, you will receive a Category 1-7 free night award, two suite upgrade awards, two Guest of Honor awards, and access to My Hyatt Concierge.

Here are some of the best Hyatt options for your free night awards in Hawaii:

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

Image courtesy of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is a Category 7 Hyatt property, which is one level under the highest Category 8 tier. Category 7 award nights typically require 30,000 points, but you can also get one if you have a Category 1-7 free night award through the World of Hyatt program.

The Andaz Maui is located in the upscale Wailea area of Southwestern Maui, sitting next to multiple beaches and the Ulua Beach Park. This luxury hotel has 15 acres of beachfront property, four infinity pools, and five dining options.

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach

The Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach doesn’t sit directly on a beach, but about a block or two away isn’t bad. But even better, this is a Category 4 property, which means the free night award you get with the World of Hyatt Credit Card would work here. If you want to combine points with free award nights to lengthen your stay, you’d need 15,000 points per night.

Waikiki Beach is a popular tourist area with plenty of food and attractions. The ocean is easily within walking distance of this property and so are a few parks. Downtown Honolulu is also only a short drive away.

Grand Hyatt Kauai

Image courtesy of Grand Hyatt Kauai

If you’re visiting Kauai, the Grand Hyatt Kauai is a hotel worth considering. This is a Category 6 property, which means it typically requires 25,000 points for an award night. Regular Hyatt free night awards won’t get you any nights here, but if you’ve earned one through Milestone Rewards that works at Category 1-7 properties, you’re in business.

This is a truly stunning property with beautiful grounds situated right next to Shipwreck Beach in Southern Kauai. There’s plenty to do for kids with the multiple pools and Camp Hyatt activities, but adults can enjoy the spa and golf course.

Honorable mentions

For other Hyatt options in Hawaii, consider these excellent hotels:

Consider these credit cards for Hyatt

Card name Welcome offer Travel benefits Annual fee
The World of Hyatt Credit Card Earn up to 60,000 bonus points: 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, plus up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point, on up to $15,000 spent
  • Free annual night award at Category 1-4 Hyatt properties
  • Automatic Discoverist status
$95
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 25% point bonus through the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to 14 travel partners, including Hyatt
$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 50% points bonus through the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer points to 14 travel partners, including Hyatt
  • Priority Pass membership
$550

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is the only credit card that earns Hyatt points, making it almost a necessity for frequent Hyatt guests. Your free annual night is good at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property, including the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. Earning enough points opens up opportunities to stay for free at higher category hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt Kauai and Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.

Cardmembers also receive automatic Discoverist status, which allows you to earn 5X base points per $1 spent plus a 10% bonus on eligible purchases. You also get free premium internet, a preferred room upgrade based on availability, and late checkout when available.

Learn more about this card in our World of Hyatt Credit Card review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Sapphire Preferred is widely regarded as one of the best travel credit cards available. It doesn’t earn Hyatt points, but it does earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred to the World of Hyatt loyalty program at a 1:1 ratio. This gives you another avenue for earning Hyatt points other than the co-branded Hyatt card. And more Hyatt points mean more options for award nights in Hawaii.

Learn more about this card in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Sapphire Reserve is similar to the Sapphire Preferred. You get to earn Ultimate Rewards points, and you can transfer them to your World of Hyatt account.

But this premium credit card also provides $300 in annual travel credit, complimentary Priority Pass membership, and up to $100 in fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The travel credit could be good for taking a chunk out of cash stays in Hawaii, and the other perks could make your airport experiences much better.

Learn more about this card in our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.

FAQs

How many Marriott Bonvoy points do you need for a free night in Hawaii?

You would typically need 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for a free night in Hawaii. This is the off-peak pricing for Marriott Category 5 hotels, the lowest category of Marriott properties in Hawaii.

Some options where you could find an award night for 30,000 points in off-peak season include the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

How many Hilton Honors points do you need for a free night in Hawaii?

You typically need a minimum of 50,000 Hilton Honors points for a free night in Hawaii. This would be at hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai/Wailua Bay, Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach, and DoubleTree by Hilton Alana - Waikiki Beach.

How many Hyatt points do you need for a free night in Hawaii?

You typically need at least 12,000 Hyatt points for a free night in Hawaii. This number of points is enough for an award night at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. For 15,000 points per night, you could also get rooms at Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach and Lahaina Shores Beach Resort.

Bottom line

You don’t have to stay at a high-end Hawaii hotel to have a memorable vacation. But it sure wouldn’t hurt, especially if you aren’t paying for your stay. Depending on your available free night awards, you have loads of properties to choose from. Though, some might offer you better value than others.

If you’re working on earning free night awards, remember to compare credit cards to find the one that best suits your lifestyle and travel preferences. Certain credit cards can help you fly to Hawaii using points. And some hotel cards are generally recommended over others, but the type of hotel you prefer, such as Marriott over Hilton, may ultimately guide your decision.

Great for Flexible Travel Rewards

4.9

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.