HOTEL: earlier this year we received a letter from starwood vacations, selling a time share view of westin ocean villas resort at mauii:
- 5 nights for $750 usd
- get $180usd off for avis car rental (free car)
- get 5000 spg points
typically that hotel is all mini suites or villas, costing minimum $500 usd per night. So for five night stay ,free car, and points worth min $180 usd, while paying only $750 ? well they got me.
the best part is that you are not obligated to be at the time share presentation. they encouraged, but it is not forced, at no time you feel they are selling you anything. we did not even show up at this one or the last palm springs presentation.
so i got 5 nights booked. But 5 nights is too short for a proper dive trip. So i booked fairmont mauii kea lani (all suite hotels), using my platinum fpc free night certificate and applying a suite upgrades to ocean view suite. cost for 2 night = $600 (one night free).
total 7 nights in mauii at top hotels, all suites for $1300
WESTIN OCEAN RESORT MAUI VIEW FROM AIR:
click to see full resolution aerial pictures
FAIRMONT KEA LANI VIEW FROM THE AIR ABOVE:
FLIGHTS:since hawaii is one of the hardest award redemptions, no seat was available in biz to hawaii ( award in economy is not worth it, the cost of miles is more than the cost of paying tickets)
i was going to book economy flights from NA canada to mauii, knowing the business seats are not worth the price (not lie flat). At last minute, before payment, i saw united want to charge almost $200- $400 each way just for luggage, and maybe even more if overweight (more than 50 lbs).
when travelling with golf clubs, drone, complete dive gear, the weight limits of 50 lbs per bag is not much. we expect to pay min $300- $400 each way just for luggage (even if we are star gold)
then i saw the difference of price of first class united to mauii, returning from honolulu on B767 lie flat is marginally more than economy tickets. essentially it cost $150 more per person to fly first class, (since first class have 2 free check bag per person up to 70 lbs per bag) compared to economy and paying luggage fees!
worth it? yeah! especially first class have double the status miles (more points for flying), so the actual costs is maybe $75 per way per person for flying first class.
DIVING: since our condo is located at kaanapali, lahaina divers at lahaina is the closest. They leave at 7:15am ! each morning. Their boat is one of the best one i have seen for diving, equipped with emergency beacon, lifevests, life raft. Their rental equipments are mostly aqualung.
remember to bring soft drinks or bottle water, as they only provide water in a cooler. Bring towel.
CAR RENTAL: even if the condo resort package have a credit of $180 for car at avis, i still found it was cheaper to book rental car with costcotravel.com, as avis rates is bundled with so many taxes and fees.
LUNCH: we kept eating at lahaina STAR NOODLE all the time after diving, cheap, fast, good comfort food