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My first redemption: How I used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to vacation in Hawaii

As anyone at TPG will tell you, one of the best ways to maximize your award travel is by using credit cards that earn transferable points. You can often get the most value out of these points when you transfer them to hotel and airline transfer partners.

That’s what I did in 2022 when I made my first award redemption, using 105,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to spend a week at Hyatt’s Lahaina Shores Beach Resort on Maui — entirely free. Here’s how I did it and how you could plan a similar trip.

Related: How to book flights to Hawaii with points and miles

Why I chose to open a Chase credit card

When I initially planned this trip in late 2021, I was a newbie to the world of points and miles. I recently got my first travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, because of its valuable and versatile Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

At the time, the Sapphire Preferred was offering a welcome bonus, and currently, it is offering an elevated bonus: You can earn 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in your first three months of card opening. After a few months with the card, I had accumulated roughly 107,000 Chase points. My partner and I decided to use them toward a week-long beach vacation to celebrate our anniversary.

So, armed with my brand-new stash of Chase points and a basic grasp of points and miles, I got to work on researching how to best maximize my points to book my dream vacation.

Related: Best credit card welcome offers

Why Hyatt is my favorite hotel chain

aerial view of Lahaina Shores along beach with mountains behind
A nice stretch of golden sand fronts Lahaina Shores. BOOKING.COM

While you can book and redeem Ultimate Rewards points for hotel stays through Chase Travel℠, my points would only be worth a fixed rate of 1.25 cents apiece. Therefore, using one of Chase’s transfer partners is the best way to maximize points.

I started by researching Chase’s hotel transfer partners: Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards and World of Hyatt. I soon zeroed in on World of Hyatt, which is popular for its high-value redemptions. Unlike its competitors, Hyatt still operates using an award chart (as opposed to dynamic pricing), which can lead to some great redemption opportunities.

The only downside is that Hyatt’s footprint is significantly smaller than that of the competition (IHG and Marriott) which meant my hotel choices were limited.

When researching Hyatt properties in Hawaii, I found a few affordable options, including Lahaina Shores Beach Resort on Maui. Rooms were going for $330 or 15,000 points per night in February, providing a solid value of 2.2 cents per point. (TPG values Chase points at 2.05 cents each.) Seven nights would cost me a grand total of 105,000 points — right in my budget. Plus, since Hyatt waives resort fees on award stays, I didn’t have to pay a dime.

Well, I still had to pay for flights, but since I’d just saved more than $2,000 on my hotel stay, I didn’t mind booking the flights with cash.

Related: Hyatt’s new partnership with Mr & Mrs Smith

Transfer Chase points to Hyatt

From what I’d read, transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners seemed easy. Still, it was a little nerve-wracking the first time I did it.

First, I had to set up a World of Hyatt account (since I’d never stayed at a Hyatt) and link it to my Chase account. Then, I transferred 105,000 Chase points. I watched with bated breath as they disappeared from my Chase account and waited for them to appear in my Hyatt account, worrying that the internet would somehow swallow my points in the process. Plus, point transfers are almost always irreversible.

Thankfully, the points were in my Hyatt account within a few minutes, so I booked my seven-night reservation at Lahaina Shores completely free.

Related: Everything you need to know about Chase’s transfer partners

Was it worth it?

Balcony view of palm trees and mountains
The view from my balcony. RACHEL CRAFT/THE POINTS GUY

A small part of me still wondered if it was too good to be true and if my free hotel would end up being a dump. However, Lahaina Shores Beach Resort did not disappoint.

Though you might get more value from your points at Hyatt’s luxury hotels, Lahaina Shores was the perfect fit for me and my partner. It was on the edge of downtown Lahaina, Maui’s historic district, within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants and Banyan Tree Park. It was right on the beach and in an area that was great for snorkeling (complete with friendly sea turtles). Plus, each room had a full kitchen, so we saved even more money by buying groceries and eating on our private balcony.

Related: 8 great US beach hotels you can book with points

Book a Hyatt hotel in Hawaii using points

View of boats and distant island from beach
The private beach at Lahaina Shores. RACHEL CRAFT/THE POINTS GUY

After my experience, I would hands-down recommend Lahaina Shores Beach Resort to other travelers. Sadly, this gem has since closed due to the devastating Maui fires in 2023. Lahaina Shores survived the blaze but suffered severe smoke damage, so it may be months or years before it reopens.

Until then, here are some other Hyatt properties worth considering for a similar Hawaiian getaway:

  • Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach (Oahu): from $263 or 15,000 points per night
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach (Oahu): from $331 or 20,000 points per night
  • Hana-Maui Resort: from $674 or 25,000 points per night
  • Hyatt Vacation Club at Ka’anapali Beach (Maui): from $723 or 30,000 points per night

Related: Best hotels in Hawaii

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Credit card welcome bonuses are a great place to start if you want to earn Chase points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are both offering elevated welcome bonuses of 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points right now.

There are plenty of other ways to build your points balance, like booking travel through Chase Travel℠, shopping through the Chase portal and referring friends to your Chase cards.

Related: Who’s eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus?

Bottom line

Chase points have a reputation for being one of the most valuable transferable points currencies, and now I know why. Chase has 14 transfer partners, including airlines and hotels, so you can find a redemption that fits your goals. Other TPG staffers have recently used Chase points for a last-minute trip to Greece and a Mexican getaway for two.

There’s no need to worry about the transfer process — but remember that when you transfer credit card points to travel partners, it’s irreversible. Make sure you have a redemption lined up before transferring your hard-earned points.