Are you a Disney World or Disneyland regular who looks longingly at the Aulani website (like I do) thinking that one day you'll find a way to make that trip? Getting to Hawaii can be an intimidating process. It's a long flight, often an expensive flight, and there are no value hotel options at Aulani. This is your lucky day, though, because Aulani is actually quite hackable. We'll start with a step-by-step of how you're going to book your flights and resort before launching into how to go about getting the points if you don't already have them.
There's a surprisingly straightforward travel hack to get you to Hawaii from the continental U.S. for as low as 25,000 points round trip! We've covered this in a past blog post here, but it boils down to earning 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, transferring those to Korean Air Skypass, and using them to book a partner award on Delta to get you to Hawaii.
At this point we're also going to suggest you consider one of the two following options. First, you could fly first class for 45,000 points each. Second, you could bring two kids for a total of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
As we've covered elsewhere, some Disney properties can be booked in the Chase travel portal, and Aulani is one of them! Here's the rates for four nights, May 1 through May 5.
Note these rates are at the 1.5 cents per point rate you get when you're a Sapphire Reserve cardholder (but we'll cover that in a bit). The resort comes in at 109,664 points.
Adding it up
Remember, we gave three options for your flight: a couple for 50,000 points, a couple first class for 90,000 points, and a couple and two kids for 100,000 points. That's 159,664 points for the hotel and flight, upgrade to first class, and you're at 199,664, and with two kids, you'd need 209,664.
Earning Those Points
With 200,000 points, you could do a lot of travel. Even so, this Aulani redemption option is amazing value. So where are you supposed to come up with those 200,000 points?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve signup bonus of 100,000 points may no longer be available online, but it is still available in branch (until March 12). That means that if you and a partner can get approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and earn the signup bonus, you'll have 200,000 points to work with. Since you have to spend $4000 to get the signup bonus, you'll actually have 208,000. This means you'll be just short of the points needed to bring two kids (by 1,664 points) assuming all of you spending is at 1 point per dollar (the Reserve gets 3x points per dollar dining and travel). Those 1,664 points will cost you about $25 when booking the hotel.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve does have a hefty $450 annual fee that will be offset for most holders by the $300 travel credit (earn the travel credit twice in the first year to more than offset your annual fee). I've received my travel credit for purchases on Undercover Tourist, and you would get it for paying for incidentals at the hotel as well.