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One of Hawaii’s most famous beaches, Waikiki blends big-city buzz with tropical paradise views and service. If you are looking for the best place to stay with waterfront views, this popular stretch has a large number of hotels to consider. And the rooms are even better when you can redeem points for a complimentary stay.
We take you through the variety of hotel brands where you can easily redeem loyalty program points within a couple of blocks of the water. While there are other branded options like DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Alana - Waikiki Beach, Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach and The Laylow, Autograph Collection hotel, they are set a few blocks farther from Kalakaua Avenue, the beach’s main drag. Also, we cover only hotels that have mainstream loyalty programs where you can redeem points for a free stay.
Because rates may vary depending upon time of year, we picked a sample set of dates for summer so that all things would be equal between the hotels. Be sure to consider: If you want to travel during busy holiday times of year, rates might be higher or part of the “peak” pricing that some brands offer.
On the fringe of what is the most active stretch of Waikiki Beach, this famous hotel with a rainbow stretched along its facade offers rooms on the dates we checked for 60,000 points per night. Hilton Honors offers a somewhat dynamic award chart, so prices for a free room can often vary. A resort view room offers great views of the coastline and surrounding city. It also includes several negotiated perks and discounts that come as part of the daily resort charge, including outdoor movies and savings on car rentals and visits to the Waikiki Aquarium.
This skyscraper is one of the best kept secrets in Waikiki. It is less than five minutes on foot to the waterfront. What’s more, the tall tower offers amazing views of the surrounding area without charging excessive rates. This is a family-friendly option especially because it offers Holiday Inn Express’ famous and free breakfast, including make-your-own waffles, omelets and a cinnamon bun made especially for Holiday Inn Express properties by Cinnabon. A free night costs 40,000 points.
No doubt this is among the finest lodgings along Waikiki. It is a mixed-use complex with large hotel rooms and fully furnished residences with kitchens and dining areas. It offers refined dining and some of the largest and most elegant accommodations. Its only downfall is that it’s not on the beach, which leads some travelers to wonder if it’s worth the cost, but the views of the water and the perfected service answer those doubts. Even better, this hotel costs between 50,000 and 70,000 points for a standard room as a Category 7 hotel depending upon off-peak or peak travel dates.
If you’re familiar with Embassy Suites, you know there are lots of free perks packed into a night here. This vacation location is no different and comes with free, cooked-to-order breakfast, evening cocktails and appetizers, and two-room suites that are ideal for families. The lack of an award chart with Hilton Honors makes it difficult to know how many points you will need until you lock in dates. On the dates we checked, suites go for 70,000 points per night, and when you factor in the extra space, free food and evening happy hour, there is a lot of value to be had here.
This curving tower offers some of the most sweeping views of Waikiki Beach from its higher floors. It is one of the largest hotels on Waikiki Beach (and has the largest room count in a single building in the entire state) and, as such, has plenty to offer when it comes to restaurants, bars and shopping. Its infinity-edge pool that appears to spill into the Pacific Ocean and its rooftop club lounge are two of its shining features for guests. With Marriott Bonvoy’s new award chart ranges, this hotel could cost between 50,000 and 70,000 points as a Category 7 hotel depending upon off-peak or peak travel dates. Sheraton is undergoing a renovation project to refresh all of the rooms and decor.
» Learn More: Your guide to the Marriott Bonvoy award chart
Waikiki’s second oldest hotel, its grande dame actually, is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. This is considered the most elegant and iconic lodging on this stretch of beach. It is packed with history, and guests and visitors are invited on the free history tour of the hotel. It is worth it for an insight into Hawaiian history as much as that of the famed “pink palace.” For one night, this hotel could cost between 50,000 and 70,000 points as a Category 7 hotel depending upon off-peak or peak travel dates. That’s for a room in its famous historic wing and comes with perks like a GoPro rental that is part of the daily resort fee.
» Learn More: 10 great ways to use 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Another legendary and historic hotel on the waterfront. The Victorian architecture of the main mansion certainly sets it apart from other hotels along this strip. It is often referred to as the “First Lady of Waikiki.” Don’t miss the small museum on the second floor that offers details on the history of Waikiki and this hotel. There is also a free hotel tour open to the public that explores what makes the oldest hotel (it opened in 1901) on the beach so special. With Marriott Bonvoy points, this hotel could cost between 50,000 and 70,000 points as a Category 7 hotel depending upon off-peak or peak travel dates. But it’s free to check out its online webcam, like all other Marriott hotels in Hawaii.
Towering behind the first row of hotels, this popular Sheraton still offers spectacular views of the water or surrounding area. With Marriott Bonvoy points, this hotel could cost between 40,000 and 60,000 points as a Category 6 hotel depending upon off-peak or peak travel dates. Elite members of Marriott Bonvoy will discover that this hotel does not have a club lounge like its three Marriott family neighbors. The resort fee, however, includes amenities like bottled water and free GoPro rental.
These two twin cylindrical towers offer beautiful views from their balconies no matter what side you are on. Some face the shoreline while others have mountain and city views. Many elite members of the World of Hyatt program appreciate this hotel for its popular Regency Club serving tasty Hawaiian-inspired breakfast options, all-day refreshments and a hearty evening spread of appetizers and snacks. Its outdoor terrace overlooks Waikiki Beach; this hotel often features a farmers market that is open to the public in its outdoor atrium shopping center. As a Category 5 hotel, a free night goes for 20,000 points.
» Learn More: How to get the most value from World of Hyatt points
Close to the zoo and aquarium, and with unobstructed views of Diamond Head from many rooms, the Marriott enjoys a favorite position close to great dining and the beach. With Marriott Bonvoy points, this hotel could cost between 40,000 and 60,000 points as a Category 6 hotel depending upon off-peak or peak travel dates. The hotel has two pools, but it points out that until mid-2020, one will be closed for renovations. Also, the hotel charges a fee for the third and fourth person in the room, which means that families will have to pay more than just points for a night here.
Photos courtesy of Marriott and Hyatt.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best hotel credit card for you 10 ways to save on an Oahu vacation The cheapest ways to fly to Hawaii using points and miles