I Canceled Our Trip To Maui Because Of Covid-19, But Not Why You Think

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Canceled Our Trip To Maui
Hyatt Regency Maui

I Canceled Our Trip To Maui Because Of Covid-19, But Not Why You Think

2020 is the year of cancellations, that is for sure!  My miles and points balance have never been healthier because of it.  It feels like I am getting a new welcome offer weekly watching these large cancellation deposits happen over and over again.  I had only booked travel through July when the pandemic hit and most everything else has been already canceled.  I was still holding out hope for our 15 year anniversary trip to Maui.

It has taken me years to get my wife on board with a trip to Hawaii (she is not a fan of multiple long flights).  I convinced her by saying we could take the direct Delta flight from Detroit to Honolulu, and do it in a bed!  Of course after she said yes Delta axed the flight 😥.  Luckily for me she was already pot committed so we went ahead with the booking anyway. After all of that work and effort just yesterday I canceled our trip to Maui for the end of July. There are a few reasons why I canceled it and most of them are not why you think, let’s get into it.

Booking The Trip

Before I get into why I canceled the trip I will give you a run down on how I booked the trip. Since flying direct was no longer an option we decided to break up the outgoing flight and spend a night in LA.  If you listen to the podcast at all then you know we are Vanderpump Rules fans. Our plan was to bar hop the restaurants on the show our one night in LA.

I booked first class flights from DTW to LAX for 22,500 Virgin Atlantic miles each on Delta.  We were planning on staying at the Beverly Hilton for 60,000 Hilton points.

The next morning we would fly United in economy to Maui.  I booked the tickets for 15,000 Lifemiles a piece. We would be spending 2 nights at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea using two free night certificates (normally 95,000 points a night).  Then we would hop over to the Hyatt Regency at a cost of 25,000 World of Hyatt points a night using a Guest of Honor booking (the best hack in hotels).

Our flights on the way home were in first class on American Airlines for 55,000 miles a piece.

The total outlay in miles and points was:
  • 45,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles
  • 30,000 Lifemiles
  • 110,000 American Airlines Miles
  • 60,000 Hilton Honors points & 2 free night certificates
  • 50,000 World of Hyatt Points

I would put a value on those points and certificates at over $4,000. It was a pain in the butt to find saver space for everything with adding in the stop over in LAX. I also had to work it into a time frame where my mom could fly up and watch the kids. So you could add a few more flights to the cost aspect as well.

Waldorf Astoria Maui.

The Juice Isn’t Worth The Squeeze Right Now

Why do I bring up my booking process?  Two reasons: I thought people would like to see how I booked the trip and it shows how much the trip would cost.

This booking had a lot of moving parts for a domestic trip.  Add in the fact that I had to work it into a window where my mom could take off and that severely limited my options.  Because of all of that, plus it being an aspirational type of trip, I delayed canceling this booking more than any other.

Having said all of that, it was the cost of the trip that was the biggest factor in me cancelling the trip. If we still went ahead with the trip it would be likely that the experience would be a fraction of what it would be otherwise.  Maybe we only get 70%-80% of the experience we would have got if we went 6 months ago.  Maybe even less than that.  Is it worth paying full freight and investing the time required to get there for less than ideal conditions? I can get to Europe in a shorter time and it would be direct!  Add in the fact that it took so much convincing to get my wife on board and you can see why I want it to be perfect.

Why Would The Trip Be Less Than Perfect?

Hawaii, and LA for that matter, may not be fully open by that time.  And even if they are it is likely there will be restrictions or hoops to jump through.  Right now you have to self quarantine for 14 days when traveling to Hawaii but I expect that to end well before our trip.  But there may be limited seating at restaurants or we may have to wear masks while dining or lounging at the beach.  Small shops and towns may still be mostly closed if we decided on going to Haleakala National Park etc.

If I am going to put in the time, effort, miles and points to get there I don’t want to settle for less than the full experience. This was probably the biggest part of our decision.

Canceled Our Trip To Maui
My last trip to Hawaii was for $6 thanks to Arby’s

If It Was A Shorter Trip Things May Have Been Different

If we were going to Florida or on a much simpler trip this would be less of an issue.  But the fact that the cost and time involved is so high I just don’t think it is worth it.  I am sure we would still have a good time if we went but it would feel like we were missing out.  And for a trip we may only take once or twice in our life I don’t want to settle for less. If we lived on the West Coast and could easily visit it would be a different story.

I know that we are all hungry for a vacation but should we take a lesser experience just to get out there?  Especially for trips that are so costly from a time or cost standpoint?

Having Kids Makes It More Difficult

Another consideration I had to make is the fact that we need someone to watch the kids.  My parents were going to do it for us but they live in Florida.  Would it be fare to them to have them get on a plane before maybe they feel ready?  They offered to drive up instead but that is a huge ask as well.  I just didn’t feel comfortable putting them out like that.

There Are Covid-19 Related Reasons But Not What You Think

Of course the elephant in the room is the pandemic.  That played a part in our decision for sure but it wasn’t from a fear of getting sick standpoint.  It definitely would be in the back of our mind but with proper precautions I think we could have handled it. The role the pandemic did end up playing in our decision making process was us trying to be responsible.

Before you roll your eyes, this isn’t a travel shaming segment.  I understand people will travel and I do not have a problem with it.  Our decision came down to the fact that my wife is a first responder. She deals with Covid-19 positive patients on a weekly basis right now.  It is likely that she will regularly have to deal with positive patients going forward.

Because of that we feared she could have it without knowing or be an asymptomatic carrier etc. We also wouldn’t be guaranteed to go 14 days without having contact with a positive patient before our trip. And with knowing that it didn’t seem like a good idea to take multiple flights and stay at multiple hotels without knowing for sure.  Especially with how hard Hawaii has fought to keep their numbers down, it just didn’t seem right.

Final Thoughts

As you can see Covid-19 has its fingerprints all over my Maui cancellation but not for the reasons you would normally think.  Getting sick is pretty much at the bottom of the list for us.

The main reason was that the cost and time investment was too high to accept a reduced experience for us. Throw in the fact that we would need someone else to travel to watch the kids and it seemed like the prudent decision. The final straw was that my wife will likely have contact with Covid-19 positive patients within 14 days of the trip and we thought it was most responsible to avoid such a detailed trip because of that.  We wouldn’t want to unknowingly increase the spread etc.

I am curious to hear from you though. Have any of these reasons led to some of your cancellations?

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Love Maui – we usually stay at the Sheraton Black Rock – opposite end of the beach from the Hyatt. It’s a great hotel with the best snorkeling I have ever encountered right at Black Rock. I know you were bound by certain schedules, but I now will only go if the whales are in the bay from Jan thru March. There is nothing like having a cocktail on the deck and watching all the whales – it really is spectacular.

  2. We had a layover in LA and spent the night at the Kimpton La Peer which was a great hotel that I would highly recommend. It is about a block away from SUR/Pump/TomTom. We saw Ken and Lisa over at TomTom, looked like they were finalizing the expansion of the restaurant. We went to SUR for happy hour, they have great specials so I would recommend doing that, and just sat at the bar. Most of the restaurant was closed as it was a Tuesday night and was dead. Naturally they were playing Vanderpump rules on the TV since it was Tuesday. Nobody from the show was working(I suspect most of them no longer work when they aren’t filming) but Peter came in later and sat right next to me at the bar. He is a big NFL fan and talked a lot about that.

    • That is awesome Nikdro. I will have to check out the Kimpton property since I will have 140K IHG posting soon from their increased bonus.

  3. The booking stuff was really interesting. But you left out the biggest negative factor which is 14-day mandatory quarantine on arrival. There is no indication at all this will be lifted before July. That would give you 0% of the experience you want.

    • Glad you enjoyed the booking section Boraxo. I did mention the 14 day quarantine but said I think that gets lifted before our trip. It is supposed to end June 30th I believe but that could get extended for sure. But I think they will need some tourism by then.

  4. I commend your thoughtfulness on not putting your parents, fellow travelers, and the Hawaiian residents at risk. I wish more people would be as sensitive when making decisions these days.

    I am a huge Hawaii fan, and being a Floridian (transplanted from Michigan 3 decades ago) we always dread the long flights. We have travelled to Hawaii 15 times in the last 20 years. All this to say, when you do reschedule, please give yourself more time. We love the Grand Wailea, the Fairmont Kea Lani (and the walk between the 2 hotels). We weren’t crazy about the Andaz- too stark/minimalist for us older folk. We love the Hyatt Regency, especially because of the Regency club. Kelci and her staff are wonderful and make each guest feel important and welcomed. We always try to go during whale season and Maui never disappoints. Such a beautiful place just demands and deserves more days to enjoy!

    • Thanks Diane. I wish we could make the trip longer but we have time constraints with the kids etc. I am sure we will take a longer family trip at some point in the future though too.

  5. I’m canceling my Japan trip for July with pretty much the same reasons as you but my flight is still scheduled so I’ll be charged fees by both Alaska and BA avios To cancel and redeposit miles for the JAL flight.

  6. This is a tangent, but you did mention Lifemiles. I know not many here entertain the thought of using Lifemiles for Amazon, but this may still be of interest. Sometime, about a week ago, Lifemiles went from having a value on Amazon of just over .0065 cents per mile to just over .0055 cents per miles. I experimented and saw the required points on the identical items I had looked before (at the identical cash price) go up almost 20%.

    I emailed them and ask if there had been a devaluation? Three days later I have had no response. I did get one item using points about two weeks ago (partially as an experiment of how it works as much as anything. When I had some problems with that they responded to my email in about 36 hours.

    Again I know most won’t use points for Amazon, but if there is devaluation for that use (and there seems there to be) it may portend something for other uses.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they lowered it since everyone is trying to reduced cash equivalent redemptions right now. Good to know for sure though – thanks Carl.

  7. Thanks for taking the time Mark to explain how you booked. It was helpful to see. Those of us on the West Coast sometimes forget how lucky we are just jumping on a quick and relatively affordable trip to Hawaii.

    I agree you did the smart thing delaying your trip. We were planning to go to Hawaii in July as well and we just cancelled it. I rebooked for February 2021. I hate to wait so long to go but I’m confident everything will be normal by then.

    • Yup you are very lucky to be so close. Similar to how we are for the Caribbean but I would rather be closer to Hawaii haha. Trip in February should be awesome!

  8. Good on you for being considerate of others and the risks your situation creates. The fact that, even if our economy here in Hawaii reopens and welcomes tourists again really soon, it’ll take time for things to ramp up again. Many companies here are already saying that they’ll operate at reduced capacity or remain closed until deemand builds to what they deem to be acceptable levels again. And, even if we reopend today with no restrictions, it is thought that we’d only see a return to 50% of normal by around the end of the year.

    For me personally, I live in a multigenerational home. Further, on my in-laws side, I’ve got an immunocompromised cancer patient that we help out with here and there. So, risking exposure really isn’t an option for the sake of others in my life.

    • That is what I figured – that things would open slowly and it just wouldn’t quite be the same. I think that a lot of people will have to make certain decisions based on others in their life for sure. And there isn’t a more noble decision you could make. This will all be over in the near future and travel will still be there for us!

      • By the way, Vanderpump fans, eh? My wife loves that show! I was supposed to have a conference in Vegas last month, so we were planning on using the Caesars Diamond Dinner at Vanderpump Garden. But, ya know… There will always be next time, though. And Caesars is providing status extensions, so that helps ease the sting a bit!

  9. I was planning to do an LV/Grand Canyon/Utah NP’s with my wife and kids in October. I was schedule to have a surgery in March that I’d be sufficiently recovered for by then. Due to covid it was pushed back until July. I may be off crutches by October but it is unlikely. So now it may be xmas or Jan/feb before my next trip.

    • That is something I kind of forgot about. Pretty much all “elective” surgeries have been pushed back which messes up a lot of people’s timelines. I know I had new ligaments put in my knee at the end of 2018 and it took me about 2-3 months before I could take a decent trip again so I think bumping it back is for the best so you can fully enjoy it!

  10. I’m curious, given the flexible cancellation policies that many travel operators provide, why did you not wait till there’s more clarity on how things are going before canceling?

    • I would rather put things to rest and move on and I am pretty confident what I laid above will be what it is like. I just don’t think the experience would be near where it will be in a year or so from now etc.

      • Exactly. Part of the fun for me of vacations/trips is the exciting anticipation of it and planning all the things where I will go and see. I recently had to cancel my trip for Bali and I kept waiting until I absolutely had everything cancelled on me slowly one by one. It was NOT fun and NOT what a vacation/trip is about. So I think you were wise to just start fresh when you know things will be ok.

        It’s actually stressful to read about extended shutdowns and quarantine policies in Hawaii. Certainly not something to look forward to as you see rolling shut downs. I have relatives in Argentina that are stuck and their President has said their airport will be shut down until September! Totally crazy.

        • Great point Mike – stressing and researching the situation non stop would have been a tough pill to swallow for sure.


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