Andaz Maui Makes Up With Diamond Members, Brings Back Full Breakfast ‘Experience’

Last summer I stayed at the Andaz Maui and loved it.

There’s no question though that there were people pushing the envelope with ‘travel hacking’ this property:

  • It was a popular hotel for folks to grab an easy Diamond status challenge (folks might get a free Hilton Gold status membership, such as from a credit card signup, and use that to get temporary Diamond status).

  • Then transfer a few points over to Hyatt from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

  • Use those points to book a cash and points award at the Andaz.

  • And apply a Diamond confirmed suite upgrade to the reservation. Boom, cash and points award in a suite.

  • Plus have one of the most generous free breakfasts anywhere in the chain as a Diamond member.

You can no longer get free instant Hyatt Diamond status.

The hotel started limiting what Diamonds received for breakfast.

They imposed new resort charges.

And they both started assigning ‘Garden View’ rooms as the hotel’s “standard” room available for award nights (there aren’t many), and limiting suite upgrades to a small inventory of pool view suites. They don’t generally offer cash and points awards there either.

Well, that’s one way to make sure Diamond members don’t feel valued, and make sure no one gets more value than they ‘ought to’ on property.

It seems as though they may have gone too far. Because at least they’ve now brought back full breakfast for Diamond members (HT: Flyertalk).

I described the Andaz Maui breakfast as offering the ultimate luxury of choice.

When I stayed at the Andaz Maui I was told at check-in that my Diamond breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant — a $44++ per person buffet — was customizable. Just ask for anything you want and they will make it for you. I wondered, how does that really work? The restaurant does get busy at times. The servers really varied in quality. The food there was outstanding, very high quality.

I decided to test ‘customization.’ I mentioned that since I was on Maui I would love some fresh fish. Did I have any particular fish in mind? No, whatever the chef thought was the best that he had that morning would work for me, however he wanted to prepare it. She left to discuss, came back and reassured that this would be taken care of. And so it was:

A year ago the hotel decided to offer Diamonds only a subset of the buffet — bread and bakery items; smoked fish and sliced meat; fruit, yogurt; and oatmeal; plus an egg dish and one side item from the menu and choice of juice and coffee. Note that these are not the juices from the fresh juice bar, so no pour over coffee either.

They let Diamonds know they can upgrade to the full ‘breakfast experience’ (as they referred to it when I was there in July) for an additional $17++ per person.

It’s that decision which has been overturned. The full buffet (‘breakfast experience’) is back for Diamonds, no upcharge.

For the past year the hotel has gone out of its way to make Diamonds, and guests on points, feel like freeloaders. I can’t recall seeing a hotel only offer Diamonds ‘part of a buffet’.

Let’s hope this is the start of reversing a trend. Because the hotel really is lovely, much smaller than nearby mega resorts, plenty of beach and pool chairs, a much more boutique feel than most of the chain options on the island.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Nice property but we will never be back to any Hyatt
    The resort fee is high, they hit us hard for the breakfast charges as Diamonds
    But more importantly since the issue of award space being extremely limited with manipulation,cash and points near or at non existence and now Diamond suite upgrades being manipulated to the point of absurdity we are done with Hyatt Gold Passport
    They should have never allowed this to happen!
    Our hundred nights will be going to Starwood Preferred Guest
    I wish them all well
    I’d use airbnb before I would book a room with this property
    Bad decisions making has serious ramifications
    Pure greed and contempt.
    We won’t be giving them credit either for restoring a breakfast benefit either that should have never been manipulated with in the first place
    Great report and blog though
    Thank You!

  2. I’m still surprised bloggers pimp this hotel so much. We stayed last year to give it a chance and were so disappointed in everything from the rooms to the food to the service and downright “casual” attitude.

    The Four Seasons blows this place out of the water in every aspect. For a truly remarkable experience stay at the much nicer property down the street.

  3. The Andaz Maui isn’t as nice as the Andaz Papagayo, and it’s as far–if not much farther–from most major US cities. It’s just under 1150mi from Miami to the nearest airport–Liberia, CR, so it’s just 7500 Avios each way.

    Given the fact that Papagayo doesn’t charge a resort fee on award nights and is a Category 4 property, I think you’re doing an enormous disservice by constantly pumping up how great Maui is. You could do twice as many nights in Costa Rica with zero cash outlay for the room and much lower costs for activities, food, and beverages. It’s a total no-brainer. And, the base-level room I’ve gotten on award stays as a Diamond is a top-floor bay view king.

    The only–and I do mean ONLY–reasons I would go to Maui over Papagayo are: 1) going with people who can’t/won’t travel out of the US; 2) some hyper-necessary reason to be in that particular part of Maui.

    Even then, I would recommend the Fairmont Kea Lani on credit card nights well above and beyond the Andaz.

    Having been to both Papagayo (multiple times) and Maui (once–never again), the love bloggers have for the Maui property is one of the great mysteries of life.

  4. @preston I’m headed to Maui in a month or so and am staying at the Andaz Maui. Before I booked it, I emailed them and they confirmed that there is no resort fee when staying on points. You would still be charged the fee for valet parking, but not a resort fee. With that said, my wife and I are planning on checking out the Costa Rica property net fall. I hope it is everything you say as we love the Andaz Maui.

  5. Of course the Four Seasons is going to be nicer than the Andaz. Of course there are better values in other places in the world. Hawaii is a popular destination, and compared to many chain options I find this superior. I don’t think I ‘promote’ this hotel for the past year I have written SEVERAL critical things about it. Though before those changes I very much enjoyed it, ESPECIALLY compared to other chain options on the island — the point is I would much rather be here than the Waldorf Astoria, Westin, Hyatt Regency etc etc.

  6. @Kevin-Don’t expect any kind of view at this hotel if booking on points. During my one stay at this property (full paid rate with a DSU) I had to have The Discussion with the FD before I was moved from a suite with a view of a fenced storage and trash area to one with a partial ocean view. I think bloggers push this property because it’s one of the newer and hipper hotels of their favorite chain, Hyatt. I personally think the Four Seasons is a much better hotel in this part of Maui but it is larger than the Andaz and the clientele skews older (and richer).

  7. @gary your argument falls completely flat. The issue is that the two properties are literally aimed at the same target audience. It’s not a comparison between using points in Maui and using points in Moscow. they’re both new(ish) Andaz beach resort properties. One is better on almost every single imaginable metric (Maui has more pools with a better view–that I’ll grant), and yet the blogger crowd has consistently pumped up the inferior option. even IF you are writing about just Maui, the Fairmont Kea Lani is still a better free night option.

    You have written literally zero words about the Andaz Papagayo, despite the fact that on a cents per point basis, it’s one of the best options in the entire Hyatt portfolio, and you can use your annual free night there. There is generally very solid P&C availability. There are a ton of suites available for DSUs. And, as I say above, it’s one of the simplest, easiest, and most available miles+points redemptions in the game. Hawaii is 10 hours of flying–often with a stop–from the East Coast and almost all premium cabin options are terrible. Costa Rica is 2.5h nonstop on AA from MIA and 3.5h from DFW. It’s truly mind-boggling.

  8. @preston you really think andaz maui and costa rica are aimed at the same market? I haven’t been to papagayo myself so sorry that I haven’t yet been in a position to cover it. I’ve been meaning to go there for awhile but something always comes up.

  9. @preston

    I’ve been to papagayo (and maui). Granted it hadn’t even been open 60 days so it can be excused. But there were issues with timely room service. The tapas restaurant was a total ripoff. The price at the time was a category 6 and suites going for 1100$; of course that makes it a great cpp redemption. Well, it is now category 4 and prices are 40% cheaper. I think people have voted with their wallets. There is a Ritz by the papagayo and very few dining options unless you want to drive 25 min away. Contrast that with Maui and you could find a hundred food options in all price ranges within that distance. We drove from Liberia to Rincon de la Vieja to Arenal to San Jose. Maui definitely beats Costa Rica. I can understand your POV about distance – east coast is quite a trek and Papagayo is much closer. But hands down Maui wins every time.

  10. Not a hyatt but the Hilton Moorea also has an up charge (to gold members unsure about diamonds) of about $10 to get a the hot American breakfast. Otherwise the standard free breakfast is just continental for which they charge slightly less as it is.

  11. We toured the Four Seasons and were happy enough we stayed at Andaz
    Yes the Four Seasons had more polished service and some equally stellar views
    And the 4 Seasons had vastly better dining
    The problem with Andaz on revenue or points is that it is expensive for either
    and the hotel seems to be doing everything it can to discourage or eliminate redemption and elite recognition/upgrades or cash and points
    This is damaging to the hotel , Hyatt and Gold Passport as it makes us not want to participate continue with GP or return

    As for the absurd accusations that Diamonds are eating to much on the Buffett or somehow gaming the hotel is absurd
    Most Diamonds I know do 50 to 100 nights a year and bring the lions share of profits to
    Hyatt
    The fact that some see them as a liability is beyond common sense
    Diamonds earn their keep for the most part and some have no children and can be traveling alone at times
    Personally I have some fruit and protein and constantly concerned with watching my weight

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