January 21, 2024 - With the price of everything gone sky-high, people are looking for every discount and price break they can get. The one discount that gets everyone's attention in Hawaii is the kama'aina discount aka local discount. For example, it gets you 20% off the price of a donut and coffee at Krispy Kreme. But whoa there, Nelly, not so fast. Not everyone can get this discount, and not every business offers it. Let's review.
Literally "kama'aina" is derived from the Hawaiian words "kama" (child) and "'aina" (land) or "child of the land. " A narrow definition would limit it to Hawaiian-born individuals. A wider definition is for residents of Hawaii.
Following this wider definition, kama'aina discounts are available to anyone who is a resident of Hawaii. These savings are available for hotels, restaurants, tours and activities, and many other businesses - including car rentals.
Asking is free, and some business will give the discount to anyone who asks. But some businesses will ask to see a Hawaii state issued ID or driver license. So it's just like getting carded when you're under-age bar-hopping. If you're asked for ID, and you don't have one, be prepared to be turned away - either that, or produce a fake ID. But be aware of possible penalties for falsification of official documents.
Our policy is that we offer the same low price to everyone. This does not keep people from ask for this discount, and we are hard-pressed to determine who is a local and who is an impostor. So we follow one of the techniques that law enforcement uses when interrogating suspects. We tell the person asking for the discount that we actually charge more for kama'aina. If they protest loudly and express outrage, we know that they are locals (an innocent person always protests their innocence), and we give them the discount. But if they accept what we said at face value, we assume they are guilty as charged.
This week's lowest advertised Maui car rental rates, for a one-week rental from Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG) starting Monday 1/22:
Off-airport (with shuttle) $183.86
Airport Rentacar Center $292.33