I found the hotel I wanted and the dates and then checked the "Use Rewards points" box. Simple as that. I'm not sure about the method you used. Another option would be to do a regular search and then when the properties come up, check the "Use Rewards point" box and update the results. Hopefully, you'll be able to book the hotel you want with points. Good luck.
Thanks for sharing with the forum! As you've probably noticed, the folks here are quick to help in any way they can!
Regarding your issue, if you don't have the option to select using points when trying to book, contacting the specific property may help as a workaround! We'd be happy to retrieve this information for you if you'd like.
When you type in the dates you are looking for make sure to check the "my dates are flexible" box and it will give you a month by month look that you can scan for specific hotels. My findings are that it takes time to find exactly what you want in Hawaii using points, but patience might pay off.
you don't say when you are trying to redeem points for hawaii and which island/property. I use points for stays at christmastime, and I reserve them as far in advance as possible (like 11 months ahead, due to the insane airline rule of no booking airline tickets more than 330 days into the future, when will they give up this arcane 1970's rule?). I never have an issue getting a room that way. Be aware that in high season there are not as many redemption rooms available, but depending on your dates, you may be able to use cash and points, have a partial rewards and partial pad stay, or some other permutation. When no rewards dates are available for the specific dates you type in, no hotels will appear and you will get an error message saying nothing matched your choice. You can, as others have suggested, use the flexible dates option and see wider availability so that is a good choice. and persistence pays off, as sometimes rooms open up for rewards stays close to when you may want them,
if you send the dates, I can try a search and let you know what I find for a rewards stay.
Good luck and best wishes to get what you are seeking
Used points to stay at the resort on the Big Island a couple of years ago with the use points for a 4 night stay, get one night free deal. Not only was this a great way to stretch those points, they also upgraded us to a beautiful ocean view room. Try this code to get the extra night free when booking using points, MRW.