It is time for the annual post with all the ways How I Burned 1,014,780 Miles and Points in 2021. I am including some photos along with some advice and feedback as always of course. Here is to us returning to travel for freeeeeee in 2022 leaving the pandemic behind us before we all go insane! If you have any questions please ask.
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Every year I try to do a post showing you how I spent my miles and points. Here are the posts from the previous years:
This Is How I Burned 1,053,524 Miles and Points In 2014
This Is How I Burned 1,266,596 Miles and Points In 2015
This Is How I Burned 800,434 Miles And Points in 2016
This Is How I Burned 909,500 Miles and Points in 2017
This Is How I Burned 735,108 Miles and Points in 2018
This is How I Burned 759,105 Miles and Points in 2019
This is How I Burned 587,026 Miles and Points in 2020
I ended 2021 with the following in the bank:
8 Free hotel night certs: 3 Hilton, 4 Hyatt, 1 Fairmont
Airline Gift Cards/Vouchers: United $500, Southwest $325.49
A few housekeeping things: The entries in the spreadsheet below is as I book them. The canceled Singapore Airlines award you see is when I left Greece a week early to beat Omicron and it took almost two months to get the miles back. This trip was originally booked back in 2019 and the miles deducted then so to be fair I will deduct them in the 2022 roundup.
A few notes:
As you are reading this right now, we are making final preparations to fly to Kauai and stay at the magnificent Grand Hyatt Kauai. Five nights in a confirmed suite upgrade for 125,000 World of Hyatt points. We have been to the Big Island, Maui and Oahu in other trips and we are now looking forward to exploring Kauai escaping the freezing Michigan weather!
Of course, the pandemic slowed us down. Only a few trips to Miami and we hit some national parks around Moab, Utah. A short getaway to Chicago and my trip to Greece to run the Athens Marathon and of course to see my mother after almost two years! And a road trip to Hocking Hills, Ohio. Rest was spent on travel for my two kids.
Expect to see more entries here booking awards for my kids in the future. Son lives in Honolulu now and daughter plans to travel to Europe this spring. I have trips booked to Berlin to run the marathon and to attend a financial advisor conference in Huntington Beach, CA in September 2022. I already have Hyatt hotels booked in both cities of course. I have no other specific travel targets to visit as of today in early 2022. Visiting Asia (Vietnam, Taiwan or Thailand) is likely not going to happen with the pandemic restrictions so everything is taking a wait and see approach praying the Omicron wave disappears soon and we get back to normal. Whatever normal is…
Like with so many other things, a lot in this travel space are just weird…
Some pictures from 2021 travel below:
I need to focus more on burning my miles and points stash and not earning as much…first world problems!
This blog is a labor of love making in a single year less than what The Points Guy brings in less than fifteen minutes, sad!
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Thanks for hanging on!
Nick @ PFD says
I always enjoy the “how I burned x miles this year” posts, thanks.
Our household currently has covid. Nothing too terrible so far, it’s been flu-like for my wife and I, mild symptoms for one kid, brief headache for another, and no symptoms whatsoever for the other two. (Wife and I are vaxxed, kids are not in case anybody’s wondering.)
After this, I know I’ll be ready for some travel…
Carl Pietrantonio says
And you traveled more than I did. One western US road trip just to be going somewhere and then later a cross country trip, again by road, in a car that later on was allowed to drown in a flood by the dealer where it sat waiting for parts. Sad Face! Surprised the heck out of my Daughter on that last trip and in 3.5 weeks in hotels, spent only $700 cash. The rest in free nights and points. Had to buy the gas but almost all gas buys were with bonus points rewarded so that was nice.
Getting the points and all is fun and using them well to save $$ is even better!
Hope you have a blast in Kauai!!
You may have saved the best Hawaiian island for last – Kauai is spectacular. And I’m always amazed at how many miles/points you have to spend – here I’m trying to spend $8,000 by the end of February to earn one free Hilton night. It’s a good thing there’s not much credit card excitement going on cuz I’m already stewing over which card to use when.
Wow, that’s a lot of Hyatt Points (UR). I tallied up 358500 + 4 nights.Your list shows how easy it is to spend a million points.
I think I may know more people who had Covid than ever before…We are closer to the end of this ordeal…I think.
Seeing the big bonuses drop into our accounts is always a great moment…and yes, I agree, it gets even better, when you burn them…I ‘ll take a few from the Kauai Grand Hyatt in my suite 🙂
I keep hearing Kauai is the best island…so expectations are high….hope they are not dashed like, you know, we have expectations as Diamonds getting whacked on that upgrade 🙂 Best part of that $8k Hilton promo is the night cert posts FAST, like the very next day, very impressive.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points as of now: 1,010,557 so, about 21% of my balance. As I said, I live in the Chase sphere and been meaning to cross over to Amex MR sphere, hear it is still going nuts over there 🙂
Hello from Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’ve been here since the beginning of the year. Stayed 15 night at the marriott marquis in bangkok for $30 a night. In Bangkok, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and Hilton all have <$40 a night rooms available if staying for longer than 5 days. It's a great time to visit here. Hardly any tourists at all, especially no Chinese. Went to visit the golden buddha at Wat Pho and there was NOBODY there!
Thai government might bring back Test and Go soon since Omicron hasn't been as bad as they expected so it's just a 1 day quarantine until your PCR test comes back.
I'd seriously consider coming to Thailand before the throngs of tourist show back up. The locals I've spoken to say it's like 'The Thailand of old'
I have a trip to Bali planned for May with my wife but if the island isn’t reopened I’m considering Thailand as an alternative. We’ve been a few times before and like Thailand. I’ve been looking at rates both soon and for May but I’m not getting anywhere near the <$40 a night that you mention with Hyatt/Marriott/Hilton. What channels did you use to find these prices and were loyalty benefits honored? Any help appreciated.
the hotel sites…Middle of February $36 at the Courtyard Bangkok, $41 at Hyatt Place Suvkumvit, $41 Doubletree
Guess expect more traffic for May?
2nd this! NOW! is the time to visit Thailand. Yes, there are hoops to jump through to get there but the end result is well well well worth it. just came back from a 1 month visit and it was simply awesome. As Bob says… hardly any tourists /Chinese at all (in Bangkok no less) makes for living the Dream. Don’t over think it, just go.
side note: Kauai is truly #1, enjoy a slice of Hawaii from back in the day (I’m from Oahu)
I went to Kauai 7 years ago so keep that in mind, but here are some of my thoughts from that awesome trip with my wife.
One of my favorite things was eating so many different tropical fruits. I loved the longan, the star apple, the different varieties of bananas, and the fresh coconut, plus I had probably the best pineapple I’ve ever eaten (a white variety via Kauai Sugarloaf at the Culinary Market on Wed). Another option if you are there during the week (Wed/Thu) is one of the Sunshine Markets (though if you see the Noni fruit or the egg fruit then run the other way).
We also had a great helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian. We got lucky and saw an enormous shadow of a blue whale in the ocean. I wish we also took a boat out to see one up close – next time.
One cloudless night we drove inland and saw the Milky Way. It was only the second time I had seen it so clearly. It is so engrossing. If you go now though it sounds like you might have a full-ish moon to deal with.
Not sure if the restaurants we went to are still around, but I do remember eating lots of fresh fish. My favorite memory was seeing some guys in a pickup truck stop by Da Crack while we were eating outside – they sold the restaurant what looked like a huge fresh tuna fish. Truly fresh fish tacos!
We marked Sunday as a good beach day since almost everything was closed.
Watch out for the feral chickens when you are driving! Hopefully those roosters don’t wake you up early.
We stayed a couple of nights in Princeville but most of the time in Poipu – definitely liked Poipu better. The Grand Hyatt looked amazing (we stayed right next-door in an airbnb so we walked the property). If we ever go back to Kauai I’d want to stay there next.
I hope you have an awesome trip!
Really appreciate the feedback on being in Thailand right now and on Kauai.
I had a bad dream last night I was attacked by a dog…so meow it is lol.
Missed that packing feeling…
Nick @ PFD says
My favorite thing about Kauai was Waimea Canyon. I assume it’s on your list already so I won’t try to sell you on it but I was surprised to see a place like that on such a tiny island.