Alex’s 2021 Trips and Cards Year in Review

Alex

Time for the annual travel hacking year in review! Usually, I do this in an Instagram post this year we are moving it onto the blog so I can go into more detail. Let’s start with the trips I took this year. Then I’ll move onto cards I opened. To finish up I’ll give a little insight into my plans thus far for 2022!

Travel Hacked Flights and Hotel Nights in 2021

Staycation For Son’s Birthday

For my son’s 7th birthday I took him to a hotel for the night. We went shopping at the Nike Store, got dinner, headed to the hotel, swam, and watched a movie. He loved having the one-on-one attention! We stayed at a Hyatt Place and the cost was 5,000 points a night, but there was a promo going on and I got 1,250 points back! I highly recommend taking your kid for an overnighter at a hotel for their birthday.

Son’s Baseball Tournament

We spent 3 nights in Southern Utah for my oldest son’s baseball tournament. It won’t surprise you to know that we stayed at a Hyatt Place! You just can’t beat 2 queen beds, sofa bed, pool, and free breakfast for 5,000 points a night! We saved well over $600 that weekend on the hotel stay.

Girl’s Trip to Sarasota, Florida

After what had felt like forever, I finally hopped on a plane again in April! I spent 25,000 United miles flying from Salt Lake City to Tampa (on the way home we flew out of Sarasota). We got in late so I used a Marriott free night certificate to stay at the Marriott hotel located inside the airport. It was so convenient!

From there we drove to Sarasota where my mom used one free night certificate to stay at the Residence Inn. Then it was off to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota where my mom used her 50K Marriott free night certificates! This trip was all about free night certificates 🙂

Family Trip to Maui

This trip was the highlight of the year for me. We used points to stay at the Hyatt Residence Club which is located right on Kaanapali Beach. The location is amazing and so were the views from our room. I booked a two-bedroom unit so we brought my parents along too. In addition to using points for the hotel stay, we used Southwest points + the Southwest Companion Pass for our flights. The cash price for this trip was over $10,000 and I paid $55 for our hotel stay and flights! We had the best time and I will for sure be trying to do a repeat of this trip.

Overnighter in Provo

Before school started for the kids we took them down to Provo for an overnighter at a, wait for it….. Hyatt Place 🙂 We used a free night certificate this time because it was going to expire in December and we didn’t have any other plans to use it at the time. Mitch and I met in Provo and he played football for BYU so it was super fun to take the kids back, show them around campus, and show them where we used to live when we were first married.

Mom and Daughter Park City Getaway

In September my mom came to Utah and we drove up to Park City where we stayed at the AC Hotel Marriott. We used Marriott 35K free night certificates and stayed for two nights. The point of this getaway was to literally get away from distractions so we could do some planning for the blog.

Mom and Daughter Trip to Cancun

My mom and I have had the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva all-inclusive resorts on our radar for quite some time and decided to finally see what they are all about in October. We started off at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun and then moved over to the Ziva after a few nights. We preferred the Ziva and loved it so much that we are bringing along Mitch, the kids, and my dad, and heading back in summer 2022! My kids are so so excited!

Disneyland

In 2021 we also hit up Disneyland! My mom had some Hyatt free night certificates so we decided we better plan a trip to use them! We booked the Hyatt Place…wow I didn’t realize how many times we stayed there this year lol. To get there I used Southwest points for me and my kids. Two of my sisters and their kids joined as well! In total there were 14 of us. We didn’t use points for our park tickets this time. Instead, I bought Disney gift cards at Staples using my Chase Ink Cash Business card and got 5 points for each dollar I spent.

San Diego Meet-Up

To cap off a great year my mom and I headed to San Diego to meet up with some amazing women we’ve met on Instagram who are also points and miles content creators. Meeting these online friends in real life was a highlight for sure! We spent two days together at the Andaz San Diego and used Hyatt free night certificates (we had a lot of certificates this year because 2020 certificates carried over to 2021 due to Covid). ?We are looking forward to getting together in 2022!

San Diego cornado island

Just a few of the amazing women I was able to meet

Credit Cards Opened In 2021

Between Mitch and I, we opened 7 new cards in 2021:

Amount of points earned: 530,000

We also earned some referral points by Mitch referring me to cards. He referred me to the Freedom Flex, Ink Cash, United Business card, and the Southwest Plus. This earned him 60,000 points.

Plans for 2022

Travel

So far 2022 is shaping up to be a pretty good year!

Early this year my family is heading to the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, Arizona. This property looks so fun-  waterslides, a sandy beach pool, and more!

Later in the Spring Mitch and I are heading to the Maldives! This trip will cross off some major bucket list items- Visiting the Maldives, staying in an overwater bungalow, and flying Qatar Airways QSuites! Please please please don’t ruin this trip Covid!

This summer my parents are joining my family back at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. The kids are already talking about this trip. They can’t wait for the endless piña coladas, nachos, and treats!

At the end of summer, Mitch and I are heading back to the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort. We want to use a bunch of points before Marriott does away with their award chart.

That’s what we’ve got so far. But don’t you worry- I’m sure we’ll squeeze in some Hyatt Place stays as well 🙂

Credit Cards

I’m writing this post on January 1st and I’ve already started the new year off by applying for a new credit card! Today I opened the Southwest Performance Business card– with the bonus from this card I’ll have the Southwest Companion Pass. Mitch still has his pass as well so for those flights to Cancun and Pheonix we will only be paying for 3/5 flights!

Once I hit the minimum spend on this card, I am looking into getting the Capital One Venture X. With that card I’ll go over 5/24 but Mitch is under and I’ll keep him under this year. From there I’ll see what great limited-time offers are going on and get some cards to help with future trips.

My plan for Mitch is to have him cancel and reapply for the World of Hyatt card at some point. He has had the card for about four years now so we are well past the 24 months since his last bonus. Hyatt is my favorite hotel chain so I would love to get some more points with them! I might also have him apply for another Chase Ink Business card. He will also be hitting the four-year mark on his Chase Sapphire Preferred so I’ll have him cancel and reapply for that card late this year.

Bottom Line

This year was a great year for my family. We made some amazing memories thanks to credit card points and miles and are looking forward to making more great memories in 2022! I hope this year will be a great year for you and your loved ones. Let me know how I can help!

hyatt regency maui

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