Jess’s 2022 Travel Hacking Recap

Jess

2022 was one for the books! I still can’t believe how much money we saved on travel expenses thanks to points and miles. It was a great mix of family trips, girls’ getaways, and even a solo trip. I’m recapping all of it below…

 

2022 Travels

January

My first trip of 2022 was a solo trip to Miraval Resort in Austin in January. Miraval has been on my bucket list for years, so when Hyatt released a promo to buy one night with points, get one free, I couldn’t say no. You can read all about my stay here, but in short, I loved it and it was the perfect two-night escape to relax and recharge in the Texas Hill Country.

 

Miraval Austin room

Miraval Austin

 

February

In February, we took two family trips—one to Disneyland and one to the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica. In Anaheim, we used Hyatt points to stay at the Hyatt House Anaheim. It’s only a couple of blocks from the Disneyland entrance, has a Starbucks attached to it, and is a category 4 Hyatt property meaning you can redeem free night certificates earned from having the World of Hyatt card there.

 

Points and miles made our Disneyland trip much more affordable

 

Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica is one of our favorite Hyatt properties we’ve ever stayed at! We could see monkeys swinging from the trees each morning from our balcony, and the pool area was amazing. This resort is very family-friendly and has free snow cones by the pool + a kids’ club. As a category 5 property, the Andaz Papagayo will run you 20K Hyatt points/night for standard award availability. We got a great deal on flights through Southwest Airlines, so we used Southwest points to cover everything but the taxes.

 

Andaz Papagayo Costa Rica

 

March

In March, we headed to Washington, DC, for spring break. We were hoping to see some cherry blossoms, and boy, did we luck out! They were gorgeous, and I felt so grateful for having the opportunity to see them up close and personal, thanks to points and miles. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Washington for free by redeeming 20K Hyatt points/night. It’s a bit closer to Georgetown (so not within walking distance to the main sights), but we loved the hotel and had a great stay. We redeemed United miles for our flights from Houston to DC.

 

The cherry blossoms were on display

 

June

In June, we met up with some friends at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort. It’s located near San Antonio, Texas, and was a relatively quick drive from our home in Houston. We had the best time! This resort is the epitome of family-friendly with water slides and a lazy river, movies on the lawn, s’mores each night by the fire pit, and many other resort activities geared towards kids. We booked it on points when it was still a category 4 Hyatt property, but it’s since been moved up to a category 5, meaning standard award nights will cost 20K Hyatt points/night.

 

Hyatt Hill Country Resort is such a great family resort

 

July

In July, we took a family trip to London and Paris! It was our first time being back in Europe since before the pandemic, and it felt good to be back.

On the way there, we flew business class on Singapore Airlines direct from Houston to Manchester. It was my first time flying business class, and it did not disappoint. We love Singapore Airlines because all four major banks transfer to Singapore, so it’s really easy to rack up many Singapore miles.

We then took a train to London and stayed at the Andaz London Liverpool Street. Because most hotels in London limit room occupancy to two people, we had to get two rooms for our family of three. Luckily the Hyatt Family Plan rate came in handy, and we could book the first room on points and the second room for 50% off the standard rate. You can read all about the Hyatt Family Plan rate here.

 

We love the Hyatt Family Plan rate

 

After exploring London for a few days, we headed to Paris on the Eurostar. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Paris, which was a bucket list hotel for me, and my husband still says it’s his favorite hotel we’ve ever stayed at. We couldn’t get over how big the closet was! The Park Hyatt Paris is a category 8 property, so it’s definitely a splurge, but it was worth it for us! Be sure to check out my full review of the Park Hyatt Paris.

We then traveled from Paris back to Manchester via train and flew home in economy on Singapore Airlines. We used Singapore miles to cover everything but the taxes, of course!

 

Our closet at the Park Hyatt Paris

 

August

Next up, in August, I joined the Travel Hacking Mom team, and we celebrated with a trip to the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. I still dream about that Globalist breakfast and already have plans to return with my family in spring 2023!

 

Brown table with white plates containing food

The breakfast at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach was amazing.

 

September

In September, my best friend and I took a dream trip to Greece. We flew round-trip from Houston to Athens on Turkish Airlines in business class and stayed 7 nights at Hyatt luxury hotels in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini for almost nothing! It was magical, and I can’t believe we did it for next to nothing.

 

Turkish Airlines business class flight to Greece

 

I wrote all about how we booked our flights in business class for only 90K Turkish Airlines miles round-trip, so make sure you check that out! You can also read my review of the hotel we stayed at in Mykonos, Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa.

 

Girl relaxing on lounge chair overlooking pool and marina

Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa

 

 

October

In October, I went to Cabo with my daughter and oldest stepdaughter, and we had a blast! We stayed at The Cape using Hyatt points. We were able to score four nights at off-peak pricing for only 21K Hyatt points/night. Standard award nights will run you 25K points/night. The views from our balcony were amazing, and the food was delicious! We found a great deal on Southwest Airlines, so we used Southwest points to fly from Houston to Cabo.

 

Our suite upgrade thanks to being Hyatt Globalist

 

Later in October, I flew to Seattle to meet up with a few girlfriends for a couple of nights. I used United miles for my flight from Houston to Seattle. We stayed at the Thompson and actually paid cash because rates were pretty low (and we were splitting it four ways, making it an even better deal!), but using Hyatt points is an option, and you’ll spend 20K points/night for standard award availability. We loved the heated rooftop bar!

 

Thompson Seattle rooftop bar

 

December

Lastly, in December, I met up with Alex and Pam at the Andaz Mayakoba for a THM retreat. We loved the property, and it was a good mix of work + relaxation. We celebrated some big accomplishments from 2022 and set our goals for 2023. We can’t wait for you to see all that we have in store for you!

 

We loved the Mayakoba area.

 

A large portion of the trips I took in 2022 was made even better by having Hyatt Globalist status. Between free breakfasts, room upgrades, and late check-out, I got thousands of dollars in value from having Hyatt’s top-tier status. You can read more about how I achieved Globalist status without staying 60 nights here.

 

Cards Opened in 2022

In 2022 I opened 6 cards, and Ted opened 7 cards.

Jess’s Cards:

Ted’s Cards:

 

Altogether, from welcome offers on the cards we opened in 2022, we will have earned 1,095,000 points. That does not include any points earned from meeting the minimum spend or points from referring each other to those cards.

 

Cards Canceled/Downgraded in 2022

 

Plans for 2023

Here are the trips I have booked for 2023 so far

  • Amsterdam & Bruges
  • St. Kitts
  • Kauai
  • Disney Cruise to the Bahamas
  • Huntington Beach
  • Italy (Lake Como, Venice, Florence)
  • Big Sur
  • Chicago
  • Australia (Sydney & Melbourne)
  • Istanbul
  • London

 

Bottom Line

Many of the trips I took in 2022 would not have been possible without points. My family and I could never afford to stay at luxury hotels or fly business class without points and miles! Think this all sounds too good to be true? Think again! We can’t wait to see where points and miles take you in 2023!

 

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