Pam’s 2021 Travel Hacking Year in Review

Pam

Here is my travel hacking year in review for 2021. Despite there still being a lot of Covid and variations of it going around, I got in quite a lot of travel. The thing that made 2021 different was all the testing and precautions that took place due to COVID. At this point, I feel like I am the queen of Covid testing!!! I have had almost 20 tests with my travels this past year.

Mexico

I traveled to Mexico five times this year. No testing was needed to go there but I had to test to get back in the United States. I went three times to the Riviera Maya, once to Cancun, and once to Puerto Vallarta. Four of these trips were stays where I used timeshare exchanges and one stay I used Hyatt points. I usually travel on United to Mexico because it is nonstop for me. I absolutely could have used miles but I don’t like to use miles for cheap seats. We absolutely loved our stay at the Ziva Cancun and plan to go back in June with the rest of our families.

Turks and Caicos

My husband and I used miles to go to Turks and Caicos in March. This place is absolutely gorgeous and I would highly recommend a trip there. The most beautiful turquoise water and white sand – pure heaven!

Maui

Alex invited us to go to Maui with her on a great trip including a stay at the Hyatt Residence Club using her points – how cool is that? We got to hang out with our four cute grandsons and we only paid taxes and fees for our flights and food. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Greece and Italy

My sister and I had an amazing trip to Greece and Italy that included business class seats, free hotels, and plenty of fun sister memories. We stayed at my favorite Hyatt luxury hotel in Lake Como and visited 5 different cities.

Aruba

I went with a good friend to Aruba and we used her Marriott points for our hotel stays. For years, before I introduced her to the points and miles, we used my rewards. It is nice of her to reciprocate now that she has jumped into the points and miles game. The people in Aruba are the nicest and it is a very safe island to travel around.

Disneyland

Three of my daughters and I used points and miles to travel to Disneyland and take ten – yes 10, of my grandchildren with us. It was a wild and crazy time and we all had so much fun.

Machu Picchu

My husband and I took a group tour to Peru with the primary goal of visiting Machu Picchu. We flew there and back in first-class – my husband loves this! We also used points for three nights in a hotel before the tour started.

London

The ability to use miles to travel to London for a family emergency this year was a primary reason I love a good stockpile. I love that I can go at a moment’s notice and never have to hesitate.

Sarasota, Florida

We kept our mother-daughters trip close to home this year. We met in Sarasota, Florida, and used miles to fly there and points to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. It was so much fun being together, finding the best restaurants (we are major foodies), and enjoying tons of laughter.

San Diego

I finished the year off with a weekend in San Diego with Alex where we stayed at the Hyatt Andaz on points. We had a great time meeting with other female travel hackers! The Gaslamp Quarter is an amazing location for exploring. One of my favorite finds was the Izola Bakery – the hippest bakery ever! They even had a quartet playing Saturday morning! And the Tahitian Vanilla Rolls were amazing!

People sitting at red tables

Wow! My 2021 travel hacking year in review includes 13 trips! That is crazy and one of those trips included visiting two countries. Gotta admit that 5 of those trips were over a 2 months time period and I was pretty exhausted at one point. However, once I was rested for a couple of weeks, I was ready to plan another trip!

Credit Cards Opened

Of course, I opened several new credit cards in 2021. I’m all about those signup offers as a mainstay of my credit card points and miles balance. Don’t fall for that common travel hacker misconception and just get one card and use it for everything. Credit cards opened between my husband and myself include:

All in all, I’ve earned about 1.1 million points this year, not counting the referral bonuses we’ve earned by my husband and I referring to each other. My 2021 travel hacking year in review is a great time to count up those points and miles earned!

Plans for 2022 Travel

Currently, I have planned the following points and miles travel:

  • Tanzania and Zanzibar for February of 2022- Using hotels points for Zanzibar and miles for business class seats for all travel. We bought a cheap Travel Zoo safari for the Tanzania safari at the Taasa Lodge.
  • The Big Island of Hawaii for a trip with two grandsons using our timeshare. We will use companion passes for travel from Alaska Airlines.
  • Maldives – currently in the planning stages.
  • Back to the Hyatt Ziva Cancun
  • Mom-Daughters trip for Spring. We are still booking this but the plan is Croatia and Italy. I will also do a stopover in London on this trip to see grandchildren
  • Sisters trip- probably Vancouver Island.
  • Alex and I to Grand Cayman Island to use IHG points.
  • Alex and I to San Antonio for a content trip.

Last year we signed up for 13 credit cards between the two of us! Wow, that is a lot! I probably won’t be able to match that but you can be sure that I will be signing up for 8-10 between my hubby and myself. Those great welcome offers are hard to pass up!

I am sure I will plan 2-3 other trips. I have a couple of friends I always travel with and I’m sure Alex and I will plan some content trips. One thing is for sure, I love to travel and the ability to use points and miles allows me to travel all over the world. I will forever be grateful for this wonderful hobby!

Bottom Line

Despite problems with the pandemic continuing, I traveled a lot and earned a lot of points with welcome offers and using my credit cards. I continue with a credit score of over 800 as does my husband. I look forward to more trips and more points in 2022. Reach out to us with a DM on Instagram or through email at pam@travelhackingmom.com to make 2022 your best year ever with credit card points and miles!

White sand, turquoise waters in Aruba

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