I still can’t even believe 2023 happened. It was my first full year as a business owner/content creator (and without having to adhere to PTO limits like I did when I was at my 9-5). Alex and Pam are great business partners and allow me to travel whenever I want. 😜 I sure did take advantage of it! It was such a good mix of trips with family, girlfriends, and my husband. Here’s Jess’s 2023 Points and Miles Recap!
My first trip of 2023 was to the Park Hyatt St. Kitts with a couple of girlfriends. One was flying from Nashville and the other from Atlanta, so we decided St. Kitts would be the perfect meeting point for a warm getaway. We really enjoyed our stay at the Park Hyatt, and we even arranged a day trip to Nevis through the hotel (and got to check out Alexander Hamilton’s childhood home)! I flew on AA using AA miles and, of course, redeemed Hyatt points for our stay.
In February, I whisked Molly and my mom off to Kauai for an amazing stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. It was my first time staying at the Grand Hyatt, and it’s now one of my favorite Hyatts in the world. You can read more about our trip to Kauai here.
In March, we took a Disney cruise to the Bahamas for spring break. Not only that, I racked up tens of thousands of points in the process of paying off the cruise.
You can read more about the ultimate Disney Cruise credit card strategy here. Also, make sure to check out episode #22 of our podcat to hear all about my strategy to make this cruise happen!
In April, we spent Easter weekend at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. Alex, Pam, and I spent a weekend there in August 2022, and I loved it so much that I knew I needed to bring my family. The Regency is great for families and has pools, beach access, and fireside s’mores each night. It’s also not too far from Anaheim, so we did a day trip to Disneyland one day. We redeemed Southwest points for two of our flights (our daughter flew free as my companion). You can read our review of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach here.
In May, my husband and I went to Italy. It was both of our first times in Italy, and we had an amazing trip (minus the rain in Venice the entire time). We used Emirates miles for our flights to and from Milan, and redeemed Hyatt points for our stays in Lake Como and Florence. We redeemed Choice points (transferred from Citi) for our stay in Venice.
In June, my daughter and I took full advantage of her being out of school for the summer. My husband is a professor, who teaches summer school, so unfortunately he couldn’t tag along, but we made some great mommy/daughter memories!
We started summer break off at the Kimpton Seafire in Grand Cayman. Alex and Pam raved about their stay there, so I knew I had to check it out. It lived up to the hype! We used IHG points for our stay, and redeemed Southwest points for our flights (Molly flew as my companion). Make sure to check out our review of the Kimpton Seafire here.
In late June, we headed to Maui! It was our first time visiting Maui. While I prefer Kauai, we still had a great time. Again, we redeemed Southwest points for our flights (Molly flew as my companion). We spent three nights at the Hyatt Regency Maui followed by three nights at the Andaz Maui. Tune into episode #35 of our podcast to hear about which one I preferred!
In late July, we took a road trip from Houston to Chicago. We mostly used our time in Chicago to visit family, but we did stay downtown at the Thompson Chicago for four nights. We loved it!
In August, my stepdaughter Ella and I went to Australia! This was by far my favorite trip of 2023. We flew business class both ways on Qantas Airlines (booked via Cathay Pacific). We used Hyatt points for our stays at the Park Hyatt Sydney and Park Hyatt Melbourne. We used Hyatt category 1-4 free night certificates for our stay at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.
Tune into episode #42 of the podcast to hear all about our amazing trip down under!
In September, Alex and I headed to Secrets Impression Moxché. We absolutely loved it! We redeemed Hyatt points for our stay. It’s one of the pricier all-inclusives on points, but we think it’s totally worth it. I am not typically a fan of all-inclusives, but I can’t wait to return to Impression Moxché.
Tune into episode #46 of the podcast to hear more about our stay!
I had not one, not two, but three trips in October! 🤪
First, I spent a few nights in Cabo with a girlfriend at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal. I had some Hilton free night certificates to burn, so when availability opened up at this aspirational property, I quickly threw together a last-minute trip! While the stay was free, the food and activities at the resort were very pricey. Those free night certificates were an amazing value, though!
Next, my family hit the road and headed to Austin, Texas, to meet up with Alex and her family at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines. It was so fun introducing our families to each other, and we all had such a great time!
Check out episode #51 of the podcast to hear all about this trip.
Finally, in late October, I flew to Istanbul to meet up with some girlfriends. Afterwards, we headed to London. We had an amazing time! We flew Turkish Airlines business class to Istanbul for only 45K Turkish miles each, and we flew United Polaris home from London. We redeemed Hyatt points for our stay at the Park Hyatt Istanbul and IHG points for our stay at the Kimpton Fitzroy London.
Check out episode #53 of the podcast to hear all about visiting Istanbul on points.
In early December, Christmas came early for my mom! We flew to NYC for four nights and made some amazing memories. I redeemed Southwest points for my flight, and she flew as my companion. We spent the first two nights at Thompson Central Park (we redeemed Hyatt points for our stay, of course). We then took a page out of Pam’s book and hotel-hopped over to the Park Hyatt New York for our last two nights. Standard rooms at the PHNY go for over $1,500, so we got amazing value for our Hyatt points there.
Looking to visit NYC on points? Check out episode #33 of the podcast!
I ended 2023 with Alex and Pam at our annual retreat. At this retreat, we discuss the previous year, make goals for the next year, and, of course, get some massages as well! I used Southwest points to get from Houston to Phoenix, and we rented a car through Costco Travel for our drive to Scottsdale. We stayed at the Andaz Scottsdale and redeemed Hyatt points for our stay. Each of us really enjoyed it. It’s a great spot for a girls’ trip or couples’ trip.
In 2023, I opened 12 cards and Ted opened 7 cards. This is by far the most cards we’ve ever opened in one year!
All together, from welcome offers on the cards we opened in 2023, we will have earned over 2 million points. That does not include any points earned on meeting the minimum spend or points from referring each other to those cards.
We canceled or downgraded the following cards:
I’ve already booked the following (so far):
It’s going to be really tough to beat 2023. I know many of you are feeling the same! We love to hear about the travels you’re able to take (that you never thought possible), thanks to points and miles! Which trip are you most looking forward to in 2024? Tell us in the comments!
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