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TPG Readers Share Their Best Redemptions of 2017

Dec. 24, 2017
7 min read
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As 2017 winds down, we've been taking stock of the year's best and worst airline moments, credit card highlights and lowlights and more. We're also reflecting on the most exciting ways we used points and miles to enjoy first-class flights, luxurious hotel stays and other redemptions that would cost thousands if we paid in cash.

But we want to know about your best redemptions, too, which is why we asked readers to share their personal favorites in the TPG Lounge. Here are some of the standouts. (Some comments have been lightly edited for clarification.)

Top-Notch Value

4 cents per point in value at the W Barcelona. Photo by Jared G. via the TPG Lounge.

"80,000 SPG points for 5 nights at the W Barcelona in September. Rooms were going for $650/night. 4 cents/point value not including the $200 in Platinum benefits and the property was spectacular." — Jared G.

"Four nights at [the] Hyatt Regency in downtown Boston for May 2018 for 60k. Price without points was around $1,550." — Daniel Y.

"3 First class Bangkok {BKK}-Hong Kong {HKG)-New York (JFK) on Cathay Pacific First for 210,000 Alaska air miles....Cost to purchase....@$44,000 USD. Great flights!" — Eric F.

"7 nights at the Austin, TX Holiday Inn during South By Southwest. Rooms going for $800/night, I got 'em for 25k IHG points." — Abe S.

"Might be the 25K Marriott points for New Year's Eve in midtown Manhattan when rooms in NYC are going for $800-$2000/night." — Brian S.

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Singapore's double bed suite on the A380.

"Singapore Suites from Singapore (SIN) to Sydney (SYD) for 80K Chase points on the A380 all to myself! Not a single person up front, just little old me." — Jonathan F.

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"Two first class tickets on Korean Air from Sydney to New York through Seoul (ICN) for 120k Ultimate Rewards points apiece! 23 hours of first class!" — Chris C.

"80k Delta A350 Suites Atlanta (ATL)-Seoul. Can’t wait to fly!" — Scott M.

"93,750 Membership Rewards for SQ [Singapore] Suites class from Singapore-Frankfurt (FRA)-New York (JFK)." — Suprotik P.

Special Occasions

A family trip to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Photo by Jonathan B. via the TPG Lounge.

"Took family of four to Italy on points just a couple weeks ago." — Jonathan B.

"30k CSR [Chase Sapphire Reserve] points for a $500 room at the Four Seasons in Baltimore. Great value? Monetarily, no. But it let me get a room at the last minute so I could enjoy my b-school reunion, which was priceless." — Stephanie C.

"4 Atlanta (ATL)-Naples, Italy (NAP) for 200k Flying Blue points in June so some of my wife's family could be at our wedding in Amalfi. Great value (2.6 cents per mile) but more importantly great memories: the wedding itself of course but the trip was also the first time out of the country for the four of them! As a bonus the layover in Paris was long enough for them to see the Eiffel Tower." — Joseph R.

"UA [United] 747 Party Flight! Not a huge redemption, but one I wouldn’t have traded for the world!" — Cameron L.

"Honeymoon! Went round the world business New York (JFK)-Maldives on Qatar and Cathay for 280k AA miles. Saved $1,900 with Citi Prestige 4th Night Free for hotels." — Chris F.

Bucket List Trips

A bucket list trip on Virgin Atlantic to Africa. Photo by Kristina C. via the TPG Lounge.

"A few years ago my husband designed the bar for the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. He didn't get the chance to fly on the delivery flight and was super gutted about it. So I promised him that one day I'd devise a strategy to get us Upper Class tickets on the Virgin Dreamliner. After transferring 100,000 UR points to Virgin Atlantic, I secured us 2 tickets London (LHR) to Johannesburg (JNB). Not only that...he was born in South Africa and hadn't returned since 2006. I, personally, hadn't returned since 2004. Not only was the trip super emotional already, but this was my graduation gift to him because he just graduated from MIT a week before the trip." — Kristina C.

"Used a combo of Southwest points, Companion Pass and Hilton points to visit 9 MLB ballparks with my son on our quest to see all 30. Only five left to go." — Tim C.

"Saw 6 European football matches in 9 days across 5 cities. American Airlines Business class on the 777-300ER for the way there, and Singapore Business class on the A350 for the return. Thanks, TPG!" — Paul G.

And... Hawaii!

The view from Kapalua Villas in Maui. Photo by Patrick H. via the TPG Lounge.

"Six nights in this place at Kapalua Villas in Maui for 80,000 Chase points." — Patrick H.

"A 10-day vacation in Kauai and The Big Island, Hawaii, for less than $500. Used 70,000 UR for a Singapore flight on United from Houston (IAH)-Kailua/Kona (KOA)-Lihue/Kauai (LIH)-Honolulu (HNL)-Houston with a stopover in Kona for 4 days. Bought my wife and I upgraded seats for the flight for $500 (got this refunded since the in-flight entertainment was malfunctioning). Booked a rental property through the Chase UR portal in Kona for 42,000 UR points via the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Also booked a rental property in Kauai through the Chase UR portal for 56,000 UR points using the same method. Finally booked cars on both islands for 18,500 UR through the portal as well. All in we spent 176,500 UR points and then $492 in some fees and groceries/dinners. Without those points we would have spent more than $6,000 on the trip. Not a bad redemption value!" — Drew B.

"90k United miles return to Maui, plus Ultimate Rewards for 10 nights at Marriott Wailea Beach Resort with the Mrs!" — Mike D.

"It’s technically for 2018, but two Delta One round trip flights Los Angeles (LAX)-Honolulu, 5 nights in a Hyatt at Waikiki, and a Drop Top Mustang...161K UR points/$97.40 taxes and fees...Could have been cheaper, but $75 of the total was for my Hyatt Card anniversary." — Randall W.

"Hyatt credit card sign up bonus for both hubby and I = 4 nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai." — Christie R.

Bottom Line

If you don't believe you can travel for nearly free using points and miles, well... as they say, the proof is in the pudding. So don't let 2018 pass you by without learning how to maximize airline, hotel and bank loyalty programs, and hopefully by this time next year, you'll have your own great redemption story to share.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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