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Readers' choice winners in hotels and travel at the 2021 TPG Awards

Nov. 08, 2021
5 min read
Featured image for Readers' Choice awards during Travel Week at the 2021 TPG Awards
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Our first order of business here during Travel Week at the 2021 TPG Awards is to hand out some hardware — namely to those candidates our readers felt were worthy of honors this year. After five weeks of voting — which ran from Sept. 13 through Oct. 15 — the results are in for the readers' choice awards, and we're starting with the hotel and travel recipients (before moving onto cruise lines in our next announcement).

Read on for the winners of the first four awards for Travel Week.

Best Hotel Loyalty Program

Despite a summer surge in travel, operations are still not back to normal for many hotels — and many loyalty programs continue to tweak their offerings in recognition of the ongoing struggle. And TPG readers felt that one program stood above the others.

Winner: Marriott Bonvoy

The Marriott Bonvoy program took home honors as the best hotel loyalty program around, according to TPG readers. With a massive global footprint covering 7,000+ properties across 131 countries and territories, you'd be hard-pressed to visit a destination and not have a Marriott property within easy reach. Participating brands in the program run from high-end ones like St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton to budget options like Fairfield Inn and Towneplace Suites, providing an array of choices for all types of travelers.

Now, it's worth noting that voting for this award wrapped up prior to the most recent announcements from the program — namely plans to move away from award charts (along with further extensions to point expiration, certificates and Suite Night Awards). It's impossible to say how this would've affected readers' opinions on the Marriott Bonvoy program — since voting took place before the news broke — but for now, it's regaining the award that it won in both 2018 and 2019.

Read more: 10 Marriott properties to book now before the award chart disappears

Best Hotel Elite Status

In prior years, the winner of the award for best hotel program also took home the honors for hotel elite status — and this year is no different.

Winner: Marriott Bonvoy Titanium

Marriott's highest status (without a spending requirement) was voted as the best hotel elite status out there by TPG readers. While many travelers did take to the road again in 2021, options were still a bit limited — and Marriott chose to double down on the initial status extensions it announced in 2020.

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First, existing elites were given a significant head start on requalification, and then last month's announcement included yet another year-long extension to status. In short, Titanium is likely within reach for many who wouldn't otherwise qualify — including a second set of Choice Benefits, along with suite upgrades at Ritz-Carlton properties and United Premier Silver status via the RewardsPlus partnership.

Related: 6 reasons I’m striving for higher Marriott Bonvoy status this year

Best US National Park

For the first time, we added a destination-themed award to the lineup — and in a year where outdoor activities reigned supreme, it seemed fitting to give it to the best national park (at least, according to readers).

Winner: Grand Canyon National Park

The first-ever winner of this award is Grand Canyon National Park, one of the most spectacular sites in the country. It may not be the easiest park to reach, but once there, the array of hiking, viewpoints and natural beauty makes it all worthwhile. Lodging choices run the gamut from basic campsites to simple lodges all the way up to "glamping" options — but be sure to book far in advance to make sure you have enough of a selection.

Note that the park does have seasonal variations in the weather (and crowds), so you'll want to plan your visit carefully — but clearly many TPG readers have already done so, pushing it to the top of the heap.

Related: A mom-and-me trip to the Grand Canyon trip with 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Best Luggage Brand

The final travel-related award was for the best luggage brand, an honor we gave out in 2019 but paused in 2020. It's back this year, and a familiar name rose to the top.

Winner: Samsonite

Many TPG staffers have very strong opinions on which luggage is best, but readers showed a strong preference for the reliability and affordability of Samsonite, one of the most recognized brands out there. It may not carry the caché of a Rimowa or Tumi or Away suitcase, but with a nationwide network of outlets and authorized retailers, it's easy to purchase the company's wide variety of suitcases and accessories.

Related: 9 great suitcases worth the checked-bag fee

Bottom line

Some familiar names took home honors during Travel Week here at the 2021 TPG Awards — but we're not done yet. Stay tuned for our next announcement (for cruise-related awards), and then tune in to our Facebook Live on Thursday at noon Eastern Time, as we break down whether readers got it right or dropped the ball in their selections.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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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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TPG featured card

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023