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Recapping the winners and everything else from Travel Week at the 2021 TPG Awards

Nov. 12, 2021
7 min read
Featured photo for the 2021 TPG Awards
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Travel Week at the 2021 TPG Awards is officially in the books. After kicking things off with Airlines Week, this week saw us take a deep dive into the broader travel industry, including hotels, destinations and cruising. These segments of the industry faced their own unique challenges in 2021, but there was a lot to celebrate — and a lot to look forward to in 2022.

Once again, we launched a bunch of content across our site and social channels — and we also revealed this year’s award winners — so read on for what you may have missed this week.

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Monday Nov. 8

Like last week, we started things off by announcing our readers’ choice award winners. Here again we had two separate articles going live. One covered hotels, destinations and travel; the other focused on cruises.

And the winners were ...

  • Best Hotel Loyalty Program: Marriott Bonvoy
  • Best Hotel Elite Status: Marriott Bonvoy Titanium
  • Best U.S. National Park: Grand Canyon
  • Best Luggage Brand: Samsonite
  • Best Big-Ship Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
  • Best Mid-Sized Ship Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line
  • Best Small-Ship Cruise Line: Viking
  • Best River Cruise Line: Viking
  • Best Cruise Loyalty Program: Royal Caribbean (Crown & Anchor Society)

There was a lot of chatter on our social channels once these were announced, so if you want to weigh in on whether your favorites made the list, be sure to check out The Points Guy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for everything related to these honors.

Crystal Endeavor took home the editors' choice award as the best new expedition ship. (Image courtesy of Crystal Cruises.)

Tuesday Nov. 9

Day 2 of Travel Week saw the first editors’ choice award of 2021, as we handed out a trophy honoring the best new expedition cruise ship of the year. With the cruise industry back sailing, one line launched a brand-new vessel that completely transforms the passenger experience — Crystal Cruises and its new Endeavor ship.

Read more: First look at Crystal Endeavor, the stylish new expedition cruise ship from luxury line Crystal Cruises

Speaking of new ships, Tuesday also brought our 2022 look-ahead to the most exciting vessels that are scheduled to take to the waters next year. The fact that the industry was virtually shut down for 15 months didn’t stop lines from moving forward with new ships, so if you’re a cruiser, be sure to check out what's to come.

Wednesday Nov. 10

Another editors’ choice award was given out Wednesday, as our travel team recognized the most welcoming destination of 2021. Countries around the world faced a multitude of challenges with reopening their borders to tourists (as we saw with Hawaii last year). The surge of the delta variant over the summer led some to quickly pivot back to quarantines, but through it all, Greece stood above the rest as one spot that managed to welcome tourists with a blend of open arms and thoughtful measures.

Thursday Nov. 11

Our second-to-last day of Travel Week is a jam-packed one, beginning with our third editors’ choice award of the week, this one recognizing the best new cruise-ship cabin of the year. Lines are continuing to push the envelope with luxury and amenities in their swankiest suites — and this year’s winner tops them all.

The winner? Virgin Voyages Rockstar Massive Suites, the largest staterooms on the line's Scarlet Lady vessel. These opulent cabins blend luxurious amenities with musical touches — including a selection of axes and an amp.

Related: Virgin Voyages hopes to draw cruise newbies like me: Here’s my first impression from its first sailing

We also handed out a special honor on Thursday: the Making a Difference Award. This year, we recognized the Black Travel Alliance, an organization that’s made incredible strides toward creating a more diverse and equitable travel industry — a mission that’s wholly aligned with us here at TPG.

Thursday also brought our next reader story about a couple who celebrated a year apart by booking a dream trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, and we also highlighted the most exciting new tourist attractions around the world. Finally, we hosted our second Facebook Live of the 2021 awards, where I sat down with some of my colleagues to (once again) discuss the readers’ choice awards. One question was top of mind: Did the TPG audience get things right?

You can check out the full recording right here.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, won TPG's first-ever Empowerment Award. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Friday Nov. 12

Travel Week’s final day was another full one — beginning with another special honor: the Empowerment Award. The recipient was Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. The 35-year industry veteran has played a key role in empowering an important (yet historically underrepresented) group in the cruise industry: women. Her efforts included the promotion of Captain Kate McCue — the first American woman to helm a major cruise ship. And female seafarers now account for 27% of Celebrity's bridge officers.

And with travel moving closer and closer to pre-pandemic normalcy, we launched a pair of articles to consider the future of hotel loyalty along with the TPG 20 — our list of the best new hotels that have opened over the last year. If you're looking for a dose of wanderlust, check out that list as you gain some inspiration for your next vacation.

We capped it all off with an exciting live webinar — representing the return of TPG Talks. This series took a temporary hiatus in 2021, but several announcements in recent weeks (namely from Marriott and American) led to its return.

The overarching question we tackled is simple: Are loyalty programs even worth it anymore?

That may seem like a surprising sentiment coming from a site steeped in points-and-miles expertise with thousands of articles extolling the benefits of these programs. But nevertheless, it’s an important topic to consider — so if you missed it, be sure to check out the recording right here.

Bottom line

The first two weeks of the TPG Awards have been busy ones — but we have yet another one to come. Stay tuned for many exciting announcements, content and live sessions next week as we get started with Credit Cards Week.

If you don’t want to miss a thing, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, and then follow The Points Guy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases