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

Nov 12, 2021

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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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In This Post

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.

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