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9 trips TPG staffers have booked with points and miles for travel in 2023

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The quest to maximize points and miles has inspired thousands of TPG posts. Whether you’re new to points, miles and credit cards or want to improve your mileage redemption strategies, we likely have plenty of articles for you.

Like many TPG readers, some TPG staffers spend their free time searching for high-value hotel awards and flight award availability for their own travel. Here’s a look at nine award trips TPG staffers have booked for travel in 2023.

Hola, Buenos Aires

Aeromexico Business Class seat on the 787-9
Aeromexico business class seat on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. ANDREW KUNESH/THE POINTS GUY

Buenos Aires is one of my favorite cities. However, it’s known for having limited business-class award flight options.

Luckily, this year I’m leveraging LifeMiles’ lesser-known partnership with Aeromexico to travel on one of the few daytime flights to Argentina in business class from Mexico City International Airport (MEX) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport (EZE).

The one-way flight costs 52,500 miles and $95 in taxes and fees. Avianca LifeMiles routinely sells its miles with a generous bonus, so I purchased 52,800 LifeMiles for $726.This nine-hour business class flight will cost me a total of $821, while cash rates for the same seat cost $3,587 on Aeromexico’s website.

Kyle Olsen, points and miles reporter

Related: ¡Viva México! A review of Aeromexico’s business class on the 787-9 from Mexico City to Buenos Aires

Using points and miles for the best seats in the skies

Singapore Airlines New Airbus A380 Suites First Class
Suites on Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The news of Singapore Airlines swapping its Airbus A380 for a Boeing 777-330ER on the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) route — and thus eliminating its luxurious Suites product from the U.S. — gave me serious FOMO (fear of missing out).

I searched Singapore KrisFlyer and was happy to find Advantage space on the Frankfurt to New York route for 143,500 miles before Singapore pulls its A380 from the route in May. I transferred Amex Membership Rewards points to KrisFlyer for this booking.

To get to Europe, I found Emirates business class award space on the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Athens International Airport (ATH) fifth-freedom flight for 70,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points.

With Aeroplan, you can add a stopover for an additional 5,000 points, so I decided to make Athens my stopover. I’ll continue to Malta on Aegean Airlines after spending a few days in Athens.

I transferred 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan for this booking. I will likely either redeem miles or find an inexpensive cash one-way ticket from Malta to Frankfurt for the Singapore Airlines flight back to the U.S.

Also, since I live in Texas, I will likely redeem miles for my positioning flights to and from the New York City area.

Senitra Horbrook, credit cards editor

Related: Did your credit card points just get more valuable? Air Canada and Emirates expand partnership

Austrian charm

Salzburg in autumn

My family is planning a reunion in Austria, so I spent some time over the holiday break arranging award flights. I was worried about finding availability since we are locked into a specific week in  August due to everyone’s schedules.

I was thrilled to use United MileagePlus miles and British Airways Avios to secure well-timed flight pairings for my nieces flying out of Washington, D.C. They’ll fly Austrian Airlines in economy class to Vienna Airport (VIE) for 33,000 miles and $41.30 each. Aer Lingus will ferry them home for 27,500 Avios plus $211.55.

My husband and I opted to fly business class, and I was happy to score one-way flights (United and Austrian Airlines in one direction and Austrian and Lufthansa in the other) for 66,000 MileagePlus miles plus about $100 per person each way.

Now, I need to add my nieces as authorized users on The Platinum Card® from American Express so that they can gain lounge access during this trip. After all, it costs just $175 to add up to three authorized users on this card (see rates and fees).

Andrea Rotondo, director of content

Related: Why you should add authorized users on your Amex Platinum

Southeast Asian luxury

EVA business class
EVA’s newest business-class product on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Over the new year, I booked a two-week trip to Japan and Vietnam, my first trip to Asia in over three years. I redeemed 65,000 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles for a one-way Japan Airlines business class flight to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN).

I’m using the Mileage Plan free stopover in Tokyo to visit Disneyland. I also used my $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts/The Hotel Collection credit from The Platinum Card® from American Express to book a three-night stay at a luxury hotel in Hanoi.

On the way home, I’ll fly EVA in business class from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). I booked this using my favorite frequent flyer currency, 75,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points.

Matt Moffitt, senior credit cards editor

Related: 7 reasons EVA Air is the most overlooked transpacific business-class option

Heavenly honeymoon

Room at the Hyatt Regency Bali
Room at the Hyatt Regency Bali in Indonesia. HYATT

My wife and I are headed on our honeymoon in 2023 to Hanoi, Bali and Singapore.

We transferred Amex points to Singapore KrisFlyer to book flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Hanoi via Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), flights from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) to Singapore and then flights from Singapore back to New York.

Best of all, our flights should all be in lie-flat business-class seats.

Ben Glidden, director of integrated marketing

Related: Comparing the world’s 2 longest flights in Singapore business class

Barbados done right

Side of a JetBlue jet in Mexico

I’ve been planning a weeklong trip to Barbados with my husband for summer 2023 using points and miles I collected during the pandemic. This will be our first international trip since 2019.

I booked our Even More Space seats on JetBlue flights between JFK and Bridgetown’s Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) with a combination of TrueBlue points I’d earned by flying and Citi ThankYou points I earned with my Citi Premier® Card.

We’ll take Amtrak between New York and Washington, D.C. before and after our flights. However, to give us enough time, I booked one-night stays at a Marriott by JFK and a Kimpton by Penn Station using Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards points.

While we’re in Barbados, we’ll stay at the Fairmont. I plan to book this stay soon through Capital One Travel. To help pay for this stay, I’ll redeem Capital One miles I’ve collected over the years from a no-annual-fee card and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card I added to my wallet late last year.

Depending on how many more Capital One miles I’ll earn in the next couple of months, I may also use some to pay myself back for our Amtrak tickets.

Christine Gallipeau, coordinating editor

Related: Ouch: It’s not just you, Marriott stays now cost more points

New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji

View from a Fiji Airways plane. RYAN SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

My schedule is packed with a wide variety of travel this year. One trip I’m especially excited about is New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji.

My husband and I redeemed 60,000 United miles plus $46.20 per person to fly Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in United domestic first, Houston to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) in United Polaris business and Sydney to Wellington International Airport (WLG) in Air New Zealand economy.

We’re keeping our time in New Zealand flexible as we hope to snag an inexpensive RV rental to explore the country. However, we’ve booked freely cancellable hotels as a backup if we can’t find a good campervan relocation rental.

For our return to the states, we redeemed 55,000 Alaska miles and $108.87 per person to fly from Auckland Airport (AKL) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Fiji Airways business with a stopover in Fiji.

While in Fiji, we’ll stay in simple lodging booked through Airbnb on either side of a two-night stay at Hyatt’s Nanuku Resort (where we redeemed 30,000 Hyatt points plus a Category 1 through 7 free night certificate).

Katie Genter, senior points and miles writer

Related: Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from the US to Australia with a stop in Fiji

Did someone say “hockey?”

United Airlines economy class on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
United Airlines economy class on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While it’s a simpler trip than many others discussed in this story, I redeemed United miles for a flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to see the NHL Stadium Series game at Carter Finley Stadium.

Taylor Stephenson, technical project manager

Related: Redeem for sports events, concerts and more through Marriott Bonvoy Moments

Dedicated to the northern lights

northern lights over hotel
Northern lights above a hotel. SMALL LUXURY HOTELS

My wife is still trying to see the northern lights for the first time. I’ve seen it twice, but we struck out on previous trips to Alaska and northern Sweden.

We had an Alaska Airlines companion fare expiring recently, so we used this to book another trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, in mid-March 2023, which we’ve read is peak viewing time for the aurora.

We redeemed World of Hyatt points for five nights at a Hyatt Place, which cost us just 6,500 points per night.

Ryan Smith, credit cards writer

Related: 4 lessons learned from searching for the northern lights above the Arctic Circle

Bottom line

Points and miles inspire trips for many travelers, including many on the TPG staff.

Whether it’s a complicated booking leveraging the best transferable points currencies to book premium-cabin seats on a partner airline with a free stopover or just a simple trip to a sporting match, each of us uses points and miles for what’s important to us.

With frequent devaluations, points and miles are historically a bad long-term investment. We recommend keeping to an “earn it and burn it” philosophy. In other words, let 2023 be the year where you’ll have lots of fun with your points and miles.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.