Our favorite travel rewards for 2023


two men sitting at a table with drinksIn 2023, our travels returned to full speed ahead and have collectively taken us all around the world. This week on Frequent Miler on the Air, we look back at our favorite points and miles redemptions of 2023 and favorites of all time (and yes, Greg did make it on to QSuites and had rave reviews!).

Elsewhere on the blog this week, read about the big news that Alaska wants to buy Hawaiian, an unfortunate change to Marriott free night certificates, your end of year checklist, and why you might want to be booking all of your hotels through Booking.com right now.

This week’s podcast

00:00 Intro
01:35 Giant Mailbag
04:10 Travel Talk
04:28 Alaska wants to buy Hawaiian Airlines
12:00 Tim’s successful EU261 claim
14:33 Card Talk: Hawaiian Airlines credit cards
22:30 Award Talk: Avianca customer service might be better than its reputation suggests.
29:30 Main Event: Our favorite travel rewards of 2023
31:05 Party of 5 (ANA First Class and LATAM Business Class)
35:34 Qatar QSuites (maybe)
37:06 British Airways Club World Suites
39:35 Air France business class
42:01 Turkish Airlines business class
47:24 Our all-time favorite flight awards
47:31 Etihad First Class Apartments
48:08 Old Singapore Suites / ANA First Class flight
50:29 Our favorite hotel redemptions of 2023
50:38 Eichert’s Private Hotel in Queenstown, NZ (SLH via Hyatt) 52:11 Grand Hotel Victoria in Menaggio, Italy (on Lake Como) (SLH via Hyatt)
54:13 Kona Seaside Yacht Villa through Vacasa (Wyndham Rewards) 57:27 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida
1:00:57 Greg honorable mentions: VIlla Copenhagen; Kimpton Fitzroy; Ventana Big Sur, Inn at Bay Harbor
1:02:57 Comfort Hotel Bolivar in Rome, Hyatt Regency Nice
1:04:44 Our all-time favorite hotel awards
1:05:48 Necker Island
1:09:36 St Regis Bora Bora
1:13:14 Non-flight or hotel rewards
1:13:30 BLADE helicopter flight
1:15:45 Cruising for free thanks to casino status matching
1:20:11 Question of the Week: Which cards are worth getting in the hopes that they get grandfathered?

We publish Frequent Miler on the Air each week in both video form (above) and as an audio podcast. People love listening to the podcast while driving, working-out, etc. Please check it out and subscribe. Our podcast is available on all popular podcast platforms, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and many more.

Alternatively, you can listen to the podcast online here.

This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

Alaska Airlines is buying Hawaiian Airlines. Is it a Christmas miracle or a bah humbug?

a collage of airplanes in the sky

In an intriguing surprise move, Alaska is making a play to buy Hawaiian Airlines. Before having a chance to think about it, I might have called this a total snoozer, but Tim quickly pointed out Hawaiian’s relatively robust South Pacific route network. Given Alaska’s free stopover on a one-way award, I am already imagining my stop in Hawaii en route to Bora Bora — though this isn’t yet a done deal. Read more with Tim’s full analysis.

Marriott Rules for extending free nights

a hotel entrance with a street and a building

Sad news on the Marriott front: Free night certificates, long-extendable by request with the right phone agent, now appear to be almost entirely unextendible. While we had recently received information from an insider about how extensions work, it seems that a new memo has gone out instructing agents to deny extensions across the board. While there have been one or two reports of readers with truly extenuating circumstances getting an extension after the “deadline” earlier this week, I definitely wouldn’t count on being able to extend a Marriott free night certificate moving forward. This was never a guarantee, but now it seems like a nearly guaranteed denial.

End of Year Checklist for 2023

a hand holding a marker and a check box

Greg’s done his part and made a list, so now it’s your turn to check it twice: make sure you use all your credits (I really need to get this part done!), choose your choice benefits, apply for Amex cards, pool your points, and get it all done by New Year’s Eve.

Wow. Lufthansa Miles & More is giving 30x miles on Booking.com reservations

a close-up of a seat

Once you’re done with the end of year checklist, you might want to pour some time into planning out 2023 hotel stays — because Lufthansa Miles & More is offering a whopping 30 miles per Euro spent on Booking.com reservations. We don’t often write about Miles & More because they don’t partner with any of the major transferable currencies, but they have some nice sweet spots that could make the rebate here feel yuge. The biggest trouble is going to be making sure you can earn enough miles not to need to top off since that’s kind of a pain.

Free stay at Conrad Las Vegas / Resorts World via Ocean Prime status match

a room with a bed and a chair

At this point, thanks to Atlantic City status matching shenanigans, my wife and I have gotten thousands of dollars in free cruises. Now we’re about to throw down with another $800-$1,000 or more in value thanks to another Atlantic City status perk: a free 2-night stay at Conrad Las Vegas, which also comes with $100 in dining credit and $100 in Freeplay. Booking a holiday weekend with this was surprisingly smooth and easy. We have to be in Las Vegas for a weekend event, so this is saving us hundreds of dollars and since we’ve both booked rooms, we’ll also end up with $200 in total dining credit and $200 in Freeplay. I’d say we’ve won before even touching down.

Park Hyatt Vienna Diplomat Suite Premium Suite Award: Bottom Line Review

a screen shot of a building

The Park Hyatt Vienna has a very strong reputation among points and miles enthusiasts. After my recent stay, I can see why. The hotel looks and feels luxurious and my experiences with customer service were excellent. A couple of readers in the comments noted differing customer service experience, but several others found the welcome warm and employees helpful. Given the easy access to multiple Christmas markets, I would 100% stay here again even though I could use far fewer points to stay elsewhere — though I may not go for the premium suite next time as I’m not sure it’s worth the premium over a standard suite (or standard room).

World of Hyatt Complete Guide

a room with a couch and chairs

With a number of changes coming in 2024, our complete guide to World of Hyatt has been updated with information about the coming integration with Mr. & Mrs Smith, new milestone rewards, new paths to elite status, and more. Bookmark this resource for reference.

Are you keeping your Hilton Aspire Card (and what are your bold 2024 predictions) – Ask Us Anything Ep 62

Are you keeping your Hilton Aspire Card - Ask Us Anything Ep 62

We had our first Gregless Ask Us Anything this week as Greg was en route to South Africa for vacation, but I’d say that the rest of us did our best to hold down the fort by answering as many of your questions as we could. Check the recap for more from our monthly Q&A.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler, but make sure to keep an eye on last chance deals to get the good stuff before it’s gone.


Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

It doesn’t fit the bill exactly, but my favorite place to use my Hyatt Cat1-4 FNCs as a west coaster is Waikiki. The hotels aren’t really resorts, but the FNCs are great value there. Also, with the beach and so much more within walking distance, you can reasonably spend your entire vacation there without leaving the area.


A little known benefit of the Hawaiian Airlines credit card is a discount on economy award redemptions. The discount is almost always available and typically equates to 12.5% savings of points. No idea why Hawaiian / Barclays fail to emphasize this benefit, but it has been around for years.