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4 Bucket List Travel Rewards for 2021

With the introduction of vaccines, travelers are looking forward to traveling again.

And after more than a year Restrictions, Cancellations and postponed plans, many want to go big and book bucket list trips while the booking is good.

If you’re looking for a high-end redemption to burn off an accumulated pile of travel rewards, now is a good time to check for availability. Although there is still a lot of uncertainty – for example when countries reopen their borders – the availability of rewards will not last long in the second half of the year.

Here are four travel award redemptions for both flights and hotels that have been removed straight from the bucket lists of many point nerds like me.

1. USA to the Middle East in Qatar Business Class Qsuites for 70K Alaska miles

Qatar Airway’s Qsuite Business Class is high on many reward travelers’ must-fly lists. Offered on many multi-aircraft long-haul flights in Qatar, these suites include flat seats, privacy doors, and great food and drink.

Qatar is a American Airlines partnerand using American miles to book Middle East Qsuites awards is a bargain: American award table lists business class flights between the adjacent US and the Middle East at 70,000 miles each.

Most impressively, these seats will be widely used in the second half of 2021. In September we discovered that Qsuite was available daily between Seattle and Doha.

70,000 miles may sound like a lot, and it is, but it’s a relative bargain on a 14-hour business class flight that costs $ 8,338 round-trip for the same route and dates.

That corresponds to a value of almost 12 cents per mile, well above that 1 cent per mile Underlying NerdWallet give American miles.

2. Andaz Costa Rica hotel stays for 20,000 Hyatt points

Andaz Hotels are some of Hyatt’s trendiest and most luxurious hotels. In other words, they are expensive. Rooms at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort on the Papagayo Peninsula were $ 621 a night when we checked in in November 2021 – out of reach for most travelers.

And although Hyatt points Are some of the most valuable reward points out there (and shouldn’t be spent lightly), this redemption still offers above average value. The Andaz Costa Rica is “only” a category 5 hotel, so the regular award booking prices start at 20,000 points per night. Hyatt points are worth it 2 centsthis return offers an above-average value. In addition, it was widely used in the search.

3. JAL Business Class or First Class for 60-70,000 American miles

Japan Airlines (JAL) offers premium cabin experiences that travel experts drool over (literally – some of its lounges offer all-you-can-eat sushi). It’s also another American Airlines partner that makes finding and redeeming fares relatively easy.

We found widespread availability of business class from New York to Tokyo throughout the fall for 60,000 American miles and only $ 5.60 each-way fee.

If you haven’t used American’s price search tool since the pandemic, do yourself a favor and check out the new version. It has a faster, more customizable calendar view that makes it infinitely easier to find specific routes compared to the old version. For example, you can filter for “nonstop” to target certain airlines such as JAL and ignore other routes. This way you can quickly see on which days there is availability.

In our experience, upgrading from Business to First Class is worth the 20,000 extra miles each way – if you can find availability.

4. West Coast to Singapore in Emirates First Class for 180K Alaska miles

This is for the high rollers, especially those who are dying to get some time in the air. Emirates, which offers one of the most luxurious first class experiences in the world, is a Alaska partner. And although it is Award table Spending Alaska Miles isn’t particularly generous, but there are some sweet spots for those who want to spend as much time in the top of the plane as possible.

With Alaska, for example, you can fly to Asia from the west coast via Dubai. If you’re not a geography nerd, this is the wrong direction. The flight from San Francisco to Dubai takes over 15 hours, followed by another seven hours from Dubai to Singapore – all in first-class suites. That’s a lot of champagne.

Alaska’s tool for finding awards is far inferior to that of Americans. So you have to do some work to find out whether it’s up and running on both legs. Start by looking for the first leg (e.g. from San Francisco to Dubai) then search for the full itinerary on the date with great availability.

Remember: Alaska is allowed free stops You can split a trip like this into two separate flights on different days (to get some sleep off that champagne).

The final result

These are just a few of the many ways you can take advantage of your long dormant points and miles in 2021. Even if award redemptions are not as wide open as in the heart of the pandemic, there are still far more travel offers than demand and thus many opportunities to make one-off bookings without spending a lot of money.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our tips for that best travel credit cards of 2021including the best for:

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