The new year of 2023 is quickly approaching and it looks like it will be a fantastic travel year with most of the world having returned to normal – last minute trips without the need to check restrictions are already possible and this will only expand to more countries in the coming months. When we welcome a new year, we welcome new possibilities in all aspects of our lives – especially travel and miles & points; some have already planned every trip for the next year and some don’t have a clue where to explore – the world is open again and it is time to plan another great adventure.
Airline & Hotel Elite Status
Every end of the year in the miles and points world means a few things – the biggest is that on January 1st, elite status counters reset to “0 miles flown” and “0 hotel nights”, which means we must once again re-qualify for elite status with airlines and hotels. If you haven’t fully completed your airline flights or hotel stays to qualify or renew your elite status, you only have a few days left. Be sure to check your airline and hotel accounts carefully and determine if the remaining days of 2022 will be sufficient to achieve your goals.
Miles & Points Credit Card Credits
The new year means a new year of benefits and credits if you have the right tools in the miles & points world… mainly, premium travel credit cards. In the few remaining days, you need to do an inventory if you’ve used up all of your credits for 2022 and perhaps plan how you will use your 2023 credits. Premium Travel Credit Cards offer a variety of credits ranging from airline incidental fees to digital entertainment streaming charges – all of which you should fully use up if you’re paying an annual fee for a premium credit card. Keep in mind some credits are offered monthly, some bi-yearly, and some yearly. It is easy to check on your bank’s website which credits you’ve used and which ones still remain available – be sure to use up as much as you can as these will reset on January 1st.
The most popular credits include:
- general travel (covering airline tickets, hotel stays, car rental fees, etc.)
- airline incidentals (checked baggage charges, seat upgrades, etc.)
- hotel stays (premium hotels booked through the bank’s travel portal)
- digital entertainment/streaming
- technology purchases/services
Travel Credit Card Benefits
In addition to statement credits for select charges, premium travel credit cards also come with a variety of benefits – such as hotel elite status, hotel elite night credits, car rental upgrades, lounge access, and more. It is very important to check if you have activated all of the possible benefits that come with your card into the new year – you certainly do not want to miss out on some of these as they’re very valuable.
For example, if you have a credit card which comes with hotel elite status, be sure to enroll in this feature as even mid-tier hotel elite status can give you room upgrades, free breakfast, late check-out, and more. Each bank’s benefits portal associated with your travel credit card clearly outlines which benefits are available to you and how to use them, by conveniently providing links to partner websites where you can take advantage of the benefits.
Review Your Miles & Points Credit Cards
Many of us have multiple travel credit cards and we all have our own strategy – which cards we keep for spending, which cards we keep for travel benefits, and which cards we might only keep for the occasional use. It is very important to review and decide if you want to keep a card another year – and if it is worth the annual fee. Review all of your accounts and check how many of the benefits and perks you have used in the past year and if paying the annual fee for another year is worth it – based on your past use of the card and predicted future use and upcoming trips.
Map Your 2023 Travels
It is totally okay to not know where you want to go in the next year – some people love planning years ahead while some people love to book spontaneous trips and let life guide them. Whatever your method is, it is good to have a rough idea where you might want to travel next year and how that will shape your elite status earning, mileage redemption opportunities, and of course, where you can use all of your credits and benefits as you travel. In mid 2023 it is beneficial to have yet another “check-up” to see if your year is going how you pictured it and what you want to accomplish in the second half of the year – for example, how close are you to elite status, where else you might want to travel, and what credits you still need to use.
Miles & Points Expiration Dates and Promotions
As the year comes to a close, you need to check when your frequent flyer miles and hotel points might expire – especially if you haven’t had any activity on your accounts in a while. You can easily check the expiration date on each airline or hotel’s website or app – some airlines no longer expire miles while others still continue to. Generally, if you have had some activity in the past year, your miles are safe for the next few months – however, every airline and hotel policy is different, and you don’t want to start the new year with expired miles that you can’t get back.
As the year ends and the new one begins, airlines and hotels will be rolling out new promotions and therefore it is wise to register for those as soon as possible so you don’t have to worry about it in the future – simply visit your airlines and hotels online and check what Promotions/Deals/Offers they currently have and what’s coming up. Registering is usually simple with one-click, so it is best to do it now rather than wait until you have a flight or hotel stay.
All in All
2022 was definitely a much better year than the previous two years when we think about travel. My hope for the year of 2023 is that the world fully goes back to normal (there are still some countries with travel restrictions), so we are able to yet again jet-off around the world without needing to check many requirements. The future is looking bright for the next year and therefore I am super excited to have some fantastic trips coming up – some of which are covered by all of my credits and benefits that I’ve achieved over the past year. Have a look at all of your travel accounts and make sure you are using each benefit and perk to their full potential. Happy New Year!