Loyalty Points And Status In 2022 When Travel Re-Started
We were happy to retain loyalty points and status in 2022 with the travel brands we used most. We started 2022 with great elite travel brand status and our travel in 2022 ensured we maintained most loyalty status levels into 2023. Through the year we even found some other ways to add points and get status.
Loyalty status brought some great benefits in 2022. And we were excited when we found a great new approach for VIP benefits.
Good Elite Status Started Us Off In 2022
We were happy we started with elite status in different travel brands in 2022.
All of our road trips in 2021 earned us the top tier Ambassador Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy. Sadly, Canadians had very few credit card options to earn nights with Marriott. Our Bonvoy American Express card started us with 15 nights in 2022. But even with both a personal and a business Bonvoy American Express card, Canadians could not stack the nights and get 15 nights for each of those cards.
We also started 2022 with Diamond Elite with the IHG One Rewards program. We did a little travel at Holiday Inn hotels on our road trips in 2021 but not enough to re-qualify for Diamond status. But luckily IHG Covid extensions gave us Diamond status through 2022. In 2022, IGH One Rewards totally revamped their loyalty program. So it meant that there were finally some nice benefits with Diamond status.
Much like IHG One Rewards, the Air Canada Aeroplan Covid extensions meant we kept our 35K status into 2022. We did some flights in 2021 but most of our travel was by road. We used our Air Canada status benefits in 2022 but struggled to keep even the 35K status level.
To our delight, the Oceania Cruises Club status did not need to be renewed annually. Cruise nights were built over time and once we reached a status level, our status never expired. In late 2021, we did our first Caribbean cruise after the pandemic slowdown. And that moved us up a tier to Platinum status. And on our travels in 2022 we got a great benefit from that new loyalty level.
We really only focused on loyalty points and status in 2022 on four travel brands: Marriott, IHG, Air Canada and Oceania Cruises. But by end of 2022 we made some changes to that focus.
Lots Of Travel In 2022 Kept Our Ambassador Elite Status With Marriott In 2022
It was great to get back to travelling in 2022. We were away from home over 130 nights but in 2022 some of those nights were in Airbnbs and some were on a cruise ship. Of the 130 nights, we paid for 61 Marriott hotel nights. And we loved that with Marriott when we redeemed points or free night certificates an additional 9 nights also counted towards our elite status. This got us to 70 nights.
We always kept on top of promotions that earned extra nights and got another 21 nights this way. With our 15 nights from our Bonvoy American Express, we got to a total of 106 nights earned with Marriott.
|Redeemed Points / Free Night Certificates||9|
|Earned With Promotions||21|
|Earned With Bonvoy American Express Card||15|
|TOTAL NIGHTS EARNED||106|
At 100 nights we were eligible for Marriott Ambassador Elite status. But to get Ambassador status we also needed to cross a spending threshold. We stayed in some amazing luxury hotels in 2022 and spent enough money to renew our Ambassador Elite status to the end of 2023. Even with redeeming just points for 9 of the nights.
Our Marriott Bonvoy points and status in 2022 ensured we travelled with a lot of perks through 2022.
A Status Match Challenge Provided IHG Diamond Status
We started 2022 unsure if we wanted to renew our Diamond status with IHG One Rewards. When the program was revamped, we saw some added benefits for Diamond Elite status. And when a status match promotion came out, we felt we could easily re-quality for IGH Diamond Status.
We used our Marriott Ambassador level to begin the status challenge. To get to Diamond status, we needed to stay for 15 nights at IHG Properties within a 90 day period.
We started the challenge ahead of our fall visit to the west coast and Hawaii. A local road trip to Port Elgin got us 4 nights and our road trip to the Finger Lakes earned us another 4 nights. Then we made sure the remaining 7 nights were booked on our long trip west. We were delighted when we got the email saying we reached Diamond Elite status to the end of 2023.
We Found Another Way To Extend Elite Status With Air Canada
In 2022 we travelled over 42,538 km (26,432 miles) by air. With any kind of bonus, we should have hit the 50K status level with Air Canada. But in 2022 we found some flights to book with Air Canada Aeroplan points at great redemption rates. Very sadly, unlike with Marriott, when you book flights with points you don’t earn more points.
So we knew very early in 2022 that we would not earn enough points on flights to re-qualify even for 35K status. But then Air Canada announced a new promotion.
We had an Air Canada Aeroplan Visa card. That card earned points for spending but those points generally did not count towards status. But Air Canada’s special deal provided re-qualification of our 35K status after total spend on our Aeroplan credit card of $30,000. Luckily Air Canada announced this promotion early in the year and we diverted much of our spending to the Aeroplan card. And we both re-qualified for 35K status.
Air Canada’s innovative promotion got us 35K status to the end of 2023.
Loyalty Points And Status In 2022 Got Us Sweet Suite Upgrades
Why do we get so excited to have high hotel elite status? One of the greatest benefits for us would be the amazing sweet suite upgrades we received in 2022.
When we cruised from Barcelona to Lisbon, we started our trip with 8 days in Barcelona. Our suite upgrade at the Le Meridien in Barcelona gave us a wonderful patio with a view out over the city.
On our return visit to Portugal, we started our visit in Sintra outside of Lisbon. The Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort had some of the best Marriott Bonvoy point redemption rates we found. So we booked our stay using points and 35K free night certificates! But even with a points stay, we got the most amazing suite upgrade and an awesome luxury stay at the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort.
From Lisbon we headed out to the Algarve for a 14 day stay at the Pine Cliffs Resort. We were upgraded to a large suite. And enjoyed the beauty of the Pine Cliffs Resort as we explored the Algarve region.
When we headed to Hawaii in the fall, we started with 6 days in Waikiki on Oahu. Our upgraded suite at the Ritz-Carlton Residences was outfitted as a full condo . And we enjoyed the amazing skyline views out to the water.
We moved from Oahu to the Big Island and enjoyed a week at the Westin Hapuna Resort. Our suite looked out over the property and provided a stunning water view for our relaxing stay.
Our visit to Hawaii finished up in Maui at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. We were delighted by a large suite with a view over the resort. And amazing spot for a luxury stay in Maui.
An amazing suite upgrade was one of the prime benefits of our loyalty points and status in 2022.
We Started Our Day Well Fed With Elite Status
One of the great benefits of elite status with Ambassador status with Marriott Bonvoy was free breakfast. We really hated chasing down options to eat first thing in the day. The breakfast benefit varied depending on the Marriott brand. Some hotels had a basic breakfast for all or a certificate for discounted food. Many provide a continental breakfast. But we loved the brands that provided a breakfast credit of say $75 per day which could be spent for anything on the breakfast menu.
We loved our Ritz-Carlton hotels for a pampering stay. Sadly the Ritz-Carlton hotels generally did not include free breakfast unless it was part of the rate we paid. Or unless we booked a Concierge Lounge room that had lots of food options. But sometimes we got a real surprise. At the Ritz-Carlton Penha Longa Resort in Sintra in Portugal not only did we get free breakfast. But each day we got an amazing treat with local specialities.
It was great that all the other hotels we stayed at on our visit to Spain and Portugal provided access to the full breakfast menu or buffet for our Ambassador Elite status.
While we paid for some great breakfasts at the Ritz-Carlton resorts we visited on our stay in Hawaii, we were amazed by the continental breakfast we got on our relaxing stay at the Westin Hapuna Resort on the Big Island in Hawaii. The continental breakfast as so big we often took half back to our room as a snack. Only a few times did we order some menu items to provide some needed protein for our adventures on the Big Island.
Historically the IHG One Rewards program provided no extra free breakfast benefit. When we booked at Holiday Inn Express in 2022 everyone got free breakfast. But when we stayed at the Holiday Inn in Port Elgin, we got a free breakfast so much better than the average. When the program was re-vamped, Diamond Elite status now included free breakfast for all hotel stays. But only once in 2022 did we get a free breakfast for Diamond status with the IHG Program.
Regaining loyalty points and status in 2022 ensured we always started our hotel stays well fed.
Delighted With Amenities For Our Elite Status
Through the pandemic, hotel amenities as welcome gifts were hit and miss. But in 2022, we were often surprised when we received an amazing amenity. A bottle of wine and a light snack was always a welcome amenity. And when we got an amazing fruit plate at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikikiwe ate healthy for days!
But these chocoholics were delighted when we received chocolates on several occasions.
The most stunning treat we received was a full table of treats from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on our luxury stay in Maui. We had an amazing selection of meat, cheese and fresh fruit. And even a welcome cake. Champagne and local orange juice started each day with a mimosa.
We were always delighted when a hotel provided a thoughtful welcome amenity. We always felt special travelling with loyalty points and status in 2022.
Air Canada Aeroplan Status Got Us Flight Seat Upgrades
Probably the biggest benefit we used in 2022 with Air Canada Aeroplan was redemption of points at great rates. It took a lot of searching to find great rates. But we loved when we used our points for amazing travels in 2022.
At the 35K status level with Air Canada, we got 2 passes to Maple Leaf Lounges for domestic and trans-border flights. These were welcome since we often did not book business class seats with lounge access for these flights. 35K status also included priority check-in, priority boarding and two free bags up to 32kg. All nice treats for any flight.
We also had some options to choose additional benefits we wanted. We always chose eUpgrade credits. With the eUpgrade credits we got upgraded from Premium Economy to Business Class on several domestic flights to western Canada we booked in 2022. The eUpgrades were not guaranteed. But we booked our Premium Economy flights to maximize the potential to get upgraded.
Our Air Canada loyally points and status in 2022 got us some great flights.
Reaching Platinum Elite Status With Oceania Cruise Got Us A Free Cruise
In late 2021, when we did our first Caribbean cruise after the pandemic slowdown we achieved Platinum status with Oceania Cruises. This brought lots of benefits after we cruised with Oceania Cruises for more than 20 cruise credits.
Many cruising companies used just “nights cruised” for their loyalty program. Oceania issued cruise credits based on the number of nights for a cruise. For example, you could get one cruise credit for a 7 or 24 day cruise. Since we often booked longer cruises, this sadly meant we cruised over 300 nights with Oceania before we reached 20 cruise credits.
Once we reached that Platinum level with Oceania Cruises, the benefits were so good that it made switching cruise lines a bit tough. The $500 onboard credit, complimentary gratuities and spa credits of $300 all meant real cost savings.
But at the Platinum level we also received a free cruise. There were lots of limitations on the free cruise but the benefit was worth a lot. Even if it really was not “free” after paying for over 300 nights of luxury sailing. But we were excited when we booked our cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon as our free cruise. We upgraded our room category and paid a premium. But it was still a wonderful benefit of loyalty points and status in 2022.
Adding Another Option For VIP Benefits
For years we knew there were ways to get VIP benefits at hotels even without being an elite member of a hotel loyalty program. Certain of the high value credit cards from major brands (Visa, Mastercard, Chase, AmEx) had a special program for booking travel. But we don’t have one of those cards.
We also heard there were travel agency programs like Virtuoso that had preferred partner status with major luxury brands. Travel agencies paid an annual fee to belong to Virtuoso. But we did not really do any research on these.
When we looked for a travel agent as we planned our cruise to Antarctica, we were connected with Tully Luxury Travel. And we knew we found a new agency with great connections. They helped with our luxury cruise needs and offered a range of luxury land-based travel. But they also had direct relationships with the invitation-only hotel membership programs. This allowed them to extend extra amenities and perks to their clients.
When we planned the land portion for our cruise to Antarctica, we booked using our Marriott Ambassador Elite status. We knew this offered some base level of benefits and hoped for some great upgrades. In talking with the team at Tully, we learned that one of the invitation-only hotel programs they were members of was the STARS program for Marriott Luxury Brands.
We were amazed when we learned the STARS program benefits included many of the things offered by our Ambassador Elite status – free breakfast, hotel credit, preferred status for room upgrades, late checkout and more. Adding the STARS benefits to our Marriott reservations could only improve our chance for elite recognition!
The invitation-only memberships we get access to with Tully may make us re-consider which hotel loyalty programs we even try to chase for status. And we are excited to try many of the great luxury hotel brands where we had no loyalty status. It was wonderful to find a new way for VIP treatment on our search for loyalty points and status in 2022.
Chasing Elite Status In 2023
For 2023, we will continue to consolidate our travels with both Marriott Bonvoy and Air Canada Aeroplan. While we don’t have our 2023 travels all booked, we expect to reach an acceptable status level with travel in 2023. We will let our IHG One Rewards Diamond status elapse this year.
It is wonderful that our Oceania Cruises status never expires. And that we have reached a milestone point with great benefits. So we don’t need to chase a higher status. But booking without Oceania Cruises status means increased costs when we try out some other cruise companies.
We still booked our cruise to Antarctica with no loyalty benefits from Silversea Cruises Venetian Society to try this new luxury brand. And to experience an expedition cruise. We have the Ritz-Carlton yacht on our travel wish list and will get some benefit from our Marriott Bonvoy status. And we want to try a true sailing ship. So our cruising loyalty will be spread wide in 2023.
We love to use points with hotel membership to splurge on some great trips. We have a lot of points with both Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards but have not yet decided on how best to use them. But we know that the value of points never go up. So there is some urgency to spend some of the accumulated points balance in 2023.
But there is also a challenge with using the very high accrued number of hotel points. When we use points for Marriott hotel nights, we get nights towards new status. But we won’t get the dollars needed to renew our Ambassador status. Sadly using points for nights with IHG One Rewards does not earn new nights. Just one of the reasons we will let this program go.
We have a similar issue with our Air Canada Aeroplan points as we have with the IHG One Rewards program. When we book flights with points, we don’t get miles for the flights. We saw our redemption of Aeroplan points in 2022 for great rates definitely impacted our status. But there are often opportunities for flights at great point rates and we won’t pass on these.
Our approach for loyalty points and status in 2023 will be a bit complicated as we balance cash versus points purchases.
We Were Happy Regaining Loyalty Points And Status In 2022
We were happy we regained loyalty points and status in 2022. On our travels we reaped many of the benefits that elite status brought.
Through 2022 we used some of our points for travel and got some great redemption rates. But we also continued to build the point balances. In 2023 we want to use some of the points for a few luxury splurges. But we know there will still be lots of travel to build loyalty points and status.
Did you have success with brand loyalty points and status in 2022? Any other tips for 2023?
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After a long stint without travelling, it’s good to read that you can retain status and loyalty points in various schemes. I have just recently joined IHG and hope to build up my status with them over coming trips. I need to follow your advice and make sure I’m aware of and take advantage of special promotions that can top up your points even when you aren’t travelling!
It was good to see the IHG program re-vamped last year. They are still tweeting it a little so we will see how it compares. We spent many years not consolidating our travel buys and were late to getting status. But are trying to catch up now.
This was so interesting because I am not involved in any travel-related loyalty programs—its a whole other world for me! But, wow, it’s a beautiful world 😍 Your hotel stays look amazing and you clearly planned well to get the most out of your travels.
We were late to the game with getting elite status are are glad we can now enjoy the perks to make our stays just a little extra special.
You really have the loyalty rewards figured out! We have a capital one credit card that gives us points for everything we purchase. We often use the credit to pay for one of our vacations each year.
Sadly for us in Canada the credit card options for loyalty points are pretty limited. And much less generous than the US. We started with a general credit card for points that could be used for travel anywhere. That worked well but it did mean we spread out money out to many travel vendors.
I’ve tried signing up to loyalty programs in flights or hotels, but somehow I never get to stay in the same chain of hotels in the places I visit. Sometimes the smaller towns I visit don’t even have the major chains! I end of losing points to expiry! You seem to have found a way to keep a tab on them and travel to places where the points can be used. Your Ambassador Elite Status with Marriott is totally working well for you. Free breakfast with Ambassador status at Marriot is a good one too.
We did really bad when we first started collecting points. I must admit having status does sometimes influence where we stayed. But we will not pass on staying in a city or small town if we can’t find a hotel we have status with. For those we try to make them really unique experiences. We have had good luck with Marriott Bonvoy for some great stays.
You do a better job at this than we do…I need to pay more attention to it. Some great ideas here. We do get some good loyalty returns from our Capital One as well as Expedia and Booking. I have yet to get into a cruise loyalty but we only cruise every few years so that is probably never gonna happen. Love your photos as always/
We did not do very well when we first started travelling a lot. And I did even worse when I travelled for business. But once we started consolidating our travel choices, it did pay off.
So, who of you both spends time on researching all this loyalty points programs and benefits? I wish I had someone like this. You did really great – paying for 61 nights and staying 106 nights! And you had a lot of great food too!
I do most of the reading on points and loyalty. There are several blogs I follow – especially to know when the bonus periods are coming up and to compare options in different plans. Each year I get a little bit better. We now need to work on spending the nights and air miles we have accumulated because they do degrade in value quite quickly when the programs make changes.
As they say you have to spend money to make money and these rewards, loyalty points and statuses are definitely worthwhile. They are a huge study on their own and you two are experts. A great many tips here and worth exploring for any future travels.
We have certainly benefited from chasing loyalty points and status. It often adds a bit of a treat to our travels.
I think the only reason I have a Bonvoy account is due to my business travel. I rarely use the points and have mostly given up on it mainly because I can never remember how my name is split into ‘first name’ ‘last name’ in their system – these databases tend to struggle with non western names – and it becomes too hard to log in. And besides, tbh, where I like to travel, I doubt that there’d be a Marriott there anyway 😀
The pandemic wiped out most of my travel loyalty status with companies I most often use. It was mildly annoying to drop all the way back down with Malaysia Airlines/One World alliance. Oh well.
I think the only one that I managed to retain was Platinum status on Agoda. Although unexpected flights associated with my trip to Vanuatu did land me some kind of elite status on the flight booking platform Cheapoair (a surprisingly good service considering the name). Both of which enabled me to make a final trip to Singapore in 2022, and an early trip to the Philippines in 2023, nearly for free. So I think 2022 was not that bad after all.
I had name trouble when I got married and had to change the name on file. Most of our hotel and airline loyalty programs held status for almost 3 years. Glad that you got some benefits in 2022 from loyalty. Hope you can sort out your Marriott Bonvoy access if you get your points from business travel.
It’s good to know what the Mariott Bonvoy membership gives you, and all the benefits you get once you reach a higher status. I have a gold account with Hilton, but because of the pandemic, I don’t know how much longer it will last. I used to travel every 2 weeks or so before the pandemic, and always stayed in the same hotel at the airport. That built up my account to Diamond, where I would have free access to the lounge, get free upgrades, as well as free breakfast. At some point I was staying there so often that they offered me a corporate account, haha.
We did a lot of road trips when we started to travel again and that helped with getting nights on the book for Marriott. sadly many people did not keep status after the extensions ran out.
Great to know that you were able to retain your loyalty points and benefits with some top notch travel programs and continuing to seek new elite status with travel plans.And it’s very good that some cruise companies like Oceania Cruises issue cruise credits for the longer nights spent.And it’s also very interesting that many of these loyalty programs include amenities like free breakfast, welcome gifts like wine bottles, snacks and box of chocolates as treats. It’s inspiring that you reached Diamond and platinum levels with IHG rewards and Oceania Cruises and were able to regain your 35k .Air Canada Aeroplan with priority check in, boarding and free bags up to 32 kgs sounds like a great deal indeed.
We were happy we maintained our elite loyalty status with the key travel brands that we travel most frequently with. Sure makes each trip a little more special.
I’m a novice to this matter, and I find it to be incredibly fascinating. I’m pleased that I became aware of these status and loyalty points. Although I’m not too knowledgeable about it, I do think about engaging in various loyalty programs. Elite travel status gives such amazing rewards, and I hope to one day have it myself!
We learned very slowly at first. But once we started to see the benefits it helped us for focus on consolidating our travel decisions.
Always interesting to see what people get for points and reward programs- but I feel like sometimes it’s difficult to always use the same ones !
It is sometimes a bit challenging to find hotels in every spot we visit. But then we pick interesting hotels in local spots. We are having more trouble using our points and still spending money to keep status.
Loyalty points are amazing! You have really figured out how to take advantage and make the most of them.
Each year we get a little better at using our points for great benefits and getting lovely status benefits.
This is such a great resource of tips on how you maintained and gained loyalty points and status. You are a pro! And the next time I visit Maui I’m staying at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua!
It has been a learning experience. And the rules keep changing. But stays at great places like the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua always makes it worthwhile.
Congratulations on being able to retain your elite brand status. I have been reading about your free upgrades and other perks and it’s just amazing.
You just inspired me to start working on my loyalty points/ status. To be honest, I haven’t been keen on this but after reading all the perks you have, it’s definitely worth checking.
I am glad to have inspired you to start focusing on points and loyalty. We sure see some great benefits.
This is really interesting. I’ve never been on any hotel loyalty schemes mainly because I love variety. However, your experiences make me wonder if i shouldn’t try one out.
I understand the trade off on variety. But most of the big brands have an interesting variety. And if there is not a brand hotel in an area we want it is a great reason to find something very unique.
It must have been hard to worry about losing elite status due to the pandemic. I’m glad so many of your memberships extended your status. I’m actually quite impressed with how well you understand the different levels and benefits of your preferred travel programs. Sounds like it requires you to be savvy about how you book hotels and flights, especially when you have to weigh using cash or points. I have begun to acquire more airline rewards with the use of credit cards and enrollment bonuses. It is the only way we can afford to travel more. Getting the Southwest Airline companion pass was a huge perk for my husband and I this year, as it allows us to fly two for the price of one, even when using points.
A companion pass would be a great way to save on airfare – especially with the way prices have gone. We tend to do longer trips so our airline loyalty gets less points than hotels.
You are my inspiration! I am Marriott Bonvoy Titatium, but I aspire to Ambassador… thanks for breaking it down so I can game plan.. I have earned many a free night, but you have me even more motivated for 2023! I always stay Marriott.
The big challenge with Ambassador is the dollar spend. It is really hard to use up our points and still spend the money for Ambassador. The reduced spend limit the last few years helped. But unless we do a lot of splurge travel this year, I may lose Ambassador. But Titanium is still enough for me.
You’re so fortunate with the loyalty points options you have. In Europe they are pretty rubbish with our credit cards! Well done for figuring it out so well!!
Canada is not very good compared to the U.S. either. But if we focus on just a small number of brands, we can do pretty well. And so far have not found it too limited.
You’ve clearly worked out how to take full advantage of the loyalty reward programmes. I need to follow your lead! I have IHG but guess I need to plan my trips better to move up the status! Credit cards are not an option here in Europe!
Credit cards are not great in Canada either. We will see how the new IHG Rewards program works out.
It’s definitely a good idea to consolidate your travels with a few companies to help you core those loyalty program benefits faster. We’ve been dividing up our cruises and have low level status across various cruise lines (only 3 so far on Oceania, so we’re far from our free cruise!)
When we started we spread things thin and didn’t get benefits. Doing better with some focus.
Wow so many benefits with Elite Status. Earning points on travel is something I really need to look into more, I know I’ve not been savvy enough with it. You earned so many nights and all of these stays look incredible! I really need to read more about this
It does take a bit of focus for sure. And watching for bonus promotions has helped.
Wow! You really know how to work those programs. Some of those hotel suites look amazing it must be hard to go home!
It has taken some time but we are now getting value from consolidating our travel purchases.
I have status with Marriott Bonvoy and used points to cover the hotel for our last three family vacations. And I am a few points short of renewing my airline status for this year! I do use points but I think I can be even more diligent because I am probably leaving some benefits on the table. This posts inspires me to do so!
We always struggle to find the perfect trips to use points. But a great way to splurge for far less.
I love how you’ve been able to take advantage of all the promotional offers many of the programmes had in 2022. We need to be better at the credit card offers and smarter with our hotel stays. Some of these upgrades are amazing!!
We have truly been spoiled on some of our stays. Having status was great.
I’m a Hilton diamond member and this past year I definitely got to see the perks of having that status (free stays and upgrades). I really feel confused about all the options so thank for for all of this information. Definitely saving it to reread a few times.
We are happy we finally started to focus on loyalty points and status with some great benefits.
As someone who just moved to Canada, this post is amazing. I’ve been a bit confused and frustrated by the options for Canadians. I picked up lots of tips on getting status with Air Canada and was inspired by those sweet upgrades you got! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
We don’t have as many opt as Canadians but once we focused we did much better. Wish we started earlier.
Wow! I thought my husband was good at the points game, you guys are incredible!
Thanks! We are getting better each year with both getting and using points and loyalty status. But it does require focus.
I don’t know how my points faired over the last couple of years. You seem to have done quite well.
We have focused on our points again once we started to travel. And road trips really helped.