After discovering the amazing value of points and miles, my family has already experienced an incredible travel year with trips to both coasts in the U.S. and five European countries. With a husband who works in education and a 3rd grader, we can’t take advantage of off peak travel, but that’s just another reason to rely on points and miles! Thankfully, we’ve been able to book one last hurrah to an all inclusive resort in Mexico over Thanksgiving break.
Traveling during the week of Thanksgiving can be challenging, so I wanted to book as early as possible. One tip I’ve learned is that most points reservations can be cancelled without penalty. That led me to make a speculative booking for the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas at the end of last year. Even though the property wasn’t finished, it looked amazing and should have opened well before Thanksgiving. We transferred points earned from a signup bonus and regular spending on the Chase Ink card to book four nights.
Since our daughter has a companion pass with Southwest, we hoped to fly one of their new international routes to get to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, Baha Mar is now in bankruptcy and the opening has been delayed so many times that we were afraid of booking airfare in case they don’t get it together in time for out trip. It was on to plan B.
Looking at all the places we would be able to go on Southwest, we chose Los Cabos because our Hyatt points would work at the all inclusive Hyatt Ziva. While getting free food and activities was not the main purpose of this trip, it will be very nice to know that we’ll have very little out of pocket spending once we get to our destination.
Changing a Reservation
Earlier this year, I earned two free nights from the Hyatt Chase Visa. When I called Hyatt to cancel Baha Mar and change to a reservation at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, it was no problem to use our award nights plus 60,000 Hyatt points for the last two days. Rooms are running around $500 a night during that time, plus we’ll have meals and activities included.
Flights, even on Southwest, were expensive at $849 each. I booked my ticket for 52,932 Rapid Reward points and $93 in taxes. The companion pass means our daughter flies free except for the tax. Jim’s ticket was paid with our Citi Prestige card using the $250 statement credit benefit to offset the cost. He also plans to use the Citi Prestige free golf benefit while we’re there.
We will still need to pay for airport parking and ground transportation, but our total costs for this trip will be minimal.
Total Out of Pocket Cost for an All Inclusive Trip to Mexico
Flights for three: $785 vs $2547 retail
Hotel: $0 vs $2000 retail
Food: $0 vs $400? retail
Golf: $0 vs $140 retail
Paying $785 for a $5000 all inclusive trip during the week of Thanksgiving is pretty amazing. I thought this would be our last trip of the year, but now I’m thinking we might be able to fit one more in the week after Christmas. We’ll see if I can pull it off!
Are you traveling for Thanksgiving?