I have traveled over and over to Mexico – Cabo, Cancun, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta are my most common destinations. I have mainly used timeshares when I am there but it is also very easy to travel hack to Mexico. Today let’s talk about travel hacking to Cabo, one of my favorite destinations.
I know that there are people who worry about safety in Mexico. To be honest, we have never had a problem. Of course, we are very mellow people, aren’t partying in town at night, or going into sketchy neighborhoods. Primarily, we take the shuttle offered by the resort, stay at a resort most of the time, and take the shuttle back to the airport from the resort. We pick well-known tours that have great reviews and we really aren’t outside of our resorts or hotels after dark. We are also usually traveling in groups and so feel very safe and have enjoyed many, many trips to Mexico.
I decided to check out my favorite award redemption site, Juicy Miles, to get an idea of what was available. Randomly, I picked San Francisco as my departure airport and this is what came up. I love that there are so many cheap redemption rates available. This is for the flight from SFO to SJD (Cabo San Lucas). For only 8,500 American Membership Rewards, I could get a direct flight to Cabo on United Airlines – pretty amazing! I would transfer American Express Rewards to Avianca Life Miles (a partner of United) and book through them.
Be sure and look at my Juicy Miles tutorial to see how to do these searches. They are very easy to do but it costs $9.99 to use the site for 5 days – well worth it!
Let’s look at the return trip and see what we can find! I chose a United flight that I can book on their site although there are many more possibilities.
Because my first flight is booked with LifeMiles from Avianca, I went into that site to make sure they had availability and found this. Economy flights are able to be booked on United Airlines with Life Miles for much cheaper than if I booked with United Miles! This is why I love Juicy Miles so much – it can really save me points!
I love my American Express Platinum Card earns Membership Reward Points, which is what I used in the example above to book these flights. The Platinum Card has a hefty annual fee but has some great benefits so I find it very worth the high annual fee. This card would definitely get you some free flights to Cabo.
You could also get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card and get a couple of trips to Cabo by transferring your Ultimate Rewards to United Airlines. I love that we have so many options with what points to use.
Let’s look quickly at Southwest Airlines. If you have the Southwest Companion Pass, two people could travel there for 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards!
Well, you can see that it is very possible to get to Cabo for about 30,000 miles/points from most U.S. cities. If you prefer another airline, check out what the current bonus on their credit card is and look up how many points it will cost you to fly to Cabo. You can also reach out to us for some help! It is very possible to get two award tickets with one credit card signup – pretty amazing! It is so easy to travel hack to Cabo!
We have a plan for flights but where are we going to stay? One option to travel hack your hotel stay in Cabo is The Hilton Los Cabos Beach and Golf Resort is a great choice but it will cost 70,000 points a night. Currently, the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card is offering 150,000 Hilton Honors points after $3,000 in minimum spend. If you can get this card and your spouse can too, you will have over 300,000 Hilton Honors Points and can pay for 4 nights of your stay here. You will then get your 5th night free! I love this perk!
Note that this card has a higher annual fee of $450 but it offers a $250 credit at the resort so that can pay for your food. You will also get complimentary diamond status that will probably get you a room upgrade and complimentary breakfasts. You will also get Priority Pass access and I find great value in that – airport lounge access really makes traveling easier. Additionally, you get a $250 travel credit for things like baggage fees and inflight purchases. When you add all the benefits up, it makes it worth it to pay that annual fee the first year. If you decide to keep the card, you will get a free weekend night at a Hilton on your anniversary of the card. Read here why I think many high annual fee cards are worth it.
Obviously, you can figure out another scenario for Hilton Honors points with the cards that have a lower annual fee but this one offers the highest signup bonus.
Marriott Bonvoy Points will get you free nights in Cabo also. You could stay at the Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda del Mar for 145,000 Bonvoy Points (the price will fluctuate depending on whether you go during peak/off-peak/or standard pricing. When you book 4 reward nights, you get the 5th night free! You could pay for your rooms here if you and your spouse both received bonuses for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. Or, you can open the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business which is currently offering a bonus of 100,000 points and a year of Platinum Elite Status after completing the minimum spend.
If all-inclusive is your style, you could book the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. For two people the cost is 20,000 points a night and for additional guests, you are looking at another 10,000 points a night. This is a great price if you ask me! 20,000 points a night for 2 guests, including all your food and drinks. Getting all your meals paid for is the ultimate way to travel hack a Cabo vacation.
To get your points to stay here you could open the World of Hyatt Credit Card, which will give your 50,000 points after spending $6,000 in 6 months. That would get you 2 free nights with points leftover. You could also open a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, like the Sapphire Preferred, which will get you 60,000 points! If you already have that card, you could open one of the no annual fee Freedom cards. The Freedom cards have a bonus of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards, which will get you another free night. All you need to do is spend $500 in 3 months to earn those points! Once you have the points, move them into your Sapphire account and you can then transfer those points directly to Hyatt and book your stay!
There are a lot of hotel options you can book in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, including all-inclusive resorts. If you have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred then each point in the travel portal is worth 1.25 cents. If you have the Sapphire Reserve then each point is worth 1.5 cents. You can access the portal with your Chase cashback cards but they worth 1 cent each so it makes more sense to move those points over to one of those Ultimate Rewards cards mentioned above so that your points are worth more. One thing I like about the portal is you can use points and cash to make your booking. This is great if you are a little short on points.
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach is a great all-inclusive resort that you can book in the portal. I’ve traded into this resort a couple of times using my timeshare and it is a great property. Alex and Mitch stayed there for their honeymoon years ago. Below you’ll see that you can book an oceanview, junior suite for around 27,000 points a night. That is the all-inclusive price for two people. I used April 21-25, 2021 for the dates. The cost in points will fluctuate based on the cash price at the time.
My absolute favorite place to eat is The Office on the Beach. I really love their guacamole and chips and their lobster is my favorite. The last time I was in Cabo, we headed there but it was closed for renovations. Talk about disappointing!
Edith’s is a sister restaurant to The Office and a little fancier and more expensive. It is a very popular choice for dinner. It is definitely a great choice for that special occasion! When I travel hack to a destination, like Cabo, I feel like I can spend a little more on my meals, do you?
There is a new group of three restaurants that are all in one location with a great view of the Arch. What I like about it is each venue has different foods at a different price point yet the location looks AMAZING! Head to Sunset Monalisa for an expensive dinner. Also located in this location is Ocean Terrace and Sunset Point. Whichever restaurant you choose, you will die over the views!
Beach, pools, and sun are a guarantee for fun in Cabo. Up for parasailing? You can find it there. Take a boat over to Lover’s Beach and enjoy some snorkeling or swimming. You can rent a jet ski from the main beaches in Cabo and ride around in front of the Arches.
We have deep sea fished in Cabo, gone whale watching, and attended a Mexican Fiesta. My husband has surfed at Zippers and Los Cerritos is supposed to be a great place to surf also. Honestly, there is plenty to keep you busy in Cabo!
Cabo has long been one of my favorite destinations. I have been there 5-6 times, usually staying at the Pueblo Bonita Sunset Beach with a timeshare exchange. Now that I travel hack, I will at least be travel hacking my way there with my flights. Mexico continues to be a place I travel to at least once a year as I try and use my basic high school Spanish and enjoy the hospitality of its wonderful inhabitants.