Winter Escape to Mexico! Part 2 – Transport to & From Playa del Carmen

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Winter Escape to Mexico! Part 2 – Transport to & From Playa del Carmen

Million Mile SecretsWinter Escape to Mexico! Part 2 – Transport to & From Playa del CarmenMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Emily:  When I was a teenager, I traveled to Mexico as part of a mission trip to build homes for families in need.

The experience changed my life in such a positive way!  I saw how kind and generous the Mexicans were towards me, even when they had very little.  I realized how much we take for granted in the US, and how blessed we are in so many ways.

Since that time, I’ve wanted to return to Mexico for another mission trip.  But this time, my friends and I were on vacation, so we visited Playa del Carmen before our recent trip to Cuba!

Winter Escape To Mexico Part 2 Flights To From Playa Del Carmen
Prepare Yourself, Mexico, Here We Come!

No trip could ever replace that first time in Mexico though.  I feel thankful that I was able to go to help others.

Winter Escape to Mexico Trip Report Index:

Flights to Mexico

One of the ways I use my Chase Ultimate Rewards points most frequently is transferring them to Southwest.  I used this method to get nearly free flights to Mexico!

My friends and I flew from Austin to Cancun on Southwest Airlines.  Booking ~1 month prior to my trip, it cost ~25,000 points plus ~$75 in taxes and fees to fly round-trip in coach on Southwest.  I could have flown for ~18,000 Southwest points if I had chosen later travel dates when the airfare was cheaper, but we couldn’t wait to go!

But you can also usually find cheap paid flights to Mexico, so compare prices and be flexible!

We like to save money, so we brought our own drinks onboard.

Winter Escape To Mexico Part 2 Flights To From Playa Del Carmen
I Served as the Resident Mixologist

We were so excited to escape the frigid US winter!

After a few hours, we were safe in Cancun, and quickly collected our bags.

Winter Escape To Mexico Part 2 Flights To From Playa Del Carmen
Quick Pic Before Painting the Town 🙂

Transportation from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is less than an hour away from the Cancun airport.  Since we were a group of 6, we organized a large van to take us.  We booked the van at the Cancun airport.  The round-trip cost was $125 (the Airbnb we booked quoted us for $150 round-trip, so this was a pleasant surprise).

We could have taken a shuttle for $32 per person, or a bus, which would have taken longer.  The public bus that will take you to downtown Playa costs ~$5-6 USD. Here’s a link for more information on the ADO bus. You can even get tickets online! Don’t forget that you will still have to take a taxi or walk to your final destination, but this option could save a lot of money.

Winter Escape To Mexico Part 2 Flights To From Playa Del Carmen
Hiring a Van Was the Most Cost-Effective and Easiest Way to Reach Playa from Cancun

We stopped at a supermarket on the way and stocked up on supplies like food, wine, water, etc.

How You Can Do It Too!

Link:  How to Transfer Chase Points to Southwest

Link:  How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass

My favorite way to get to Cancun is on Southwest.

The Chase Southwest Premier and Chase Southwest Plus cards are currently offering 40,000 points in 3 months after you complete the minimum spending requirements.

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available).  And if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, your travel companion can come for (nearly) free!

And you can use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card to pay for travel expenses.  It’s currently offering 50,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles after you complete minimum spending, which is worth ~$525 toward travel!  Here’s how to redeem the Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles.

 Round-Trip Coach Ticket From Austin to Cancun3 Nights in a Centrally-Located Airbnb for 6 People
Retail Cost$450$339 total
Our Cash Cost$75 in taxes$339 total, or ~$68 per person
Miles & Points Used25,000 Southwest PointsN/A
Source of Miles & PointsChase Ultimate Rewards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 points
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
Current sign-up bonus of 100,000 points
- Chase Ink Plus
Current sign-up bonus of 60,000 points
- Chase Ink Bold
Not available to new applicants

Southwest Cards:
- Chase Southwest Plus
Current sign-up bonus of 40,000 points
- Chase Southwest Premier
Current sign-up bonus of 40,000 points
- Chase Southwest Premier Business
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 points
N/A
Alternatives- United Airlines - 35,000 miles round-trip + ~$50 in taxes
- American Airlines - 30,000 miles round-trip (25,000 between September 7 and November 14) + ~$50 in taxes
- Use Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard miles to erase $100+ travel purchases, like Airbnb
- Use my Airbnb referral code for $20 off!
- Use Hyatt points to stay at a hotel
Additional Information- You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest and United Airlines
- Here's how to get the Southwest Companion Pass, so your companion can fly with you for (almost) free for nearly 2 years!
- Here’s how to choose a good and safe Airbnb
- Here are tips on how to negotiate a better Airbnb price!
- You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt

Bottom Line

It was super easy to get to Cancun and continue onward to Playa del Carmen.  It made for a fun beach destination to escape the cold US winter!

When I booked ~1 month prior to my trip, it cost ~25,000 Southwest points plus ~$75 in taxes and fees to fly round-trip in coach on Southwest.  I could have flown for ~18,000 Southwest points if I had chosen later travel dates when the airfare was cheaper, but we couldn’t wait to go!

Cheap flights can be found because Mexico is so close, so compare prices and be flexible!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

10comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

You coulda taken the ADO bus right from the airport to downtown playa for $5-6 dollars a person, kept the savings and bought alcohol on the plane, :).

Hi James, Thanks for the tip! I will update the post with the info on the bus.

@Mark It’s frowned upon, like masturbating on an airplane

What’s all that about “flights to Playa del Carmen”? You flew to Cancun…

Hi Bobert, The posts have been updated. Thanks for pointing that out!

I was wondering the same thing Mark! Perhaps years ago that was the thing to do but now you never see anyone bringing and drinking their own alcohol onboard. How would you even make it passed security?!

It’s just the little tiny bottles. 🙂

Isn’t it a violation of federal law to drink alcoholic beverage onboard an an aircraft unless served by the airline? How were you able to save money by bringing your own drinks onboard?

Load more