Free Flights, Hotel, Food and Drinks – How I Used Points for an All-Inclusive Vacation to the Caribbean!
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INSIDER TIP: Using miles and points for an all-inclusive vacation is a great way to minimize or eliminate out of pocket costs.
During the summer, one of my favorite vacation destinations is the Caribbean. White sand beaches, clear blue water, warm sunny weather – all of these make the Caribbean an ideal place to rest, relax and recharge. And staying at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean makes vacationing even better.
Recently, my wife and I booked a long weekend getaway at the all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara Cancun in Mexico. We booked the hotel using Hyatt points and booked the flight using Southwest points, which means we are essentially paying nothing out of pocket for flights, hotel, food or drinks during our upcoming stay.
I’ll show you exactly how we booked our trip and how you can too.
Hotel Stay at the Hyatt Zilara
The Hyatt Zilara is an adults-only all-inclusive resort in the Cancun hotel zone. Hyatt has another Zilara property in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and several other family-friendly all-inclusive resorts (Hyatt Ziva) located in the Caribbean.
To book our long weekend getaway, we transferred 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and booked a three-night stay the Zilara Cancun for 25,000 points per night. One of the big draws for us was that the 25,000 points per night covered both the hotel stay and the all-inclusive amenities for two people. That means the 75,000 points covered lodging, food, drinks for both me and my wife during our four-day, three-night stay. Many regular Hyatt hotels cost this amount without the all-inclusive amenities, so getting to stay at the beautiful Hyatt Zilara Cancun plus getting unlimited food and drinks is a great deal for 25,000 points per night.
When we booked our stay, cash prices were $337 per night, meaning we got a value of ~1.3 cents per point for this stay ($337/25,000 points). While you can certainly get more value from Hyatt points, this is still a reasonable number of points to pay given the quality of the Hyatt Zilara Cancun and the all-inclusive benefits.
Flights on Southwest Airlines
Next, we booked our flights to Cancun. Fortunately, Southwest offers non-stop flights from Baltimore to Cancun and two non-stop tickets were available for our travel dates.
We paid a total of 20,592 Southwest points plus $81.54 in taxes and fees per person. So for a total of 41,184 Southwest points and ~$163, both my wife and I covered our flights for the weekend. That’s not bad for an international direct flight.
Southwest prices for award flights are based on the cash price, so the number of points a flight will cost is dependent on the cash price of the flight when you book. We were able to book well in advance, so our round-trip cost only 20,000 points, a good bit under the average flight price of 25,000 points that many folks pay for round-trip Southwest flights.
While we paid for the taxes and fees, we could have used a travel rewards card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to offset the cost. (But even with paying the fees in cash, this is still a small cost to pay for a long weekend at an incredible Caribbean resort.)
My wife and I booked a long weekend getaway at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun for very little money this summer. We transferred Chase points from my Chase Sapphire Reserve® card to Hyatt to redeem for the hotel stay, and we redeemed Southwest points to pay for the flight.
In total we paid:
- 75,000 Hyatt points (transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards)
- 41,184 Southwest points
- $163 in taxes and fees on the flight
The best part about this redemption is that it covers ALL of the main expenses four our trip: lodging, flights and food/drinks. While we will likely have some other costs on the trip like excursions, souvenirs and any travel outside of the resort, it’s great to have the bulk of our vacation covered with travel rewards.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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