Luxury Vacation in Cancun for Less than $400?!?

We’re very excited to be going on a vacation in Cancun, Mexico in February, right in the middle of the dreariest part of the year!  It will be a great break from the winter weather and will let us rest and re-charge.

I was concerned at first about whether it was safe to travel in Mexico but after reading Isabella’s post all about safety in Mexico, I was very reassured.

We’re staying at the beautiful JW Marriott in Cancun, a luxury hotel in the Marriott chain.  Rooms at this hotel start at $330 per night.  Our 7 night stay would cost $2,310 (USD) if we paid with cash.  Instead we’ll be paying $0, as the entire stay will be covered by our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty points!

Beautiful pools at the JW Marriott Cancun

We’re flying direct with Air Canada from Vancouver to Cancun, return.  The flights are currently available for $2,056 for two people.  Instead, we paid $359 in taxes only, as our flights were covered by our Aeroplan miles!

How in the world is this possible?  A luxury vacation in Cancun for two for less than $400?

Check out Melissa’s thoughts on vacationing in Mexico here!

Vacation in Cancun?  Use credit card welcome bonuses!

Both Marriott loyalty points and Aeroplan miles are easily acquired via credit card welcome bonuses.  To get the Aeroplan miles we needed for this vacation I received welcome bonuses from the American Express Gold Card (25,000 Membership Rewards) and the American Express Platinum card (60,000 Membership Rewards, plus 15,000 more via self-referral).  I transferred the membership points 1:1 to Aeroplan.  The flights were 40,000 miles each so I had some Aeroplan miles left over for our next holiday!

The Marriott Bonvoy points for our vacation in Cancun were acquired from sign-up bonuses from the American Express Business Platinum Card (75,000 Membership Rewards), the American Express Marriott Bonvoy card (60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) and the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card (60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points).  I transferred the 75,000 Membership Reward points to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1.5 ratio (sadly, this has now been changed to 1:1.2) for a total of 112,000 Marriott points.  I now had a total of 212,500 Marriott Bonvoy points from these 3 cards.  Amazing!

Scott has some great information about seeing Cancun with kids.  Check it out!

American Express Cobalt Card

To get the remaining 37,000 Marriott points I needed for our vacation in Cancun at the JW Marriott, I got the American Express Cobalt card.   The Cobalt card is a bit different from the other Amex cards in that you receive Membership Reward Select (MRS) points.  These points can be transferred to Marriott at 1-1.2 as well, but cannot be transferred directly to Aeroplan.  The great part about the Cobalt card is that you 5 MRS for every dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and food delivery services!   As an extra bonus, if you spend more than $500 per month, you get an additional 2500 MRS every month!  Just from my usual spending I’ve been able to rack up more than enough points to get the additional 37,000 Marriott points we needed.  Apply for the American Express Cobalt card today!

Travelling on points is still new for us, and it’s still hard for us to believe that we’ll be going on a luxury vacation in Cancun for less than $400 for the hotel and flights!  We’ll still have to pay for our expenses while there but those are very much within our control.  We can chose to eat inexpensively if we want to keep our expenses low or perhaps we’ll indulge and splurge with a few great meals – who knows!  What I do know is that our choices are greatly enhanced by our significantly reduced expenses for this trip.  We’ll have to pay for our daily expenses and tours to places like Chichen Itza, but our expenses are otherwise covered.

Beach at the JW Marriott Cancun

Vacation in Cancun? Collect Miles & Points!

If you want to take a luxury vacation in Cancun for much less, collect your own miles & points!  A great way to get started is with American Express Membership Rewards.  Membership Rewards are an incredibly flexible points currency that can be transferred to many airlines and hotel partners.  Apply for an American Express Platinum Card today!

American Express SPG cards are a valuable source of SPG/Marriott loyalty points.  Apply for an American Express Mariott Bonvoy card today!

An easy way to defray the annual fees of some cards is by applying for cards via a shopping portal like Great Canadian Rebates.  If you don’t already have a Great Canadian Rebates account, get one today.

I’ll be writing more about Miles & Points in the future so stay tuned if you want to learn more!

Do you have a winter vacation planned?  Tell me about in the comments below!

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