PV PLZ: How I Booked a $2,000+ Mexican Vacation for $90 With Points

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A couple of days ago, I returned from a MUCH needed break slash reset in sunny Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. A friend and I stayed 3 nights Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. She flew down from Chicago. And I flew from Dallas.

I only paid $90 to watch the sunset in Puerto Vallarta for 3 nights

Out-of-pocket, I paid $90 in addition to 60,000 Hyatt points for the room and 15,000 British Airways Avios points for award flights on American. Here’s how I did it!

PV PLZ trip report index

Get me to Mexico!

Following a series of tumultuous events, I felt like I crossed the finish line and collapsed. I haven’t felt that tired, drained, and lifeless… maybe ever. Now, I truly understand what someone means when they say they’re “burned out.”

Before, I thought of it as an expression meaning “really tired.” So like, take a nap and it’s all better, right?

Yup, still here

True burnout is an exhaustion that reaches into the core of you. I was eating crap and drinking too much, to cope. And stopped going to the gym.

I woke up tired. Was tired all day. Went to bed exhausted. After months of this, I wanted to go somewhere quick and warm to get some life back into me.

Just looking at this list gave me energy

With that thought, I checked Hyatt all-inclusives to see what was open a couple of weeks out, because I had plenty of Hyatt and Chase points to make it happen. I booked in early February for a trip in late February. And god, it gave me something to look forward to during that home stretch.

Finding award flights on American

I started with flights to see what was open on American from Dallas to:

  • Cancun
  • Los Cabos
  • Puerto Vallarta

I was leaning toward PV or Cabo because I was in Cancun this time last year at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun. And wanted to try a new one.

I found a non-stop flight to Puerto Vallarta at the saver award level. Then found it on the British Airways website.

Why pay 15,000 miles booking through American when you cay pay half the price with British Airways?

That’s because American wanted 15,000 American miles. But I knew I could get it for 7,500 British Airways Avios points – half the price! I had plenty of them left over from the latest 100,000 point offer on the Chase British Airways card (you can still get 75,000 points with it! – see points cards here).

British Airways Avios points shine for short-distance coach flights because they have a distance-based award chart. The longer your flight, the more points you’ll pay.

These flights were only 2 and a half hours from Dallas, so it wasn’t worth it to splurge for First Class. And coach was perfectly comfortable for what amounted to a couple of hours in the air.

I headed to the British Airways website and found the same flights. The taxes to Mexico were ~$34.

Then, I found the flight back by repeating the same steps for 7,500 British Airways Avios points and ~$50.

Muuuch better

I know I got a good deal because the round-trips flights to Mexico would’ve cost $730 ($347 there and $383 back)!

Hell to the N-O, I ain’t paying that

Instead, I paid 15,000 British Airways Avios points + $84 for taxes. That means my points were worth 4 cents each, which is a super decent rate ($730 – $84 / 15,000).

Free nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

If you want to stay here free, you’ll spend 20,000 Hyatt points per night.

The total room rate for my 3-night stay was ~$1,339.

Over $1,300 for the nights I wanted

I had some Hyatt points in my account. And topped off what I needed from Chase Ultimate Rewards, which appeared instantly. I’ve been racking up Chase Ultimate Rewards points with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card for a while. It was time to put them to use.

For this redemption, my points were worth 2.2 cents each. Is that stellar? It’s on the boundary of what I’d consider a good rate. I always want to get over 2 cents of value per point. But I needed this break so bad and it was close enough. So I went ahead and did it.

Room rates at this hotel are over the place. I found rooms for $241 a night, which I definitely would NOT use Hyatt points to cover. But when the price jumps to around $500 a night (like my stay), heck yeah, burn those points!

For this stay, I paid 60,000 Hyatt points and $0.

The value-add here is it’s an all-inclusive. So I knew all my meals and drinks would be covered, which is a huge savings (or it was for me anyway, I drank like a monster).

Putting it all together

All told, the flights would’ve cost $730 and the room went for $1,339 when we stayed, for a total of $2,069.

And I paid:

  • 15,000 British Airways Avios points for the flights
  • 60,000 Hyatt points for the hotel stay
  • $84 for the taxes on the flight

The only other costs were getting to and from the airport. In Mexico, an Uber to and from the resort was ~$6 each way for the 25-minute drive. Seriously.

122 pesos is ~$6, I couldn’t believe it

A friend dropped me at DFW, and I used Uber credits from my Amex Platinum Card to get home. I paid to get to the Hyatt Ziva, and my friend paid the way back.

With everything, literally everything, I paid $90 for this trip worth over $2,000.

It was a small price to pay for the amount of relaxation I got during those 3 days.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are golden

I could’ve booked this entire trip solely with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Because they transfer to both British Airways and Hyatt instantly.

This exact trip would’ve meant using 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (15,000 to British Airways and 60,000 to Hyatt).

I banked up my points for probably a solid 6 months. But the reward of an expensive vacation to Mexico made it so completely worth it.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Thanks for the vaycay, Chase!

Current sign-up bonuses for Chase cards with transferrable points are:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – Compare it here. 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months fromaccount opening (My review.)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – Compare it here50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months fromaccount opening (My review.)
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred – Compare it here80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months fromaccount opening (My review.)

Pair Chase cards to earn even more points

When you have one of the cards listed above, you can combine your points with one of these to add to your overall points balance:

  • Chase Freedom – Compare it here. $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months fromaccount opening (My review.)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited – Compare it here$150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months fromaccount opening
  • Chase Ink Business Cash – Compare it here$300 (30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months fromaccount opening

You can only get these offers if you’ve opened less than 5 other cards in the past 2 years (with the exception of some small business cards).

I’m a big believer in transferable points. Because you can bank them until you’re ready to pull the trigger on a trip. And often, you get outsized value like I did with mine.

Bottom line

It was easy to put this trip together, especially at a time when I was running low on mental bandwidth. I found flights by searching on the American website. Then plugged them into the British Airways site and booked using 15,000 British Airways Avios points.

The award nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta were dead simple to book with 60,000 Hyatt points after I topped off my account with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I had the trip booked within ~15 minutes.

I only paid $84 in taxes for the award flights and $6 for an Uber to the resort. That’s it – $90 out of pocket for a trip that retailed for $2,069. Amazing – that’s the magic of points & miles right there.

I’m feeling a lot better now. And my energy is slowly returning. I’m grateful I had the points to spend a few days in a gorgeous hotel in Puerto Vallarta and rest up. Even my meals and drinks were free.

Next up, I’ll have a review of the hotel and its restaurants. Cuz I ate them out of house and home. And am going to the gym… right now. 😎

Which points do you turn to when you want a quick getaway on the cheap? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

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Comments

  1. Did you check how much it would be with southwest!? Probably the same in terms of points but I’m sure it would have been cheaper cash wise.

    • I def did! On Southwest, it was about $224 each way, or around 14,000 Southwest points. There were no non-stop flights from Dallas – all connected through Houston. So it cost more points AND had a connex.

      You’re right, the cash price was cheaper. But I had plenty of Avios and got a fantastic deal on a non-stop flight from DFW, so I went with that one. I always check Southwest! 🙂

  2. Do you have any concerns about stomach issues when eating at the resort? And did you feel absolutely safe? And is it an interesting destination as a tourist or primarily relaxation? Look forward to the future reviews. Hope all is less taxing for you in Texas now.

    • Thank you so much, Kate!

      I had absolutely zero concerns about eating anything in Mexico. The fresh fruits were full of flavor, and the hotel had its own herb garden right out one of the restaurants!

      I hear PV is interesting but honestly… I didn’t leave the resort once. So I’d say primarily relaxation. 😉

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. I was looking at Vegas but than switched my interest to one of the AI Hyatt’s in Mexico due to same points and food and drinks are included! Decisions!

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