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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.
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!
In This Post
PV PLZ trip report index
- PV PLZ: How I Booked a $2,000+ Mexican Vacation for $90 With Points
- PV PLZ: Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta
- PV PLZ: Eating at All the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Restaurants
- PV PLZ: Couples Massage at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Spa
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?
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
I know I got a good deal because the round-trips flights to Mexico would’ve cost $730 ($347 there and $383 back)!
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.
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.
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.
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 from
account opening (My review.)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Compare it here. 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from
account opening (My review.)
- Chase Ink Business Preferred – Compare it here. 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from
account opening (My review.)
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 from
account 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 from
- 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 from
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.
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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