How We Paid for Our 4 Day Cancun Trip

We took this trip in April 2017. We had an amazing time in Cancun, which was primarily due to the all-inclusive Hyatt hotel that we stayed at. Anyway, here is how I travel hacked our way to Cancun:

Booking Flights

Flight #1 – Alaska Airlines SEA – LAX ($138 RT for two people)

To score this deal, we used $100 Visa Infinite discount from Ritz Carlton. Since these were booked as separate tickets from our flights to Cancun, we gave ourselves a 4 hour layover in LAX just to make sure we wouldn’t miss our Southwest flight. Thanks to the Priority Pass we were able to visit the KAL Lounge, Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.

Flights #2 and #3 – Southwest Airlines LAX – CUN RT (6,768 Southwest Miles + $152 for two people)

I was shocked to find Southwest flights for 3k each way plus taxes/fees (which are higher for international flights). To make this deal even sweeter, we used the Southwest Companion Pass for my wife’s ticket.

Flight #4 – Alaska Airlines LAX – SEA (paid for above)

As noted above, we paid only $69 per person for round-trip flights. That’s unreal if you ask me! Since these were paid flights, we also earned just under 1k in Alaska miles each way. Similar to flight #1, we gave ourselves a 4 hour layover in LAX just in case our flight from Cancun was delayed. Our flight wasn’t delayed so we ended up walking to the nearby In N Out and then stopped by the Alaska Lounge LAX before our flight.

Booking Hotels

Four Points by Sheratan Cancun ($82 per night x2)

We didn’t arrive in Cancun till around 10:30pm so I was able to use the best rate guarantee for one night at the Four Points by Sheraton Cancun. For BRG compensation, I choose the 2k SPG points option since it was under $100.

We also stayed at this same hotel for our final night because our flight left early the next morning. We did a BRG for both stays, but turns out you can only get points for one BRG per seven days (in the same geographic region).

Hyatt Zilara Cancun (2 Free Nights + 25,000 Hyatt Points)

We then spent three nights at Hyatt Zilara Cancun. Used two free nights from Hyatt credit card and 25k UR (transferred to Hyatt) for the third night. The hotel was amazing! We didn’t want to leave. We came back from our vacation and realized we hardly spent any money on food since we ate nearly every meal at the Hyatt Zilara. Overall, the Hyatt Zilara is a great place to use your free nights from the credit card!

Excursions/Other Expenses

Chichen Itza (One of the Seven Wonders of the World) – $98

Chichen Itza is on the Yucatan peninsula about 2 hours inland from Cancun. We decided to visit it on our last full day. We booked this trip via Viator, which contracts out to local companies. It cost a total of $98 for two people. The tour also stopped at a Mexican village (which was weird) and the cenote that you could swim in (which was pretty cool).

Transportation and Gratuity – $60

For transportation to/from the airport we hired a private shuttle. However, for trips between hotels, we used Uber. We also tipped many of the servers and bartenders who helped make our stay special.

Total Cost

Here is a breakdown of our total cost:

  • Cash: $612
  • Hyatt Points: 25,000
  • Southwest Points: 6,738

Overall, without travel hacking, this trip would have cost nearly $1,600. We definitely want to go back to Cancun in the near future.