We are on our way back to Cancun for the third year in a row for CHEAP! We've figured out how to fly, stay at beach front condo resorts and plus get a $300 resort credit for all our meals, all for $200 per person for an entire week! This trip is cheaper than going to Yellowstone! Checkout our 2011 and 2012 trips.
I thought I would share some tips and the process for how we do it. It's so easy! You can be soaking in the sun sooner than you think and you'll be asking yourself 'why didn't I do this sooner?'
Step One - Get AAdvantage Miles
You need to get 25,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles per person. We got our 50,000 miles through a AAdvantage CITI credit card offer. Here are list of the most active AAdvantage CITI credit card offers. Sometimes you can apply for two personal cards on the same day (like a AAdvantage CITI Visa and a AAdvantage CITI American Express and get approved for both cards). It's also a good idea for your spouse to get a card too (just make sure you can meet the spend minimums for the credit card offers, otherwise stagger when you apply for the cards). If you're anxious to start using your card to meet the minimum spend limit then after you are approved for the card online then call CITI and ask them to overnight your card. It can take 6-8 weeks to get your miles after you have fulfilled the card spending requirements.
Step Two - Search for Flights
After you get your 50,000 AAdvantage miles you're ready to begin searching for flights. An off peak ticket from the US to Cancun is 12,500 miles one way (25,000 miles roundtrip). Off peak time for Mexico is Sept. 7 - Nov. 14. You can still travel during other times of the year but it will just cost more miles. You can find out more about American Airlines award tickets here. The best time to travel is in September and the next best time to travel is in October. We have traveled during both months and the weather was fantastic. Just be aware that the end of October is the beginning of hurricane season.
How to Find the Best Flights
There are many flights available to Cancun for 25,000 miles roundtrip, but some of the flight schedules are more favorable than others. We have always had good luck having only one layover in Dallas, but sometimes you might have two layovers or have to stay overnight somewhere. With advanced planning and creativity can find some great flights.
- Go to the American Airlines AAdvantage miles redemption website.
- Enter your flight information and travel dates (between Sept. 7 - Nov. 14).
- Click on blue link at the top of the calendar that says 'Show Full Calendar' to see all the available dates.
- Begin selecting dates and reviewing flight schedules until you find one you like.
- If you find flights you like you can put them on hold for up to 5 days so you can think about it if you want before booking.
- You will book your flight using AAdvantage miles and you are still required to pay tax on the flight which is generally $70-$90 per person.
TIP: The great thing about redeeming AAdvantage miles is that you don't have to book roundtrip flights, you can book one way flights. What is means if you don't find any flights to Cancun that work for you then you can search for flights to Cozumel, which is an island near Cancun. If you fly in to Cozumel then you can take a 45 minute ($13) ferry ride to Playa Del Carmen and then a bus or taxi to your resort. (That's what we are doing on our next trip.) I would only recommend flying INTO Cozumel and flying OUT of Cancun.
Step Three: Staying Cheap at 5 Star Resorts!
This is my favorite part of this post. I can't believe how cheap it is to stay an entire week at world-class 5 star resorts for less than $250! We have booked these resorts with condo certificates (contact me if you are interested in how to get the certificate) at this Resort Rental website. You can also preview the 3,000+ resorts around the world at that website. At first I thought these resort deals were too good to be true, but I researched this Wyndham company and since then me and my family have used nine of these certificates in Mexico, Spain and the U.S. We have been very pleased with the resorts and most of all the price! These are also great because you DON'T have to go to a sales presentation. Here is my post about the condo certificates.
Below are are the resorts me and my family have stayed in Cancun. If you stay at the first two resorts now through October 31, 2013 you will get a $300 resort credit that can be used on food and other resort amenities. We stayed at the Mayan Palace last year and we were pleasantly surprised by our $300 resort voucher! Check out my resort voucher post. We ate like kings and ended up not even using the whole $300. Here are more details about that offer.
Staying at the resort above in September 2013
Disclaimer: Ideas in this blog post are from my own personal experiences and actual results may vary based on offers available at the time. This is not professional advice.