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When I went to Puerto Vallarta last winter, I fell in love with the area. The mountains, the beautiful lush greenery, the colors all around me and the sparkling Pacific ocean – all were magical. Let’s not forget the food – it was amazing and very inexpensive.
I definitely felt like I was in a different culture like I was traveling and not just vacationing. This short trip made me want to explore more of Mexico. Thankfully, Mexico is a very accessible destination, and there’s no jet lag – always a big plus!
The Card to Get You There
Thanks to the generous bonus categories, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card is a great card for any business owner and the welcome bonus makes it even more attractive. The sign-up bonus for this card is often 70,000 Rapid Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 within the first 3 months.
The card earns 3X on Southwest Airlines purchases, 2X on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X on everything else.
The annual fee of $199 (not waived the first year) can be offset by $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit, four upgraded boardings per year and inflight wifi credits. The card has no foreign transaction fees and comes with 9,000 points every year on the cardmember anniversary.
If you already have Global Entry, you can use the card to pay for a family member or friend’s Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees.
You have to be under 5/24 to get approved for the Southwest Performance Business card. However, because it’s a business card, once you are approved, it won’t affect your 5/24 status.
How to Book Southwest Award Flights
After meeting the minimum spending requirement, you should have at least 85,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points and more if you spent in any of the bonus categories.
Editor’s Note: Make sure you check out how to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
Southwest has direct flights from a few major U.S. hub cities to Los Cabos International Airport that serves San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, and the Los Cabos area. Southwest also has flights to Puerto Vallarta International Airport, so getting there is easy.
Southwest has a very straightforward award search engine and you can search for award flights from the homepage (you don’t even need to create an account to search). Just enter your origin and destination, select Points and click Search. I prefer to look for and book one way flights because it allows for more flexibility if I need to make any changes later.
Southwest doesn’t have an award chart and the price in points will depend on the cash price. This is great, because there are no blackout dates and if you book the tickets during one of Southwest’s frequent fare sales, you can save lots of points!
If you have any flexibility, the handy Low Fare Calendar can help you find the cheapest flights.Just select a month and click search.
I searched for award tickets from Los Angeles in December and, as you can see, there’s a huge difference in the amount of points needed for different dates in the same month. And when you have more than 70,000 points in your disposal, there shouldn’t be a problem finding a flight that works for you and your family!
Southwest also flies to Cabo San Lucas, another great destination in Mexico. Both Cabo and Puerto Vallarta are very attractive destinations that have a lot to offer, whether you are there for a family vacation, bachelorette party or couples’ getaway.
With the Potential 100,000 points welcome bonus, the highest on all Southwest cards, you can take the entire family on vacation!
If you time the application right, this card can help you earn the Southwest Companion Pass. The Companion Pass is a great perk of Southwest Airlines that allows passengers to bring along a companion for only the cost of the taxes/fees, as long as there’s an available seat.
How to Pay for Your Stay in Mexico
Hyatt has a few great properties on Mexico’s west coast and Chase’s World of Hyatt credit card will help us cover a few nights. The card has a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. If you spend an additional $3,000 in the first six months for a total of $6,000, you will earn an additional 25,000 points for a total of 50,000 points.
The bonus on this card has fluctuated in the past so make sure you check the specific offer.
Total Bonus Points
30,000 points after $3k spend in 3 months. Up to 30,000 additional points by earning 2X points on the first $15,000 spent in non-bonus categories in the first 6 months.
Annual Fee: $95
Two of the card’s best benefits include a free night on cardmember’s anniversary at category 1-4 hotels and automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status. You can earn 9X World of Hyatt points per dollar at Hyatt hotels, 2X points per dollar at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting and on fitness clubs and gym memberships.
World of Hyatt is a perennial favorite of many travelers because award rates start at just 5,000 points for category 1 hotels.
Hyatt has two Ziva branded all-inclusive properties on Mexico’s west coast – Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta and Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. At 20,000 World of Hyatt points, both hotels represent a great value, since all your food and drink is included and there are lots of things to do at the resort.
My husband and I have stayed at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta and we enjoyed our stay. The food was really good and the area is stunningly beautiful. I could spend days just looking at the ocean and the surrounding mountains.
If an all-inclusive isn’t your thing, there are other options too. Hyatt Place Los Cabos is a category 1 hotel and can be booked for just 5,000 points.
If you are craving luxury, Hyatt’s recent addition of Small Luxury Hotels and Resorts is just the ticket. Casa Velas Boutique Hotel is an all-inclusive luxury adults-only resort in Puerto Vallarta. It’s not exactly a bargain at 30,000 World of Hyatt points, but cash rates in winter at this resort top $500, so it might be worth a splurge for a couple of nights!
Another upscale Hyatt property in Los Cabos is The Cape, a Thompson Hotel. This beachfront hotel has an exclusive, upscale vibe and can be booked for 25,000 points a night. This is a great value in high season, when the paid rates are well over $500 a night.
It’s not necessary to break the bank to get an amazing vacation with points and miles. By opening just two cards you can travel to Mexico’s stunning west coast and enjoy the most beautiful views of the Pacific. If you prefer a more active vacation, there’s sailing, whale watching and snorkeling. But there’s nothing wrong with just lounging by the pool and enjoying some cocktails!
Don’t forget to get off the resort and explore the surrounding areas. The natural beauty of Mexico’s west coast sometimes seems unreal. I still can’t forget the stunning Puerto Vallarta sunsets and, of course, the delicious food and amazing, warm people.
New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card to start with.
With a best-ever bonus of 100,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!
Editors 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.