Use 75K Chase Points for a last-minute trip to Mexico 2

Two of the best travel rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, currently offer a sign-up bonus of 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. There are many ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but you typically get the best value when you transfer your rewards to one or more Chase transfer partners.

To illustrate the type of travel you can book with these new sign-up bonuses, two TPG employees and I took a trip using 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points each. I chose to book a flight and all-inclusive resort for a last-minute escape to Mexico with my husband. Here’s how I did it and what our trip was like.

How I planned this trip

My schedule was already packed when I had the opportunity to redeem 75,000 Chase points for a last-minute trip. But we can arrange a mid-April long weekend trip. So I started thinking about what type of vacation I could book that wouldn't cost more than 75,000 Chase points for the two of us.

Katie Gent/Key Person

World of Hyatt is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and has significantly expanded its Inclusive Collection of all-inclusive resorts over the past few years. But I haven’t found a chance to visit any of them yet. So I checked to see if I could use 75,000 points on a weekend trip for my husband and I to a Hyatt all-inclusive resort. I would go anywhere in North America as long as my points could cover a two-night round trip flight and a few nights at a resort.

It turned out to be the perfect last minute trip to Cancun.

Related: 11 Reasons to Choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred Over the Chase Sapphire Reserve for Fanciers

Flights to Cancun 4,565 points

When I discovered that I could book a nonstop flight from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Cancun International Airport (CUN) on my desired Friday departure date for just 2,905 Southwest Airlines points plus $48.23, I was surprised. Cons: This flight leaves Houston at 6:45pm and arrives in Cancun at 9pm.

Southwest Network

The slightly more expensive Wanna Get Away Plus fare allows free changes to same-day flights starting at midnight on the day of travel (if space is available). So, having been on a lot of Southwest flights lately that either had empty seats or cleared out many standby passengers at the gate, I decided to book my husband a Wanna Get Away Plus fare for 4,565 points, plus 48.23 USD taxes and fees.

You may be wondering, “It's just a ticket. Katie, how was your flight?” The reason I only need points to purchase a ticket is that my husband got a Southwest Companion Pass in early 2023, which is valid for By the end of 2024. There is a $48.23 tax and second ticket fee.

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Southwest Network

When the same-day change window opened at midnight on the day of our flight, there were no seats available on either of the earlier flights. But I got up at 7am to check the seat availability again and grabbed two of the three available seats when we set off at 9:25am. A flight change that day meant we arrived in Cancun nine hours earlier than scheduled, albeit with a little less sleep than optimal!

The disadvantage of same-day flight changes is: we got boarding positions of C17 and C18. We anticipated this and planned to purchase upgrade boardings because our Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card can reimburse up to four upgrade boardings per anniversary. However, when we checked in, there were no upgraded boarding spots remaining on our flight.

We assumed these middle C boarding positions would put us in middle seats near the back of the plane. Even though we were the last passengers to board the plane, we were surprised to see that the window and aisle seats near the front of the plane were empty. We each sat next to couples and felt comfortable for the approximately two hour flight.

RELATED: 15 Lessons Learned from 15 Years of Holding a Southwest Companion Pass

Hyatt All Inclusive Resort 46,000 points for 2 nights

When I booked my stay about two weeks before departure, Hyatt Rewards availability in Cancun was limited. However, among the many options, the Dreamland Resort & Spa stood out for its Preferred Club (which I had access to as a Hyatt Globalist member) and its oceanfront setting, just 30 minutes from CUN.

Katie Gent/Key Person

Dreams Jade Resort & Spa is a Hyatt Category B hotel. Spending during off-peak hours is 17,000 points, spending during standard hours is 20,000 points, and spending during peak hours is 23,000 points. Unfortunately, both nights of my weekend stay were during peak hours, so I had to redeem my 46,000 points for both nights. If I'd paid cash, I'd have paid $1,088 for the same room – which gives me a solid redemption value of 2.37 cents per point.

Hyatt website

In addition to its beautiful beachfront location, Dream Emerald Resort's highlights are its friendly staff, welcoming guests and excellent food. I was impressed with most of the dishes I tried, including the ceviche at Castaways Cafe, the fish tacos at the Preferred Club Pool Cafe, and the Spice salmon.

The Preferred Pool Cafe offers fish tacos, burgers and fries.Katie Gent/Key Person

I also really enjoyed the swings and hammock chairs at the beachfront bar – it’s my favorite place to relax.

I was impressed by the good attitude of the other guests, many of whom cheered others on at pool activities, chatted with strangers at the bar, and learned new dances.

Hyatt elites have very limited on-site benefits, aside from priority club access and higher-floor rooms with scenic views. But the only timeshare pitch I ever got was while waiting for the hotel shuttle at the airport.

The view from the balcony of my room.Katie Gent/Key Person

Related: When and How to Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to World of Hyatt

Return flights to Austin 23,074 points

Finding an affordable award flight from Cancun to Austin on April 14th proved difficult, especially since we booked our flights within two weeks of departure and wanted to depart later in the day to maximize Extend your stay in Mexico.

I booked what was probably the most expensive Southwest award flight I've ever booked for my husband: a nonstop flight from Cancun to Austin that cost 23,074 points, plus $77.58 in taxes and fees. The direct flight was perfect though as it allowed us to enjoy the morning and even have lunch and a few last drinks at the resort before heading to the airport.

Southwest Network

As with our other Southwest flights, I was able to add myself as a companion after booking my husband's flight. The fee I paid with his companion pass was just tax.

Southwest Network

We checked in for our flight 24 hours before departure and were given boarding slots B15 and B16. We found a window and aisle seat in the same row near the back of the plane. There were no seats available when the flight took off, but a woman seemed happy to sleep in the middle seat between us for most of the flight.

Related: 7 Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits You May Not Know About

Was my weekend escape worth it?

I'm not sure it would be enjoyable to go to Mexico for just two nights. But we had a great long weekend, especially since we had a direct flight and could spend over 48 hours at an all-inclusive resort. We loved the energy of the guests and staff at Dream Emerald Resort & Spa and had a relaxing weekend. Knowing what I know now, I'm so glad we took this tour.

My global Hyatt membership allowed us to have a better experience at Dreams Jade, including a high-rise room with unobstructed views of the entire resort, and access to better drinks in the Preferred Club lounge.

Having a Companion Pass makes Southwest a great choice for my husband and I to book round-trip flights, especially since Southwest operates nonstop flights on the routes we need. Taking advantage of a same-day transfer from Houston to Cancun is also a great value.

That being said, I don’t typically transfer Chase points to Southwest. After all, I like to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for at least 2 cents per point. For reference, our outbound flights were 1.79 cents per point, Hyatt all-inclusive stays were 2.37 cents per point, and return flights were 1.35 cents per point (assuming you set the point cost for my Companion Pass flights to zero).

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve: Should You Go Midrange or High-End?

bottom line

It was fun to show us how a sign-up bonus and some cash to cover taxes, fees, tips, and airport transfers led to a last-minute vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.

Katie Gent/Key Person

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve offer a 75,000-point sign-up bonus, so now is a great time to apply. This story focuses on how I redeemed 75,000 points for a vacation, but there are many other ways you can use 75,000 points. For example, you can transfer 75,000 Chase points to a Hyatt hotel and redeem up to 21 off-peak Category 1 Hyatt hotel nights.

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