Adventures with friends are the best, especially when you get along so well with them, well enough to spend 6 nights straight sharing hotel rooms :)
Our vacation in Cancun was glorious. It was 82, sunny, relaxing, and, seriously, almost free! How so? The secret is making your money work for you (and making sure that you pay off your bills!).
Step One: Southwest Travel Card
This card is awesome. Basically, when you sign up for the card and meet the initial spending by purchasing items you would already be purchasing, you get a reward bonus of 50,000 points. These points can be put towards any Southwest flights. Points for flights range depending on your destination, but we have BOTH been able to fly to Cancun and back, Vegas and back, and one other small trip (to be determined) all on points. By the way, Southwest now flies to Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and Jamaica!
In addition to the sign on bonus, you earn points for every dollar you spend on your card. Two thousand dollars in bills, food, and gas this month? You just earned 2,000 more points towards a flight! Also, you get 6,000 bonus points on the anniversary of your card date. All of these points make the $89 annual fee pay for itself and then some. We have saved over $1,000 in flights this year alone. The rapid rewards program (and this card) are awesome! For more on the card, check out this post. If you want a referral to the card, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and I will send you the link.
Hyatt has a sign up deal similar to the Southwest Card. They operate on a points system as well, but the best thing about this card is that once you meet your spending requirements then you win two free "reward nights". These are redeemable ANYWHERE in the world. (And you get a free night every year for being a card member.) Seriously. We got the most bang for our buck by staying at the Hyatt Zilara.
We used some of our rewards nights, coupled with our friend's reward night to earn four FREE nights at this amazing all-inclusive. Which means we didn't pay a dime for food, drinks, or hotel stay for four nights at this four and a half star resort. Talk about luxury for less! They also have all-inclusives in Jamaica and Cabo San Lucas where you could do the same deal if you didn't want to go to Cancun.
All that's left to pay for was the transfer from the airport to the hotel and back, which we found for $55 total for all four of us. It really made things stress free. If you want to explore more of downtown Cancun, it's easy to do by foot, or you can pay under $1 in pesos to hop on the city bus. We did some tipping as well for the awesome staff.
If you have friends that you don't mind sharing a hotel room with, then get your rewards nights, share them, and head off on a lengthy, fabulous, almost free vacation!