I booked a $ 12,000 vacation using credit card rewards and free nights
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- Going on vacation is a great way to maximize your credit card points and hotel certificates.
- I redeemed two Hilton Free Night Certificates and 125,000 Hyatt Points for a week in Cabo San Lucas.
- Those seven nights would have cost $ 12,240.90 if I had paid in cash.
- Read the Insider Guide to the Best Credit Cards with Travel Rewards.
Prior to 2020, I had been to Mexico on vacation using points and miles for the past few years. Because it’s considered high season, spot prices are always high, making this a great time to make the most of my hotel points, airline miles, and free night certificates.
Sadly, in 2020 I had to content myself with turning up the heat in my apartment, putting a beach towel on my sofa bed, streaming the sounds of the ocean on YouTube, and making margaritas at home. . So as soon as I got vaccinated against COVID-19, I embarked on developing my annual itinerary for the end of December.
Read more: Haven’t stayed in a hotel for over a year – here’s how I use all the credit card points and free night certificates I’ve saved
Using Hilton Credit Card Free Night Certificates and Chase Ultimate Rewards Points I saved during the pandemic, I booked seven nights in Cabo San Lucas which in cash would have cost $ 12,240.90. Here is how I did it.
2 nights at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
15.74% to 24.74% variable APR on purchases
150,000 points after spending at least $ 4,000 during your first 3 months of opening an account
I have the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card
, which issues a free weekend night certificate each year shortly after I have paid my annual membership fee (see review). While you typically only have a year to use the certificates, due to the pandemic, Hilton has extended their expiration dates and also opened them for use any night of the week.
Learn more: How to earn, redeem and maximize Hilton Honors Points
As a result of these moves, I was able to use the certificates I collected in 2020 and 2021 to book a two-night stay at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal – one of the more expensive properties in Hilton’s portfolio, which you were using money or points. . At the time I booked, a two night stay beyond my dates would have cost me 240,000 Honors Points or $ 5,145.60 including taxes and fees.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card will also continue to save me money when I arrive at the property. It comes with a $ 250 resort credit each year that reimburses you for expenses you incur at qualifying hotels, including on-site food and beverages. The card also grants top-tier Hilton Diamond elite status, meaning my fiance and I will both get a free breakfast each morning.
Read more: Was reluctant to pay the $ 450 annual fee for the Hilton Aspire card, but got $ 3,700 worth of travel for the first year
5 nights at Cape, a Thompson hotel
15.99% -22.99% Variable
Due to the high reward rates (and low availability) at the Waldorf, I turned to The Cape, a Thompson hotel to book the remainder of my stay in Cabo. The Thompson hotel lineup is under the Hyatt umbrella, which means you can use World of Hyatt points to book award stays there. The Cape is a Category 6 property, which means you can book a standard room for just 25,000 points per night.
Read more: The best ways to earn, redeem, and maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards points
At the time I booked I did not have enough Hyatt points in my account to cover my planned five night stay, so I converted my reserve of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are transferred to Hyatt at a ratio of 1: 1. This reserve increased dramatically during the pandemic thanks to cards including the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which I used to earn 3x points per dollar on takeout and delivery, so I could easily top up my Hyatt account with the remainder of the 125,000 points required to complete the reservation.
In cash, the stay would have amounted to $ 7,095.30 including taxes and fees – out of my budget, to say the least!
Read more: Haven’t paid for a hotel room in 10 years – here’s how I stay free
Later, a few friends decided to think about joining us for this part of the trip, and in order to accumulate the required points, one of them opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which currently offers 100,000 points after having spent $ 4000. on purchases during the first three months after opening the account.
3 free nights (worth up to 50,000 points each) after spending $ 3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x the total points per $ 1 spent for a maximum of $ 2,500 of combined purchases in certain categories in your first 6 months
$ 200 after spending $ 500 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account