The 7 Best Ways to Fly to Mexico Using Points and Miles

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fly to mexico using points and miles

The Best Ways to Fly to Mexico Using Points and Miles

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From world-class beaches to ancient ruins and delicious food, Mexico is popular for a reason – in fact, it's more popular than ever through the pandemic. But flight prices to Mexico are always on the move: Sometimes you can find cheap flights to Mexico, and other times airfare seems sky-high?

Why not use points and miles to make it happen for (nearly) free? Whether you've got credit card points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, there are great, easy ways to take a cheap flight and make it free using points. You can hop on occasional Delta SkyMiles flash sales or discounted flights using American AAdvantage miles or even find outsized value with some advanced frequent flyer programs.

So should you book your flight to Mexico using points instead of paying cash? If it's the difference between taking the trip or not, absolutely! After all, your points are not getting more valuable sitting in the bank. And booking an (almost) free flight always feels good!

To help you decide how to book, we've gathered some of the best ways you can fly to Mexico using points and miles.

 

chichen itza mexico

 

 

Book a Cheap Flight with Credit Card Points

One of our favorite ways to use credit card points like Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Capital One Venture Miles is to book flight deals directly through a travel portal. Rather than paying cash, you’re using your credit card points as if they were cash. The cheaper the flight, the fewer points you need.

And that’s a goldmine when you can harness a cheap fare you find using Google Flights or get straight to your inbox from Thrifty Traveler PremiumAnd unlike when you use airline miles, you won’t have to pay any additional taxes or fees – they’re covered by your points.

Thanks to plenty of airline competition to Mexico's hottest destinations, cheap flight deals to Mexico are often in steady supply. Time it right and you can regularly find flights to Cancún (CUN), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), Cabo (SJD) under $300 roundtrip … and sometimes even under $200.

 

msp to cun

 

This unbelievable fare is gone now – get the next amazingly cheap flight to Mexico sent straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

When you find fares this cheap, it might be worth paying cash … but it also often makes using travel portals or Capital One Purchase Eraser the most cost-effective way to book a flight to Mexico using points. We've got two favorite ways to make that happen.

 

Use Ultimate Rewards through the Chase Travel Portal

One of the easiest ways to book a free flight to Mexico using your Chase points is to simply book through the Chase travel portal.

You’ll essentially be paying for a cash-priced ticket using your points but if you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll get a discount when booking with Chase points. Every point from the Preferred Card is worth 1.25 cents toward travel, while you get 1.5 cents apiece from the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Here's a quick example of a nonstop flight from Austin (AUS) to Cancún (CUN) for $226.56. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can book this exact same flight for 18,214 Chase points.

 

austin to cancun chase sapphire preferred points

 

And if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it would only cost 15,104 points.

 

austin to cancun chase sapphire reserve points

 

With one of these cards, you’ll get a lot of value on flights to Mexico. Best of all, if you have enough points, you won’t need to pay any extra taxes and fees out of pocket. And if you’re a little short, you can always pay a combination of points and cash to get your flights booked.

Plus, unlike a traditional award ticket, you’ll still earn frequent flyer miles on your flights when booking this way. There's no need to get bogged down with the complications of transferring points to airline miles and searching for available award space. Just find your flights and complete the booking directly with Chase.

The one big downside to booking through Chase is that you’ll be booking flights through a third party – not straight with the airline. If you need to make any changes or your flights get delayed or canceled during your trip, you may need to contact Chase for assistance rather than the airline itself.

 

Capital One Purchase Eraser

Paying for flights to Mexico with points doesn’t get any easier than using the Capital One purchase eraser.

You can book any flight you want, anywhere you want, whether it’s directly through the airline, through the Capital One travel portal, or any other online travel agency. So long as you pay for your purchase with your Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can go back and cover the cost using your miles.

You've got 90 days to “erase” a travel purchase from the time it appears on your credit card statement. And every mile is worth 1 cent.

This means you can book a flight like this nonstop jetBlue flight from New York (JFK) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) for $326.34 roundtrip and erase the charge from your card using 32,634 Capital One miles.

 

new york to puerto vallarta mexico jetblue

 

It's that easy. There are no blackout dates, you’ll get to earn frequent flyer miles, and perhaps most importantly, you can book directly with the airline.

 

puerto vallarta banderas bay mexico

 

Use British Airways Miles

If you’re flying on a short nonstop flight to Mexico on either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, you’ll find some incredible value when booking those flights using British Airways Avios.

British Airways uses a distance-based award chart which means the best deals are for short flights that are under 2,000 miles. Here’s a breakdown of the one-way Avios rates between the U.S. and Mexico based on flight distance.

  • 1 – 650 miles: 7,500 Avios in economy; 15,000 in business
  • 651 – 1,150 miles: 9,000 Avios in economy; 16,500 in business
  • 1,151 – 2,000 miles: 11,000 Avios in economy; 22,000 in business
  • 2,001 – 3,000 miles: 13,000 Avios in economy; 38,750 in business

Not sure how long your flight is? Plug the route into the Great Circle Mapper!

British Airways prices award flights by segment so you'll need to fly on nonstop flights to get these deals. If your flight requires a connection, you'll be better off booking through another program such as American's AAdvantage or through a credit card travel portal. On the plus side, this can get you to some further-flung Mexican airports like Chihuahua (CUU), Monterrey (MTY), or Loreto (LTO) that have nonstop American service.

There are only a handful of nonstop American Airlines flights between the U.S. and Mexico that clock in at under 650 miles.

  • Miami (MIA) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Miami (MIA) to Cozumel (CZM)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Chihuahua (CUU)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Monterrey (MTY)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Torreón (TRC)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Hermosillo (HMO)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Loreto (LTO)

These flights can be booked for just 7,500 Avios each way in economy or 15,000 Avios in business class. If you're booking roundtrip, it'll be 15,000 Avios for economy flights plus around $93 in taxes and fees.

 

miami to cancun mexico using british airways avios

 

You'll find far more options in the next tier between 651 – 1,150 miles. The following nonstop flights are operated by either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, both of which can be booked with British Airways Avios. It will cost 9,000 Avios one-way in economy or 16,500 in business class.

  • Austin (AUS) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Austin (AUS) to Cozumel (CZM)
  • Austin (AUS) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Austin (AUS) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • Charlotte (CLT) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Charlotte (CLT) to Cozumel (CZM)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Cozumel (CZM)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Guadalajara (GDL)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Ixtapa (ZIH)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Leon / Guanajuato (BJX)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Loreto (LTO)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Mazatlan (MZT)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Merida (MID)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Mexico City (MEX)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Oaxaca (OAX)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Loreto (LTO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Mazatlan (MZT)
  • Miami (MIA) to Merida (MID)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to La Paz (LAP)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Guadalajara (GDL)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Mazatlan (MZT)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • San Diego (SAN) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • San Diego (SAN) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Loreto (LTO)

It's not a complete list but includes some of the most popular destinations. You'll find plenty more destinations in Mexico with nonstop American Airlines flights within this range departing from its hub in Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW).

At 9,000 Avios each way in economy, these flights are only slightly less than what you'll sometimes find using American or Alaska miles … but it's much easier to obtain British Airways Avios since you can transfer points from many major credit card programs.

This is also a nice sweet spot for business class tickets to Mexico for only 16,500 Avios each way or 33,000 Avios plus around $114 in taxes and fees roundtrip.

 

San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Mexico business class using avios

 

In the next tier, between 1,151 – 2,000 miles, you'll find more nonstop flights from the northern U.S. as well as destinations in southern Mexico.

  • Boston (BOS) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Charlotte (CLT) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Charlotte (CLT) to Mexico City (MEX)
  • Charlotte (CLT) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • Chicago (ORD) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Chicago (ORD) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Chicago (ORD) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • Dallas (DFW) to Huatulco (HUX)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Ixtapa (ZIH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Guadalajara (GDL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Manzanillo (ZLO)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Mexico City (MEX)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • Miami (MIA) to Mexico City (MEX)
  • Miami (MIA) to Monterrey (MTY)
  • New York (JFK) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Philadelphia (PHL) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Mexico City (MEX)
  • Phoenix (PHX) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Portland (PDX) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Portland (PDX) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • San Jose (SJC) to Guadalajara (GDL)
  • San Jose (SJC) to Los Cabos (SJD)
  • San Jose (SJC) to Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
  • Seattle (SEA) to Los Cabos (SJD)

Again, this isn't a full list but it covers most of the hot spots in Mexico with nonstop flights on either American or Alaska Airlines from the U.S.

You'll be able to book these flights for 11,000 Avios each way in economy or 22,000 Avios in business class as long as there is saver award space available. Roundtrip, nonstop main cabin flights to Mexico for 22,000 easy-to-earn Avios plus $93 in taxes and fees is a pretty sweet deal.

 

philadelphia to cancun mexico using british airways avios

 

For the few nonstop flights that clock in between 2,001 – 3,000 miles in distance flown, you'll still get a pretty good deal in economy for just 13,000 Avios one-way, though business class seats for 38,750 Avios is not the best deal. Here's a look at a few of the nonstop flights between the U.S. and Mexico within this range that are operated by either American Airlines or Alaska.

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Cancun (CUN)
  • San Diego (SAN) to Cancun (CUN)
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Portland (PDX) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Seattle (SEA) to Cancun (CUN)

 

How to Book It

In order to book American or Alaska flights to Mexico using British Airways Avios, you'll need to first find saver availability on nonstop flights. The best way to do this is to use American's award search.

Select “redeem miles”, conduct an initial search, and then click the “calendar” icon on the following page to view dates on a flexible calendar. You can then filter the results in the calendar to only show nonstop flights. This is important since you'll want to stick to nonstop flights when booking with British Airways.

 

AA award search choose calendar

 

The lowest rates will be highlighted in green. If you see dates for 10,000 – 15,000 miles in economy or 20,000 – 25,000 miles in business class one-way, those are the most likely to be saver award seats. Routes operated by Alaska Airlines may have slightly higher saver award rates of 17,500 miles for economy or 27,500 miles for business on American's search tool.

 

American Airlines award search to mexico

 

Of course, these aren't the rates you'll be spending when booking with British Airways. Once you find dates with saver space, plug those dates into British Airways' award search tool to book the flights. You'll need to sign up for a free account and log in to search and book with British Airways Executive Club.

 

dallas to oaxaca mexico using ba avios

 

How to Earn British Airways Miles

You can transfer credit card points instantly from the following programs directly into your British Airways Executive Club account. All points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, which means 1,000 credit card points gets you 1,000 Avios.

 

oaxaca mexico hierve el agua

 

American AAdvantage Web Specials

If you are looking to take a connecting flight operated by American Airlines, look no further than American's own AAdvantage program. You can often find Web Special rates from across the U.S. to Mexico for just 10,000 miles one-way. And unlike using British Airways Executive Club, you can find the same rates regardless of whether or not your flight has a connection.

 

How to Book American Web Specials to Mexico

My favorite way to check on Web Specials is to use American's award map search. Enter your departure city, pick a region, travel date, and the number of miles to use. In this case, I'll enter 10,000 as that is the typical Web Special rate for flights to Mexico. And I'll pick an off-peak travel date such as a Tuesday in September.

 

american airlines award map with web specials to mexico

 

The map will show blue pins in destinations that fit your search criteria. You can then click through to view more travel dates on a flexible calendar by clicking “book now” and then “calendar” on the following page.

 

Minneapolis to Mexico City calendar search with AA

 

When you click through to book, you'll get a warning you won't be able to make changes on these Web Special fares. But that's a moot point: You can still cancel your ticket, reinstate your miles for free, and then rebook new flights if your plans change.

 

AA web special vs main cabin award

 

In the end, you can book flights to Mexico for just 10,000 miles one-way, even if your flight requires a connection.

 

minneapolis to mexico city using aa miles

 

How to Earn American Miles

The downside to booking with American Airlines is that it's harder to earn AAdvantage miles. None of the major banks with transferrable points allow you to transfer to American miles, but if you're earning Bilt Rewards or want to top off your account with Marriott points, you'll be able to transfer points.

  • Bilt Rewards (1:1)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Points (3:1)

On the plus side, you can easily rack up some AAdvantage miles with an American Airlines credit card.

 

mexico teotihuacan

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards

If you like to travel with checked bags and prioritize flexibility, you'll want to have a look at what rates Southwest is offering to book flights to Mexico with Rapid Rewards points. All Southwest tickets include two checked bags and its change/cancellation policy is hands down better than any other U.S. airline.

When booking with Southwest points, flights are completely refundable up until 10 minutes prior to departure. You can simply cancel your reservation online and all points will go back into your account along with a refund of all taxes and fees paid. This is even better than if you were to book with cash, in which case you would only get a voucher … and have to use it within one year from the original date of purchase.

Southwest flies to the following popular destinations in Mexico.

  • Cancun (CUN)
  • Cozumel (CZM)
  • Los Cabos (SJD)
  • Puerto Vallarta (PVR)

 

southwest cities in mexico

 

You'll find both nonstop flights and connecting flights flying Southwest from across the U.S. Since the points price is tied to the price of a cash ticket, the number of points required for your flight will vary.

 

How to Book Flights to Mexico with Southwest Rapid Rewards

It's easy to book Southwest flights to Mexico using points. Use the Southwest low fare calendar to view dates across a two-month calendar and select “points” when booking to see the price in points.

 

southwest low fare calendar points mexico

 

You can sometimes find incredibly low rates such as these roundtrip, nonstop flights from Orange County/Santa Ana, CA (SNA) to Cabo (SJD) for just 8,300 Rapid Rewards points plus $114 in taxes and fees.

 

Orange County to Cabo Mexico Southwest points

 

Want to take this to the next level? If you earn the Southwest companion pass, you can book flights using points and still get your companion's flight for free – just pay the taxes and fees!

 

How to Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

Southwest points are fairly easy to earn as we regularly see elevated bonuses on Southwest credit cards.

Better yet, Southwest is a Chase transfer partner. That means you can transfer 80,000 points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to get 80,000 Southwest points, for example. And if you need to top off your account, Southwest is also a Marriott Bonvoy transfer partner – on a 3:1 basis.

 

cabo san lucas mexico arch

 

Turn to Turkish Miles&Smiles for Biz Class

It may seem odd to use Turkish Airlines miles to book a flight to Mexico, but you'll want to consider it if you're looking for a cheap way to get to the beach flying United or Air Canada flights from the U.S. and Canada — especially if you want to fly in business class.

As part of the Star Alliance network, you can use Turkish miles to book flights on partner airlines to Mexico like Air Canada or United. The booking process can be a bit much for beginners and probably not worth the hassle for economy tickets, as you can often find similar rates using Air Canada or United's own frequent flyer programs.

But if you want to spend the fewest number of miles to fly business class to Mexico, you may want to give it a try – especially on routes where United is operating widebody jets equipped with lie-flat seats in business class.

Turkish Airlines charges the following mileage rates for roundtrip flights within North America, which includes flights between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

  • 20,000 miles roundtrip for economy
  • 30,000 miles roundtrip for business

As long as there is saver award space available, it's the same price whether you're flying nonstop or with a connection, and from anywhere in North America, too. It doesn't matter if you're flying from Alaska or Houston – you'll still pay the same rate.

You can book one-way flights for half the cost of a roundtrip, which means you can get business class tickets for just 15,000 miles one way.

 

denver to cancun mexico for 15k turkish miles in business class

 

That's half the number of miles United is charging for the exact same flights in business class. In this example, United is charging 30,000 miles to fly in business class from Denver (DEN) to Cancun (CUN).

 

denver to cancun mexico using united miles

 

Note that it's actually fewer miles to book with United in economy. Since United has variable pricing, the value in booking with Turkish over United won't always be a slam dunk.

Business-class award space will be hard to come by and almost always only on nonstop flights, but it's worth looking into if you want a little more comfort on your flight.

 

How to Book Flights to Mexico with Turkish Miles&Smiles

You'll need to first find the saver award space by searching United's site. Then, plug in those dates with Turkish. It may not always be possible to book your desired flights online through Turkish. In these cases, you can try calling to book over the phone or send an email to a ticket office.

For a detailed guide on booking flights with Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, check out our post on How to Book Hawaii Flights for just 15,000 Turkish miles roundtrip. You can just swap out your searches for destinations in Mexico.

 

How to Earn Turkish Miles

Turkish Airlines is one of the best Capital One transfer partners.

That means you can transfer Venture Miles from your Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card straight to Turkish on a 1:1 basis. Turkish is also a Citi ThankYou points transfer partner, which means you can transfer 60,000 points from the Citi Premier® Card and get 60,000 Turkish miles.

Turkish is also a transfer partner with Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy points.

 

guanajuato mexico

 

Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales

We saved the best for last! Many points and miles experts like to call SkyMiles worthless, but they're wrong – especially when it comes to flights to Mexico.

While it's true that using SkyMiles for long-haul business class flights is no longer a wise option after several devaluations, they do provide excellent value during numerous flash sales on flights to Mexico.

Thrifty Traveler Premium members continually receive alerts for Delta SkyMiles deals to Mexico like this one with rates from just 5,000 miles roundtrip! It doesn't get cheaper than that.

 

thrifty traveler premium deal mexico for 5k skymiles

 

Sign up to get cheap flight alerts for free – or upgrade to get 10x as many flight deals including award alerts like this one from your home airport with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

How to Book Flights to Mexico with Delta SkyMiles

Booking these deals is as straightforward as can be.

Just go to the Delta site, check the box that says “Shop with Miles” and start your search. If you click on “Advanced Search”, you can filter your search to avoid Delta Basic Economy tickets, if you'd like. Delta is the only major airline that sells basic economy award fares, including on routes to Mexico.

 

delta skymiles search

 

You can then click “price calendar” at the top to get a calendar view of travel dates so you can find the best deal for your trip to Mexico.

 

delta skymiles calendar search flights to mexico

 

When all is said and done, you'll have a super cheap flight to Mexico using Delta SkyMiles.

 

seattle to cabo mexico using delta skymiles

 

How to Earn Delta SkyMiles

There's no shortage of ways to earn Delta SkyMiles.

You can earn SkyMiles with a Delta-branded credit card, of course. But we think the best credit card for earning Delta SkyMiles is … not a Delta card.

They're American Express Membership Rewards credit cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express Gold Card®. Delta is an Amex transfer partner  – and if you ask us, they're one of the best. That means you can wait for a great SkyMiles flash sale to Mexico then transfer the points you need to your Delta account and book.

When transferring Amex points to Delta SkyMiles, you'll need to pay a minimal 0.06 cent fee per point transferred, with a maximum fee of $99. For example, transferring 14,000 SkyMiles would incur a fee of $8.40.

 

Bottom Line

Booking flights to Mexico using points and miles is a great way to save your cash for the fun activities you have planned while south of the border.

If you've got points that are burning a whole in your pocket, it's best to use them for any flight rather than let them sit around never to be redeemed. And by using one of these strategies, you'll be enjoying margaritas and tacos on the beach in no time.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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