Business

Catching feelings and flights — Travelling to Mexico

Sunday, July 14, 2019

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At the start of 2019 I made a silent pledge that I would travel more and with greater purpose.

Full disclosure, I am not the biggest fan of travelling. I detest flying, don't enjoy sightseeing and rarely want to do anything besides shop and eat. However, this year I decided I would try new things, if only to say I did it and confirm my suspicions that I wouldn't like it.

Spoiler alert, I'm going to Mexico.

Some weeks ago, I wrote a feature on Instagram-worthy travel destinations, and Mexico was top of the list. At the time, I had no real inkling I would be planning a vacation there — but isn't that usually how these things work out?

To quote me, “Mexico a picturesque spot for the perfect tropical getaway, depending on when you travel and where to, it can be a quick and relatively inexpensive flight which, best of all, allows visa-free travel for up to 180 days.”

That's about right. This particular trip to Cancún, Mexico, is roughly eight hours long with more than half of that being a layover in Miami, Florida, if travelling on American Airlines.

The cost is approximately US$800, which converts to just about $106,000 locally. Note that this was a relatively sudden booking, less than a month between confirmation and flight, and would likely have been less expensive had it been made in advance. For comparison, a trip to New York on the same airline for the same period is only about $US100 less.

What's more, it still worked out cheaper as I was able to use travel points from my Scotiabank AERO Platinum MasterCard, which removed some $56,000 from the final cost. Points are accumulated as you spend so I basically use it for everything I would use cash to purchase and then repay the balance before the billing cycle to avoid paying interest.

Even better is that I benefitted from the AERO Rewards' travel expense credit which applied credit to my account based on total ticket price.

If you are a frequent traveller, or hope to be, I would encourage that you look into the various travel rewards programmes available at hotels and within their groups of companies.

Because of previous travel and stays at IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) properties, I am entitled to four free nights, which I will either redeem for accommodations in Cancún or for my return trip when I will be spending time in Miami before heading back to Jamaica.

For perspective, that potentially means four free nights at a Holiday Inn which would normally cost almost US$200 per night. That's pretty incredible savings when you are trying to travel impulsively (read last-minute) on a budget!

Also, if you agree to spend valuable time on your bucket- list vacation listening to a timeshare presentation (you can already tell I hate the very idea) for a few hours, some hotels will offer you a further discount on additional days not covered by the rewards programme. However, I have never done it, and I do not recommend it.

It's entirely too early to tell how the vacation will pan out, but I remain beyond hopeful that in the home of tequila, everything will be all right. And if it's not, you can expect to read about it here.

— PAUL ALLEN

 

 


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