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Is it possible to get a free roundtrip ticket to Mexico for free? What about a free flight to Mexico + a free stay at an all-inclusive resort?
While you won't find any rewards program that offers a free trip to Mexico specifically, there is one way to get there without any expenses out of your own pocket: travel hacking.
Using Travel Hacking To Get A Free Trip To Mexico?
First, why Mexico?
Why not?! It's one of the most beautiful places in the world, and is one of the most affordable vacation spots on the planet.
It ranks 7th in the World Tourism Rankings charts for most visitied destinations by international tourists.
Everything is cheaper (depending on where you're coming from, of course) and a dollar can be stretched much longer than most other countries.
So how can you get a free trip to Mexico?
Let's break it down…
The average cost for a roundtrip economy flight to Mexico is around $300-$700 depending on where you're flying from, what time of year you're travelling, and what city you're landing in.
$300 is really on the low end. And you'll have to be constantly looking out for travel deals. They run a few times per year, so it's a good idea to get on the email and update lists of popular airlines.
If you do happen to stumble upon a $300 ticket, your flight can be covered from a premium travel credit card. Most premium credit cards offer around $200 to $300 in travel rewards in your first year.
However, they're likely to have a minimum spending requirement. For example, with most credit cards, you'll get your first half of the rewards bonus after making your first purchase, and then get the rest when you spend something like $2000.
Now that doesn't mean that you have to start spending wrecklessly in order to receive your full rewards. The way travel hacking works is to find the best credit cards that offer the most rewards, and then allocate all of your regular spending onto your card.
For example, if you normally pay with cash or debit for all of your groceries, pay with your new credit card instead. If you write checks to your landlord, look into a service that allows you to pay your rent with credit cards.
Travel hacking works best when you have large regular purchases that you make consistently with other forms of payment like cash or debit, and using your credit card instead.
Once you receive your bonus, you can use it to book your free trip to Mexico.
Do I need a travel credit card?
Not necessarily. The smartest thing to do is to shop around. If a certain travel credit card offers you exactly what you need (ie. lots of travel points) then go for it.
If not, a cashback credit card can be just as good. Many cashback credit cards will offer you up to 10% cash back for your first few months. If you spend $3000 on your card that you otherwise would have spent with cash or debit, that's $300 back.
You can then redeem that cashback towards your free flight to Mexico!
What about accommodation and living expenses while in Mexico?
This will really depend on what you're looking for out of your Mexico trip. If you want to stay at an all-inclusive resort, you'll again have to shop around for exclusive offers that resorts make.
Resorts in Mexico offer discounts many times throughout the year to attract new visitors. There are a ton of different resorts all throughout the country, so it's also a way for them to stay competitive.
While a standard all-inclusive one-week stay will cost around $500-$1000, you can find deals for under $500 without trying too hard.
Oftentimes, travel websites will also add in flights as part of the offer. The best place to find deals I've found is the Expedia Deals section. I've seen all-inclusive deals (including flights) for as low as $450 on there. With travel hacking, you can get to Mexico for free at that price, and all food and accommodations will be free as well.
If you don't want to stay at an all-inclusive resort…
Then believe it or not, it can actually get more expensive than if you found a hot deal for an all-inclusive vacation.
The average cost of Mexico if you pay separately for everything costs around $40-$50. That includes accommodation, taxis, and food. For a week, you're looking at $280-$350.
Using advanced travel hacking: more than one credit card
Honestly, the word “hacking” makes this whole process seem more complicated and complex than it really is. The process of travel hacking is simply finding credit cards that give you lots of rewards, and then allocating your daily spending towards that credit card until you can redeem the full rewards.
If you get really into travel hacking, you can fly to Mexico on a first class seat and stay in a 5-star all-inclusive resort, get messages during the day, and drinks and good food at night, all without spending a penny towards your trip.
To get to that level you may need to apply for up to 5 different credit cards. After receiving all your rewards, you simply apply those rewards towards your trip to Mexico. Some cards will allow you to transfer your points to one single rewards system, or you can just redeem separate purchases on separate cards.
This sounds silly. I'm spending more money to get the points than I would have if I just payed for my Mexico trip myself.
If that's you… then stop. That's NOT the way you do this. This only works if you can allocate spending you would have made anyways towards your rewards credit cards.
If you feel like you need to spend wrecklessly in order to receive your points, then you're doing this wrong.
However, if you dive into the world of travel hacking, you'll learn that there are many different ways to transfer payments from cash, debit, or cheque into your credit card instead.
Doesn't applying for and cancelling a bunch of credit cards ruin your credit?
This is one of the biggest misconceptions of travel hacking. And it's the reason why more people don't get to go to Mexico for free!
Applying for, getting accepted, and cancelling credit cards doesn't affect your credit to the point where it matters.
What does affect your credit is not repaying your balance, or using up too high of your credit limit each month.
How to travel to Mexico for free
Mexico is one of the easiest places to get to for free if you can use your travel points correctly. I personally know at least a dozen people who've used a single credit to get a free flight to Mexico.
All you need to do is find one of the many travel offers that pop up, and then use a rewards credit card to redeem your travel purchases.