Montego Bay, Jamaica: known for being a tourist paradise located less than an hour and 40 minutes from Miami International. I never thought I would get here, but I did, thanks to points, miles, and taking advantage of various promotions. We try to break down how we managed to go to this wonderful place without spending a ton of money, and we’ll show you exactly how we did it so you can replicate it! Sounds good? Great. Let’s get started.
The Background: Every February is Peter’s birthday month. I work in the financial services industry, wherein the first two weeks of the month are busy and the last two weeks are basically for taking vacations and other whatnots. This trip started as a challenge. Peter and I have never been in an all-inclusive resort as the charges are a bit above our normal budget. When Peter asked if I can do this vacation for cheap, I answered: “Of course I can!”
Here’s our expenses with our activities all lined up in a shiny little table:
Montego Bay Jamaica 2016 Expenses
|Date||Activity||Points Used||Cash Paid||Comments|
|Feb 19, 2016||Gas to/from Sarasota||$45||From Sarasota to Miami and back, we got driven by Peter's brother|
|Feb 20, 2016||Bottled Waters||$5|
|Feb 20, 2016||Doctors Cave Beach Entrance Fee||$12||Don't bother. What a ripoff.|
|Feb 20, 2016||Dinner at Pelican Grill||$36||Good meal!|
|Feb 20, 2016||Souvenir magnets||$5||3 magnets for $5 ain't so bad|
|Feb 21, 2016||Mayfield Falls Locker Rental||$5|
|Feb 21, 2016||Transportation to Mayfield Falls & Hyatt Zilara from AirBnB||$140|
|Feb 21, 2016||Mayfield Falls Lunch/Beer||$30|
|Feb 21, 2016||Mayfield Falls Entrance Fee||$40|
|Feb 22, 2016||Tip to bus driver to airport||$2|
|Feb 22, 2016||Tip to bag handler||$5|
|February 20 2016||Miami - Montego Bay (MIA-MBJ) by American Airlines||18,000 - British Airways Avios |
$232.12 - Barclaycard Arrival+ Points
|This was when Miami to Montego Bay was 4,500 BA Avios one way. It's now 7,500 BA Avios.|
|February 20-22, 2016||AirBnB Accommodation||$25 AirBnB Credit|
$50 of $100 AMEX Offer
|February 22-24, 2016||Hyatt Zilara All Inclusive||2 Free Nights c/o Chase Card|
|Other Expenses||Ruby's Jamaican Visa||$65||Ruby has a Philippine passport and needs a visa to visit Jamaica|
|Other Expenses||Money order fee + postage to Jamaican Embassy||$8.95|
|Total||18,000 British Airways Avios||$513.95|
Here’s how you can do it too:
- Barclaycard Arrival+: a great cash back card that you can use to reimburse yourself for ‘travel’ expenses
- Chase Hyatt: gives you 2 free hotel nights anywhere in the world if you spend $2k in 3 mos. Any spend in the card gives you Hyatt points which you can use for future ‘free’ hotel stays as well.
- Chase British Airways/AMEX Everyday/Chase Sapphire Preferred: these cards give you British Airways Avios, which is perfect for short haul flights that are otherwise expensive to pay for in cash.
So, all it takes is a cash back card, a hotel card with a great bonus, a card that earns British Airways points, and a few promotions to replicate our trip.
With credit card points, we can travel so much more for less. It enables us to stay in these luxurious properties we wouldn’t otherwise spend on!
And thus, we hope you can replicate our $520 Jamaican trip. It was a blast! A budget blast!
Notes: We could have done the trip even cheaper than $520 if Ruby wouldn’t have needed a visa (that would have saved an extra $100+!), but it is what it is! And we know how a blog would sound like if we made the trip under $500, but we only went $20 over!