We previously heard about how Natalya got her tickets to Grand Cayman and Cancun with United miles. Next, it was time to book Tatyana’s ticket. Then the four of us can have a relaxing, amazing mid-February vacation on the beach! It’s only four days away!
The plan: President’s Day Weekend in Cancun
Tatyana is planning to spend five days in Cancun arriving on February 15 and leaving February 19. Since she lives in Los Angeles, she has to leave the evening before to make it to Cancun in the morning. Then she has a full day in the sun!
An initial attempt: American Airlines AAdvantage
Tatyana really wanted to try to use miles for her trip.
She initially called me and suggested a routing using American Airlines AAdvantage miles on a roundtrip ticket. Since there was no SAAver Award availability on the way there, she’d have to use an AAnytime Economy reward costing 35k miles going through Miami. On the way back, there was a Business class flight going through New York. She’d have to leave Cancun at 10 am. The return ticket would cost 30k AAdvantage miles. The total would be 65k American Airlines AAdvantage miles on inconvenient flights just to fly to Cancun and not even in Business in both directions! I was having none of that!!
Tatyana is great and awesome for many reasons, but her ability to use miles is not one of them ;)
The second and final attempt: Delta SkyMiles Partners
Mexico and South America from the West coast is actually one of the ways in which Delta SkyMiles miles become extremely useful.
Delta SkyMiles miles have a bad reputation because finding domestic flights with SkyMiles in next to impossible. It turns out that once you make it out of the country and get to Mexico City, all kinds of options open up! (Lucky at One Mile at a Time has a very informative post on using Delta SkyMiles on trips to South America with Aeromexico going through Mexico City)
From Los Angeles, it gets even better. Alaska Airlines is a rewards partner of Delta Skymiles. Since we can combine partners on Delta award tickets, we can also use Alaska Airlines to fly to Mexico City. Then we can continue on Aeromexico. That’s exactly what we did for Tatyana’s ticket!
According to the Delta SkyMiles award chart, a roundtrip ticket to Mexico in Business class will costs 60k Delta SkyMiles. We found her the following ticket in Business class.
1. Outbound leg: Leave at 1 am on Alaska Airlines to Mexico city connecting to an AeroMexico flight arriving in Cancun at 10:45 am.
2. Return leg: Leave at 2:40 on AeroMexico connecting another AeroMexico flight arriving in Los Angeles at 8:50 pm.
There are three main reasons the itinerary on Delta Skymiles is better than the one on American Airlines:
- Delta SkyMiles are, in general, less valuable than American Airlines. Thus, using 60k Delta Skymiles instead of 65k American Airlines miles is a significant savings.
- The flights with Delta SkyMiles using AeroMexico go through Mexico City. This is much more on the way from LA to Cancun than Miami or New York and allow Tatyana to spend less time traveling and more time at the beach!
- The American Airlines itinerary only had one leg in Business class. This one has both. In hindsight, however, it’s arguable whether AeroMexico’s business class is truly an improvement over American Airlines’ economy class.
Can’t wait for our trip!