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Cabo San Lucas is a popular getaway thanks to low prices, tasty food and friendly people. Travelers love to soak up the sun on the sandy beaches, go deep-sea fishing and snorkel in the many bays along the coast. One of the most popular tourist attractions is El Arco, a naturally curved rock formation at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas.
If you're ready for a beach getaway on a budget, we'll show you how to travel to Cabo with points and miles.
Getting to Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas has one major airport, Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). It underwent major renovations after it was affected by Hurricane Odile in September 2014. The airport is now fully operational and is served by over 20 airlines.
Priority Pass members have access to the VIP Lounge in Terminal 2, which includes complimentary food, alcohol and Wi-Fi. If you haven't bought a Priority Pass membership, it's a benefit that's included with many travel cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express (enrollment required) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Terms apply.
If your hotel doesn't provide complimentary shuttle service from the airport, you can hire a taxi or book a shuttle through many local providers. TransCabo or Los Cabos Airport Shuttles are two options that provide a better experience than a taxi for about the same cost.
Major airlines flying to Los Cabos International Airport
Los Cabos International Airport has 1,342 different flight routes to over 110 different cities across seven countries. There are currently more than 20 airlines that fly into Cabo San Lucas, including major airlines like:
Flying to Cabo San Lucas on points and miles
While travelers have many choices when booking flights to Cabo San Lucas, three top options are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. All three of these airlines have a companion ticket option that can greatly reduce the cost of travel.
Travelers can earn a companion certificate for Alaska and American flights with each airline's credit card. Alaska Airlines offers a companion fare each year when you renew the card. You can earn a companion certificate for American Airlines based on your spending with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®.
While the companion certificates from Alaska and American require you to pay cash for your ticket, the Southwest Companion Pass can be used with both cash and awards flights. Southwest Rapid Rewards members get this Companion Pass by earning 125,000 Companion Pass qualifying points or flying 100 qualifying one-way flights.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Flights to Cabo from Los Angeles are available for as little as 10,000 miles each way. Even with inexpensive award flights available, the taxes are high compared to the flights you can book with cash.
Cash flights are available for less than $200 during certain times of the year. When flight options are that cheap, it doesn't make sense to use your miles, especially when the taxes are high.
Flights on American Airlines can be booked for 25,000 miles round-trip from Los Angeles. With award flight taxes of approximately $100 compared to cash fares of around $200 total, you're better off saving your points and using cash and your companion certificate to book your ticket.
Southwest award bookings have a fixed point redemption value. On average, they're worth 1.4 cents each, and the cost of a flight in points depends on what the cash price is. A flight that's normally $297 round-trip ends up being 10,767 points and $114.86 in taxes.
Of these three airlines, Southwest is the best option to fly to Cabo with points.
Hotels on points in Cabo San Lucas
When booking your trip to Cabo, there are two main areas to stay: Cabo San Lucas (the main tourist destination) or its sister city, San Jose del Cabo, which is approximately 20 minutes away. Whether you choose to book with Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt, you'll have plenty of wonderful options to make your stay memorable.
Marriott hotels in Cabo
JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa
The JW Marriott Los Cabos opened in 2015 and is located in San Jose del Cabo. It features multiple pools, beach access and an on-site 27-hole golf course. Guests can also relax and get pampered at the resort's spa.
Cost to book in points: JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa is a Category 6 hotel with rooms ranging from:
40,000 points per night during off-peak dates.
50,000 points per night for standard dates.
60,000 points per night during peak dates.
Through Marriott Bonvoy’s PointSavers program, rooms can be found on select dates for as low as 35,000 points. Marriott's fifth-night-free option for award stays can also reduce the cost of your Cabo vacation.
This hotel doesn't list any resort fees during booking, which is good because Marriott typically doesn't waive resort fees on award stays.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points: A great option to earn Marriott Bonvoy points is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Not only does it earn 6x points at Marriott and 3x points on dining and flights, but you also receive an annual free night worth up to 50,000 points. The card also includes a $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit that can be used to pay for a portion of your cash stay or meals and activities on an award stay. Terms apply.
If you want status but don’t want to commit to a Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with automatic Marriott Gold Status. Enrollment required. Terms apply.
Hilton hotels in Cabo
Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort
The Hilton Los Cabos overlooks the Sea of Cortez and has four pools for guests to enjoy. You can revitalize at the hotel's spa or take a yoga class on the outdoor deck of its ocean-view fitness center. Across the street, the resort also features the Cabo Real golf course, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Children can use the Cabo Kids' Club to have fun while adults enjoy the resort.
Cost to book in points: Hilton doesn’t have a set award chart. Although a few dates can cost more than 200,000 points, most nights cost 70,000 points each.
The hotel normally charges a 10% service charge on cash reservations. Hilton typically waives resort fees on award stays, which makes the value of booking on points that much higher.
How to earn Hilton Honors points: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card earns 12x points on Hilton stays and 6x points on dining, gas and groceries within the U.S. It includes automatic Gold status, with the ability to upgrade to Diamond when you spend $40,000 within a calendar year. Additionally, you'll earn a free weekend night that can be used at almost any Hilton property after spending $15,000 in a calendar year. Terms apply.
If you still want status or the ability to book on points but don’t want a Hilton Honors-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which also comes with Hilton Gold Status, no spending required. Enrollment required. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The complete guide to earning Hilton Honors points
Hyatt hotels in Cabo
Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos
One of the best hotels on points in Cabo is the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos because it's all-inclusive. The hotel features four pools and two hot tubs overlooking the water. Guests can enjoy daily activities and live entertainment; youngsters can have fun at the KidZ Club and water park.
At the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, you can eat and drink at the hotel's seven restaurants and eight bars and lounges without having to worry about a large bill at the end of your vacation. Your room's complimentary mini-bar is even re-stocked daily with water, beer, soft drinks and snacks — and you can order room service 24 hours a day.
Cost to book in points: Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is a Category 5 hotel with rooms starting at 20,000 points per night. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 1.9 cents per point, and since this resort is all-inclusive, there are no additional fees.
How to earn Hyatt points: Travelers will earn the most Hyatt points for their stays when using the World of Hyatt Credit Card. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any hotel Category 4 and under. Cardholders can earn a second annual free night when they spend at least $15,000 per calendar year. Others prefer to earn points with a Chase Ultimate Rewards® credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, then transfer points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio whenever they need to book a room.
» Learn more: The complete guide to earning Hyatt points
If you want to travel to Cabo with points and miles …
Cabo is an affordable destination throughout the year, and offers tremendous food, drinks and attractions where your dollar will stretch further with a favorable exchange rate.
You'll find it easy to book a vacation, as there are many airlines and hotels where you can use your miles and points. With flights available for 25,000 miles or less and many hotels that qualify for free night certificates, you can visit Cabo without busting your budget.
Want more advice on traveling to Mexico for a fraction of the cost? See our points and miles guide to Puerto Vallarta.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card