So, you’ve decided you want to visit the land of tacos and tequila!
Here we run through the different ways of how to use your frequent flyer points to get yourself across the Pacific, with pricing and airline options.
Important note: Qantas Point redemptions will change from 18 September 2019, increasing by up to 15%.
Point Hacks Mexico Series
Part I: The Why: The Mexico beyond Cancun and Cabo
Part II: The How: Using your points to get to Mexico
There are so many combinations to get over to Mexico, especially if you are combining with other travel in The Americas, so we have narrowed it down to three options:
- Booking an award itinerary to Mexico via the US, but without a stay any longer than for a connecting flight;
- Booking an award to the US, then a separate one to Mexico, thus facilitating a visit to the US; and
- Booking an award to Santiago, Chile, then a separate one to Mexico, again allowing you to visit Chile.
The big challenge: finding award seat availability
The biggest headache with trying to find award seats is availability for the longer flight across the Pacific, both with Qantas and Virgin Australia, along with respective partners American, LATAM and Delta, and with United as the sole Star Alliance option.
It can be so tricky to find premium cabin award space you’d almost think the airlines were colluding to dry up the options so totally for using points in premium cabins.
As it stands you’ll have to look early and/or often to stand a chance of finding a Business Class award seat—but it is not impossible.
If you can put up with less space whilst saving a few points, you’ll find Premium Economy redemptions are more readily available, and Economy even more so—although with fares quite competitive on these routes and the accompanying surcharges on a points redemption, it’s unlikely an Economy redemption will stack up financially.
For the purposes of simplicity and space, all awards are priced as a one-way Business Class ticket from Sydney, with Premium Economy costs highlighted for some options also.
Option 1: Australia to Mexico with no stay in US
If you want to get to Mexico for the fewest amount of points possible, in general, book as one itinerary—Asia Miles is the cheapest of the four programs below.
Note that for Premium Economy redemptions, that cabin is only available on the long Transpacific flight—your flight from the US to Mexico will be in Economy.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Points for Sydney - Mexico City via LA||Airlines||Points for Sydney - Cancun via LA or Dallas||Airlines|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||84,000/112,000 Premium Economy/Business||Qantas, American, Alaska (with more points)||96,000/128,000 Premium Economy/Business||Qantas, American|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer||89,300/111,500 Premium Economy/Business||Virgin Australia, Delta||89,300/127,500 Premium Economy/Business||Virgin Australia, Delta|
|Asia Miles||95,000 Business Class|
|Qantas, American||95,000 Business Class|
|KrisFlyer||117,000 Business Class||United||117,000 Business Class||United|
^ Asia Miles Premium Economy redemptions are not possible on this itinerary as it prices on the oneworld award chart
If you can fly American the whole way from Australia to Mexico instead of Qantas to the US and then American onwards, you’ll save 10,000 Asia Miles.
Option 2: Australia to Mexico with a visit to US
If you want to combine your Mexico trip with a visit to the US on either the way there or back, you will be adding 20,000-36,000 points to the cost, which is fairly reasonable.
Note that flying Qantas via Dallas rather than LA only adds 4,000 Qantas Points or 10,000 Asia Miles in the big scheme of things, so that is a good option for those who want to avoid LAX or can only find availability via Dallas.
American, Aeromexico and United all fly from direct from LAX to Mexico City for under $200, so that might be a better deal than using points. Just remember that most carriers in North America (which includes Mexico) charge at least $25 USD for one checked bag.
Flights out of SFO and DFW can be considerably more, so using points here might be a better option for you.
On the return leg, you could save yourself some money or points by flying from Cancun into Dallas, as opposed to LAX or SFO.
Note that KrisFlyer allows a free stopover on return award tickets, meaning for 234,000 KrisFlyer miles in total, you could potentially get a stopover in LA or San Francisco on the way there or back.
Points redemption cost comparison: direct or with a stopover
Here are the Business Class costs for the four major programs lined up—direct (i.e. no stopover in the US) from Sydney or alternatively, with a stopover. The clear winner is Asia Miles for a Business Class redemption.
|Program||To Mexico City without a stopover||To Mexico City with a stopover in US|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||112,000||132,000|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer||111,500||131,000|
Option 3: Australia to Mexico with a visit to Chile
Anyone wanting to explore countries south of Mexico might be interested in taking a Qantas or LATAM flight to Santiago, then working their way up to Mexico. LATAM has a direct daily flight from Santiago to Mexico City and every Saturday to Cancun, both on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Points for Sydney -Santiago||Airlines||Points for Santiago -|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||72,000 Premium Economy/96,000 Business||Qantas, LATAM||65,000 Business||LATAM|
|Asia Miles||48,000 Premium Economy/70,000 Business||Qantas, LATAM||40,000 Business||LATAM|
Redemption availability is once again an issue on the Santiago flights with Qantas and LATAM, so you’ll need to be prepared to get looking well in advance of when you want to travel.
Set up seat alerts to snag any cancelled award seats coming back into inventory, or hold out for any last-minute availability coming up.
LATAM also now flies from Melbourne to Santiago
Read more in our guide to redeeming points for travel on LATAM.
If you just want to focus on Mexico, book an award straight through the US without stopping.
If you want to combine with a visit to the US (or even Canada), book separately. If you have access to KrisFlyer miles, enjoying a free stopover on a roundtrip trip could be a cost-effective way of visiting both Mexico and the US.
Or if you want to visit Chile and the rest of Latin America, the world is your oyster!