In Part One, I covered the basics of the Padres points and miles strategy. Basically, sign up for big bonuses, do the bare minimum to get the bonus, and then park or cancel the card. Rinse and repeat until you have mileage balances in the millions. In Part One, I covered going to Spring Training which is relatively easy. In Part Two, we’ll look into how you too can come to Mexico City to watch the Padres play the Dodgers (hopefully!) in Mexico City next season.
Pay attention to the disclosures I talked about in Part One, in particular, don’t carry a balance on these new cards, and if you’re buying a house in the next 6 months or so, maybe hold off. Also: the links to applications are my referral links. I’ll get some miles thrown my way if you apply and are approved. Like I said, everyone is incentivized in the finance game to find ways to get you approved for stuff.
I went to see exhibition games between the Padres and Astros in 2016 and loved it. I came away from Mexico City ranking it along side any European city as a Great City Of the World (TM). It’s also surprisingly points and miles friendly. Let’s get to it.
So you need to fly there. Luckily, you have two options. If you want to spend cash, you can fly out of Tijuana and use the Cross Border Xpress. The flight will be a few hundos and you’ll likely get sandbagged with Volaris ancillary fees if you’re not careful, plus pay the border crossing fees. This is generally fine, and a great value. I prefer to do it free. Luckily, Alaska Airlines has been expanding their San Diego to Mexico footprint, including a daily direct flight to Mexico City. And lucky for the beginner points/miles collector, these are the easiest miles you’ll ever see. The Bank of America Alaska Airlines cards gives you 30k miles for accruing $1k in spending. The only downside is that you are you on the hook for $75 annual fee in the first statement. Now think about this, you are basically buying 30k miles for $75. For context, a flight to Mexico City over Cinco De Mayo weekend (my bet for when the series could be) is 32,500 miles. So with the sign up bonus and a month or two of normal spend, there’s your free flight to Mexico City. Even if you don’t want to go to Mexico City, I’d just get the card for the miles. You’ll find a way to use them. They fly direct to Santa Rosa and Mammoth, which is how I do my few times a year solo escape to Santa$ Rosa to drink heavily at Russian River Brewing alone.
Alaska Airlines – 30k miles, $1k minimum spend, $75 annual fee
The second step is easy if you followed all the step one ideas. The Amex Hilton Surpass card, even if you spent 80k points on two nights at the Peoria Hampton Inn, should have given you enough points for another two nights at the Hampton Inn in the historic district of Mexico City. In a remarkable points bargain, this hotel is 10k Hhonors points per night, and is located a couple blocks from the Zocalo of Mexico City, which is where MLB put on all of their pregame events for the Padres-Astros series. You’re basically staying where the first 10 minutes of James Bond’s Spectre took place. So same as with Spring Training, you can sign up for some combo of the American Express Surpass Hilton card for 100k Hhonors points, the American Express no-fee Hilton card for 75k points, or both. This is easy stuff guys, and really there’s no excuse not to go to an amazing series in Mexico City given how easy to do it free is.
American Express Surpass – 100k Hhonors points, $3k in spending, $75 annual fee
American Express Hilton, 75k Hhonors points, $1k in spending in first 3 months and $1k in spending in next 3 months, no annual fee
The point of this is to show you that there’s a lot of low hanging fruit out there. Financial institutions have made it remarkably easy to accrue millions of points over a short period of time. Having a balance of points and miles gives you true freedom to experience the world as you see fit, and in particular, to follow the Padres to a lot of unique away experiences like Mexico City. As always, I love talking about the subject, so feel free to ask questions about how to devise a good strategy for you.
With any luck, we’ll be having a Gwynntelligence Meetup in Mexico City at La Cueva De Lobos after the Padres game.