Playa Del Carmen Trip Preview

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Things have been quite busy since I got back from Colombia three weeks ago, but I should get back to posting more from that trip soon.  In the meantime, I’ll be heading back south in a few days and figured I’d share the plan as I head to…. Playa del Carmen.

So the origin of this trip was a voucher I got from Fairmont Hotels. As a result of the purchase of Fairmont by Accor, the Fairmont Chase Visa was discontinued. But, over the summer, Chase sent a letter with an offer that meant I would get a voucher good at any Fairmont property if I spent another $3,000 on the card  between mid-June and mid-August. (All the Fairmont points would be converted to Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so it wasn’t like that spend was wasted.)  While I did that, the voucher didn’t get deposited into my account until October, and it had an expiration date of late February.  There was no availability at the Plaza in New York for the entire remaining time, and with Mexico City and Colombia trips already planned, it seemed the voucher might go to waste.

But then I saw a pretty good fare to Cancun from DC- about $280 roundtrip – on Delta, including a nonstop from Dulles on the outbound. I realized if I combined that with my Mexico City trip, I’d easily fulfill a Delta status challenge, and Fairmont’s resort at the Mayakoba compound is just 45 minutes south of the Cancun airport, 25 minutes north of Playa del Carmen.  There was free night availability, and I was able to apply the upgrade certificate I had remaining in my account from being a President’s Club Premier member for the year as a result of being a cardholder.

With going rates of over $400 a night, I was not going to spend both nights at the Fairmont. So I figured I’d spend my first night in downtown Playa del Carmen.  I’ll be staying at a well-rated boutique hotel for about $100 for the night.  I thought about staying at the new Hilton Curio Collection property, “The Fives Downtown,” but Hilton didn’t have any rates under $230 or so once you calculated resort fees.  I found cheaper rates on a few other sites, but the Hilton Diamond desk said they couldn’t match them because they were for “Double” rooms not “King” rooms. I wasn’t going to spend $180 to stay at a Hilton property with no guarantee of benefits as a Diamond member.

I’ve never been to Playa del Carmen.  I went to Cancun about 10 years ago and didn’t particularly like it, but think I’ll enjoy this more.  I should be downtown by mid-Saturday afternoon, and will have that afternoon and evening to explore. My plan is to head out to the Mayakoba compound fairly early on Sunday to maximize my time and that resort- helped by the fact that my flight back isn’t until 4pm on Monday.

Here’s the routing:

I was originally supposed to connect through Detroit on my way home, which probably would’ve been better for upgrade chances (and mile-earning), but a schedule change has me connecting through Atlanta instead.  It’ll be a nice welcome back to the Delta fold!

Any tips for Playa del Carmen?


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