A Michigan family of 4 took a $6,000 vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico and spent only $300 on the whole trip — here’s how they were able to do it

The Hill family.

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The Hill family.
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Courtesy of Andy Hill

In 2018, Andy Hill and his wife, Nicole, took their two children to an all-inclusive resort in San José del Cabo, Mexico, for five nights and six days.

Though the trip was valued at about $6,000, the Michigan family spent just $329 on the entire vacation – food, flights, hotel, and a spa day included.

Andy and Nicole say they have always been smart spenders and savers. Andy has a blog and a podcast where he discusses strategies for saving money and building wealth, along with other topics.

To plan a memorable vacation without dishing out thousands of dollars, the couple dove into the world of credit-card points.

Keep reading for a breakdown of how exactly they did it.

Do you have a similar story? If you want to share, email this reporter at lbrandt@businessinsider.com.


When it comes to personal finances, Andy and Nicole are no strangers to number-crunching.

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Courtesy of Andy Hill

In 2013, the couple bought a $350,000 four-bedroom house by putting down $155,000 and taking out a $195,000 mortgage. Andy was (and still is) a sales director, while Nicole became a stay-at-home parent shortly after they moved.

Andy told Business Insider that while they settled on a 15-year mortgage with a 3% interest rate, they set a goal to pay the whole thing off in less than five years.

By increasing their income, decreasing their expenses, staying organized, and cutting down on nonessential spending, they were able to pay it off in just under four years.


After paying off their nearly $200,000 mortgage in less than four years, the couple decided to go on their first family vacation.

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Courtesy of Andy Hill

The couple and their two children went to an all-inclusive resort in San José del Cabo, Mexico, for five nights and six days.

“The kids played all day with us in the family-friendly pool and met new friends in the kid’s club,” Andy wrote in a blog post. “Nicole and I enjoyed exercising in the fitness center in the mornings, laying out in the pool cabanas during the day and eating at a different on-campus restaurant each night. We didn’t even care if the kids ate all of their food because it was all inclusive!”


The family stayed at the Paradisus Los Cabos, where rates start at $314 per night. If they’d taken a less savings-oriented approach to the trip, their five-night stay alone could have cost about $1,570. But the entire trip cost them just $329.

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wwing/Getty Images

The expenses, Andy told Business Insider, were divided three ways:

  • $125 for tips
  • $95 for an annual credit-card fee
  • $109 for food during travel days

The solution? “We found this magical world of travel rewards,” Andy told Business Insider.

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Courtesy of Andy Hill

The couple’s rewards points covered air travel, five nights at the resort, a couple’s spa treatment, private transportation, airport parking, and a few smaller items, like sunscreen.

The $6,000 travel credit was tax-free, Andy said in his blog post.

“That would have required me to earn around $8,000 at my job to pay for this trip,” he wrote.


So how exactly did they do it? To cover the real expenses of the trip, the couple spent 10 months piling up travel credit — about $6,000 worth.

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Courtesy of Andy Hill

Andy stressed that entering the world of credit cards can be dangerous.

Pulling off a $300 luxury vacation requires routinely tracking spending, making payments on time, and picking cards that offer the best bonuses.


He and Nicole signed up for credit cards with big travel bonuses: miles, points, and cash back. They put their typical monthly expenses on credit cards, hit the minimum spending requirements needed to receive the bonuses, and then repeated the process.

The Hill family.

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Courtesy of Andy Hill

The couple used five credit cards to collect points:

  • The Gold Delta SkyMiles card
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred card
  • The Chase Ink Business card
  • The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card
  • The Capital One Venture card

Working toward a cheap vacation by earning points is no easy task. In his blog, Andy laid out a few tips he learned along the journey.

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Courtesy of Andy Hill

Andy suggested signing up for automatic payments and paying off credit card bills in full each month.

He also suggested mapping out a schedule when applying for new credit cards.

“One major lesson learned was that as we were drawing closer to hitting our [minimum spending requirement] is that we should have applied for our next card immediately,” he wrote. “Sometimes the process of applying and receiving our next card would take a few weeks. This was precious points earning time that we were missing out on.”