Using points to stay at all-inclusive resorts
Summer Hull writes the weekly "Get to the Points" column for CreditCards.com
My husband and I recently used airline miles and hotel points to travel to the beautiful island of St. Kitts for a Caribbean getaway, but the cost of food and drinks while there ended up blowing our budget.
While the trip was still great despite the high food costs, sometimes the best way to use your points for a stress-free and budget-friendly vacation is to set your sights on an all-inclusive destination.
At an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to go hungry to save money, scour the menu for the cheapest item or pass on an activity to stick to the day’s budget. Instead, you can say yes to virtually everything offered and still go home owing almost nothing.
As with all hotels, the quality of all-inclusive resorts varies significantly from property to property and brand to brand. That said, some of the all-inclusive hotels you can book on points are truly top-notch resorts with delicious food, top-shelf drinks, beautiful pools and more than enough activities to keep you busy for days.
High-end all-inclusive beach resorts by Hyatt
My personal favorite all-inclusive resorts that you can book with points are those within the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara brands. At the Hyatt Ziva in Cancun, they have a margarita bar that serves handcrafted cocktails and offers tequila tastings, a café that serves beachside fish tacos, a free KidZ Club with water slides and included child care for children ages 4-12, a swim-up bar, a teppanyaki restaurant, room service and even a fancy adults-only French restaurant called Bastille’s. All of this is available for no additional charge beyond the points you use to book your stay.
There are adults-only Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive properties in Jamaica and Cancun and family-friendly Hyatt Ziva properties in Jamaica, Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Award rates start at 20,000-25,000 Hyatt points per night for double occupancy and children ages 3 and up will cost additional points.
Flat rate of 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points for all-inclusive resort
Wyndham Rewards has one of the most interesting award charts out there since all their properties are a flat 15,000 points per night, and this even includes their Viva family of all-inclusive resorts.
Wyndham has a mix of adults-only and family-friendly all-inclusive beach resorts in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
Award availability at the Wyndham Viva all-inclusive properties isn’t as consistently good as with Hyatt, but spending a flat 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night for two people to enjoy themselves at an all-inclusive resort is a very solid deal. There are reports that children add a $27 cash copay per night to Wyndham Viva stays once you go over double occupancy.
If you have your sights on a Wyndham all-inclusive resort, you can rack up Wyndham Reward points with the Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card.
Use Hilton Honors points at all-inclusive resorts around the globe
Hilton has all-inclusive properties that can be booked using Hilton Honors points not only in the familiar spots of Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mexico, but also in Egypt and Turkey!
If you want to try something new, you can seriously stretch your Hilton points at the all-inclusive Hilton Hurghada Long Beach Resort in Egypt that boasts six pools, four restaurants and 12 bars for just 10,000 Hilton Honors points per night. At that rate, the initial sign-up bonus of 75,000 points from the new Hilton Honors Ascend card from American Express would last a long time.
A little closer to home, the Hilton Rose Hall, an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, sits on the grounds of an 18th century sugar plantation and has Jamaica’s largest water park for 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night. At this property, children 5 and under are free, those ages 6-14 are an additional $75 per night, and those 15 and older should be registered as adults.
Using your hotel points to stay at all-inclusive resorts is a perfect way to not only reduce your vacation expenses, but virtually wipe them out so you can focus on fun instead of the bill.
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