January 6, 2022

12 all-inclusive resorts you can book for free using points

[CNBC, Westin/Marriott]

All-inclusive resorts have long been thought of as party paradises for students. But recently, hotel chains have noticed the enduring popularity of these types of resorts and have been making investments to beef up their offerings in the all-inclusive realm — for everyone from solo travelers to families and beyond.

These days, all-inclusive resorts make great family vacation hotels because they’re packed with fun things to do for kids and teens of all ages, while parents can relax by the pool or get a massage.

Historically, some of the most popular names in all-inclusive hotels weren’t affiliated with any of the major hotel loyalty programs, but that’s changing as big names like Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott have jumped in head-first to make their mark in the space. The great thing about the large chains getting serious about all-inclusive properties is that you can use your hotel points for a stay, meaning you can create a vacation that’s virtually free by covering the room rate with your hotel points.

In fact, making award bookings at all-inclusive resorts is one of the best ways to use your hotel points, since just about everything — from food to drinks to activities — is included with the price of your stay. It’s a great way to save money and have a fantastic vacation without having to think too much about the bill coming at the end of the stay.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the standout properties from three major hotel chains at which you can use points to have a vacation for next to nothing out of pocket.

All-inclusive Hilton resorts to book on points

Hilton has a number of all-inclusive resorts in its portfolio. The majority of them are located in the Caribbean and Mexico, but there are a few properties in other all-inclusive hotspots like Turkey and even one in Egypt.

Fortunately, all of these properties participate in Hilton’s loyalty program, called Hilton Honors. This program uses a dynamic pricing model, which means award pricing is tied more closely to room rates that would be paid outright with a credit card. In general, you can expect award redemptions to cost anywhere from 20,000 to 95,000 points per night, depending on the property and the dates of your stay.

Another advantage of booking Hilton all-inclusive properties with your Honors points is that you aren’t on the hook for the sometimes-hefty resort fees that properties charge for non-reward stays. Though do be aware that most properties charge a small surcharge — either in points or cash, depending on the type of stay — for additional guests beyond double occupancy.

How to earn Hilton Honors points

Before diving into our favorite all-inclusive Hilton properties, if your Hilton Honors point balance needs a boost, you could sign up for a Hilton credit card to earn points quickly, some of which are offering huge welcome bonuses. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Card currently comes with a welcome bonus of up to 130,000 Hilton Honors points. You’ll get 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of holding the card and an additional 50,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first six months.

Otherwise, Hilton Honors is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, which can be earned from cards like the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. Typically, points transfer at a 1:2 ratio, meaning for every one Membership Rewards point, you’ll get two Hilton Honors points.

Hilton Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort, Mexico

Hilton CancúnHilton

Recently opened on a prime stretch of beach in ever-popular Cancún, this Hilton all-inclusive property boasts two infinity pools, a kids’ club, a full-service gym, a whopping 12 outposts for eating and drinking and much more.

Points required: 86,000 to 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, Mexico

Hilton Puerto Vallarta ResortHilton

If you prefer the West Coast of Mexico over the East Coast, check out the Hilton Puerto Vallarta. Like its sister property in Cancún, this all-inclusive hotel has a total of 12 establishments for eating and drinking and boasts other features like a beautiful location in the Bay of Banderas, a full-service spa, a kids’ club, a dedicated adults-only hangout spot known as the Hacienda, multiple pools and more.

Points required: 59,000 to 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

La Romana Family Resort, Dominican Republic

La Romana Family Resort, Dominican RepublicHilton

The Dominican Republic is a traditional hotspot for all-inclusive resorts, so it makes perfect sense that Hilton has options in this Caribbean island nation. At La Romana, you’ll find fun for the whole family, including two pools, five restaurants, a massive 21,000-square-foot spa, a casino and dedicated spaces for kids and teenagers. This recently renovated resort features rooms designed specifically for families, and every room has a balcony or a terrace to enjoy. Note, too, that Hilton has an adults-only all-inclusive property located adjacent to this family-friendly one that goes by the same name, La Romana.

Points required: 54,000 to 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Jamaica

Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, JamaicaHilton

Located in another all-inclusive hotspot, the Hilton Rose Hall is an all-inclusive resort for the whole family. It boasts a long roster of amenities including a total of seven bars and restaurants, a gorgeous stretch of private beach complete with a water sports center, a kids’ club, a full-service spa, a championship 18-hole golf course and even one of the Caribbean’s most well-known water parks, called Sugar Mill Falls Water Park.

Points required: 60,000 to 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

All-inclusive Hyatt resorts to book on points

Hyatt has made a name for itself over the years with its portfolio of very solid all-inclusive properties. Those resorts have also proven to be a great value, given their ability to be booked with World of Hyatt points.

The chain’s all-inclusive portfolio is easy to understand, as it’s broken up into three main groups: Hyatt Ziva properties are family-friendly resorts located in hotspots around the Caribbean and Mexico; Hyatt Zilara properties are adults-only and they can sometimes be co-located with Ziva properties; and Miraval properties are high-end resorts focused entirely on wellness located in select locations around the United States.

How to earn World of Hyatt points

Before we dive into some of the best all-inclusive Hyatt redemptions, you’ll want to make sure you have some points in your World of Hyatt account. One of the best things about the World of Hyatt program is how easy it is to acquire points. There are a couple of Hyatt credit cards — the World of Hyatt Credit Card and the World of Hyatt Business Credit Card — to choose from that are offering a healthy amount of bonus points if you complete minimum spending requirements. For the personal World of Hyatt Credit Card, for example, you’ll get up to 60,000 Hyatt points — 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months plus up to 30,000 additional points by earning double points per dollar spent for the first six months from account opening.

Otherwise, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Hyatt, meaning you can use the points earned with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® to book high-value all-inclusive stays like the ones mentioned below.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun, Mexico

Hyatt Zilara CancúnHyatt

Located on a pristine stretch of beach in Cancún’s so-called “Hotel Zone,” this adults-only resort offers plenty to keep you occupied during your vacation in the sun. It boasts an Olympic-sized lap pool, a state-of-the-art “sky gym,” a whole array of water sports and on-land activities, numerous food-and-beverage outlets and much more.

Points required: 21,000 to 29,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, Mexico

Hyatt Ziva Los CabosHyatt

If you’re looking to get great value for a family trip to the Mexican hotspot of Cabo San Lucas, you’ll definitely want to consider the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. This family-friendly resort is located on a stunning stretch of beach in front of the Sea of Cortez, with views of the stunning rock formations that Cabo has become known for over the years. At the resort, you’ll be treated to a guest room with a spacious balcony overlooking the ocean, seven restaurants, multiple oceanfront pools, a full-service spa and fitness center and more.

Points required: 17,000 to 23,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Dominican RepublicHyatt

Located in one of the Caribbean’s hottest destinations, Punta Cana, the co-located Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana offer guests of all ages everything you could want for a fantastic all-inclusive vacation. Each property boasts multiple restaurants and pools, bars, gym and spa facilities, waterslides, lazy rivers and more.

Points required: 21,000 to 29,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Miraval Berkshires Resort & Spa, Massachusetts

Miraval Berkshires Resort & SpaHyatt

As mentioned earlier, Hyatt has a small collection of Miraval-branded resorts under its umbrella. Currently, there are three resorts: Miraval ArizonaMiraval Austin and Miraval Berkshires. The newest property, Miraval Berkshires is located in Massachusetts and offers a rejuvenating place to get away from the stresses of daily life. Miraval resorts are meant to be “device-free,” meaning you stash your phone and/or laptop away and work on centering yourself in the present moment. The resort offers a range of luxurious experiences, including indulgent spa treatments; fitness and other wellness-focused activities like yoga, archery and meditation; healthy, delicious meals and much more.

Of course, you can expect comfortable, calming accommodations and beautiful facilities across the property. The best part, though, is that the majority of your activities, food and beverages are included in the price of the room.

Points required: 40,000 to 50,000 World of Hyatt points per night for single occupancy; 57,500 to 72,000 points per night for double occupancy

All-inclusive Marriott resorts to book on points

Marriott’s entry into the all-inclusive space has largely come after its peers, but it got into the game in a big way by acquiring numerous resorts across the Caribbean in the past couple of years.

While the resorts weren’t incorporated into the chain’s Bonvoy loyalty program immediately after being acquired, you’re now able to use points to book a stay at most of the new-to-the-chain properties. The majority of Marriott’s all-inclusive properties fall into the upper two tiers of its award chart, meaning you could pay as much as 100,000 points per night for a room.

Remember, too, that Marriott is doing away with its award chart in early 2022, meaning the redemption prices will soon be tied to the cash price of a room rather than bound by a pricing chart. If you’re looking to use some of your Bonvoy points for an all-inclusive stay, now is the time to book.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

But first, here’s a refresher on how to boost your Bonvoy account balance. The best way to earn a lot of Marriott Bonvoy points quickly is to sign up for a Marriott credit card. You can earn 75,000 bonus points by signing up for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and making $3,000 in purchases within the first three months after opening the account.

Further, you can transfer points into the Marriott Bonvoy program from transferable points currencies including Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 rate, though doing so generally won’t result in a great value.

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa, Costa Rica

The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa, Costa RicaHyatt

One of Marriott’s long-standing all-inclusive properties, the Westin Reserva Conchal is a tropical escape located in one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Rica. With rainforests on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, the resort has everything you could ever want in a vacation. You’ll have access to multiple restaurants and bars, several pools, a fitness center, a full-service spa, a kids’ club, championship golf courses and tennis courts.

Points required: 70,000 to 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Royalton CHIC Cancun, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort — Adults Only, Mexico

Royalton CHIC Cancún, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort – Adults OnlyHyatt

This adults-only all-inclusive hotel in Cancún, Mexico, is new to the Marriott portfolio and falls into the Autograph Collection brand. Guests can choose to upgrade their stay to the Diamond Club section of the property to receive upgraded accommodations and amenities. While you’re on the property, you’ll have 12 dining and drinking establishments to choose from, ranging from a Mexican-style cantina to a sports bar to an Italian trattoria and more. The hotel also offers multiple pools, including one on the rooftop, a spa and a fitness center, among other amenities.

Points required: 50,000 to 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort, Jamaica

Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive ResortHyatt

Also part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Royalton Blue Waters resort is located in one of the best places to vacation in the Caribbean: Montego Bay, Jamaica. It’s located next door to another all-inclusive resort, Royalton White Sands, and guests can enjoy facilities at both properties. Guests of all ages will have plenty to do on the property, as it boasts several pools, a lazy river, waterslides, 12 food-and-beverage outlets, a spa and fitness center and more.

Points required: 50,000 to 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Royalton Bavaro, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort & Casino, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Royalton Bavaro, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort & Casino, Punta Cana, Dominican RepublicHyatt

The Royalton Bavaro is a gigantic resort designed to keep everyone in your family or group of friends happy and entertained — and fed — the entire time. One side of the resort caters to families, while the more exclusive Diamond Club section provides Club-only dining areas, a private beach section and a separate pool. As you’d expect by now, you can find all the hallmarks of an all-inclusive resort here like several pools, numerous eating and drinking establishments, a gym and spa and even a casino.

Points required: 50,000 to 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

By Nick Ellis

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