5 things you should know before booking an all-inclusive resort stay with points

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

With the cost of airfare and hotels on the rise since the beginning of 2022, it’s smart to consider holiday options that let you get more bang for your buck.

Often, the ultimate budget-friendly holiday option comes in the form of an all-inclusive resort. Not only do these properties tend to offer relatively low prices for lodging, but your meals, your drinks (including alcohol) and all kinds of entertainment are included in the nightly rate.

Related: Here’s what happened when I stayed at the cheapest all-inclusive resort in Egypt

You can pay for any all-inclusive resort you want to stay at with points, either by booking through a hotel loyalty program or by using some type of flexible rewards points to cover all or part of your stay. Before you do, however, there are some nuances to this type of booking that you should definitely be aware of, including the potential for hidden charges.

Read on to learn everything you should know before booking an all-inclusive resort with rewards.

For news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for TPG’s daily newsletter.

In This Post

Bringing kids along may require more points

Mother and children at a resort
You may pay extra points to bring your children with you to an all-inclusive resort. (Photo by martin-dm/Getty Images)

First off, you should know that bringing kids along on your all-inclusive holiday will likely cost you more, whether you plan to pay in cash or points. This will ultimately depend on the loyalty programme you plan to book with, so do your research early if you want to bring kids on your all-inclusive trip.

For example, staying at a World of Hyatt all-inclusive property will set you back at least 12,000 points per night with double occupancy. However, adding another adult or child will set you back an additional sum of points that can vary depending on when and where you go. A stay for four people at Hyatt Category A Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, for example, would cost between 25,000 and 35,000 points per night.

If you book one of Marriott’s new all-inclusive properties, on the other hand, you’ll be asked to fork over extra person charges in cash instead of points. For a search we conducted at the Royalton Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for example, an award night for a family of four costs 52,000 points plus £148.51 (£74.26 per child) in extra person charges.

That said, this isn’t always the case, and it can depend on the age of your kids. For example, IHG One Rewards all-inclusive properties let you include kids under 12 in your stay without any charge as long as they are in the same room as adults.

Related: How Should You Handle Hotel Mistake Rates?

You can book an adults-only property

If you’re hoping to enjoy a relaxing getaway without the kids, you can also look into adults-only all-inclusive resorts. While properties that only allow adults tend to have more of a party vibe, they can also feel more exclusive and you won’t have to deal with other people’s sometimes unruly (and loud) children at the pool or in the restaurants you visit.

Note that most of the major hotel loyalty programs have their share of adults-only all-inclusive resorts you can book with points, including Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

As an example, consider the Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana. An example search showed we could book a double-occupancy Luxury Guest Room with a king bed for 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. However, remember that Marriott Bonvoy dropped its award charts. So, award nights may carry a different price when you search.

Related: Why all-inclusive resorts are more attractive than ever following the pandemic

Hidden expenses can add up

Taxis outside of a bus station in Cancun
You can use points to cover other expenses like airport transfers and activities. (Photo by Cassi Alexandra/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

While having all your food, drink and fun included in one nightly rate for your hotel is great, you’ll definitely need to budget for all the other aspects of your trip. Even if you pay for airfare with points and miles, you’ll have airline taxes and fees to contend with.

Other hidden expenses can include airport transfers to and from your hotel, tips for everyone from bar staff to your maid, excursions you want to book and more.

That said, it’s worth noting that you can book a private or shared airport transfer with rewards, either by booking with a credit card that lets you redeem points for statement credits or by booking a transfer through a flexible travel portal.

Of course, the same can be said for booking excursions from your resort. You can use flexible points to book anything from snorkelling excursions to zipline adventures if you prefer, and many tour vendors even offer transportation from your resort before and after your day trip.

Related: The best rewards credit cards of 2022

Hotel loyalty programs have added a slew of new all-inclusive options

All-inclusive resort pool
You can now book AMR all-inclusive resorts with World of Hyatt points. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

If you are just now considering booking an all-inclusive stay with points, you should also know there are more options than ever before.

For example, the Marriott Bonvoy program has also added its share of new all-inclusive properties guests can book with points, including 20 new options that were added to its portfolio at the end of 2021. New choices for your rewards include all-inclusive Royalton, Grand Lido and Planet Hollywood properties in Mexico and the Caribbean.

As one example of a new Marriott Bonvoy hotel, you can book, consider the Royalton CHIC Cancun. This adults-only all-inclusive resort has several huge pools, nine restaurants, seven bars, its own spa and an exquisite spot along the beach in Cancun, Mexico. The best part? Nightly rates for double occupancy start at just 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Likewise, Hyatt acquired Apple Leisure Group in 2021 and has since added many AMR all-inclusive resorts to its portfolio, like the Breathless Cancun Soul Resort and Spa. Prices vary by property, so refer to its new all-inclusive award chart for more info.

Related: 11 of the best honeymoon destinations for any budget

Transferable travel points can work for all-inclusive properties

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana All-Inclusive Resort
Zoetry Agua Punta Cana All-Inclusive Resort. (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Also, remember that you don’t have to book an all-inclusive stay with hotel loyalty points. After all, many types of flexible rewards points will do the trick. For example, American Express Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Citi ThankYou points can all be used to book all-inclusive resort stays through their respective travel portals.

Many times, booking through a credit card travel portal can be a better deal if you were planning to transfer your points to a hotel program to book.

If you do book a chain hotel through a travel portal, note that you won’t earn hotel points or be able to use elite status on most bookings. This is because hotels typically require that you book directly for these benefits.

Related: The Best Ways to Book Hotels Through Online Travel Agencies and Bank Portals

Bottom line

Booking an all-inclusive getaway is an excellent way to save money on your next holiday. But you may get an even better deal if you pay for your trip with points instead of cash. Just make sure you know the rules of these bookings ahead of time, and understand that there may be extra fees or charges involved if you plan to bring kids along on your trip.

Also make sure you know about all the different resort brands you can book with points, including which ones are geared to families, adults or travellers of all ages. Hotel loyalty programs are adding new all-inclusive properties to their portfolios all the time, so you’ll want to research all your options and compare them before you book.

Featured image by anyaberkut/Getty Images.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.