You can now redeem Marriott points at 20 new all-inclusive resorts — but should you?
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Marriott Bonvoy members, listen up: We finally have more details on the first 20 Autograph Collection properties joining the All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy program. This means your next Marriott rewards trip could be a whole lot sweeter and future “pay-one-price” stays could potentially help you earn more points.
As TPG previously reported, an agreement with Sunwing Travel Group’s Blue Diamond Resorts allowed the 20 properties to join the program, a huge step in expanding Marriott’s all-inclusive portfolio. With this expansion, Marriott now has 30 all-inclusive properties that can be booked by Marriott Bonvoy members.
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This is a step in making the company more competitive in the all-inclusive resort game. Other major hotel groups have already stepped up their presence in the all-inclusive space; Hyatt recently acquired Apple Leisure Group, adding Secrets Resorts and Spas and Dreams Resorts and Spas to the mix that already included the popular Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. Hilton, this summer, announced two new all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, including the Hilton Cancun.
Earlier this year, Marriott said it planned to have 33 all-inclusive resorts under its belt by 2025, opening up an entirely new way to travel for Marriott Bonvoy members looking to redeem or earn points on a vacation where everything is already taken care of and paid for.
While many of these resorts don’t necessarily scream luxury the way the brand’s top-tier hotels do — think Edition and St. Regis hotels — these new options, including Autograph Collection All-Inclusive, are levelling up the playing field for more high-end travel to all-inclusive destinations.
How many points you’ll need
These new Autograph Collection All-Inclusive resorts are scattered around the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, with locations in Costa Rica, St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, Antigua, Mexico, Jamaica and Grenada.
And, we now have redemption rates to share. All properties fall into either Marriott’s Category 7 (starting at 50,000 points per night) or Category 8 (starting at 70,000 points per night).
Mexico, Category 7
- Planet Hollywood Cancun
- Planet Hollywood Adults Scene Cancun – Adults Only
- Royalton CHIC Cancun
- Royalton Riviera Cancun All-Inclusive Resort & Casino
- Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun – Adults Only
Dominican Republic, Category 7
- Royalton Bavaro
- Royalton Punta Cana All-Inclusive Resort & Casino
- Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana – Adults Only
- Royalton Splash Punta Cana
Dominican Republic, Category 8
- Royalton CHIC Punta Cana – Adults Only (expected to be welcomed into the portfolio in January 2022)
Jamaica, Category 7
- Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay
- Royalton Negril
- Hideaway at Royalton Negril
- Royalton White Sands Montego Bay
Jamaica, Category 8
- Grand Lido Negril Au-Naturel – Adults Only
St Lucia, Category 8
- Royalton Saint Lucia
- Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia – Adults Only
Costa Rica, Category 7
- Planet Hollywood Costa Rica
Antigua, Category 8
- Royalton Antigua
Grenada, Category 8
- Royalton Grenada
What’s the value proposition?
For actual booking, TPG found that it might be a little tricky to find exactly what you’re looking for, as there wasn’t a ton of consistency between dates, and that paying cash might be your best bet.
For example, a search for March dates at both Saint Lucia properties and the Royal Antigua appears to require a seven-night stay for cash or points bookings at all three properties. April and May, however, showed some availability for two-night stays but more options for three- to five-night visits.
In our search, redemption values were lackluster. At the Royal Antigua, a five-night stay in August, smack in the middle of hurricane season, came to $1,963 (£1,442) or 340,000 points. TPG values Marriott points at 0.7p each so this redemption is well below that at 0.42p per point.
Searching at the two St. Lucia properties we found that rates were unavailable for a six-night stay between 12 March and 18 March.
But if you added a seventh night, making the dates 12 March through 19 March, the seven-night trip was available at both properties for 600,000 points each (or $699/£513 a night at Hideaway at Royal Saint Lucia and $636/£467 a night at Royalton Saint Lucia).
In these specific examples, it’s clear that playing around with dates is necessary and that flexibility might be key while booking one of these all-inclusive properties.
What about families and groups?
According to the statement from Marriott, redemption stays at these properties “are based on up to two guests per room,” which may leave larger groups traveling together — and families — wondering what they’ll actually end up paying.
In a search at the Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay for one room with four guests, a one-night stay came out to 60,000 points plus an extra person fee of $102.60 (£75) per guest. In total, this trip came out to 60,000 points plus $205.20 (£148) cash.
Implications for Marriott Bonvoy members
For Marriott Bonvoy members, there’s a lot to dissect here. But, let’s start with what you can expect. First, the company says that the all-inclusive portfolio will “fully participate in Marriott Bonvoy,” meaning that members can earn and redeem points, including 10 points for each qualifying dollar spent on “participating premium amenities and resort activities.” Additionally, elite members will earn bonus points.
Members can also receive on-property benefits, based on status, including resort discounts, room upgrades (based on availability), massages, access to exclusive areas, weekly cocktail parties and more. For example, Platinum Elite members and above gain access to exclusive resort areas and Ambassador members receive one complimentary massage per stay.
Elite members cannot, though, use Suite Night Awards at Autograph Collection All-Inclusive resorts, as Marriott’s terms and conditions exclude all-inclusive properties. Guaranteed late checkout and club access are also perks that might be elusive to these properties, though some of the resorts have lounge access and private areas based on what type of room or service you book instead of elite status. At the Royalton Saint Lucia, guests who book in the premium Diamond Club category get access to special butlers and concierge services, exclusive restaurants and bars and even private swimming pools and beach areas.
While we’re stoked to see some of these new upscale all-inclusive properties join the Marriott Bonvoy program, it seems that there are some downfalls. The minimum stay requirements are confusing and will require some legwork to get the best deals. That said, in our searches, the redemption values seemed rather low. Your points could be better spent elsewhere where you know exactly what perks you’ll get, like guaranteed club access.
But that doesn’t mean that these resorts aren’t worth visiting. In fact, having 20 new all-inclusive resorts means you might find a favourite new destination to pay cash and earn points for a future vacation where you can stretch your earned points and miles even further.
Featured photo of the Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa courtesy of Marriott.
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