Redone: June 3, 2019
As someone obsessed with free things and food, you’d think I’d love all-inclusives that are bookable with points…
I’ve become disgruntled by the hit-miss experience (mostly miss). In fact it’s my love of food that has me avoiding cheap all-inclusives at all cost. I can’t last two meals at most all-inclusives.
Think about the business model here. Go to countries with extremely cheap real estate (where you can get a nice hotel for under $100) and even cheaper food (where you can literally eat for $1) and charge people $300+ a night to get both. The best part is, while you have to physically travel to another country, they make it so comfy and like home and put up giant walls to keep the third-worlders from getting near you, that you actually don’t know you’re in a dirt cheap country. So it feels like a “deal”.
Pick up on my cynicism? This is why I start with Hyatt’s resorts and I make sure to give my experiences when relevant.
Reminder: Beyond each brand’s credit cards, if you want to know how to earn any of these points via transfer partners, check out FM’s “Master List of Transfer Partners“.
Another reminder: I now keep a link to this page on our Resource Page.
All-Inclusive Hyatt Rewards Points Hotels
In my opinion, Hyatt has the best all-inclusive options with no real competitors.
I’ve been to many all-inclusives in Mexico and the Caribbean (and Egypt) and by far the best food was at the Hyatt Rose Hall in Jamaica.
I personally thought the one in Cancun was hit-miss, with mostly miss – just a lot of the typical budget cutting food options. However, it was still maybe in my top 3 for food at all-inclusives, Rose Hall being first. That speaks both to Hyatt being great, and my general negative opinion of Hyatt all-inclusives.
Hyatt All-Inclusive Prices:
|Hotel||Standard Room Points Per Night||Suite Points Per Night||
Additional Points Per Person Per Night
|Hyatt Zilara Cancun||25,000||40,000||12,500|
|Hyatt Ziva Cancun||25,000||40,000||12,500|
|Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall||25,000||40,000||12,500|
|Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall||25,000||40,000||12,500|
|Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos||20,000||32,000||10,000|
|Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta||20,000||32,000||10,000|
|Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana||25,000|
Note that the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is just now taking reservations (I believe after Nov 1, 2019) and it isn’t even on their redemption page, so I currently have no info on what their prices are beyond what I found in the search, which is 25k for a regular room.
But I assume that it will be just like the other 25k hotels and will be 40k for a suite and 12.5k per extra person.
Miraval Hotel Awards
If you’re not familiar, Miraval is a luxury “wellness resort” and spa. These are often $1,000 a night places that are healthy, gourmet all-inclusives. And it’s not just an all-inclusive in regards to food, but they really focus on having interesting activities – classes like yoga, climbing, mountain biking, etc…
I was tempted by redeeming my free nights here (back when they gave those as a credit card signup bonus) when they first opened, and I regret not doing so.
From appearance, the food seems to be on an entirely different level, far above anything else in this post.
- Monarch Beach
- St. Kitts
|Hotel||Standard Room Points Per Night1||Suite Points Per Night1||Premium Suite Points Per Night1||Second Person Points Per Night||Standard Room Points + Cash Per Night Single Occupancy||Standard Room Points + Cash Per Night Double Occupancy|
|Standard Room||45,000||75,000||105,000||20,000||22,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms||
32,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard rooms
|Standard Suite||37,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites||
47,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for standard suites
|Premium Suite||52,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites||
62,500 + 50% of the Standard Rate for premium suites
All-Inclusive IHG Rewards Points Hotels
The following hotels are in order:
- Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay, Jamaica = 50,000
- Holiday Inn Resort Los Cabos = 40,000
- Holiday Inn Resort : Ixtapa All-Inclusive = 50,000
- Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas, Mexico = 40,000 points
We actually stayed at the Holiday Inn Cancun Arenas once, and it was a dump and the food was absolutely inedible. Worse yet is the location. It’s near a boat port and the water is as dumpy as the hotel.
Now, in all fairness to the other hotels, the Cancun one has the lowest ratings, and it’s the only one on this list that doesn’t get the “Holiday Inn Resort” branding.
All-Inclusive Hilton Honors Points Hotels
I haven’t stayed in any of these 3 hotels, but I have an opinion on each of them. But first I’ll give the prices.
- Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, Mexico – 54,000 to 70,000
- Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Jamaica – 60,000 to 70,000
- Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa, Turkey – 40,000 to 70,000
Actually, I’m pretty negative on all-inclusive hotels in Puerto Vallarta but I’ll reserve my opinion since I’ve never been to this hotel.
Jamaica knows how to do food. My best all-inclusive food experiences have been in Jamaica.
The one in Turkey has 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, which is abnormally high in the all-inclusive world.
A note about Egypt’s Hilton hotels:
Oddly enough the Hilton all-Inclusives in Egypt are no longer all-inclusives? Like Marsa Alam. Well, not a loss, the snorkeling is good (maybe worth the stay) but it is literally the worst food I’ve ever had at any hotel ever. However, given how the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, I think staying at the hotel was an empathetic thing to do, as now I know what prison food tastes like.
But this applies to all hotels in Egypt with the one exception being the next hotel I mention. Just know that in Egypt there are many 5,000 point Hilton’s with all-inclusive up-sell options. I’m telling you for fact, it’s not worth it. We stayed and ate at the majority of the Hilton hotels in Egypt (when we did “47 Days in Egypt for $0“).
The “Half-Board” Radisson Blu Hotel
Radisson Blu Resort, El Quseir = 15,000 points
This is a “half-board” hotel, which means breakfast and dinner, and it’s the only inclusive hotel I know.
The good news is that the food is mediocre enough that skipping lunch isn’t a loss.
We stayed there and it was actually a cool resort if you’re going to experience the Red Sea, and the food isn’t prison food like all of the Hilton’s in the area, but it wasn’t good.
The All-Inclusive Marriott Rewards Points Hotels
My friend said the Westin Playa Conchal Costa Rica is his favorite all inclusive… And it sounds great. But it’s a lot of points!
The two Marriott all-inclusive options:
- The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, Costa Rica = 85,000
- Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort, Panama = 50,000 points
I’ve stayed at one Sheraton that had an all-inclusive up-sell (it was a mistake fare in Mexico) and the food was terrible. Which, only gives me pause because the hotel has a 3.5 Tripadvisor rating (which is the same rating as that terrible Holiday Inn food in Cancun).
The other thing is, I wouldn’t drop 50k Marriott points for a $125/nt hotel. And if I was going to go to the beach in Panama, I’d want to go to the Caribbean islands, for sure.
All-Inclusive Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles Hotels
If you’re not familiar with Frequent Miler’s trip to Richard Branson’s private island, “Necker Island”, then you should see his post “Is Necker Island Really Worth 1.2 Million Miles?“.
These 3 redemptions are more Richard Branson toys than anything else.
I assume the food is beyond great (for that price, it better be!), and the experiences all look amazing.
I’ll start by just giving the prices and facts and then give my opinion.
All-Inclusives with Virgin Atlantic Miles:
- Necker Island
- 1,200,000 miles for a 7 night stay for two people.
- Otherwise it’s $35,000 for a week!
- Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, South Africa (near Kruger National Park!)
- 550,000 miles for a 3 night stay for two people in a Safari Lodge room.
- 800,000 miles for a 5 night stay for two people in a Safari Lodge room.
- Includes: All meals and drinks (“including a top quality wine list”), a stocked mini bar, 2 game drives daily.
- $1,400 / nt value
- More info here.
- 550,000 miles for a 3 night stay for two people in a Safari Lodge room.
- Mahali Mzuri, Kenya
- All-inclusive, plus daily game drives at Olare Motorogi Conservancy
- $1,250 / nt value (often $1,900 a night)
- 600,000 miles for a 3 night stay for two people in a luxury tent.
- 800,000 miles for a 5 night stay for two people in a luxury tent
- Includes: Food and drinks (including alcohol), and “daily game drives and game drives at night in… Olare Motorogi Conservancy”.
- More info here.
Necker is obviously the highest value redemption.
The other two are lower value, more like .7 cents per mile. At that rate it’s better to cash out your points from Amex instead of transferring them. However, if you’re not transferring 1:1 from Amex, I think it could be a decent deal and experience.
In my opinion Hyatt is the best option for all-inclusives with not terrible food.
I thought the food at the Rose Hall in Jamaica hotels was great! Real seafood, real cooking, and not clearly just bringing out the cheapest made things.
Miraval would be the next level up in terms of quality (also Hyatt points).
Then Richard Branson’s luxury hotels would be the next next level up.
Anyone have any good experience I haven’t mentioned? And am I missing ANY all-inclusive that can be booked with points?
Glad to hear positive stuff about the HI in Montego Bay. I’ve been eying that place for a while. The redemption value is a little low for me, so I’d probably wait until I could find a decent BRG and get the first night free and subsequent ones at a discounted rate. But I don’t hold my breath in-between successful IHG BRGs…
I temporarily had a five-night trip planned to Negril at the end of May, but Expedia didn’t want to play nice and I don’t particularly feel like spending hours dealing with their CSRs trying to get a credit or the rez re-instated :-/.
I didn’t actually stay there btw, I just thought it was a good value. I was at the Hyatt… which I REALLY enjoyed. If I had more time I would have BRGed it one night.
I had expedia cancel mine too, but it was for the DR and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go anyways. Anyways, Negril is great. Love the cliffs near Ricks.
Wow, glad to see you made it to Hyatt Jamaica. Zilara? Planning to be there too soon. (and may use both 2 free nights plus additional nights on points and cash — the latter discounted 33% further with Amex sync deal to Hyatt gift card…. :-))
So to echo a questions below, how’d you get around Jamaica while you were there? Use a transit service, rent a car, white taxi? Any suggestions from experience? thanks.
Zilara and they gave us a suite as a Platinum… I don’t think that’s the norm but it was awesome. And the food was awesome, everything was awesome.
So we rented a car because we were only there a few days and wanted to go down to Negril. Not sure it was worth it. Negril is nicer, for sure… but I wonder if the hotel has a cheap shuttle.
If you have plenty of time they do have little bus/van things that run the main road and there are plenty of bus stops. It’s VERY local. No tourist use that, and I don’t know the system lol
Zilara looks and sounds just “awesome” … and an upgrade too! Will be there ’bout ten days from now. Glad to hear you could rent a car and had no mishaps driving on the “left” side of the road. Yet will check out the bus/van options. (I gather hotel does not have their own shuttle)
I forgot to mention the frequent pot holes! lol But I imagine there’s a good shuttle option, hotel or not.
I’m glad for you. The hotel exceeds any “all-inclusive” food options by a miles, and the hotel itself is great. Not as exotic as Iran of course, but man did we have a relaxing and fun time.
Please let me know how you enjoy it.
My wife and I were at both the Holiday Inn Montego Bay (2 nights) as well as the Hyatt Zilara Montego Bay (1 night). We liked the HI and the food at the Ziva / Zilara was definitely better. We were only staying the 1 night so we didn’t get to sample everything but it was good
great write-up, thank you! Please, enjoy your time in Jamaica, it’s a nice way to spend some of your Febeuary there!
FYI, Hilton Rose Hall was sold in January and it will be Jewel hotel chain. Also, Westin Playa Conchal in Costa Rica is 25k/night all inclusive property for SPG.
Oh didn’t know that, as it’s still bookable on Hilton.com. I’ll try to check out the Westin when my inflight wifi picks up a little. 😀
Loved Jamaica and it’s painful leaving and checking the weather in the US.
Just a note that the Hilton certs can’t be used at all inclusives
You’re totally right. I looked and it’s listed in the exceptions.
Unrelated question: any idea when IHG will release their next PointsBreaks list?
They normally release a new list about a week (or so) before the current list ends. I’d expect to see it (hopefully back to a two-month list instead of three) the very beginning of next week.
There are a handful of All Inclusives available with Choice points through their partnership with Preferred Hotel Group. For example, the Grand Oasis Sens in Cancun is 40,000 points.
The Choice Privileges site seems to be acting up right now, so it’s hard to see what else is available.
We redeemed our Hyatt credit card free nights for a weekend stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun a couple of weeks ago, and it was incredible. Great food, great service, top-shelf drinks, etc. We were a bit apprehensive as it was our first all-inclusive stay, but we’re already saving up points for next time. 🙂
I would have guessed that the Hilton hotels in Egypt would have been the most cost effective hotels. On a related note, what’s the cheapest miles to Egypt?
Yea, but it’s hard to go for the all-inclusives for 20k when the other hilton’s in egypt are 5k and I already get breakfast as a gold. I seriously need to spend a month there.
Haven’t done my cheapest miles to Africa yet, but almost everything is 80k-85k for a roundtrip, so whatever works for your schedule and allows a stopover if you want it.
Hi Drew, another way to get to Middle East/North Africa — that might be helpful — is to get to Europe on points — Paris, Rome, Istanbul, then take cheap fares from there to north africa countries. (may be in Tunisia in two weeks, fares to there from Paris as low as $120 roundrip, all taxes/fees included) Looking at Egypt for May.
What is the limit on the all inclusive when booked with points? Can you get 2 adults for that redemption? 2 adults and 2 children? More?
It’s for two adults and there may be added cost for extras.
Like the Holiday Inn Montego Bay allows 4 people in a room, but when you try to add another person above two it adds a fee. I think it’s like $70 or something, per person.
Hyatt allows you to pay for the extra people with 10,000 points (I think).
Haven’t looked at Hilton, plus I don’t have kids. But I imagine it’s similar, but should tell you in the booking process. But in general, expect the room to be for 2 adults.
Drew – I don’t think that’s exactly right. Holiday Inn’s rates say “UP TO 2 CHILDREN UP TO 12 YO ARE FREE EXTRA PERSON 13 YO & OVER CHARGE USD 80 COLLECTED AT HTL”
So 12 and under free – 13 and over there’s a charge as you say
Looks like there is an IC in Ixtapa, Mexico for 50k points and a Doubletree in Costa Rica
This is a great post! I was actually just thinking this the other day. Our budget is tight, but we have lots of points to burn! The winter is bitter cold here in Chicago, so this is exactly what we need!
Any all inclusive options with Marriott/Club Carlson?
I flew via Chicago to Jamaica and it was sure nice to be warm! Great if you have southwest points too, our flight was 10,000 points and to Cancun it was less.
There are no Marriott options, and I don’t know of any Club Carlson properties that do. They don’t have a ton of properties and for sure don’t have a lot of caribbean properties anyways.
Is there a nonstop southwest flight to Jamaica from Chicago? I’m here in the Chicago area and have just come to terms with the fact that the end of winter is nowhere near, and that the extended forecast is much more like the beginning of January than the end of February. Now that I have adjusted my expectations, I am fine. That doesn’t mean I won’t be looking at options for a little escape, though.
What a timely post – I’ve been looking at Caribbean destinations with points for the past few weeks. I didn’t realize the Hyatt all-inclusive options. Any restrictions on using the Hyatt CC sign up 2 free nights at the all-inclusives? I’m assuming not, since they price out as category 6, and even category 7 properties are permitted for the free night certs, but just wanted to confirm.
Pretty sure the Hyatt free nights are only good for Category 1-4
I’m asking about the 2 nights that come with the sign up bonus, which have no category restrictions. I looked at terms and answered my own question: “Free Night Awards at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva are based on single or double occupancy only.”
I used my two nights at Hyatt Zilara.
The place actually had great food. A potential issues with all inclusive.
No restriction on Hyatt’s two nights. I am certain they can be used for the all inclusives.
Wyndham also has some all-inclusives which seem reasonable, although I’m not at all familiar with their program. They never seem to be mentioned, so perhaps there’s a reason I don’t know about?
The only reason I never mention them is I’ve never had Wyndham points. If I had an easier way of earning them, I’d look into it more. But I haven’t looked into earnings, do you stay with them or get the credit card or something?
Looks like Wyndam is going 100% time share in Dominican Republic
No rates available beyond Dec 31 2017
Yea I’m curious about the Wyndham Viva properties but it you can no longer redeem points for them.
Also, skyauction has some great ai deals.
Thanks Drew, we r booked for the hyatt Zilara jamaica for March 5. Any tips for me? Did u use the special airport service to get through quicker?
Hyatt Ziva/Zillara in Cancun and Los Cabos are superior to the awful Jamaican property. Rose Hall Hyatt was great until 2016, now it’s like to cheep STD carnival cruise. Does anyone know what happened to this place, new management, etc?
I used points for the Hilton Puerto Vallarta in November. The first night we had a corner room which was okay but the next day we were upgraded to a Rooftop Jacuzzi room which was awesome! Still, a waste of points in my mind. The food was HORRIBLE and we went downtown most days/nights. For example, we went to the sushi bar and order a spicy tuna roll. It was CANNED TUNA on top of rice. Literally tuna fish in a can. Everything was gross. The drinks are terrible and served in plastic cups. Hard to get a bottle of water anywhere around the resort. The property is not kept up like it should be and the staff is indifferent. The upgrade and the town of PV itself saved our trip.
I guess I’m going nuts, but I could have sworn that I saw several Hiltons listed when I first looked at this article (really well done again, by the way). I specifically remember some seaside places in Egypt for 20,000 points, which is really cheap. I just went back to do further research, but don’t see them. Did you remove them, or am I just deluded?
One of is crazy! My bad. I made a mistake about the reserve card… and mindlessly deleted the Hilton section, lol. But I just grabbed it from my email. :-p
Thanks. If you’re ever in the TYS area, please let me know>
anything you can do when online booking tells you The rate is unavailable when checking the “pay with points” box? I’ve never seen points be unavailable so much. Wouldn’t think August would be a tough month either
Thanks for the write up.
Would you know if the hyatt free Anniversary night can be used at any of the vacation club or all inclusive that are 15,000 points?
Should there be column headings for the Hyatt All-inclusive table?
Since 2016 Ziva/Zillara Rose Hall has gone to the dogs. A once great property is now aweful. The food is now terrible and they often oversell rooms and send people to other resorts upon check-in.
But unlimited spicy nuts and champagne…
I can speak for Miraval Arizona. I went there for three days last year and headed there again in a few weeks. The food is amazing. There are plenty of options and food available all day. You will feel pampered for sure.
The Holiday Inn Aruba is absolutely NOT an all-inclusive. While they have an all-inclusive package you can pay for, like many other properties, 40k points will not get you all-inclusive.
I spent five nights at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun back in early March. My experience was largely very positive. There are four restaurants (Mexican, Asian, buffet, outdoor pool/casual but with table service). I thought all four were great, and I really enjoyed the food. The buffet in particular surprised me with its quality.
I’m hardly a gourmand, but I think that most people would be very happy with what they get. Aside from these four spots there’s a Starbucks-like coffee shop with mini-sandwiches and the requisite pastries. I liked it as well. There’s also a sports bar I didn’t go into which I assume has food.
Finally, there’s a high-end option which is only included if you’re staying in a premium room, otherwise you have to pay a somewhat significant upcharge to dine there (I think $60/person).
Speaking specifically to the food, I’d definitely go back!
There is a new Hilton all-inclusive in Playa del Carmen.
Missing a Marriott property. Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai. Been there and the food is of high quality.
You should include Al-Maha, Luxury collection Marriott property on the outskirt of Dubai. Great property, high quality food, and includes 2 desert activities per guest per day. Not sure if they still honor the deal or not.
What about the La Romana Hiltons in D.R.?
Stayed there on points for 2 nights in February of this year. Food was okay, didn’t try the buffet. The adult only portion was under renovation but I think it’s open now. The nightly entertainment was awful though, mostly bad lip syncing and bad dancing.