How to book Atlantis in the Bahamas with points and miles
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Growing up, I always dreamed of visiting the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Television commercials portrayed it as a kids’ haven with a massive waterpark, thrilling water slides, shark tanks and what seemed like an obscene number of fun activities. Vacationing at Atlantis, however, was expensive — at least that is what my parents told me.
Now that I plan my family’s vacations, I find that Atlantis is still expensive — but quite feasible with points and miles. Here are some tips:
Redeem your Marriott points
Back in 2014, the Atlantis resort joined Marriott’s Autograph Collection, which means you can use your Marriott Bonvoy points to redeem for award nights. There are many towers and sections that you can book with cash, but to book with Marriott points, you are limited to three towers within the nearly 4,000-room Atlantis resort: The Coral, The Cove and The Royal.
The Coral, a Category 5 hotel, is the lowest-category tower you can book on points, but it’s not the lowest level room at the Atlantis. This tower recently underwent a soft renovation and boasts a new pool with cabanas but it still has a tired look and feel, like many other aspects of the Atlantis. I suggest going in with low expectations. These Category 5 rooms within the Marriott Bonvoy program are 30,000 to 40,000 points per night, depending on your travel dates and the season.
On nights that the property prices at 35,000 points per night or less, you could redeem a Marriott up to 35k free-night certificate that comes annually when you renew the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. If you don’t need the fanciest room at the resort and spend most of your time at the pools and waterpark, then this is a good opportunity to use your Marriott points or certificates. And, there is a pesky resort fee of $60 for double occupancy and additional nightly fees for kids 12 or older — $50 each per night for the third and fourth guest. Availability on award nights is tight.
Related: Best point hotels in the Caribbean
The Royal rooms are priced at the Marriott Category 6 level. Similar to The Coral tower, these rooms are family-friendly, but set your expectations accordingly. Here you’ll pay 40,000 to 60,000 points per night. Or, you can use the up to 50k free-night certificate that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Location is the main advantage of The Royal tower because it is close to the best pools and the waterslides. On the downside, most of these rooms do not have a full balcony. There’s a $60 resort fee for double occupancy and $50 nightly fees for the third and fourth guests, ages 12 and older.
The Cove is where to book if luxury is what you seek. It’s family-friendly but it is the only area on the resort where you’ll find an adults-only pool. A separate beach and pools are for exclusive use by the guests staying at The Cove and The Reef. Of course, this higher-level room comes with a higher price tag. As a Category 7 hotel, you’re looking at 50,000 to 70,000 points per night. Resort fees and nightly charges are also higher. The resort fee is $67 for double occupancy and an additional $75 per night for the third and fourth guests, ages 12 and up.
As with all Marriott Bonvoy redemptions, you’ll receive your fifth night free on award stays. Unfortunately though, Atlantis only offers limited benefits for those with status. For example, those with Platinum status and above will not receive complimentary breakfast.
Book a room at the Comfort Suites, Visit the Waterpark
If your main goal is to experience the 141-acre Aquaventure Water Park during the day with simple accommodations at night, one of the best options is the adjacent Comfort Suites Paradise Island. Although the property is not part of Atlantis, you still receive all of the perks of Atlantis — for free.
Room rates are typically less expensive than staying at Atlantis. You can use your Choice Privileges points for an award-night stay. The number of points needed to redeem for a free night varies based on the time of year, but right now, you are looking at 20,000 to 30,000 Choice points per night. This includes suites with one king bed or two double beds. Rooms are capped at four guests.
Unfortunately, Choice only allows you to book a free night up to 100 days in advance. This works best for a last-minute vacation or for those who are OK taking a gamble. Tip: If you are cruising to the Bahamas, booking a one-night stay at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island might be more economical than paying for day passes to Atlantis on a port day. In fact, this can be a good method even if you are staying in the Bahamas. Last year, TPG’s Summer Hull booked a room with points at the Comfort Suites to get Atlantis access for her family, but actually stayed at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. The hotel was accustomed to guests who do just that.
All registered guests at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island receive complimentary access, so make sure you include the correct number of guests when making your reservation. You’ll receive a wristband from Atlantis directly, so get to the property early to avoid a long line.
If you are low on Choice points, there are many ways to increase your account balance. American Express Membership Rewards is a transfer partner (1:1 ratio), but it definitely will not give you maximum value in most cases. There is also the Choice Privileges Visa Credit Card, which is currently offering 32,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. This will give you at least one free night at the hotel.
(The information for the Choice Privileges Visa Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)
They aren’t free, but Choice points can be purchased at a relatively low cost. My favorite way to accrue Choice Privileges points is during the annual Daily Getaways sales. This promotion pops up once a year in the spring and provides the most economical way to increase your point balance. Last year, I purchased 140,000 Choice points for $698. If redeemed at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island, this would allow me to redeem up to seven nights (during the 20,000-points-per-night redemption period) for around $700. This comes in at just $100 per night, which is an incredibly low price. Of course, there is no way of knowing if Choice will continue to be a partner of the Daily Getaways this year or the actual package prices, but keep this option in mind over the next few months.
If you want to buy points immediately, or if the Daily Getaways offer sells out quickly, Choice runs promotions on purchasing their points often. Currently, Choice is offering a 30% bonus, which means you can purchase 120,000 points for $831.60. This brings the cost per night down to $138.50 during the 20,000-points-per-night dates or $207.90 during the 30,000-points-per-night redemption period. This is not as inexpensive as the Daily Getaways offer, but can still be a great deal — and significantly less than the least expensive rate.
Note: During previous stays using Choice points, Mommy Points was not charged extra taxes or fees though that could always change.
Award Nights with Caesars Rewards
Unless you’re a casino regular, you may not know about Caesars Rewards status. Although this elite status provides some great perks to those staying at Caesars properties, there is also one amazing benefit that is valuable to families — even if you never go to Las Vegas. If you are a Platinum, Diamond or Seven Stars Caesars Rewards member, you are entitled to a complimentary stay at the Atlantis (plus resort and housekeeping fees). Even Gold members receive a reduced nightly rate of $79 to $99 per night, plus taxes and resort fees.
Your complimentary package is based on your Caesars Rewards membership tier and the time of year you travel. For example, a Platinum member will receive three free nights in The Beach tower, while a lower-level Diamond member will receive four free nights in the same tower (or four free nights in the higher-level Royal tower during off-peak months). Much like when you stay on Marriott points, the room is based on double occupancy and additional guests ages 12-17 years old will be charged $50 per person per night; additional guests over 18 years old will be charged $75 per person per night.
Fortunately, earning Caesars status is easy. With the Wyndham Rewards and Caesars Rewards partnership, you can match your status between the two programs. Wyndham Platinum matches to Caesars Platinum and Diamond matches to Diamond. The online status match usually takes about 48 hours.
Earning Wyndham Rewards status is also easy. The no-annual-fee Wyndham Rewards Visa Card gives you automatic Gold status; the high-end annual-fee card comes with automatic Platinum status. Of course, the credit card alone can get you complimentary (or discounted nights), but obtaining Diamond status is better because you receive additional complimentary nights and a better room if staying during an off-peak month.
If you don’t want one of those cards, Wyndham offers an easy and generous status match opportunity.
You can match to Wyndham Rewards Diamond status if you are an:
- Marriott Rewards Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Platinum Premier Elite or Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador
- Hilton Honors Gold or Diamond
- Choice Privileges Diamond
- Best Western Diamond Select
- Hyatt Globalist
- IHG Platinum Elite or Spire Elite
- Radisson Rewards Gold or Platinum
- Omni Select Guest Black
Even if you’re not able to earn status, there are many credit cards that will give you status automatically.
They include the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (IHG Platinum Elite), Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Hilton Honors Gold), Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature (Radisson Rewards Gold), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Marriott Rewards Gold Elite, Hilton Honors Gold) and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (Marriott Bonvoy Gold).
(The information for the Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)
Related: Best credit cards for families
If you match to Platinum or Diamond Wyndham status, you’ll have the new status for just 90 days from the date you are approved. You can then extend your status by completing the challenge:
- If you matched to Platinum: Stay seven nights within the 90-day status match period to keep Platinum
- If you matched to Diamond: Stay 14 nights within the 90-day status match period to keep Diamond
As a quick recap: Earn your desired Wyndham Rewards status via some method, match your new Wyndham Rewards status to your Caesars Rewards account and then book a stay at the Atlantis for free (or at least for a dramatically reduced cost).
Note: Technically, with this offer you are supposed to have some casino play or Atlantis can charge you for your room. However, there are many reports that in practice the Atlantis stay is open to all. Read the fine print in detail.
Redeem Flexible Points
If none of the above scenarios work for you, you can always pay for your room with a credit card that comes with flexible reward points, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou® Rewards, Capital One points or Barclaycard Arrival miles.
Redeem points through Travel Portals
Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards have their own travel portals where you essentially book your hotel stay through their site directly. This is where the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes into play as points are worth 1.5 cents per point (versus the other Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning cards which are only worth 1 to 1.25 cents per point). Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed through the travel portal, although you’ll receive your fourth night free (limited to twice per calendar year).
Wipe away your hotel charge
Capital One miles and Barclaycard Arrival miles work differently. You can book your room at Atlantis any way you wish — whether it is through the property directly or through a third-party reservation system — and when the charge hits your credit card, you can essentially wipe away your charge.
With Capital One, use the Purchase Eraser tool to “erase” any travel-related purchases that have hit your account within the past 90 days by redeeming miles. Even if you do not have enough Capital One miles to cover the hotel reservation, you can redeem for a partial credit (at least 2,500 miles needed).
With your Barclaycard Arrival miles, you can also redeem your miles to pay for your Atlantis reservation, up until 120 days after the charge is posted to your account.
Atlantis is definitely a unique vacation opportunity and with the many ways to stay there using points, miles or award nights, you might want to consider it for your next trip. Adjust your expectations properly — know the room type that you’re booking — and familiarize yourself with all the added fees. You can always combine a few nights with a stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar to get that luxurious vacation feel as well.
Featured image by Katie Genter/The Points Guy
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