Best points hotels in the Caribbean
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The calm, clear water of Aruba, the dramatic coastline of Jamaica, the accessibility of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the views from St. Kitts and Nevis, the lively atmosphere of the Dominican Republic and the tranquility of Turks and Caicos. The Caribbean has it all — except the arduous journey required to travel half a world away.
While the coronavirus pandemic has sent a shockwave through the region, depriving many island nations of the all-important tourism revenue, islands have been opening up consistently over the last few months to tourists in hopes of drawing at least some of them back before the year is up.
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For the coronavirus-weary traveler, the Caribbean represents a jack-of-all-trades pandemic getaway: It’s sunny, it’s close to much of the U.S. and many islands are perfect for relaxing in relative isolation.
And, winter’s coming to the Northern Hemisphere — yet another reason to escape to the Caribbean. There’s no better cure for the winter blues than a points and miles-fueled trip to the sun.
Whether you’ve already booked flights to the Caribbean using miles and just need to lock in your resort, or you’re still deciding which island among the region’s 30 countries and territories is right for you, we’re here to help.
What follows isn’t a list of every single Caribbean points hotel. Rather, we’ve curated a list of some of the best spots where you can use rewards points to book your stay.
For all the properties, we’ve listed the standard award category or points range, which doesn’t include possible discounts, such as a fifth-night free at various chains. As always, check the paid rates when you’re considering an award booking, as sometimes rates can be low enough to warrant paying cash and saving your points for another time.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has upended travel everywhere. But, many Caribbean islands were some of the first destinations to open to tourists after the initial stoppage of travel. Each nation or territory has its own policy when it comes to testing and quarantining after travel, and we’ll list general guidelines for each destination covered here. However, things seemingly change by the minute, so you’ll need to double-check your destination’s specific entry requirements before getting on the plane.
Anguilla enters Phase 2 of its reopening plan on Nov. 1, which allows for hotels and resorts to be included in the government-approved pool of acceptable accommodations for visitors to the island. You have to have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours and will be required to quarantine for 14 days at your hotel, though you can participate in activities at the hotel.
Zemi Beach Resort, LXR Hotels
Hilton Honors: 95,000 points per night
If you love using points but hate resort factories with hundreds — or even thousands — of rooms, this is a great option for you. Zemi Beach House has just 76 rooms and is right on the water. The six-acre property is on Shoal Bay East on the island of Anguilla. When it comes to getting there, you can fly directly to Clayton J. Lloyd Airport (AXA) in Anguilla or take a boat shuttle from Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) on St. Maarten.
The Reef by Cuisinart
World of Hyatt: 25,000 Hyatt points per night
Thanks to Hyatt’s addition of many of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, you can now use your Hyatt points to stay in a 700-square-foot suite at the 80-room Reef resort on Anguilla. This property is set on Merrywing Bay with St. Maarten visible in the background. Whether you want to snorkel, relax or just sip some cocktails (or do all three), this high-end resort is a welcome option to the points world.
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Aruba will be open to visitors from all 50 U.S. states as of Nov. 1. However, strict requirements are in place for anyone traveling to the island, including proof of a negative PCR test up to 72 hours before arrival. More information can be found here.
World of Hyatt: 25,000 points per night
The Hyatt Regency Aruba sits right on Aruba’s famous Palm Beach. This means calm, clear water and perfect, soft sand. It also means that you have walkable options for a variety of food, snacks and entertainment.
The hotel has a casino, spa, waterslide and multiple pools. If you want to include Club Lounge access with your award rate (and you don’t have access via your elite status in the Hyatt program), you can instead spend 33,000 Hyatt points per night for a club-level room to have access to easy breakfast, snacks and evening appetizers.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points per night
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba is one of the, well, ritziest places to stay on the island. The hotel is at the end of Palm Beach, meaning it’s quieter and more secluded than many of the other properties on the beach.
This hotel has a lot of other things going for it as well — balconies in every room, a 24-hour casino and Ritz-Carlton luxury service. With cash rates climbing as high as $1,000 a night during peak season, this is an easy way to get incredible value from your Marriott points, even though the hotel, unfortunately, climbed up into the top-tier Category 8 rung in Marriott’s award chart.
Hilton Honors: 66,000–80,000 points per night
Also on Palm Beach is the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort. This beautiful property came under the Hilton banner a few years ago, having previously been branded as a Radisson. The Hilton renovations have been getting positive reviews from guests, and those with Gold and Diamond Hilton status (even from a card such as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card) will get some help with food costs in the form of a property credit.
Also popular are the beachfront palapas, which you can reserve by smartphone app the day before instead of getting up at the crack of dawn (though you’ll still need to claim your palapa in person by 9 a.m. or it’ll go to other sun-seekers).
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Marriott Bonvoy: 50,000–70,000 points per night
The Aruba Marriott Resort often has rooms available for point redemptions when its two nearby two sister resorts — the Marriott Aruba Ocean Club and the Marriott Aruba Surf Club — have no award space. Even better, guests at this hotel have access to many of the facilities at the pair of neighboring properties. You can add cash to your points reservation to upgrade as high as a top-floor Tradewinds Club room, which gives you additional access to a club lounge, a private beach and a dedicated concierge.
As of Oct. 31, The Bahamas will eliminate its 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors to the islands. It will, however, require proof of a negative PCR test no older than seven days before arrival. Additionally, visitors will be administered a rapid test upon arrival and on the fifth day of their trip, if they’re staying longer than five days. See this page for more information.
World of Hyatt: 20,000 points per night
A few years ago, the Grand Hyatt was the first hotel to open in the 1,000-acre Baha Mar development, and it boasts 1,800 rooms and a ton of facilities. It’s a big casino resort, to be clear, but it’s a nice one. Think of it as the Bellagio of the Bahamas. At the Baha Mar resort complex, there’s a 100,000-square-foot casino, 11 swimming pools, 30 luxury shops and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and Golf Club. Kids love not only the “cliffs” you can jump off into the pool but also the “cave” where you can watch sharks and other wildlife swim on just the other side.
The Cove at Atlantis
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points per night + $80 resort fee
Atlantis is a polarizing fixture of the Bahamas. Some people absolutely love the massive property and its famous waterpark. Others don’t. And while some of the facilities at the Atlantis resort are unquestionably getting a bit long in the tooth, the resort is made up of multiple hotels, with some much nicer than others. If you want to go toward the nicer end of the scale at Atlantis, you can book the Cove using your Marriott points.
The Cove’s pool is restricted to adult guests over 18 years old, and the buffet at the tower’s Mosaic restaurant gets consistently positive reviews from guests. Since this is a Marriott Autograph Collection property, all the towers at Atlantis can be booked with Marriott Bonvoy points, but watch for expensive resort fees tacked on to your stay. On the plus side, you will get wrist bands to the Atlantis waterpark for the registered guests in your room.
French Leave Resort, Autograph Collection
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points per night + $50 resort fee
If you want Bahamian blue waters (or even pink sand), but you’re after something different from what’s offered on points in the Nassau area — look to the French Leave Resort. The French Leave Resort on Eleuthera Island provides you your own villa, highly rated service and a much calmer atmosphere than the mega-resorts.
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Visitors to Barbados from “high-risk” countries including the U.S. must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Then, a government-approved transport company will take you to an approved hotel or resort to isolate until you get the results of a second COVID test, which should come back within 24 hours. If that test comes back negative, you’re free to move about the island. Learn more at this page.
Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados
Radisson Rewards: 50,000 points per night
Barbados has a few points-friendly hotels, though none that stand out as the best or nicest options at the moment. But since Radisson hasn’t featured heavily on this list (or at all), know that Radisson’s Aquatica Resort on the beach at Needham’s Point can be a good choice for your points in Barbados. While 50,000 points gets you a standard room, 75,000 points can get a business-class room that includes an evening drink, free breakfast, ocean views, etc.
Here’s a complete guide to using your points and miles for a vacation in Barbados.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are preparing to welcome visitors back as of Dec. 1. Travelers should be prepared for periods of quarantine at government-approved facilities, PCR COVID testing, contact tracing, special medical insurance and more. See here for more specifics.
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points per night + $30 resort fee per adult, per night
Want to stay on a private island you can book with points? Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands may be just the place for you. The resort is reachable only by boat. You can fly into the nearby island of Tortola and the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on Tortola and take an included five-minute ferry ride to the resort.
Based on my 2019 stay at the resort, the location is five-star, though the rooms are not quite as glamorous. However, you are sleeping virtually right next to gazillion-dollar yachts and when day breaks, you can hop a ferry or water taxi and go play in the same gorgeous water. Between explorations to the Baths on Virgin Gorda, drinks at the nearby Pusser’s restaurant and adventures on Tortola, this is a location to put on your list.
A ton of Virgin Atlantic miles + elite status
Got a whole bunch of Virgin Atlantic miles in your pocket and want to go all-in on points-fueled island fun on Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands? A few weeks a year you can book a seven-night stay on the 74-acre Necker Island for 1.2 million Virgin Atlantic miles (or tens of thousands of dollars) and enjoy life as Richard Branson does.
Snagging awards here isn’t easy, even if you have the miles and elite status to leverage, but if you do, you’ll enjoy a dedicated waitstaff team, all your meals and drinks, pools, tennis courts, water sports equipment and much more.
The Cayman Islands reopened to tourists Oct. 1, with many restrictions in place, including testing and quarantine requirements. Read this post for more details.
IHG: 70,000 points per night + $70 resort fee
Thus far on this list, Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton have dominated the line-up of the best hotels in the Caribbean as far as points travelers are concerned, but on Grand Cayman one of your best point options can be booked with IHG points. The Kimpton Seafire is a beachfront hotel with 266 rooms just 20 minutes from the airport.
Here, IHG elites can raid the mini bar, leverage the Kimpton secret password during select times of the year and enjoy complimentary snacks by the pool. Kimpton is a fun, but higher-end brand and Grand Cayman is a gorgeous location. If you have the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you’ll receive a fourth night reward — and four nights is actually about the right amount of time to experience a good amount of Grand Cayman while still enjoying plenty of time by the ocean.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points per night + $85 resort fee
Kimpton isn’t the only game in town when it comes to Grand Cayman. The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman sits proudly on Seven Mile Beach and TPG himself actually stayed there a few years ago during the Cayman Cookout, declaring it to be “easily one of the best point hotels in the Caribbean.”
The Ritz hosts six bars and restaurants, two pools, an oceanfront hot tub, a nine-hole golf course and a tennis center. Parents with little ones will also love that the hotel has a splash pad, something the nearby Westin did not.
the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa
Marriott Bonvoy: 50,000–70,000 points per night + $65 resort fee
Note: This property is closed until Jan. 4, 2021.
Just down Seven Mile Beach from The Ritz-Carlton is The Westin Grand Cayman. This property on the western side of Grand Cayman, was renovated a couple of years ago and features the largest freshwater pool on the island, along with two hot tubs and a courtyard café and bar at the pool. (Here are tips for saving on food while staying at The Westin Grand Cayman.)
Beach House, the property’s main restaurant, won AAA’s 4 Diamond Award and features seafood dishes designed by executive chef Sandy Tuason. And since it’s a Westin, at the end of the day you’ll hopefully sleep soundly on your room’s Heavenly Bed.
Curaçao is in the process of reopening to tourists. Travelers from low- and medium-risk countries are permitted to enter, subject to testing and other requirements upon entry. See this page for more details.
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort
Marriott Bonvoy: 40,000–60,000 points per night
Curacao has limited points-friendly hotel options, but the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort is a newly renovated, relatively calm six-acre oceanfront resort that has 336 rooms and suites, two pools and a variety of on-site dining options. As a Marriott Category 6 property, you could use a Marriott up to 50k-point certificate from a card such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card on nights that ring in at 50k points or less per night.
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Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino
Marriott Bonvoy: 30,000–40,000 points per night
A candidate for your 35k-point certificates that come with cards such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card is the Renaissance Curacao. You won’t find a beach at this hotel, but there’s something almost as cool: a saltwater infinity pool with a man-made beach area. Guests of the hotel give it good reviews, but if that’s not your thing, you can also enjoy the additional freshwater pool. (Do be aware that some rooms here are interior with no windows, so you will probably want to avoid those.)
Entering the Dominican Republic is fairly easy, with no pre-departure testing requirement, but rather tests upon arrival for 3% to 10% of visitors or anyone displaying symptoms. See this post for more information.
Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences
World of Hyatt: 25,000 points per night
The World of Hyatt program made waves in 2018 by adding a partnership with the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. This has added new Caribbean locations to the Hyatt portfolio, including the Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The gorgeous property is set in lush, tropical surroundings and boasts an on-site restaurant and spa. The standard award rooms are one-bedroom suites that span over 1,000 square feet, including a fully equipped kitchen, dining area and living space with a sofa bed (perfect for families).
World of Hyatt: From 25,000 points per night for double occupancy
The all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva and Zilara properties in Punta Cana opened in late 2019. These adult-only and family-friendly all-inclusive brands have a loyal following and are bookable with Hyatt points. The neighboring beachfront resorts have a wide variety of really good restaurants, multiple pools, an included kids club, waterpark and friendly staff. While the opening of the resorts was rocky (to say the least), with more time under their belts, the amenities are likely to grow to match the gorgeous oceanfront location.
Jamaica is currently open to tourists, but those entering are subject to requirements including negative PCR tests taken at no more than 10 days before arrival. For more information, see this page.
Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa
Hilton Honors: 38,000–184,000 points per night
If you’re considering an all-inclusive resort where you won’t have to worry about the cost of food or drinks, Jamaica could be your destination target. That’s because the Hilton Rose Hall Resort is just one of several all-inclusive hotels on the island that can be booked with points. The resort features the largest waterpark and the longest white sand beach on the island, and with seven bars and restaurants serving up grub and booze at no added cost, you’re in for a well-sated stay.
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall
World of Hyatt: 25,000 points per night for double occupancy
Hyatt has had all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica in the last few years via the family-oriented Ziva brand and adults-only Zilara adjacent to each other on Jamaica’s Montego Bay. There are many shared amenities between the two resorts (though children are relegated to the Ziva side). Note that the adult-only side is a newer build than the family-friendly side, so it is a touch nicer in my experience.
Travelers to Puerto Rico must fill out a health declaration form as well as present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. More details can be found on this page.
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points + $85 resort fee
This 139-room oceanfront property on the northeast side of Puerto Rico underwent a $60 million renovation to bring it to even better than its pre-hurricane glory. Here you’ll find multiple restaurants, the signature St. Regis service, an included kid’s club, beach amenities, water toys and more.
The resort is tranquil, with a private and secluded stretch of beach, and a massive pool complex that you won’t have to fight other guests for a chair at. If you want a top-of-the-line beachfront vacation on points, you’ll be hard-pressed to do much better than this Puerto Rican escape.
La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort
Marriott Bonvoy: 40,000–60,000 points per night + $30 fee per day
The La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort, in the heart of San Juan’s Miami-esque Condado district, provides the best of both worlds. Set right on the beach, you can spend full days relaxing by the pool or swimming in the strong surf of the Atlantic Ocean, but by night you’re just a short walk away from the many San Juan restaurants that are putting this island territory on the foodie map.
This is a Marriott Category 6 property, meaning that on nights when the rate is 50k points, you can use an annual award night that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (worth up to 50,000 points).
If you are traveling from a high-risk country (which includes the U.S.) to St. Maarten, you’ll be required to present proof of a negative PCR test taken within 120 hours of departure. For more details, see this page.
Belmond la Samanna
First, the bad news … you aren’t really going to be using traditional hotel points on St. Maarten right now. However, you can leverage American Express Fine Hotels& Resorts (FHR) benefits from a card such as The Platinum Card® from American Express — including daily breakfast, 4 p.m. late checkout, early check-in and a $100 food or beverage credit — at the Belmond la Samanna.
St. Barths reopened to tourists in June, and negative PCR tests are required for anyone 11 years of age or older. More details can be found here.
As amazing as St. Barths is — and it really is — your traditional hotel points also aren’t going to help much here. You’ll again need to leverage credit card benefits such as the Amex FHR perks somewhere, such as booking a bungalow at Le Sereno, or turn to fixed-value points to book the hotel of your choice. And fair warning: Nothing on St. Barths is particularly budget-friendly.
St. Lucia reopened to tourists this summer, and all people entering the country must submit proof of a negative PCR test no more than seven days before arrival on the island. More information can be found here.
Harbor Club St. Lucia, Curio Collection by Hilton
Hilton Honors: 44,000–60,000 points per night
There aren’t many points hotel options in St. Lucia. In fact, there is really only one. The Harbor Club St. Lucia is next to the marina in Rodney Bay. Note that while there are multiple pools, this is not a beachfront hotel. That said, the hotel does provide a boat or bus to the beach.
Related: The best Hilton credit cards
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis opened its borders to international tourists — including Americans — on Oct. 31. Visitors are required to comply with various guidelines including required testing and contact tracing. More information can be found here.
Park Hyatt St. Kitts
World of Hyatt: 30,000 points per night
The Park Hyatt St. Kitts is a point-friendly gem of the Caribbean. With only 78 rooms and 48 suites, the property features two swimming pools — one adults-only and one for families — three restaurants, a spa, an included kids club and, of course, access to the Banana Bay beach. With paid rates reaching toward $800 on some dates, this resort can be the perfect spot for a points redemption, though be sure to check for possible cash deals through portals such as Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino
Marriott Bonvoy: 30,000–40,000 points per night
While not as high-end as the Park Hyatt St. Kitts, the St. Kitts Marriott Resort has recently undergone renovations, and you’ll find an expansive resort with the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club and the 15,000-square-foot Emerald Mist Spa as highlights. Cash rates at this property can sometimes fall below $150 per night, so make sure to double-check the cost of paid nights before burning your points here or 35k Marriott certificates here.
I’m cheating here a bit, as it is not a traditional points hotel, but the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, just a boat ride away from St. Kitts, recently completed a renovation and is bookable via the Amex FHR program. Even if you don’t stay on Nevis, it’s worth a visit while you are on St. Kitts.
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Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos are open for tourism, but travelers must be pre-approved by taking certain steps including pre-arrival testing, purchasing medical insurance and completing a health questionnaire. More information can be found here.
Point Grace Resort and Spa
World of Hyatt: 40,000 points per night
Until recently, booking Turks and Caicos resorts on hotel points wasn’t really possible, but with the addition of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World lineup to the World of Hyatt, you have a few options. Point Grace Resort is a boutique, all-suites beachfront hotel on Grace Bay. Here, your Hyatt points get you an over 1,000-square-foot cottage. There are only 28 suites at this oceanfront resort, so it is a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy the spa, beach and other amenities available.
World of Hyatt: 40,000 points per night
Sailrock Resort — in South Caicos on a small, remote island — is another quality Small Luxury Hotels of the World option you can book with your Hyatt points. Here you’ll find 34 suites and villas that come with complimentary round-trip airfare to and from Providenciales International Airport (PLS) to South Caicos Airport (XCS).
As always, if you don’t have enough Hyatt points to book the Turks and Caicos getaway you want from your World of Hyatt Credit Card, you can transfer them to Hyatt 1:1 from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Travelers to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which include St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, must either present a negative PCR test within five days of arrival to the territory or a COVID-19 antibody test with positive result within four months of travel to the islands. More information can be found here.
Marriott Bonvoy: 70,000–100,000 points per night + $80 resort fee
Newly reopened after a massive $100-million-dollar post-hurricane renovation, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas is set to become one of the premier points hotel options in the Caribbean. The resort features four restaurants, a remodeled infinity pool, new family pool with waterslide and a renovated club lounge.
Marriott Bonvoy: 50,000–70,000 Marriott points +$45 resort fee
Also fresh off a massive post-Hurricane Maria renovation and reopening, The Westin St. John Resort Villas is a solid points-friendly option in the U.S. Virgin Islands, though admittedly less luxurious than The Ritz-Carlton on nearby St. Thomas. These villas are a great match for a slightly more do-it-yourself style vacationer who still wants to stay on a gorgeous island with points.
Ready to start planning? Here are TPG’s recommendations for getting to the Caribbean using points and miles.
Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg and Nick Ellis
Featured image of the Westin St. John courtesy of Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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