11 all-inclusive beach resorts families can book with points
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
When it comes to family vacations, the beach is best. Staying at a high-end hotel in a city is great, but I find that it's usually just a place to rest between explorations. When I travel with two young kids, a beach vacation with a pool, kids activity center and food right at hand make for a perfect holiday.
The main problem with many Caribbean and Mexican resorts is that the cost of the food can add up. I cringe when I see my bill at the end of the trip, knowing that the kids probably didn't eat half of what we purchased. Feeding a family of four (including drinks for the adults) is no joking matter. My "free" vacation using points and miles does not end up anywhere close to free.
The high cost of feeding a family on vacation makes using points for an all-inclusive resort appealing. Some properties charge more after the first two adults, but the cost is typically minimal. So, if you're looking to get away for an all-inclusive vacation, here are 11 properties in the sunny Caribbean and Mexico where you can use hotel points.
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Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is just 10 minutes from Sangster International Airport (MBJ). The resort includes two separate pool areas — one for relaxation and one with activities, including a swim-up bar. You can participate in anything from dance lessons on the pool deck to water ping-pong. There are many beach activities as well, all included, such as kayaking, boogie-boarding and snorkeling. There is a sister resort nearby, the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, which is an adults-only resort.
There are eight choices for dining, including a buffet, Italian restaurant, Asian restaurant, steakhouse, jerk shack, beach grill, pub, deli and beachfront grill. That's on top of four different bars for a variety of drinks and beach cocktails.
Related: An insider’s guide to what to see and do in Jamaica with a family
The kids club is a highlight, with a game room, playground and many other activities throughout the day. You can drop off kids ages three to 12 throughout the day for as long as you want.
This property costs just 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night for double occupancy. Any extra adult or child will cost 12,500 points per night, although kids two and under stay for free. However, no more than four guests can occupy award night rooms.
You can earn World of Hyatt points with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your Hyatt account at a 1:1 ratio from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Related: Why the World of Hyatt credit card is great for family travelers
Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, also in Montego Bay, offers a private beach and multiple pools. Plus, the resort includes access to its Sugar Mill Falls Water Park for all guests. This waterpark features a 280-foot slide and a lazy river. In short, having a waterpark onsite is a huge perk. This resort also offers tennis (and tennis lessons), a kids club, a teen zone and nightly entertainment.
There are lots of dining options, from casual to fine dining. Plus there are bars, a coffee shop and even a swim-up bar with food and drinks. Unfortunately, room service is not part of the all-inclusive experience. I like ordering room service while the kids are getting ready for the day, and I wouldn't want to pay for it when I can get the same food for free elsewhere on the property.
Related: The best credit cards to get for an almost-free Caribbean vacation
A free night at this property typically ranges between 62,000 to 70,000 Hilton Honors points for a double-occupancy standard room. However, availability is sparse for some dates -- especially if you want to book a standard room award. Check out our post on 16 ways to earn more Hilton Honors points for tips if you need more points for your redemption.
You can have up to four guests per room but will need to pay extra at check-in if your third or fourth guest is over the age of five. The fee is $75 per night for ages 6-14 and $99 per night for ages 15 and up. However, some reports show that guests were not charged any additional fee for kids in the room when staying on points reservations. Not having to pay extra guest fees could be a considerable saving when staying as a family.
Also, if you have Silver, Gold or Diamond Hilton status, you'll receive your fifth night free when redeeming points. Having status with Hilton is easy since all of the Hilton credit cards, including the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Hilton Honors American Express Card, give you automatic elite status.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex 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.
Related: The 10 best Hilton resorts for families
Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay in Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay is another all-inclusive property in Montego Bay where you can use your hotel points. Although you might not equate a Holiday Inn property with a nice resort, this hotel receives excellent reviews. And many travelers with IHG Platinum elite status have even reported being upgraded to a one-bedroom suite. Onsite, there are kids' activities and a spa for adults. Plus, this resort is one of the few on this list with a casino.
Related: Best points hotels in the Caribbean
This resort is closed until June 12, 2021, and there's no availability until June 27, 2021. But, once it reopens, you'll typically need to pay 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night for double occupancy. However, note that cash rates are low for some dates.
It is one of the few properties where kids 12 and under stay for free — no extra points or cash required — so you can maximize your IHG Rewards Club points. However, you'll need to pay an $80 surcharge per person for the third and fourth adults in a room.
If you have the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card or the IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card, you can get a fourth-night reward when you redeem IHG Rewards points for a stay of three or more nights. If you need to earn more IHG Rewards Club points, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your IHG account or wait for a good IHG buy points sale.
Related: Open for business: What to know about getting to Jamaica on points this summer
Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana opened in late 2019 after some delays. Most guests say the resort is beautiful and some guests even recommend it over the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. It's a great place to stay on points in Punta Cana. And, for an adults-only vacation, the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana is right next door.
This resort should be on your family's radar. The hotel is only 10 minutes away from the airport (PUJ) and boasts multiple pools, a lazy river and three water slides. There are 12 restaurants and bars, a swim-up bar, a kids club and live entertainment.
Related: How to book a trip to the Dominican Republic using points and miles
A standard room, which you can reserve with points, is over 600 square feet. This property costs 25,000 World of Hyatt points for the first two guests, plus 12,500 points per additional guest in the room. As at all other Hyatt Ziva properties, children two and under are free.
If you need to earn more Hyatt points for your stay, you have ample opportunities. For example, you could sign-up for the World of Hyatt Credit Card (or spend on your card if you already have a World of Hyatt Card). You could also buy Hyatt points or transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt.
Related: Why all-inclusive resorts are more attractive than ever following the pandemic
Hilton La Romana in La Romana, Dominican Republic
The Hilton La Romana is just 20 minutes away from La Romana Airport (LRM) and 45 minutes from Punta Cana Airport. The property is on Bayahibe Beach, with calm, crystal-clear waters. And, there's an adjacent sister resort that carries the same name but is adult-only -- so make sure you book the right property for your stay.
The family-friendly property features five restaurants on-site, a kids club, a teens club, a casino and a waterpark with slides and a lazy river. This property typically costs between 45,000 and 68,000 points a night for a standard room with double occupancy.
However, beware that availability is sparse for standard rooms during select periods. And only kids two and under stay for free. After the first two guests, the resort will charge an additional $60 per night per child age three through 12 and an additional $90 per guest 13 and older.
Related: 6 amazing benefits that make Hilton Diamond status worthwhile
Emotions All Inclusive Puerto Plata in Playa Dorada, Dominican Republic
The Emotions All-Inclusive Puerto Plata resort belongs to Choice Privileges' Ascend Hotel Collection. Ascend Collection properties vary greatly, but this hotel is by no means the fanciest all-inclusive on the list. However, just 15 minutes away from Puerto Plata International Airport (POP), this hotel is very convenient if you can find flights into this smaller airport.
Choice Privileges changes the award pricing for its properties every few months. So, although this property cost only 8,000 Choice Privileges points per night when TPG senior writer Katie Genter and her husband stayed at this all-inclusive resort for a month, it now costs 30,000 Choice Privileges points per night. Based on TPG's valuations, this is worth about $180 a night -- but you can typically find paid rates much less expensive. Choice caps rooms on points at a maximum of four guests per room.
Related: 13 mistakes to avoid at all-inclusive resorts
Hyatt Ziva Cancun in Cancun, Mexico
The Hyatt Ziva Cancun is probably the nicest all-inclusive property at which you can use your points. And its suites — like the Pyramid Suite category — are especially lovely for families that need more space.
This property is at one end of the Hotel Zone of Punta Cancun, with a beach on both sides. There is no reason to leave the hotel, but the location allows you to walk easily to many restaurants and shops nearby. The resort features three infinity pools, two separate beach areas and complimentary pool cabanas. There are lots of daily activities on the pool deck. Plus, there are kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and snorkeling gear at the beach.
There is food and drink everywhere, with eight restaurants, three lounges and six bars. There is truly something for everyone, from sit-down fine dining to an on-the-go food truck. I've been to this property three times with my family and the food offerings are just right.
Your children will love the kids club area, with games, arts and crafts, video games, movies and disco parties. There is also a fantastic pool area with a few different play structures, slides and waterfalls.
Like the Hyatt Ziva Montego Bay and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, this hotel costs 25,000 World of Hyatt points a night for double occupancy.
Kids two and under stay for free, but other extra adults or children will cost 12,500 points a night. Check out our guide on how to quickly stock up on Hyatt points if you need more Hyatt points.
Related: How to save on your next trip to Cancun with points and miles
Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is on the south side in Conchas Chinas, the quieter side of Puerto Vallarta. So, you will not see as many vendors and outside tourists on the beach. And you are only a short taxi ride into Old Town. The hotel includes seven (yes, seven!) pools — five infinity pools and two kid-friendly options.
What is great about this property is that every single room has an ocean view. Some rooms even have hot tubs on the balconies. And, if your kids are old enough, you can ask about staying in one of the swim-up rooms where you can walk right outside and into the pool.
As with all Hyatt all-inclusive properties, your minifridge is stocked with drinks and snacks — again, all complimentary. Room service will even replenish your fridge every day. Room service is also available for no additional fee throughout the day.
Families can enjoy the kids club, an oceanfront fitness center, the spa and many food and beverage options. There are food and beverage carts around the property to ensure you are never hungry, possibly the hotel's best feature.
This property only requires 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night for double occupancy, 5,000 points less than the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Hyatt Ziva Montego Bay or Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana. This pricing is a steal; this all-inclusive property can easily be $600 a night during peak times.
Kids 2 and under stay for free, but additional guests will cost another 10,000 points per night.
Related: Cleared for Takeoff: A summer Caribbean getaway for two
Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Los Cabos, Mexico
The Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is located in San Jose Del Cabo, which means you are closer to the airport but farther away from the nightlife. The property is located right on the beach in Cabo, which makes it great for building sandcastles. But, there can be a strong riptide. Swimming in the ocean is typically not recommended -- but there is a beautiful infinity pool.
The kids club is excellent, with activities inside the club and at the pool right outside. The kids club pool includes a mini-waterpark with five slides. There is also a playground with a jungle gym and motorized minicars. Having a playground at a resort is special.
When using points, you can book either a Master King or Master Double. These large 584-square-foot rooms have pull-out couches, so there is plenty of space for everyone to sleep in comfort. Plus, these rooms have an outside balcony that is perfect for adults while the kids are sleeping. Like the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, this property only requires 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night for double occupancy.
Kids under 3 stay for free, but any additional child or adult in the room will cost 10,000 points per night. Rates at this property seem to be a little less than some of the other Hyatt all-inclusive properties, but it is still an excellent use of your points.
Related: How to get to Los Cabos on points and miles
Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort on the Bay of Banderas on the west coast of Mexico is only about 10 minutes from the airport. Although this is a smaller resort, there are still three pools (one adults-only) and a beautiful beach.
This hotel has six restaurants and four bars, although many restaurants require reservations and have timed dining. They are also not open every day of the week. There are always a few restaurants available, but your options will not be as plentiful as at someplace like the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. However, there is an adult-only Hacienda and the resort includes room service.
Related: 11 things you should know before visiting Mexico
The kids club (ages 4 to 12 years old) includes minigolf, a wading pool, a giant movie and game room and many other daily activities. Typical hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but there is a pajama party for the kids where they roast marshmallows on select weekends. The hours are shorter than some other resort kids clubs, and meals are not served (just snacks in case kids get hungry). You can hire babysitters for kids as young as four months old at $10/hour per child from the kids club. This pricing is extremely reasonable for babysitting services at a resort. But during peak dates, the fees increase.
When you use your points at this property, you are charged anywhere between 46,000 and 70,000 Hilton Honors points for double occupancy.
Some of the features of this hotel do not appear to be as expansive as the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, but there's excellent standard award availability. Plus, kids five and under stay for free, which is huge. But, after the first two guests, the resort charges $65 per child age six through 12 and typical adult pricing for kids 13+.
Related: How to choose the best Hilton credit card for you
Viva Wyndham Maya Resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Wyndham has eight all-inclusive hotels you can book with points in the Caribbean and Mexico. Best of all, six of the locations are family-friendly Viva resorts. I'll highlight one of these resorts, the Viva Wyndham Maya Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, because it offers good availability and doesn't have minimum stay requirements.
This oceanfront resort offers five restaurants, 24-hour snacks, a kid’s club and a mini-disco for kids. The rooms look uninspiring, but the beach is enormous and the pools look relaxing. For 30,000 Wyndham points per night, families can book a superior garden-view room with two queen beds or a deluxe two-queen room that may have a better view. If you need more points, check out our article on 16 ways to earn Wyndham Rewards points.
Wyndham's website will allow you to book rooms with up to four guests. However, the website displays a notice stating:
go free® award nights at Viva Wyndham Maya – All-Inclusive Resort are valid for meals, beverages, and other resort amenities for up to two guests. If you have more than two guests staying in your room, additional resort fees will apply. Please contact Wyndham Rewards Member Services at 866-996-7937 for details on additional fees.
So, if you are traveling with your family, you may want to call soon after you book a refundable award to check pricing for your additional family members. Then, you can decide whether to keep your award or change your booking. After all, cash prices and Go Fast awards (Wyndham's version of points and cash rates) vary based on the number of guests in your room. So, you may find that booking a cash rate or Go Fast award provides better value.
Related: Why I’m going to earn more Wyndham points this year
Honorable mention all-inclusive resorts
Although there are a few other chain all-inclusive properties, they either do not work well for families or do not allow you to use your hotel points. Here's a quick overview.
Booking AMResorts with Choice Privileges points
In 2019, AMResorts and Choice Privileges became partners. As such, you can redeem Choice Privileges points to stay at AMResorts locations in Mexico, the Caribbean and several Central American countries. Family-friendly AMResorts brands you can book include Dreams Resorts & Spas, Now Resorts & Spas and Sunscape Resorts & Spas.
There are now about 29 family-friendly AMResorts locations bookable with Choice points. Many of these resorts are high-end properties. But when using points, most (if not all) resorts cap you at two guests per room, including kids.
You could try booking a room with your points and calling the hotel directly to see if you can upgrade to a different room and pay extra for any additional guests. But your results may vary. Alternatively, you could book two rooms with your points -- at twice the cost.
Rates are typically between 25,000 and 100,000 points per night, depending on the property. If you are low on points, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points or open the Choice Privileges Visa Signature Card. Or, you can wait to buy Choice points during a promotion.
The information for the Choice Privileges Visa Signature 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.
Related: How to use your Choice Privileges points to stay at a luxurious all-inclusive property
Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa
At the Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa on Mexico's Pacific coast, you are capped at just two guests per room when redeeming IHG Rewards points. Plus, your only choice when redeeming points is an "All Inclusive Standard Room" that states, "Bed type and smoking preference cannot be guaranteed as it will be allocated upon arrival based on availability" in the description.
So, if you need a specific room type, want to book for more than two guests or don't want to be assigned a smoking room, this may not be the resort for you. You could book an award (check the cancellation policy before booking) and call the hotel in advance to see if they can give you a room that will fit your needs. But, the system doesn't allow families to stay on points easily.
Related: 13 of the most beautiful villages and small towns in Mexico
With so many all-inclusive options, it's easy to redeem your points for a genuinely free stay. If you are going to go the all-inclusive route, I suggest starting to increase your point balance now with World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards, Hilton Honors, Choice Privileges or Wyndham Rewards.
If I had to pick my favorite, I’d choose the Hyatt Ziva properties. The brand has done a fantastic job of providing families with many activities and dining options. Its kid's clubs are a huge highlight. And it has also priced its properties very competitively by only requiring 20,000 to 25,000 points per night for double occupancy (though once you add a couple of kids aged 3+ to the reservation, you are basically looking at the same award price for two rooms as all sharing one).
Additional reporting by Katie Genter.