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In recent years, the Dominican Republic has been an extremely popular beach vacation spot for families. The beaches are beautiful, there are a ton of amazing all-inclusive hotels and your dollar can go further than at other island destinations. Many airlines even ramped up their service to help families experience a relaxing getaway in the DR.
Unfortunately though, many families are re-evaluating their upcoming Dominican Republic vacation plans right now due to safety concerns. Even Delta and JetBlue have travel waivers in place allowing passengers to cancel their flights without being hit with a fee.
Whether or not you decide to move forward with your vacations plans is truly your decision. But, if you decide to cancel and you are looking for alternatives, we have put together a list of alternative options for your family — using the same number of points you would have in the DR.
Stay Here, Not There…
Marriott Bonvoy Points
If you were originally planning on using your Marriott points at the Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, that would have cost you 35,000 points a night. A great usage of your Marriott points, especially since you can use your free night certificate that comes with both the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (up to 35,000 points, upon the card anniversaries).
While most Marriott resorts within the Caribbean are higher categories, there is one that costs the same 35,000 points a night: Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. This property is right in Oranjestad (the main town) with access to a private 40-acre island. Due to the exclusivity, the beach is never crowded and getting a chaise lounge and hut is pretty easy. You’ll also be joined with many flamingos on the island. Aruba is an extremely family-friendly destination with beautiful beaches and typically sunny skies — your family will absolutely love it.
World Of Hyatt Points
The new Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana is slated to open Nov. 1, 2019, and many families are extremely excited to try out this brand-new property. Based on the pictures, it looks extremely luxurious. Assuming it follows suit with the other Hyatt Ziva properties, I have no doubt in my mind that it will be amazing. Point reservations are 25,000 World Of Hyatt points for the first two guest, plus an extra 12,500 points per guest in the room (children 2 and under are free).
Fortunately, Hyatt has many other Ziva properties that follow the same all-inclusive principle. This means you can instead stay at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall (Jamaica), Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta or the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. Although you might be disappointed to not stay at the shiny new property in Punta Cana, the other properties have received great reviews as well.
The Hyatt Ziva Cancun and Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall cost the same 25,000 World Of Hyatt points a night (plus 12,500 points per additional guest), while the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta and Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos only cost 20,000 Hyatt points a night (plus 10,000 points per additional guest). Based on my own experience, as well as many reviews I’ve read, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun seems to be the more preferable Ziva property. And, if you have a Hyatt Suite Upgrade to burn, the Pyramid Suites are quite amazing for families. Tip: Spend on your World Of Hyatt Credit Card can help you achieve the 50-night milestone benefit that will grant you this upgrade certificate.
Hilton Honors Points
The Hilton La Romana is an all-inclusive property, although the family side of the resort is going through a renovation and is not opening up again until Dec, 1, 2019. If you have a stay already booked for next winter or spring, you are probably spending anywhere between 43,000 to 80,000 points a night, depending on the time of year.
If you are still looking for the same all-inclusive experience you would have had in the Dominican Republic, using your Hilton Honors points, you can instead stay at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This property features large white sand beaches, multiple pools and a huge water park with a lazy river. This property has a similar cost in points to the Hilton La Romana destination with points ranging between 47,000 to 70,000 points a night.
Alternatively, you could also stay at the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, which costs between 48,000 and 70,000 Hilton Honors points a night for double occupancy. Kids 5 and under stay for free and children between the ages of 6 and 12 are charged at $49/child per night. While the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta might offer more amenities and restaurant options, the additional costs per child is definitely less than what Hyatt charges.
And don’t forget: If you have Silver, Gold or Diamond Hilton status, you’ll receive your fifth night free when redeeming points. Having status with Hilton is quite easy since any of its cobranded credit cards — such as the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Hilton Honors American Express Card — will give you automatic elite status.
As you can see, if you were planning on using your hotel points for a Dominican Republic vacation, there are many alternative options that require about the same number of points, but at another destination. Fortunately, the Caribbean and Mexico are filled with all-inclusive options using your points, so you can still have the same fun-in-the-sun vacation you were hoping for. And, of course, plenty of travelers have decided to keep their DR plans intact.
Featured image by © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images
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