Risk or run: These luxury pool villas are on sale for $150 — but they’re nonrefundable

May 3, 2020

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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials say the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals and stories because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking travel until later this year — and even then, be mindful of cancellation policies.

If you’ve been letting your mind wander to luxury resorts with infinity pools and over-the-top room service, you’re not alone. Since the coronavirus pandemic forced us all to press pause on travel, we’ve been keeping our spirits up with daydreams about future trips to bucket-list destinations.

So, when Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts — a chain of luxury properties known for stunning pools and spa amenities — announced it was selling certificates for two-night stays at select properties that offered savings of up to 78%, we were intrigued.

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The Ultimate Getaways promotion includes a two-night stay in a private pool villa at the Banyan Tree Phuket (a total of 9,900 Thai baht, or about $153 per night) and a two-night stay in a seaview villa at the Banyan Tree Bintan (480 Singapore dollars for two nights, or $169 per night), which features a four-poster teakwood bed, and a private balcony with a relaxation pool.

The most affordable packages are a two-night stay at the Cassia Phuket (2,499 Thai baht, or about $77 total) and the Cassia Bintan (140 Singapore dollars, or around $99 total).

Only a dozen Banyan Tree properties are eligible for this promotion, and about half represent Banyon Tree’s sister brands, Cassia (apartment-style stays) and Angsana — the latter of which is more accessible and contemporary. Also, all of the available properties are located in Thailand, the Maldives, Vietnam or on Bintan, a small island off the coast of Singapore in an Indonesian archipelago.

Here’s the full list of participating properties:

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru in the Maldives
Angsana Ihuru in the Maldives
Angsana Velavaru in the Maldives
Banyan Tree Phuket in Thailand
Angsana Laguna Phuket in Thailand
Cassia Phuket in Thailand
Banyan Tree Bangkok in Thailand
Banyan Tree Bintan in Indonesia
Angsana Bintan in Indonesia
Cassia Bintan in Indonesia
Banyan Tree Lang Co in Vietnam
Angsana Lang Co in Vietnam

The savings with these certificates aren’t insignificant: A pool villa at the Banyan Tree Phuket would typically cost twice as much (about $340 per night on an off-peak date). And the certificates come with added perks, such as daily breakfast for two, afternoon tea for two (per stay) and 20% off select purchases, such as golf green fees or spa treatments.

Or consider a two-night stay at the Banyan Tree Bangkok. The 7,650 Thai baht package ($237 total) includes an upgrade from a Horizon king room to a Serenity Club room (typically priced from 6,400 Thai baht or $198 per night) plus daily breakfast for two.

Of course, these gift certificates come with plenty of fine print. You must book an Ultimate Getaways certificate by May 6 at midnight GMT+8, though you have until Dec. 20, 2021 to travel. A spokesperson for the promotion confirmed that these stays will not count toward Accor elite status. Redemptions are subject to availability — blackout dates apply — and the gift certificates are also nonrefundable, so travelers need to carefully consider their personal threshold for risk given the current global health crisis.

Travelers also should keep in mind that none of these properties are close to home, unless you happen to be reading this from your residence in Asia. So, even though your luxury hotel stay might be a bargain, you’re committing to long flights that could cost you quite a bit in either cash or miles.

We know that for many people, these kinds of purchases aren’t top of mind right now. But if you’re itching to get back on the road (or in the sky) having a trip scheduled in the future can ease some of the anxiety of being stuck at home.

Related: What will the future of travel look like? TPG asked 16 industry experts

Travelers who are interested in this promotion should definitely consider protecting their trip with a travel insurance policy that allows you to cancel for any reason. You should also be incredibly mindful of cancellation and rebooking policies. Many airlines have shifted to temporarily allow travelers to book new flights now and cancel for a refund or travel credit later, often with the ability to make changes within the next year and even into 2021. If you’re comfortable having the money tied up, you may want to take advantage of these flexible policies.

You’ll also want to purchase your getaway with a credit card that earns you bonus points on travel, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x) the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x) and, if you prefer Membership Rewards points, the American Express® Green Card (3x).

The information for the Amex Green 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.

Would you take the risk to know you have an inexpensive stay at a luxury villa in Thailand in your future?

Feature photo of Banyan Tree Phuket Serenity pool villa courtesy of Banyan Tree Phuket.

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