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How I'm earning $360 in points on a $504 all-inclusive stay

March 19, 2021
8 min read
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Getting away to an all-inclusive resort sounds really good right now. As more Americans get COVID-19 vaccines, hope is returning. Recent reports even showed that Google searches for “fully vaccinated travel” increased more than 750%.

Whether you're looking to book a getaway for next weekend or late 2021, you may want to consider stacking two AMResorts and Choice Hotels promotions to snag a good deal. After all, both promotions allow you to save on travel through Dec. 22, 2021, as long as you book by March 22.

These promotions have the potential to be lucrative. In particular, I found I could earn points worth $360 on a $504 three-night stay for two at an all-inclusive resort. Plus, I’d get resort coupons worth up to $200 for use during my stay. Read on if you’re interested in taking advantage of these promotions for a similar return.

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How to stack these promotions

Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa. (Photo courtesy of Choice Hotels)

The reason I’m excited about these stackable promotions is twofold. First, I’d be able to earn lots of Choice points. Second, I’d be able to stay at an all-inclusive AMResorts property.

But, first things first. These promotions are valid for AMResorts' Zoëtry, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now and Sunscape properties in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. And you’ll need to book by March 22, 2021, and check out by Dec. 22, 2021.

Seize Your Sunshine promotion

With AMResorts’ Seize Your Sunshine promotion, you’ll get the following benefits on your stay:

  • $200 in resort coupons per stay
  • Kids stay free at Dreams, Now and Sunscape brands
  • One child free per adult, up to two children free per room
  • $50 spa credit at Zoetry, Secrets and Breathless brands
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before check-in

You must book a specific rate to get these perks. So, when booking through Choice Hotels, you should click on the "Deals" tab after searching and select a "Seize Your Sunshine" rate.

Related: 13 mistakes to avoid at all-inclusive resorts

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Choice Hotels' 50,000 bonus points promotion

The great thing about the Seize Your Sunshine promotion is that you can stack it with a Choice promotion for 50,000 bonus points. You just need to spend $500 or more when booking your AMResorts reservation through Choice Privileges.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 50,000 Choice points are worth $300. To get this bonus, you’ll need to book by March 22, 2021, and complete your stay by Dec. 22, 2021.

You’ll also earn 10-15 Choice points per dollar spent on AMResorts stays based on your Choice Privileges status tier. Based on TPG’s valuations, this equates to a 6%-9% return.

In addition, you should factor in the return you’ll get from your credit card. To maximize your return, you’ll want to use a card that provides bonus points on travel purchases. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points on travel.

Related: 7 resorts in Mexico’s Riviera Maya that are perfect for families — and you can book with points

How I'd use these promotions

Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo by YinYang/Getty Images)

I tend to get a lot of value from Choice Privileges points. For example, I once enjoyed a rooftop balcony view of New York City for just 6,500 Choice points per night. And a few summers ago, I spent almost a month at an all-inclusive resort for only 8,000 Choice points per night.

So the ability to earn 50,000-plus Choice points per stay of $500 or more is very appealing. And as a digital nomad without a home base, I have the flexibility to travel to Mexico in mid-to-late 2021 to take advantage of this promotion.

After all, the least expensive AMResorts properties in the Americas are primarily located in Mexico. U.S. tourists can currently travel to Mexico and it’s often easy to snag cheap flights to Mexico. And these AMResorts offer free, on-property COVID-19 viral antigen testing before departure for travel through July 1, 2021.

Admittedly, one hesitation I have is the cancellation policy you’ll see on the Choice Hotels checkout page. After all, this cancellation policy is less flexible than the promotion's stated cancellation policy. But a Choice Hotels representative reassured me that this promotion does allow free cancellation. You just need to do so within 24 hours of check-in.

With that said, I found two two hotel options that could help me (and you) maximize these promotions.

Ixtapa, Mexico

Rates at the Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa are as low as $168 per night for two people. So, let’s consider a stay on Oct. 21-24, 2021. Specifically, I could book a deluxe partial ocean view room for two people for $504, including taxes and fees. And if I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve to pay, I’d earn 1,512 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Based on TPG’s valuations, these points are worth $30.

(Screenshot courtesy of Choice Privileges)

I’d also earn 50,000 bonus Choice points from this three-night stay, along with 5,040 points as a Choice Privileges member. This totals 55,040 Choice points, worth $330 based on TPG’s valuations.

Plus, I’d also get the perks of AMResorts’ Seize Your Sunshine promotion. Most notably, I'd get $200 in resort coupons for my stay. But when you read the fine print, you’ll see resorts will provide the coupons as follows:

  • $100 toward spa treatments
  • One $20 coupon and two $40 coupons
  • You can only redeem one voucher per spa treatment
  • $60 for dining
  • One $20 coupon and one $40 coupon
  • Combinable up to $60 per dining experience but not valid for bottles of wine
  • $40 for wine purchases
  • Four $10 coupons
  • Coupons can be used at any restaurant on property but are not combinable

Due to these limits, it may be difficult for some travelers to get the complete $200 in value. I expected I'd get about $80 of value from the spa coupons, $20 from dining and $10 from the wine coupons. So, despite the $200 face value, I’d likely only get about $110 in total value.

On this $504 stay, I’d earn $30 worth of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and $330 worth of Choice points. As such, I’d effectively be paying $144 for a three-night stay, during which I’ll get about $110 of value from resort coupons.

You could say I’d effectively be paying $34 for a three-night stay. Of course, this assumes I value the resort coupons at $110, Choice points at 0.6 cents each and Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each.

Related: Why I often choose IHG and Choice hotels, despite limited elite perks

Cozumel, Mexico

You can book the Sunscape Sabor Cozumel for as little as $160 per night for two people. So, let’s consider a stay on July 15-18, 2021. On these dates, I could book a deluxe tropical view king for two people for a total of $480.

(Screenshot courtesy of Choice Privileges)

But I'd likely pay more to book a suite king tropical view room for a total of $528 since doing so would allow me to earn 50,000 bonus Choice points on my stay. The math regarding earnings and coupons works out similarly to the example above, so I won't repeat it here.

Related: 6 ways Choice Privileges should improve its loyalty program

Bottom line

You don’t need to maximize these promotions to get value. But there’s certainly potential to rack up a large number of Choice points while enjoying an all-inclusive AMResorts property. Granted, you’ll still be paying at least $500 to earn 50,000 bonus Choice Privileges points. But stacking these promotions is appealing, especially if you already have a trip to Mexico planned (or were searching for a reason to plan a trip).

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

60,000 points
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more