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

Mar 19, 2021

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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

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 Beach, Mayan Riviera Hotels near Cancun, Mexico
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.

AMResorts in Ixtapa booked through Choice
(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.

AMResorts in Cozumel booked through Choice
(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 photo by raisbeckfoto/Getty Images.

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