How I’m earning over $360 in points and perks on a $517 all-inclusive stay

Aug 12, 2020

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Getting away to an all-inclusive resort sounds great. But, many countries aren’t yet open to U.S tourists and travel still isn’t the right choice for some people.

But, new promotions from AMResorts and Choice Hotels may be attractive even if you don’t want to travel now. After all, these promotions allow you to save on travel through December 2021.

In my case, I could earn points worth $362 on a $517 four-night stay for two at an all-inclusive resort. I’d also get perks such as a room upgrade and resort coupons worth up to $200 during my stay. If you’re interested in taking advantage of these promotions for a similar return, read on for details and how I plan on doing it.

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How to stack these promotions

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

(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

But, first things first. These promotions are valid for AMResorts in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean. You’ll need to book by Sep. 30, 2020 and check-out by Dec. 22, 2021.

AMResorts Free, Free, Free promotion

AMResorts free, free, free promotion
(Image courtesy of AMResorts)

With the AMResorts’ Free, Free, Free promotion, you’ll get the following benefits:

  • A free night when you book 3-6 nights at select hotels
  • A voucher at check-out for a future free night at AMResorts
    • A free night when booking a return stay of 5+ nights in the Americas or 7+ nights in Europe
    • You must book the return stay within 60 days of receiving the voucher
    • Return stay must conclude by Dec. 22, 2022
  • $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
  • Free upgrade to the next room category
  • In-room welcome gift at Zoetry, Secrets and Breathless brands
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours before arrival

Of course, you must book a specific rate in order to get these perks. When booking through Choice Hotels, you’ll need to choose the “Travel Freely: Free, Free, Free” rate and meet the minimum stay requirements based on destination:

  • Huatulco, Ixtapa and Acapulco: 3rd night free for U.S. residents, 7th night for Canadian residents
  • Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta: 4th night free for U.S. residents, 7th night for Canadian residents
  • Costa Rica, Mexico Caribbean and Panama: 5th night free for U.S. residents, 7th night for Canadian residents
  • Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St. Martin: 6th night free for U.S. residents, 7th night for Canadian residents

Keep in mind that you can’t rebook an existing reservation to qualify for this promotion.

Related: 14 mistakes to avoid at all-inclusive resorts

Choice Hotels 50,000 bonus points promotion

Choice Hotels 50k free, free, free promotion
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

The great thing about the Free, Free, Free promotion is that you can stack it with the 50,000 bonus Choice points promo. You just need to book a Choice Hotels rate and spend $500 or more on your AMResorts reservation.

Based on TPG’s valuations, 50,000 Choice points are worth $300. To get this bonus, you’ll need to book by Sep. 30, 2020 and complete your stay by Dec. 22, 2021.

I confirmed with a Choice Hotels representative that Choice Privileges members can earn this 50,000-point bonus multiple times. Specifically, the representative told TPG:

Members can take advantage of the 50,000 point bonus multiple times, with the exception of back-to-back stays at the same property.

You’ll also earn 10-16 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%-9.6% return.

In addition, you should factor 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. For example, the American Express® Green Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve both earn 3x points on travel.

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.

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

How I’m planning to use these promotions

Playa del Carmen, Mexico beach
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 roof-top balcony view of New York City for just 6,500 Choice points per night. Last summer, I spent almost a month at an all-inclusive resort for just 8,000 Choice points per night.

So, the ability to earn 50,000+ Choice points per stay of $500 or more is very appealing. And, as a digital nomad without a home base, I need somewhere to isolate anyway. As such, I may travel to Mexico to take advantage of this promotion.

U.S. tourists can currently travel to Mexico by air and the least expensive AMResorts properties in the Americas seem to be there. Plus, it’s often easy to snag cheap flights to Mexico.

Admittedly, one hesitation I have is the inflexible cancellation policy you’ll see on the Choice Hotels checkout page. But, a Choice Hotels representative reassured me that this promotion does allow free cancellation. You just need to do so within 24 hours of the planned arrival date.

With that said, I’ve picked out two two hotel options that can help me (and you) maximize these promotions.

Ixtapa, Mexico

Rates at the Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa are as low as $107 per night for two people. As this property is in Ixtapa, U.S. residents only need to stay three nights in order to get one of their nights free.

So, let’s consider a stay on Oct. 5-9, 2020. Specifically, I could book a deluxe partial ocean view room for two people for $517, including taxes and fees. And, if I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve to pay, I’ll earn 1,551 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Based on TPG’s valuations, these points are worth $31.

AMResorts sample booking in Ixtapa, Mexico
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

I’d also earn 50,000 bonus Choice points from this four night stay, along with 5,170 points as a Choice Privileges member. This totals 55,170 Choice points, worth $331 based on TPG’s valuations.

Plus, I’d also get all the perks of the AMResorts’ Free, Free, Free promotion. This includes a total of two free nights and a room upgrade. But, the free night has a number of restrictions that make it less compelling to me and the room upgrade is difficult to value. So, although these perks may be valuable for some, I’m not assigning them any value.

There’s also the $200 in resort coupons per stay. When you read the fine print, you’ll see these are issued as nine coupons and there are restrictions on how you can use them:

  • $100 toward spa treatments
    • One $20 coupon and two $40 coupons
    • Only one coupon can be redeemed 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 the limits on these coupons, it may be difficult for some travelers to get the full $200 in value. Personally, I believe I can 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 expect I’d only get about $110 in total value.

So on this $517 stay, I’d earn $31 of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and $331 worth of Choice points. As such, I’d effectively be paying $155 for a four-night stay during which I’ll get $110 of value from resort coupons.

You could say I’m effectively paying $45 for my four-night hotel stay. Of course, this assumes I value the resort coupons at $110. This also assumes that I value Choice points at 0.6 cents each and Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each.

Related: Don’t transfer points: It may be better to book an all-inclusive resort through your credit card portal

Acapulco, Mexico

You can book the Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa for as little as $143 per night for two people. So, let’s consider a stay on Sep. 21-24, 2020. On these dates, I could book a deluxe ocean view room king bedroom for two people for a total of $516.

AMResorts sample booking in Acapulco, Mexico
(Image courtesy of Choice Hotels)

The math works out similarly to the Ixtapa example, except I’d get one less night for the same price by staying in Acapulco instead of Ixtapa.

Related: Is Acapulco poised to make a major comeback?

Tips and tricks for using this promotion

It’s worth considering what you hope to get out of this promotion. I’m looking to keep the cost of each stay just over $500 while maximizing resort nights. So, for me, it might make sense to alternate stay in Ixtapa between the Sunscape and other resorts to earn the 50,000-point bonus multiple times.

There may even be other hotel promotions I could take advantage of at the same time. And, it makes sense to travel at a time when the rates at the Sunscape are at their lowest. This way, I can get the most nights for just over $500.

But, other travelers may want other benefits out of this promotion. For example, you may want to book a particular room category to position yourself well for an upgrade. Or, you may prefer to stay longer to avoid changing hotels.

Bottom line

You don’t need to maximize these promotions in order to get value. But, there’s certainly potential to rack up a large number of Choice points while enjoying some all-inclusive AMResorts. Granted, you’ll still be paying at least $500 to earn a 50,000-point bonus per stay. But, some companies are letting employees work remotely from anywhere. So, you may be able to visit Mexico and work remotely from hotels.

Featured image by rand22/Getty Images.

2019 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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