Baby it’s cold outside: 6 family-friendly beach resorts you can still book with points for the holidays

Nov 5, 2021

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With COVID-19 shots now available for children between the ages of 5 and 11, perhaps your travel nerves have decreased and you’re shifting your focus to booking that much-needed family holiday vacation. If you’ve been holding out on traveling and haven’t booked anything for this holiday travel season, know that you aren’t too late — there’s still time to plan that awesome winter break getaway, all on points.

While some things are already sold out, it’s still possible to plan a trip right now for the upcoming holidays. Here are some family-friendly, warm-weather destinations to consider for a holiday getaway.

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Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas

Baha Mar Lagoon pool
(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Located on a picturesque stretch of beach in the Bahamas is the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. This resort has a lot going for it, offering six pools, the largest casino in the Bahamas, access to the new Baha Bay water park and more.

There is a five-night minimum stay required right now around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, but as long as you can stick around for that long, we do see availability for 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Paid rates are going for close to $1,000 for standard rooms. Right now, only king rooms are showing as available on points, so a family may need to splurge the points for two king rooms … but extra space courtesy of your points may not be the worst thing ever.

What’s also cool about this hotel is it not only offers COVID-19 testing for return to the U.S., but it also provides private jet service back to the U.S. or a free stay for guests who test positive for COVID-19 prior to departure from the resort.

Related: What it’s like to stay in the Baha Mar resort bubble 

Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

Fort Lauderdale Beach (Photo by Art Wager/Getty Images)

Walk out of the hotel and you are right on Fort Lauderdale Beach. There’s no need to cross state Road A1A — like some of the other hotels along the beach — and you have every amenity at your fingertips. From a lagoon-style pool to on-site tennis courts, your family can relax and enjoy the surroundings.

The property is also incredibly close to many restaurants and Las Olas Boulevard, so you truly don’t need to worry about a car rental for this destination. The hotel is an easy 10-minute taxi ride from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), and it’s location on the Intracoastal Waterway means there are many water shuttles available to take you to various destinations.

Related: TPG’s ultimate guide to Miami and South Florida

Being a Marriott property, it’s the perfect opportunity to use your Marriott Bonvoy points. As a Category 6 hotel, you are looking at 50,000 to 60,000 points per night for a standard room (as most of the holiday time is standard or peak pricing). But if you stay five nights, your fifth night is free — a benefit of using your points at all Marriott properties.

With the current availability, you can wake up at this fabulous resort on Christmas morning.

(Screenshot courtesy of Marriott)

Related: 7 great trips to take with the family in 2022

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa

(Photo by Shelby Soblick for The Points Guy)

The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point is a family favorite. Located on the west coast of Florida in Bonita Springs, this resort offers plenty of fun for your kids, including a water park with five waterslides, four refreshing pools and a lazy river. While the property isn’t right on the beach, there’s ferry access to a secluded private island.

Throughout the property, you’ll find kid-friendly amenities, such as a climbing wall, a putting green, life-size games and a fire pit at night to roast marshmallows.

Related: Fun in the Florida sun — Hyatt Regency Coconut Point resort and spa review

Also, if you happen to have World of Hyatt Globalist status, the property is very giving with room upgrades — if available. During my family’s stay right before the pandemic hit, we were upgraded to a 1,400-square-foot suite.

If you are looking to be away during Christmas, this property still has availability. You’ll need 20,000 World of Hyatt points a night, which is a great way to use your points compared to the $520-plus nightly rate. And when you use your points, you won’t be charged any resort fees.

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

(Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

While you might not be relaxing on the beach in your bathing suit, a trip to Newport Beach can almost guarantee the sun is shining. Southern California offers so much to do that just having warm-ish weather — free of rain and snow — opens up many fun vacation opportunities.

Related: Our 16 favorite hotels in California for every type of traveler

The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach — despite only costing 12,000 points a night — will give you that resort feel just down the road from the beach. Amid the property’s 26 acres, you’ll find three pools, a golf course, table tennis, a shuffleboard court, a volleyball court and fire pits. You can also reserve the hotel’s beach cruisers to tour the beach or visit nearby Balboa Island. Outside the back of the hotel, there’s a 10.5-mile trail — for those looking for some adventure.

And, if you want to explore a theme park for the day, you’re only 20 minutes away from Disneyland Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm.

With many World of Hyatt members sitting on Category 1-4 free night certificates expiring at the end of the year, this is the perfect opportunity to cash them in for a truly free vacation. But remember, to book a reservation that includes multiple free night certificates — or a combination of certificates and points — you might have to call Hyatt directly (or contact them via Twitter).

Related: The 11 hotels where you’ll get the most out of your Hyatt reward night certificate

(Screenshot courtesy of Hyatt)

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino

Hilton Aruba (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Want to spend Christmas at home and instead travel for New Year’s? If so, the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino still has plenty of availability during most of the winter break. At 80,000 points a night, this is a great usage of your Hilton Honors points. Plus, if you have Hilton Honors elite status, which you can easily obtain by having any Hilton credit cardyou’ll receive your fifth night free when redeeming points.

Related: What is Hilton Honors elite status worth in 2021?

(Screenshot courtesy of Hilton)

This property is right on the white sand beach with two separate zero-entry pools and a pool bar. Beachside palapas (sun huts) can be booked in advance for a fee or are extended as a complimentary service for same-day reservations, if available. The beach is very walkable — even with strollers — and there are many restaurants right across the street. This is one vacation where you truly never have to get in the car and can instead soak in the sun for the entire day.

Related: 6 family-friendly hotels in Aruba where you can redeem points

Just remember, if you decide to travel to Aruba — or any other international destination, including most other Caribbean islands and Mexico — everyone in the family will need a valid passport, including infants. Some destinations also require adults (and potentially children) to be fully vaccinated and/or receive a negative COVID-19 test prior to arriving. Make sure you are aware of the rules so your well-planned vacation doesn’t go awry.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive

Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay (Photo courtesy of Holiday Inn Hotels)

All-inclusive resorts are great for families. Pay one price and don’t worry about continuously taking out your wallet throughout your vacation. This is why the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay is a great option for the upcoming holiday season, especially since you can redeem your IHG points.

Related: How to get to Jamaica on points and miles

This beachfront property is located just 10 minutes from Sangster International Airport (MBJ) and offers outdoor pools, water sports, a children’s activity center, spa treatments, a casino, volleyball courts and five on-site restaurants. You are also close to nearby attractions such as the Martha Brae River and Dunn’s River Falls.

For a family of up to two adults and two children (younger than 12), you can book a room for just 50,000 IHG points per night during New Year’s without paying an additional up-charge per guest. Or, if you are short on points, you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your stay. Also, if you have the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, the fourth night comes with no additional points charge when redeeming points. This is one of many perks to having this card in your wallet.

Related: IHG Premier card welcome offer and benefits

(Screenshot courtesy of IHG)

Bottom line

If you feel like you are late to the game to plan a holiday vacation, don’t worry — there’s still time. But you’ll want to start planning quickly.

As long as you are flexible with your dates and exact destination, there are still plenty of beach-friendly hotels available to book with your hard-earned hotel points. Of course, you’ll need to worry about flights, but you might be surprised to see that pricing for many destinations is not [yet] through the roof, especially if you avoid the most popular holiday travel dates (such as Jan. 2).

With vaccines now available to the 5 and up crew, that holiday vacation can finally be yours without the same level of concerns you’ve had for the past 20 months.

Featured image by altanaka/Shutterstock

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