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Bright sunshine, cool water and as many strawberry daiquiris as you can stomach — this is the standard promise you’ll find for all-inclusive resorts. They’re popular for a reason, but the costs of experiencing this idyllic tranquility can quickly add up.
Happily, a partnership between Citi ThankYou points and Choice hotels has led to some extremely lucrative deals on these all-inclusive properties. This is one of the best ways to book an all-inclusive resort, especially if you don't want to travel in luxury for cheap.
Let’s take a look at how, using these Citi ThankYou points, you can stay at all-inclusive resorts from just 10,000 points per night.
What are Citi ThankYou points?
For the unfamiliar, Citi ThankYou points are a type of transferable points currency. This means that when you use your eligible Citi credit card to make purchases, you’ll earn points that can be converted to any of its nearly 20 hotel and airline partners.
In 2021, Citi added Choice Privileges as its very first hotel transfer partner. While this was exciting news for Citi cardholders, even more exciting was the transfer ratio from Citi to Choice.
The rate at which Citi ThankYou points transfer isn’t universal for all Citi credit cards. Rather, your transfer ratio will depend on which Citi card you hold.
The following Citi cards transfer points to Choice at a 1:2 ratio:
These Citi cards transfer points to Choice at a 1:1.5 ratio:
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Choice hotel brands include a handful of all-inclusive resorts scattered across Mexico and the Caribbean. Now, using Citi’s excellent transfer ratio, cardholders can snag themselves cheap all-inclusive resorts for as little as 10,000 Citi points per night.
How to transfer Citi points to Choice Privileges
The first step to booking your all-inclusive resort is transferring your Citi points over to Choice Privileges. To start, you’ll need to log in to your Citi account. Once there, you’ll see a sidebar on the right side of the page displaying the number of Citi points you currently hold. Just under your points bank, you'll see an option to redeem points.
Hit the “Redeem” button and you will be redirected to Citi’s rewards portal, where you can use your points to book travel, transfer to other partners or redeem points for statement credits. Here, you’ll want to navigate to the top toolbar that says “Travel,” then hit “Points Transfer” on the drop-down menu.
This will take you to the list of Citi’s transfer partners. You’ll want to scroll down to Choice and hit “Continue.”
At this point, you’ll see a sliding bar that will allow you to choose how many points you’d like to transfer. Keep in mind that Citi only allows you to transfer to Choice in 1,000-point increments. For example, if you try to redeem 6,300 points, it will just round down to 6,000.
After you’ve entered in your Choice Privileges account information and the amount of points you'd like to redeem, you will be taken to the final confirmation page for one last chance to make sure everything is in order. From here, simply click “Transfer Now” and the order will process. Note that Citi says most transfers are completed within 24 hours, but may take up to five business days.
Choice allows award bookings no more than 100 days in advance, so don’t transfer your Citi points too early.
Booking your all-inclusive resort hotel
Now that you have the points transferred to your Choice Privileges account, it’s time to find the resort vacation destination that’s right for you. Choice makes finding an all-inclusive resort fairly simple.
On the Choice home page, select the “All-Inclusive Resorts'' option above the search field. From there, pick the country you would like to travel to — you can choose either Mexico or the Dominican Republic — as well as the city you prefer.
Once you pick the location and travel dates, click the “Find Hotels” button. You will then see a page with all the available all-inclusive resorts in your preferred destination.
Choice Privileges doesn’t charge extra points for suites versus standard rooms, which can get you some pretty spectacular stays.
Let’s say you chose Cozumel, Mexico, as your destination. One potential option for you is El Cid La Ceiba Beach Hotel.
Choice doesn’t charge more points for different room types, which means you can stay in a one-bedroom oceanview suite for 30,000 points per night. There’s no need to fork over extra points for a room with a view.
If you’ve got either the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card, this means you’ll be spending just 15,000 Citi ThankYou points for this all-inclusive resort. If you have any of Citi’s other cards, you’ll instead be spending 20,000 points per night — which is still a great deal compared to redeeming points with other hotel programs.
It gets even better. Since all-inclusive hotels provide all your food and drinks, they tend to charge per person rather than per room when paying for cash. The same isn’t true for reward redemptions with Choice. You’ll pay just the one flat rate.
Now, 15,000 is a great deal for an all-inclusive resort stay, but it can get even cheaper. Let’s take a look at the Emotions All Inclusive Juan Dolio in the Dominican Republic.
Although this hotel doesn’t have any suite offerings, it does allow you to reserve any of its rooms from just 20,000 points per night, depending on your travel dates.
The max occupancy for many of the rooms at this resort is four guests — and it’s still just 20,000 Choice points per night. Because Choice is a transfer partner with Citi, you could be spending as little as 10,000 Citi ThankYou points per night for four adults at this all-inclusive resort.
How good is this deal? Well, paying for this stay in cash would set you back $880. NerdWallet values Citi ThankYou points at 1.5 cents each. By transferring 10,000 Citi ThankYou points to book this resort, you’d be redeeming your points for a value of 8.8 cents each, which is phenomenal.
To put it another way, cardholders would be redeeming $150 dollars worth of points for an $880 stay. No matter how you frame it, the value of this stay is hard to pass up.
Cheap all-inclusive resort bookings, recapped
The Citi and Choice partnership is great for many reasons, including the friendly transfer ratio and Choice’s vast network of hotels. However, the ability to book all-inclusive resorts using as little as 10,000 ThankYou points per night makes this one of the most compelling options for Citi cardholders everywhere.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card