Luxury on a budget: 5 spring break hotels you can book with points


Even though we are still in the latter half of winter, many students have set their sights on something a little warmer: spring break.

Students around the country are excited to travel with their friends, unwind and have some fun during their spring semester.

The only issue with such a plan is the cost of travel — especially for students who would prefer to skip the hostel or a low-cost Airbnb. Popular spring break destinations such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Florida can be expensive during these peak dates, so even the well-versed budget traveler will have trouble finding a good deal.

However, in many popular and beautiful destinations, there are points hotels. These hotels and resorts open up many possibilities for students traveling on a budget.

Here’s a look at some amazing properties for a college spring break where you can stay using points. All hotels listed here had available award space at the time of writing, but this is subject to change.

Secrets The Vine Cancun

World of Hyatt points per night: 21,000 peak, 25,000 standard or 29,000 off-peak.

Secrets The Vine Cancun offers a great redemption value, with room rates around $600 per night. Best of all, all-inclusive is truly all-inclusive here. In addition to five a la carte restaurants, a buffet venue, a grill and a cafe, activities such as mixology classes and dance lessons are included with your stay.

In the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, students will love the beachfront location and gorgeous pool that looks out over the ocean (and features a well-stocked pool bar).

It is worth noting that the points room rate only covers two people, so it’ll cost more points to bring additional guests. When using points for a third or fourth person in the room, each individual costs 10,500 per night on off-peak dates, 12,500 per night on standard dates, or 14,500 points per night on peak dates.

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Related: TPG’s guide to the best all-inclusive resorts you can book with points

Royalton Negril, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort

Marriott Bonvoy points per night: 50,000-74,000, due to dynamic pricing.

This property is located along the gorgeous, white-sand beachfront of Negril, Jamaica. While soaking up the sun, you can choose to sit on the beach or at the gorgeous pool while receiving food and drinks delivered right to your seat.

You can eat away your time at any of the eight included dining venues or enjoy a drink at one of the hotel’s seven bars. Alternatively, those looking for a healthy getaway can access instructor-led fitness classes and water sports.

Check cash rates before you book with points, as they can range from $349 to more than $600 per night. On the low end, you may be better off using your hard-earned Marriott points elsewhere. But on a student budget, it’s hard to say no to spending a few days at such a property for almost zero out-of-pocket expenses.

Related: The award travelers guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection By Hilton

Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection. HILTON

Hilton Honors points per night: Usually 95,000 for a standard room.

If you are searching for the clear waters of the Caribbean but don’t want to leave the country, this Hilton property may be the perfect spring break destination.

Thanks to its location in Key West, Florida, this hotel is drivable from Miami International Airport (MIA) and Key West International Airport (EYW). There are many direct flights from many East Coast cities, and you can get to the island without a passport.

Although not all-inclusive, this resort sits near downtown Key West, so there are plenty of places to eat and explore. The hotel — which was formerly a Waldorf Astoria — is one of the few places on the island of Key West with a sand beach, which is a perfect place to enjoy the warm sun. When I visited the property a few years ago, ordering poolside food and playing volleyball on the beach were my favorite activities.

Related: 9 of our favorite points hotels in the Florida Keys

The Confidante Miami Beach

The Confidante Miami Beach. BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

World of Hyatt points per night: 17,000 off-peak, 20,000 standard or 23,000 peak.

Located on the famous Miami Beach, The Confidante should be one of the most accessible options for students. Not only is Miami one of the most accessible cities mentioned in this list — with direct flights to countless places across the U.S. and around the world — but the points cost is also one of the most reasonable.

Two queen rooms can sleep up to four guests for as low as 17,000 points per night; this means you can bring three friends along for the trip. This also means that one credit card sign-up bonus can fund the entire hotel stay.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card currently offers 60,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You can then transfer these to World of Hyatt and book The Confidante.

Even better? With Hyatt redemptions, you don’t have to pay resort fees.

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

Conrad New York Downtown

The Conrad New York Downtown lobby. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

Hilton Honors points per night: 90,000 when standard awards are available.

I have friends who don’t want to go to beach destinations for spring break, so I wanted to include an awesome city destination. The Conrad New York Downtown is not only one of the most spacious hotels you will find in Manhattan (every room is a suite), but one of the most luxurious.

The standard rooms can comfortably accommodate at least three guests. Although it’s downtown, the hotel is connected by subway to the rest of the city and is easily accessible from top attractions.

Although your spring break won’t be as warm as a Caribbean getaway, it’s worth choosing this option if you’d rather visit museums, art galleries and world-class restaurants than lounge on a beach.

Related: Book this, not that: New York City hotels edition

Bottom line

College spring break doesn’t have to be expensive. Opening the right credit card and using points for your trip will help save your student budget.

Whether you are going to the beach or the Big Apple this spring break, use points and miles to keep costs low while still having the time of your life.


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