In 2009, I visited the Sandals Whitehouse resort in Jamaica and absolutely loved the all-inclusive, romance experience. Back then, it was harder to find “high-end’ all-inclusive, and Sandals had a cream-of-the-crop reputation.
For those who have vacationed at a Sandals all-inclusive property before, you probably already know it’s a treat- and it can cost a pretty penny.
Even though I haven’t had Sandals on my radar during the past 7 years, I vaguely remember signing-up for the Sandals Select loyalty program during my stay- because why not? It only took me a minute, and I never knew where my travel plans might take me in the future.
While I do love all-inclusive, luxury properties, thankfully there are now many impressive and competitive options that are bookable entirely on points, such as the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara properties, with many locations across the Caribbean and Mexico.
I’ve had an incredible stay at the adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun, and I soon visited the family-friendly Hyatt Ziva Cancun shortly after it opened. If you have Hyatt points, their all-inclusive redemptions are a great value.
Anyway, to get back on track here, recently fellow a blogger- Charlie, from Running With Miles- posted about unusually-cheap JetBlue Mint fares between New York and St. Lucia right in the heart of winter.
However, it wasn’t until I started searching for hotels that learned just how expensive St. Lucia can be! As a top-honeymoon destination for newly-weds, it’s hard to find a bargain; and let me be the first to say that there are no chain-hotels on the island that can be redeemed for the points we’re used to.
Then I remembered Sandals (there are 3 Sandals resorts in St. Lucia)… and how nice the trip was… and the loyalty program I signed up for almost a decade ago.
The nice thing about the Sandals properties in St. Lucia is that they’re all located about 15 minutes from one another, and there is a free shuttle that takes you to all of the other properties, so you can enjoy the resort facilities, dine, drink, etc., even though you’re not staying at that particular property.
After making the booking, I initiated a quick live chat with a Sandals rep, and I learned that I had 10,000 points (worth $250) in my account that was an enrollment bonus when I signed up in 2009! I got the same feeling as finding an unexpected $20 bill in a coat pocket from last winter.
Even better was that she confirmed that she would be able to apply the savings to my booking!
The cost of the 3-stay at one of their St. Lucia properties came to $1705 (and that’s with a 55% winter-sale savings), which was hard to swallow, but honestly it was the cheapest option I could find considering all of the costs (all meals, alcohol, taxes, gratuities, airport transfers, water sports, etc.).
The surprise $250 off (bringing the total down to $1455 for 2 of us) made the deal a little easier to digest, and now we are stoked to take the trip!
Sometimes it pays to sign-up for a loyalty program, even if you can’t imagine a future trip soon. If you’ve traveled to a Sandals resort before at any point in your lifetime, think about signing-up for the Sandals Select loyalty program. Right now there’s an enrollment bonus of 10,000 points, which will automatically knock off $250 from your next reservation.
Have you ever had a surprise savings from a loyalty program you forgot you had signed-up for in the past?