Southwest’s New Destinations – Where to Stay Using Points in Central America

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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. Update:   Thanks to Million Mile Secrets readers for pointing out that many folks don’t stay right in San Jose or Belize City.  Emily and I haven’t been to these destinations, so it’s helpful when our readers add their experiences!  We hope these guides can save folks time when searching for hotels, and that our readers continue sharing their feedback and advice.

In response to the news that Southwest will start flying to Belize, Million Mile Secrets reader Julianna commented:

Someone should do a post on points and rewards hotels in Belize…just sayin’.

I’m taking this a step further and checking out which hotels are available using points in all of Southwest’s new international destinations!

We’ll continue by looking at Southwest’s new destinations in Central America:

  • Belize (Belize City) (Starting June 2015)
  • Costa Rica (San Jose) (Starting March 2015)
Southwest's New Destinations Where To Stay Using Points In Central America
Want to See the Mayan Ruins in Belize? Southwest Will Take You There Starting June 2015

Southwest’s New Destinations – Where to Stay Using Points Index

  • Part 1 – Mexico (Cancun, Los Cabos, Mexico City, and Puerto Vallarta)
  • Part 2 – The Caribbean (Aruba, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico)
  • Part 3 – Central America (Costa Rica and Belize)

Southwest Flies to Central America – Here’s Where to Stay!

Link:   Hotel Award Charts

Using AwardMapper, I searched for hotels in each Southwest city.  It’s a tool that displays major chain hotels (and the points required per night) on a map.

Southwest's New Destinations Where To Stay Using Points In Central America
AwardMapper Is Handy for Finding Hotel Award Nights in Unfamiliar Destinations
Note:   Some of these hotels are away from the main tourist areas, for example near the airport or downtown instead of the beach.  So check the location before you book!

1.   Belize City, Belize

Southwest will begin flights to Belize in June 2015.  It’s a popular destination for folks who like the outdoors, with great scuba diving, hiking, and eco-tourism.

Southwest's New Destinations Where To Stay Using Points In Central America
There Are Thousands of Caves and Underground Caverns to Explore in Belize
Best Western
Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza – 16,000 points per night
Club Carlson
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina – 38,000 points per night (Top Pick!)

Ranked the #1 hotel in Belize City by TripAdvisor, the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina is close to Mayan ruins, snorkeling, and dive sites.

Remember, if you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards card, you’ll get the last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more.  So you could get 2 nights for 38,000 points!

Southwest's New Destinations Where To Stay Using Points In Central America
Folks on TripAdvisor Say the Radisson in Belize City Is the Best Hotel in Town
Note:   These are the only hotels you can get with points in Belize.  Remember, you could use Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel portal to save 20% on hotels.

When you can’t use points to book a hotel, consider using your Chase Sapphire Preferred card because you’ll get 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel expenses.

Or use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus to get 2.2% back on all travel purchases such as hotels.

Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee.

2.   San Jose, Costa Rica

Starting in March 2015, Southwest will fly to San Jose, Costa Rica.  Eco-tourism is 1 of the main attractions for visitors, and there are rain forests, volcanoes, and waterfalls to explore.

Southwest's New Destinations Where To Stay Using Points In Central America
There Are Dozens of Nature Preserves in Costa Rica
Best Western
Best Western Irazu Hotel and Casino – 20,000 points per night
Club Carlson
Park Inn by Radisson San Jose – 28,000 points per night (Top Pick!)

This hotel won a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Award in 2014.  Folks like its central location and modern feel.

Again, Club Carlson Premier Rewards cardholders get the last night free on award stays of 2 nights or more.  So in this case you could get 2 nights for 28,000 points!

Southwest's New Destinations Where To Stay Using Points In Central America
The Park Inn Is a Newer Hotel With Spacious Rooms
Radisson San Jose – 15,000 points per night Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, San Jose – 9,000 points per night
Choice Hotels
Sleep Inn Paseo Las Damas – 16,000 points per night Quality Hotel Real San Jose – 16,000 points per night
Hilton
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose – 30,000 points per night Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton San Jose – Airport – 40,000 points per night
Hyatt
Hyatt Place San Jose – Pinares – 8,000 points per night
IHG
Holiday Inn San Jose Aurola – 15,000 points per night Crowne Plaza: San Jose Corobici – 20,000 points per night Holiday Inn:  San Jose Escazu – 15,000 points per night InterContinental:  Costa Rica at Multiplaza Mall – 30,000 points per night Hotel Indigo:  San Jose Forum Costa Rica – 20,000 points per night Holiday Inn Express:  San Jose Costa Rica Airport – 15,000 points per night
Marriott / Ritz-Carlton
Courtyard San Jose Airport Alajuela – 15,000 points per night Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose – 25,000 points per night Courtyard San Jose Escazu – 10,000 points per night Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort – 40,000 points per night
Starwood
Sheraton San Jose Hotel – 7,000 points per night Aloft San Jose Hotel – 4,000 points per night
Wyndham
Wyndham Garden San Jose Escazu – 16,000 points per night Wyndham San Jose Herradura Hotel & Convention Center – 16,000 points per night Tryp San Jose Sabana – 16,000 points per night

Collecting Points for These Hotels

If you don’t have enough points, here are some ways to quickly increase your point balances!

Best Western

Club Carlson

Choice Hotels

Hilton

Hyatt

IHG

Marriott / Ritz-Carlton

Starwood

Wyndham

Bottom Line

Southwest will begin flying to Belize City, Belize, and San Jose, Costa Rica, in 2015.

There aren’t many hotels where you can stay using points in Belize.  But you have lots of options in Costa Rica!

Have you used points for award stays in Central America?  Which hotel is your favorite?

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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