I’ve FINALLY Redeemed Miles and Points on a Stay in Andaz Costa Rica

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you probably have seen me mention Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo a few times. It was an absolute steal back when it was a category 4 property. I’m sure 99% of miles and points bloggers have stayed here, and I fully intended to be one of them. But somehow things just never lined up, though I do regret not making it a priority when due to sheer luck, I ended up being a Hyatt Diamond in 2016. I almost stayed at this resort a few months ago during our anniversary trip to Costa Rica, but due to change in flight schedule, had to scrap my original plan.

But as they say, no time like the present! I was inspired by Nancy’s family trip to  Costa Rica in 2020 (right before Covid pandemic closed down everything), and I’m happy to finally pull the trigger on my own adventure. A shout out to my cousin-in-law, who is also going to this resort a few months before us.

I was debating on whether we should go to Manuel Antonio area and redeem Hyatt points on Los Altos resort instead, but in the end went with Andaz. I just like the look of the Andaz better, since it seems like more of a boutique property. I especially love Nancy’s photos of the infinity pools at the resort:

But probably the main reason I chose Andaz is because I’m hoping to turn this trip into a hybrid couple/family getaway. You see, I’ve convinced my MIL to join us, and redeemed points on two rooms. Obviously, I plan to cover her costs, including flights and food. She loves spending time with her grandkids, so it will be a win/win.  Needless to say, I plan to ask for rooms that are NOT connecting, but close to each other.

That way, my husband and I will have privacy, but will be able to see the kids any time we want. Los Altos resort in Manuel Antonio consists of four-bedroom suites, and at 21k points per night (includes buffet breakfast) appears to be a pretty good deal. However, according to some reports, the rate only covers two people, so you are forced to pay a supplement for extra guests. Plus, we would all be sharing the same space, and I prefer to spend some quality time alone with my husband.

Since I booked a 3-night stay during low season, my total ended up being 102k Hyatt points. That’s a lot, but I’m super excited to finally get a chance to stay at this amazing resort. I’m glad I’ve decided to dump Chase UR points to Hyatt program before canceling my CSP card.

My son has actually been begging me to take him to Costa Rica, since I told him it has lots of monkeys. We spotted some while on our boat tour in Panama (during our recent cruise), and he was squealing in delight. So, he is in for a surprise because originally, I told him it will likely be at least a few years before we can make it to Costa Rica. If ever.

A minor benefit to going next year is him still being able to enter the Kids Club, since he will be 12 years old at the time of the stay. I don’t know why, but he absolutely loves Kids Clubs, and is willing to sacrifice pool time in order to do crafts and hang out indoors with other children. He is very social.

Sorting out the flights

Since we live in Florida, flying from Miami to Liberia via British Airways Avios points was the logical option. We could have flown from Orlando airport (closer to where we live) to San Jose on Jet Blue. However, that would mean a 4.5 hour transfer to Andaz, which will be hard on my elderly MIL. Plus, I would like to conserve my Jet Blue points for a possible trip to Salt Lake City in a few years, with the idea of touring the American Southwest.

Also, at the moment I’m swimming in Avios, due to canceled award flights to Japan during the pandemic. I had over 200k points, and no immediate plans to use them. So, when I found AA  award availability from Miami to Liberia, I jumped on it. The cost was 18k Avios roundtrip, plus around $76 taxes per person. So, my grand total was 90k Avios+$381 for five people. I used my Hyatt credit card, since it provides travel insurance on award flights.

Normally, I redeem miles on one-way tickets whenever possible, in order to have more flexibility. However, I made an exception in this case, since BA Avios program charges $55 for redeposits of award tickets. Despite that, it was still advantageous to go with Avios program in this particular case, since AA program wanted 24k miles roundtrip for the same exact flights.

Since we live 3 hours from Miami airport, we will need to spend the night before our noon flight to Costa Rica. We could leave at 7 AM, but it would be risky, not to mention, stressful with kids+elderly person. Fortunately, I should have two IHG renewal certificates hitting our accounts soon, and they will come in handy here. Who knows, we might even spend our pre-flight night at Miami beach, which should make the kids happy.

This trip would not have happened without miles and points

While I really like the photos of the resort, there is no way I would justify dropping $650 per night/per room. It would be out of the question. I also would never pay $800 per person to fly from Miami to Liberia. To book this sort of luxury for a relatively modest amount of miles and points feels nothing short of incredible.

While the trip obviously won’t be free (feeding 5 people at any resort won’t be cheap), the overall cost should be palatable. I plan to bring some food in my suitcase, plus, Andaz provides complimentary snacks and drinks. I’ve been trying to circle back to some of my travel plans that for one reason or another didn’t materialize. Until now. I can’t wait!

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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