Help! My all-inclusive hotel in Mexico is only half-inclusive

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By Christopher Elliott

When Michael O’Connor books an all-inclusive resort in Mexico through Priceline, he discovers it’s only half-inclusive. How can he fix that?


I recently booked a room at Barceló, an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When I made the reservation, it listed breakfast, lunch and dinner as included in the rate. But when I read the confirmation, it only said breakfast was included. 

I booked an all-inclusive hotel stay, and I’m concerned that I might have to pay for lunch and dinner. I’ve tried to contact Priceline but it hasn’t answered the meal question. Can you help? — Michael O’Connor, Toronto


You booked an all-inclusive resort, so your stay should be all-inclusive — breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

I tried to make a reservation at Barceló, too. Priceline lists it as an all-inclusive and advertises all three meals as being part of the room rate. But when you look at the booking conditions on the page, only breakfast is included.

Your case is a reminder to always check the terms and conditions before you make a reservation. If you see any problems, you should get an answer before you pay for your hotel. If you’d done that, you might have skipped the Barceló and headed to another hotel where the terms were clearer. (Related: A “royal” complaint with the right resolution? Maybe not.)

I reviewed the Barceló site and was also confused. The property describes itself as an “all-inclusive” resort, which means all meals should be included. But your confirmation clearly states only breakfast is included.

This may be a good time to ask: What’s the big deal about a resort being all-inclusive? It’s not just the money you’ll save on meals. In some of these resort areas, there are limited dining options, so you have to eat every meal at the hotel. And that could easily double your hotel bill, depending on the size of your party. So sometimes all-inclusive is the best way to go.

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to providing our employees with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are free

But the point is, Barceló promised you an all-inclusive experience, which then disappeared. I think you could have reached out to an executive at Priceline for clarification. The names, numbers and email addresses of the Priceline executives are listed on my consumer advocacy site,

This is hardly the first complaint I’ve received about a reader getting half a product on Priceline. I contacted Priceline on your behalf. The company reached out to your hotel, which verified that your rate was all-inclusive. “Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are free,” the representative added.

OK, “free” is probably the wrong word here. But they’re certainly included. 

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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