This is continuing a series I started recently that makes a chart of nearly all miles options (including their transfer partners) and shows them in order of the cheapest miles. The idea is that you can quickly look and see of which miles/transfer options you have, which will be the cheapest options.
And some of the best info is below in best uses of miles to the Caribbean section, and stopover section. To see the other parts of the series check out these posts:
Mileage Prices to the Caribbean
|AA||25k – 35k||60k||OneWorld||SPG|
|Alitalia||30k||60k||SkyTeam||Amex MR, SPG|
|Air France||30k||75k||SkyTeam||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
|United||35k||60k||Star Alliance||Chase UR|
|Singapore||35k||60k||Star Alliance||Amex MR, Chase UR, Citi TY, SPG|
|Delta||35k||60k||SkyTeam||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
|Hawaiian||35k||70k||Amex MR, SPG|
|Korean Air||35k||75k||SkyTeam||Chase UR|
|Air Canada||40k||60k||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
Distance Based Programs
If you’d like to see the specific award chart, see the complete list of airline award charts. Use each distance based program’s award chart to figure out the prices to the Caribbean for your specific itinerary. Here are some examples though.
Example: MIA – SJU
|BA Avios||15k||30k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Chase UR, SPG|
|ANA||22k||43k||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|Asia Miles||35k||70k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
Example: SEA – AUA
|ANA||43k||68k||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|BA Avios||45k||90k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Chase UR, SPG|
|Asia Miles||60k||85k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
Southwest is still great
I want to first point out that Southwest doesn’t have a fixed price but is actually growing to be competitive in the Caribbean/Mexico market. Some routes are under 5,000 points each way. See our post on the Southwest Companion Pass to see how we got two tickets to Puerto Rico for 8,000 points.
The problem is their award prices are tied to the price of a cash ticket, and I can’t just put a single price in the chart.
One of the cheapest prices is AA off-peak, although the window is quite small. The discounted price of 12,500 miles each direction is good for flights for September 7 – November 14. This is only good on AA flights.
British Airways Avios
This is definitely one of the cheapest ways to get to the Caribbean if you have a direct flight. See not only is British Airways frequent flyer program distance based, it’s priced per segment. So short flights on partner airline American Airlines can be as cheap as 4,500 Avios each direction. Made even better because you can transfer from Chase UR and Amex MR points.
The maps below show you what routes are available to the Caribbean for super cheap.
- Red = routes of 4,500 Avios
- Blue = routes of 7,500 Avios
- Green = routes of 10,000 Avios
(Some of the green routes in the second one are 12,500 Avios).
LAN has an extra SPG bonus
If you have a very short route, similar to BA but have to connect, then LAN might be your cheapest option. This is barely worth a mention because few people are willing to give up SPG points.
But the best part here is that the transfer from SPG to LAN is 1:1.5. Actually, it’s even better when you transfer 20,000 SPG points, as you’d get 37,500 LAN miles.
This means that for a simple route like Florida to Puerto Rico, you could get enough miles for 2 people with 22,000 SPG points.
ANA & JAL for stopovers
One thing that is huge for some people is the fact that ANA & JAL allow stopovers. You get 3 extra stopovers with ANA and an extra 6 with JAL. And a lot of ANA awards can even be booked online.
In the post on the Caribbean Hopper I pointed out that you could book two islands for the price of one, and using United miles people were able to book tickets to St Martin and Aruba (with a layover in Panama) for 35,000 miles.
In the Latin Hopper post I suggest that you could go anywhere in Central America, the Caribbean, and Northern South America for 10,000 miles and therefore could do a roundtrip for 20,000 miles. When we did this in our free trip to Latin America, we open-jawed so we returned to a different place than starting.
You could do the same but starting in Puerto Rico and ending in Cancun. Then stopover in another island and a place in Central/South America. All for 20,000 miles + getting to and from SJU and CUN, which is really cheap if you have Southwest points. If it doesn’t make sense, see the Latin Hopper.
ANA & JAL
I’ve already said that I think ANA & JAL are especially useful for a number of people who like stopovers. And even more extra special for those in the Southeast or a hub that can take off and enjoy the Caribbean with stopovers for 22,000 miles roundtrip.
Fuel surcharges + taxes
Truthfully, there is no need to worry about fuel surcharges for flights within the Americas and the Caribbean. For whatever reason the airlines don’t bother.
But the annoying thing is that basically all the airports in the Caribbean have high taxes. So when I booked my ticket to Cancun for only 3,500 Southwest points, we had to pay another $40+ just in taxes. The price in miles to the cost in dollars just feels wrong but it’s dependent on each airport.
In my post on the Southwest Companion pass I actually make a chart of airport stopovers, but it only includes southwest airports. But basically, you’ll just have to price it out and see what the taxes come out to be.
For those of you planning a short trip to the Caribbean, the price in business class is pretty similar with all region based airlines and not too different in economy sometimes. But hopefully this helps people figure out how to save a little extra with their transfer options or miles they do have. And figure out what is the best set of miles to use to see more than one island in the Caribbean.