The Best Ways to Fly to the Caribbean with Points and Miles

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The Caribbean is an area many U.S. travelers have visited — and why not? Most of the Caribbean is just a short flight away for many Americans so it’s easy to make the trip.

This area of the world is made up of a number countries and islands that include:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saba
  • Sint Eustatius
  • St. Barthélemy
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Martin
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

Cultural diversity, diving, fishing, and food are just a few of the things the Caribbean is known for. With that said, here are the best ways to fly to the Caribbean, including the award program sweet spots that you should consider.

Best Programs to Use to Book Flights

With the Caribbean being as beautiful as it is, there’s a ton of demand from U.S. travelers. Thankfully, all of the major U.S. airlines and many of the low-cost airlines offer flights to a number of Caribbean islands.

It’s important to note that award availability can be found both close to departure and far in advance — not typically what you’ll see when you’re booking business and first class on long-haul flights, such as those from the U.S. to Australia.

What’s great about having a high number of U.S. airlines flying to the Caribbean is that you’ll have a ton of options to book award flights. In this post, you’ll find the Oneworld, Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and non-alliance airline programs that you can use to book flights to the Caribbean.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Puerto Rico Beach
Use Aeroplan miles to fly to San Juan. Image Credit: Maridav via Shutterstock

Air Canada Aeroplan is known for having rules that open up a ton of value when flying round-trip between 2 different continents. The key here is knowing how to maximize open-jaws and stopovers in the program.

With 40,000 Aeroplan miles, you can book round-trip economy flights between Canada and the Continental U.S. and Caribbean and Central America.

Aeroplan considers the following in its Caribbean and Central America region:

  • Antigua
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Grand Cayman
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Netherland Antilles
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Kitts
  • St. Lucia
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

If you’re looking to visit the Caribbean, here are a couple of example routes that you book with your Aeroplan miles:

  • Chicago (ORD) – San Juan (SJU) for 40,000 Aeroplan miles in economy class on United Airlines
  • Montreal (YUL) – Punta Cana (PUJ) for 40,000 Aeroplan miles in economy class on Air Canada

With the Aeroplan miles in your account, follow these steps to book your award flight:

  1. Head to Air Canada Aeroplan’s homepage.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Book the flight on the website and pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassAeroplan Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy40,000~$57-$179
Business60,000~$57-$179

Earning Aeroplan Miles

Earning Aeroplan miles is easy because the airline partners with 3 transferable point programs: American Express, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy.

The airline does offer a co-branded credit card, however, the welcome offer is generally low and the earning structure isn’t great, so you should earn transferable points instead.

If you’re looking to transfer points from one of these programs to Aeroplan, you’ll want to keep the transfer ratios and transfer times in mind. Amex points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One miles transfer instantly at a 2:1.5 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at 3:1 ratio.

For those wanting to earn Capital One miles, here are the credit cards that are great for earning points:

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - The big brother of the VentureOne and it's packed with a lot more benefits and perks. Earn a 50,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening — and 10X miles per $1 spent across thousands of hotels. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi regularly stay at hotels.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 10x miles per $1 across thousands of hotels. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

Hot Tip: Did you know that you don’t even have to fly to earn Aeroplan miles? See how you can earn miles simply by shopping at Aeroplan’s eStore.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Punta Cana Beach
Use Alaska miles to fly to Punta Cana. Image Credit: Bruno Ismael Silva Alves via Shutterstock

Alaska Airlines is not in an airline alliance and instead has partnerships with individual airlines. In the case of award flights to the Caribbean, American Airlines is the airline partner that you will fly. Details on Caribbean destinations served by American can be found below.

Alaska Airlines is known for its routing rules that allow you to book a stopover, even on one-way flights. This means that you can be creative with your Caribbean itinerary by building in a stopover on your trip.

35,000 Alaska Airlines miles allow you to book round-trip economy flights between the U.S. and the Caribbean. Business class for 55,000 miles round-trip is another option that you should consider.

Below are a couple of examples of American Airlines flights that you can book with your Alaska Airlines miles:

  • LaGuardia (LGA) – Nassau (NAS) for 35,000 Alaska miles in economy class on American Airlines
  • Dallas (DFW) – Montego Bay (MBJ) for 55,000 Alaska miles in business class on American Airlines

With Alaska Airlines miles in your account, you’ll want to follow these steps to book your award flight:

  1. Go to the Alaska Airlines’ website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, number of passengers, and enable”Use Miles”
  3. Click the flight that you want, click Add To Cart, and then Click Next.
  4. Book the award ticket.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassAlaska Airlines Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy35,000~$126-$178
Business55,000~$126-$178

Earning Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

It can be tough to earn Alaska Airlines miles, because Alaska only partners with 1 transferable point program: Marriott Bonvoy. While the Alaska miles are hard to earn, they are valuable because of how competitive the Alaska award charts are.

In addition to partnering with Marriott, Alaska Airlines offers co-branded Bank of America credit cards, though the easiest way to earn Alaska miles is to transfer them from Marriott.

For those wanting to transfer Marriott points to Alaska Airlines, the point transfers take 2 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Bottom Line: The Mileage Plan program shines because of 2 factors: 1) the ability to book a stopover, and 2) competitive award prices when flying its airline partner flights. 

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Class Car Beach Cuba
Use American miles to fly to Havana. Image Credit: Lena Wurm via Shutterstock

American Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance and best known for its competitive redemption prices for its partner airline flights to the Middle East. What you may have not considered is using American Airlines miles for flights to the Caribbean. If you have used American miles for these flights, kudos to you!

American Airlines considers the following destinations to be in its Caribbean region:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Curacao, Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada, Guadeloupe
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

If you’re looking to book these flights with your American Airlines miles, here are a few flight options for you to consider:

  • Chicago (ORD) – San Juan (SJU) for 25,000 American miles in American off-peak economy
  • Charlotte (CLT) – Havana (HAV) for 25,000 American miles in American off-peak economy

When you’re ready to book a flight, follow the steps below:

  1. Head to the American Airlines’ website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Select the flight that you want, book the flight, and pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassAmerican Airlines Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy Off-Peak25,000~$126-$178
Economy30,000~$126-$178
Business50,000~$126-$178

Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines miles are fairly easy to earn because American offers a number of co-branded credit cards and partners with Marriott Bonvoy.

Earning American Airlines miles directly from American Airlines credit cards is the easiest way to earn miles; however, earning Marriott points that can be transferred to American Airlines shouldn’t be overlooked.

If you’re looking to transfer your Marriott points to American, the point transfer takes 2 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Bottom Line: American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are the 2 major U.S. airlines that have not moved their award charts to dynamic pricing. United Airlines was the most recent actor to do this so don’t be surprised if American Airlines follows suit. 

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club

Nassau Bahamas Lighthouse
Use Asiana miles to fly to Nassau. Image Credit: Ruth Peterkin via Shutterstock

Asiana Airlines continually flies under the radar, pun intended. It’s an Asian airline that can be a great Star Alliance partner to use for flights to the Caribbean.

The Asiana Club program considers these destinations to be in its Central America region:

  • Antigua
  • Antilles
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • The Bahamas
  • Bermuda
  • Belize
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

With Asiana’s Star Alliance membership, you can book Air Canada or United Airlines flights. Specifically, you can book these types of business class flights to the Caribbean using the lowest number of miles with Asiana:

  • Newark (EWR) – Montego Bay (MBJ) for 35,000 Asiana miles in United Airlines economy
  • Toronto (YYZ) – Nassau (NAS) for 55,000 Asiana miles in Air Canada economy

Unfortunately, you can’t book Star Alliance partner awards on the Asiana website so you’ll need to call Asiana to book the flight. Follow these steps to help you with the process:

  1. Search for award availability using Aeroplan and/or United
  2. Enter your route, travel dates, number of passengers, and cabin class.
  3. Write down all the flight information, including flight numbers, dates, and times.
  4. Call Asiana Airlines at 800-227-4262 between 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PST Monday-Friday.
  5. Tell the representative that you want to book an Air Canada or United award flight.
  6. Provide the flight numbers, travel dates, and any other flight information.
  7. Once they’ve confirmed the award space, provide them with your credit card to pay for taxes and fees.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassAsiana Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy35,000~$57-$179
Business55,000~$57-$179

Hot Tip: Wanting to book this flight on United? Here’s an in-depth step-by-step to book business on United with points!

Earning Asiana Miles

The primary way to earn Asiana miles is to accrue Marriott Bonvoy points and then transfer those Marriott points to Asiana. When you transfer your points, the transfer ratio is 3:1 and you’ll receive a 5,000 mile bonus when transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

The catch with doing this is that Marriott point transfers take 10 days, so keep this in mind before you transfer your points to Asiana.

In addition to its Marriott partnership, Asiana also offers co-branded Bank of America credit cards to earn miles directly. For more information, check out this guide on the best ways to earn lots of Asiana miles.

Avianca LifeMiles

Paradise Island Jamaica
Use Avianca miles to fly to Jamaica. Image Credit: Lucky-photographer via Shutterstock

The Avianca LifeMiles program is known for its Star Alliance sweet spots. In particular, Lifemiles is one of the options you should consider if you’re looking to book Lufthansa first or business class award flights.

In addition to its Lufthansa sweet spots, Avianca is also known for not passing on fuel surcharges, though there is a $25 award booking fee for one-way award flights. Sadly, Avianca LifeMiles won’t allow open jaws or stopovers on its awards flights.

For those looking to use Avianca Lifemiles, here are a couple of examples of flights that you can book:

  • Houston (IAH) – Nassau (NAS) for 35,000 Avianca miles in United Airlines economy
  • Toronto (YYZ) – Antigua (ANU) for 35,000 Avianca miles in Air Canada economy

Keep this in mind as you follow these steps to book your next flight:

  1. Go to Avianca LifeMiles. Change the language as necessary by clicking on the flag icon in the top right corner and choosing English.
  2. Click Log in on the top right corner using your LifeMiles Number and Password.
  3. Click Fly at the top banner. Type in your origin and destination airports, number of passengers, and cabin class. Click Find Flights.
  4. Click and select your flights and reserve them by paying with LifeMiles and any taxes with your credit card.

Typical miles needed along with taxes and fees:

Cabin ClassLifeMiles Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy35,000~$57-$130
Business70,000~$57-$130

Hot Tip: Avianca Lifemiles is the Star Alliance program to use if you’re looking to reduce the fuel surcharges you’ll normally be required to pay. 

Earning Avianca LifeMiles

American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy all partner with Avianca, meaning you can transfer these points directly to Avianca to book an award flight.

Both American Express and Citi points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio. Marriott points transfer in <24 hours at a 3:1 ratio. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points, you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus.

If you’re looking to earn more LifeMiles, Avianca offers co-branded credit cards from Banco Popular.

Also consider buying LifeMiles if that makes sense for you. Avianca has sales with up to 150% mile bonuses, so wait to buy miles until a sale is offered.

For those wanting to earn Citi ThankYou points, consider any one of these cards:

British Airways Executive Club

Bavaro Punta Cana
Use British Airways Avios to fly to Punta Cana. Image Credit: Valentin Valkov is Shutterstock

British Airways recently updated award pricing when booking partner airline flights. The good news is that the pricing for flights to the Caribbean was not affected that much, so British Airways continues to be a Oneworld partner to consider when booking these flights.

U.S. travelers may be familiar with the Executive Club program because of how cheaply you can book domestic American Airlines flights. As a reminder, British Airways charges per segment, so you’ll want to avoid making connections if at all possible.

Examples of American Airlines flights that you can book with your British Airways Avios include:

  • Miami (MIA) – Nassau (NAS) for 18,000 British Airways Avios in American Airlines economy
  • Charlotte (CLT) – Havana (HAV) for 33,000 British Airways Avios in American Airlines business class

If you’re looking to book a flight, follow these steps to use your Avios on your next trip:

  1. Head to the British Airways’ website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Select the flight that you want.
  4. Book the award flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassBritish Airways Avios Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy18,000-26,000~$126-$178
Business25,000-51,500~$126-$178

Earning British Airways Avios

British Airways Avios are easy to earn because the airline partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. When you earn points in any of these programs, the points can be transferred directly to British Airways.

American Express and Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio. Marriott point transfers take 1 day at 3:1 ratio — you’ll also want to keep the Marriott transfer bonus in mind if you decide to use Marriott points.

In addition to its transfer partners, British Airways also offers a co-branded credit card — the British Airways Visa Signature® Card from Chase. The welcome offer on this card is typically high, helping you to quickly earn British Airways Avios. For more information on this card, read our full review.

If you’re looking to earn Chase points, consider these Chase cards:

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a 60,000 point bonus (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

This sign up bonus is worth $750 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $450 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you 3% cash-back on all purchases in your first year (up to $20,000 spent), then 1.5% on all purchases after that. Just know that you won't get any travel benefits or the ability to earn bonus points with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card - This is our #1 recommended business card and comes with a whopping 80,000 sign up bonus after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Also, if you pay for your cell phone bill with this card, you can get up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. In addition, get up to 5% cash back on a range of business expenses. A simple, $0 annual fee card.

Bottom Line: British Airways should be one of the first programs U.S. travelers turn to when looking to book American Airlines award flights. 

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Aruba Resort
Use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to fly to Aruba. Image Credit: Christine Krzyszton

Cathay Pacific can be a comparable alternative to British Airways if you have Cathay Pacific miles or an easy way to transfer points to Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific receives the most attention for its ability to book British Airways flights without having to pay the huge fuel surcharges typically imposed on these flights.

Unfortunately, not all Cathay Pacific airline partners can be booked online, making the booking process slightly more difficult as you’ll need to call Cathay Pacific directly to book the flight.

One important item to note is that there’s no available award chart to use when booking an award flight with just one Oneworld airline partner. To figure out the amount of miles needed for this award flight, you’ll need to reference the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Standard Award chart and add 5,000 miles to the award pricing shown in that chart.

A couple of examples of American Airlines flights that you can book with your Cathay Pacific Asia Miles include:

  • Dallas (DFW) – Aruba (AUA) for 18,000 British Airways Avios in American Airlines economy
  • Miami (MIA) – St. Lucia (UVF) for 33,000 British Airways Avios in American Airlines business class

For those who want to book a flight with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, use the steps below to your next award flight:

  1. Go to the British Airways’ website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Select the flight that you want.
  4. Call Cathay Pacific at 866-892 2598 to confirm the award availability that you found.
  5. Book the award flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassCathay Pacific Asia Miles Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy25,000-30,000~$127-$178
Business42,000-60,000~$127-$178

Hot Tip: Does finding award availability on Oneworld partners seem daunting? Here’s a step-by-step on searching availability on Oneworld to help you breeze through it. 

Earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Earning Cathay Pacific miles is easy because the airline partners with 4 transferable point program in American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy.

American Express point transfers take 1-4 days at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One point transfers take 36 hours at  2:1.5 ratio, Citi point transfers take 24 hours at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at a 3:1 ratio. With Marriott, keep in mind the 5,000 bonus transfer when transferring 60,000 points at a time.

In addition to earning miles from transferable point transfers, Cathay Pacific offers a co-branded credit card from Synchrony Bank.

Hot Tip: Cathay Pacific can be a great program to use if you’re looking to fly British Airways flights without paying huge fuel surcharges. 

Etihad Guest

St. Johns Antigua
Use Etihad miles to fly to Antigua. Image Credit: Sean Pavone via Shutterstock

Etihad Guest is a program to keep on your radar if you’re looking to book its partner American Airlines flights. The reason is that Etihad utilizes American Airlines’ old award prices on some award routes allowing you to book award flights at a discount.

With 35,000 Etihad miles, you can book round-trip economy flights between the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean — all part of its North America region. British Airways and American Airlines offer more competitive business class award pricing so look for those award flights first.

If you have Etihad miles in your account, check out a couple of the example flights below that you can book with your miles:

  • New York (JFK) – Antigua (ANU) for 35,000 Etihad miles in American Airlines economy
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Nassau (NAS) for 35,000 Etihad miles in American Airlines economy

When you’re ready to book an American Airlines flight, follow these steps to help with the award booking process:

  1. Head to the British Airways’ website.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Call Etihad at 877-690-0767 to confirm flight award availability.
  4. Book the flight and pay the taxes and fees over the phone.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassEtihad Guest Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy35,000~$127-$178
Business60,000~$127-$178

Earning Etihad Miles

It’s easy to earn Etihad miles because the airline partners with American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy. Etihad, unfortunately, doesn’t offer a co-branded credit card that earns Etihad miles so you’ll want to earn points in these programs and then transfer the points to Etihad.

For those looking transfer points to Etihad, Amex points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One point transfers take 24-36 hours at a 2:1.5 ratio, Citi point transfers take 6-7 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 3-5 days at a 3:1 ratio.

With that said, here are the American Express credit cards that are best:

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $1,500+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 bonus points. We get ~$1,250+ in value per year by leveraging as many of the benefits/perks card which more than offsets the higher annual fee. It's also a card we use for larger transactions ($5k or more) as it earns unlimited 1.5X points.

Get access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide, $200 in airline fee credits for incidentals (e.g. baggage fees) and more. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a real simple card that earns you 2x points on business purchases up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). There's no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Iberia Avios

Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman
Use Iberia Avios to fly to Grand Cayman. Image Credit: Jan Schneckenhaus via Shutterstock

Similar to British Airways, Iberia Plus is a program many U.S. travelers may have used in the past. The reason is that you can sometimes book American Airlines flights cheaper than what American Airlines charges for the same flights.

The main difference between booking award flights with British Airways versus Iberia is that American Airlines award flights must be booked round-trip with Iberia.

American Airlines has flights from its hubs covering most of the Caribbean with examples that include:

  • Charlotte (CLT) – Grand Cayman (GCM) for 23,000 Iberia Avios in American Airlines economy
  • New York (JFK) – St. Thomas (STT) for 46,000 Iberia Avios in American Airlines business class

The process to book these flights is straightforward. Simply follow these steps and you’ll be ready to pack your bags:

  1. Go to the Iberia website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Select the flight that you want.
  4. Book the award flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassIberia Avios Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy11,000-28,000~$127-$178
Business22,000-64,000~$127-$178

Earning Iberia Avios (Miles)

It’s easy to earn Iberia Avios because the airline has partnerships with American Express, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy.

American Express point transfers take 2 days at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 24-36 hours at a 3:1 ratio. Marriott point transfers come with a bonus when transferring 60,000 points so keep this in mind before you transfer your Marriott points.

Chase is the Iberia co-branded credit card partner.

Bottom Line: Iberia offers one of the cheapest ways to fly American Airlines economy, however, the award flight must be round-trip. 

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Hamilton Bermuda
Use Japan Airlines miles to fly to Bermuda. Image Credit: Just dance via Shutterstock

The Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program is one to look into for Oneworld flights to the Caribbean. Business award pricing is not as low as British Airways, so you’ll want to focus on economy award flight redemptions.

Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart for Oneworld partner airline flights. Similar to British Airways, you’ll want to check out Great Circle Mapper to calculate the total distance of your itinerary to see how many miles you’ll need.

American Airlines is the Oneworld airline partner that you’ll fly to the Caribbean, so here are a couple of examples of flights that you book:

  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Bermuda (BDA) for 25,000 Japan Airlines miles in American Airlines economy
  • Miami (MIA) – St. Kitts (SKB) for 25,000 Japan Airlines miles in American Airlines economy

When Japan Airlines miles are in your account, the steps below will help you to book a flight:

  1. Head to the British Airways homepage.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Head to the Japan Airlines homepage.
  4. Confirm the same award availability on the Japan Airlines website.
  5. Book the award flight and pay the taxes and fees.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassJapan Airlines Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy25,000-40,000~$127-$178
Business48,000-80,000~$127-$178

Earning Japan Airlines Miles

Earning Japan Airlines miles is difficult, as the airline only partners with 1 transferable point program in Marriott Bonvoy and its credit card doesn’t have a sizable welcome offer.

For those with Marriott points, the transfer time takes 2 days at a 3:1 ratio. If you’re able to transfer 60,000 Marriott points at a time, you’ll pick up the 5,000 mile transfer bonus.

Korean Air SKYPASS

Grace Bay Turks and Caicos
Use Korean Air miles to fly to Turks and Caicos. Image Credit: jpbarcelos via Shutterstock

Korean Air SKYPASS is one of the few programs you can leverage if you’re looking to fly a SkyTeam partner airline. For flights to the Caribbean, you’ll be using Korean Air SKYPASS miles to fly Delta Air Lines.

Having 35,000 SKYPASS miles allows you book round-trip economy flights between North America (Mexico and the U.S., including Hawaii), U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Central America. Business class award flight pricing is not as competitive so use another program for business class award tickets.

Korean Air considers the following destinations to be in its Central America region:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Antilles
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Guyana
  • Guadalupe
  • Guatemala
  • Grenada
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Montserrat
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Noticeably absent from the Korean Air Central America region are the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The primary downside with using Korean Air miles to book partner airline flights is that the flight must be booked round-trip.

For those of you with Korean Air miles, below are a couple of examples of flights that you can book:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Turks and Caicos (PLS) for 35,000 Korean Air miles in Delta economy
  • New York (JFK) – Nassau (NAS) for 35,000 Korean miles in Delta economy

With the Korean Air miles in your account, use the steps below to book your award flight:

  1. Search for award availability on Delta.
  2. Write down the flight numbers, dates, and times.
  3. Confirm the same availability on Korean Air.
  4. Book the flight, and pay the taxes and fees on Korean Air.

Typical miles needed along with taxes and fees:

Cabin ClassKorean Air Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy35,000~$57-$155
Business75,000~$57-$155

Earning Korean Air Miles

Korean Air miles aren’t as easy to earn as other programs. You also only have 1 transferable point program to use: Marriott Bonvoy. For Marriott point transfers, the transfers take 2 days at a 3:1 ratio. In addition, you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus after each 60,000 Marriott point transfer.

U.S. Bank offers a co-branded Korean Air credit card.

Hot Tip: Korean Air miles aren’t easy to earn, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how to best earn Korean Air miles.

United Airlines MileagePlus

Philipsburg Sint Maarten
Use United miles to fly to Sint Maarten. Image Credit: Sean Pavone via Shutterstock

United Airlines will no longer publish an award chart starting on November 15, 2019, but until then, the award pricing shown in this section will hold.

With 35,000 United miles, you can book round-trip economy flights between mainland U.S., Alaska, Canada, and the Caribbean. Asiana is a cheaper round-trip business class option, but the booking process with Asiana requires a phone call so you may want to simply use 5,000 additional miles with United to avoid this step.

United considers these destinations to be in its Caribbean region:

  • Antigua
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Barbuda
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grand Cayman
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saba
  • St. Eustatius
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

If you’re looking to visit the Caribbean, here are several example routes that you book with your Aeroplan miles:

  • Houston (IAH) – Punta Cana (PUJ) for 35,000 Avianca miles in United Airlines economy
  • Washington (IAD) – San Juan (SJU) for 35,000 Avianca miles in Air Canada economy

Once the MileagePlus miles are in your account, simply follow the steps below to book your award flight:

  1. Go to the United website.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Select the flight that you want, and then pay the taxes and fees with a credit card to complete the booking.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassUnited Mileage Cost Taxes & Fees
Economy35,000~$57-$130
Business60,000~$57-$130

Earning United Airlines MileagePlus Miles

You can easily earn United miles because the airline partners with Chase and Marriott Bonvoy. Both of these transferable point programs offer a number of credit cards that allow you to earn miles in a hurry.

Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio while Marriott point transfers take 2 days at a 3:1.1 ratio. With respect to Marriott, if you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to United, you’ll end up with 27,500 United miles. This is due to both the 60,000 Marriott to airline transfer bonus and the additional 10% Marriott to United bonus.

United also offers co-branded credit cards from Chase.

Bottom Line: If you have a United award flight redemption that you want to book, you’ll want to do so before the November 2019 MileagePlus program devaluation occurs. 

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

St. Lucia Jade Mountain Resort
Use Virgin Atlantic miles to fly to St. Lucia. Image Credit: James R Schultz via Shutterstock

The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program has a number of sweet spots with airline partners, but there’s one airline partner that U.S. travelers should keep on their radar and that’s Delta.

Having 35,000 Flying Club miles allow you to book round-trip Delta economy flights between the U.S. and the Caribbean. For Delta Business, 60,000 miles will be your cheapest option. It’s important to note that you should check Delta’s website for Delta flights, as you may be able to find even cheaper award flight pricing.

Delta offers flights throughout the Caribbean from its hubs including the example flights below:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – St. Lucia (PLS) for 35,000 Flying Club miles in Delta economy
  • New York (JFK) – San Juan (UVF) for 35,000 Flying Club miles in Delta economy

When you’re ready to book a flight, use the steps to help you with the booking process:

  1. Head to the Virgin Atlantic homepage.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Book the flight and pay the taxes and fees on the Virgin Atlantic website.

Typical miles needed, along with taxes and fees are:

Cabin ClassVirgin Atlantic Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy35,000~$57-$155
Business60,000~$57-$155

Hot Tip: Virgin Atlantic will not allow you to search for all of Delta’s flight routes. Try searching for “saver” level award flights on Delta, then call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to book the award flight. 

Earning Virgin Atlantic Miles

It’s easy to earn Virgin Atlantic miles because the airline partners with American Express, Chase, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy.

In addition, Virgin Atlantic offers a Bank of America co-branded credit card that will allow you to earn miles directly with your credit card spend.

If you’ve got an award flight in mind and want to use transferable points, Amex points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Citi points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 1-2 days at 3:1 ratio.

Final Thoughts

The Caribbean continues to be a popular destination for U.S. travelers. With plenty of beautiful beaches, different countries to explore, and food to taste, it’s hard to go wrong with whatever destination you choose.

The key to booking your next trip to the Caribbean is to know how best to use the miles and points that you have. With an array of programs at your disposal, round-trip economy and business class flights are within reach.


FAQ

Which Oneworld airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to the Caribbean?

British Airways and Iberia offer the cheapest Oneworld economy and business class flight redemptions.

Which Star Alliance airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to the Caribbean?

Asiana, Avianca, and United are the first award programs to check out to book the cheapest economy flights to the Caribbean.

The cheapest business class award flight option is with Asiana, however, the booking process with United is much easier and should be considered.

Which SkyTeam airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to the Caribbean?

Korean Air offers the cheapest economy and business class award flights that we covered. However, you should search Air France, Delta, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic to see if cheaper award flight options exist.

Which non-alliance airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to the Caribbean?

Alaska, Etihad, and Virgin Atlantic require the least number of miles to fly their airline partners in economy to the Caribbean.

For business class, Alaska Airlines requires the least number of miles.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn't travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since. Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend's phone about a mistake fare.  That's where the love affair with points and miles began.

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2 comments

  1. Torrey · July 30, 2019 · Reply

    I have a trip to Jamaica coming up real soon on Aug 18-Aug 23, It’s my first time flying out the country & I made the mistake of booking the hotels first without booking the flights. God must have saw me struggling over the past few weeks trying to figure out how to book a award flight to Jamaica & he specifically sent this post to me. Thanks guys, this is awesome.

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