How to Fly to Mexico & Central America With British Airways Avios Points

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UPDATE:   The offer for the British Airways card in this post has expired.  But check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

Visit ancient Mayan ruins, see animals in their native habitats, and lay out on gorgeous beaches along the Caribbean Sea!  Award flights to Mexico and Central America are cheap with British Airways Avios points.

And, there are lots of ways to earn them!

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.  And you can transfer your points directly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio to book award flights to Belize, Costa RicaMexico, and Panama with low fuel surcharges from several US cities!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Zip Line Through Mountain Valleys in Costa Rica – and Pay Fewer Miles to Get There! I’ll Show You How!

If you want even more British Airways Avios points, there’s also an offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting the spending requirements with the Chase British Airways card.

I’ll show you how to get to Mexico and Central America using British Airways Avios points.

When Should You Use British Airways Avios Points?

Link:   Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator

Link:   Wandering Aramean’s Avios Map

Depending on your US departure city, British Airways Avios points can be a great deal to get to Mexico and Central America.  But for some folks, they’ll get a better deal using United Airlines miles.  I’ll explain which points are better for your situation!

I’ve written about how to get to Mexico and Central America using United Airlines miles.

You’ll pay the same number of miles when you fly United Airlines or 1 of its partner airlines, regardless of which city you’re starting from in the continental US, Alaska, or Canada.

To Mexico or Central America, you’ll pay:

  • 17,500 United Airlines miles 1-way in coach
  • 30,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 40,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class

British Airways has a distance-based award chart.  That means the amount you’ll pay depends on the length of your flight.

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Get Ready to Explore Mexico and Central America! British Airways Points Are Your Key to Easy Award Tickets Toward Adventure, Relaxation, and More

So folks in the South or near the West Coast who are already closer to Mexico or Central America can pay fewer miles than other mileage programs.  You can use British Airways Avios points to fly non-stop on airline partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.  And, you can book the flights on the British Airways website!

But, be aware British Airways charges per flight segment.  So if you have to connect, you’ll have to pay for each individual flight.

Note:   British Airways is changing the price of the shortest (under 650 miles) partner flights in North America starting February 2, 2016Flights which currently cost 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way in coach will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points after that date.

You can use the British Airways award flight calculator or Wandering Aramean’s Avios calculator tool to check the cost of each flight.  It’s always worth seeing if you can get a more convenient flight with British Airways Avios points, especially if flights cost less (or the same) as United Airlines.

Whichever you decide is best for you, you’ll still avoid fuel surcharges.

United Airlines never adds fuel surcharges to its partner award tickets.  American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights to Mexico or Central America do NOT have fuel surcharges either.  Although the final cost varies depending on the route and the country you fly into.

Let’s look at where you can go!

1.   Cancun or Cozumel, Mexico

Folks in several US cities get a better deal with British Airways Avios points for a beach getaway to Cancun.  Grab your suntan lotion and diving gear!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving in the Clear Waters Off the Coast of Cancun! And Get a Better Deal on Your Flights There With British Airways Avios Points

Pay fewer miles on a 1-way non-stop coach award flight from:

  • Charlotte – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Chicago – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Dallas – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Miami – 4,500 British Airways Avios points (until February 2, 2016)
  • New York – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Philadelphia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Phoenix – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Folks in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Phoenix Can Fly to Cancun Round-Trip in Coach for 20,000 British Airways Avios Points + $63

You’ll pay ~$63 in taxes and fees round-trip, which is reasonable.  And, when I checked for flights in January 2016, I found award seats nearly every day!  Perfect for a winter break!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Depending on the Route, You’ll Even Pay Fewer Miles for a Business Class Award Flight

Prices in Business Class and First Class are higher for partner award flights.  You’ll pay 2X or 3X the coach price for Business Class.  And up to 4X the price for First Class!

And for flights on Alaska Airlines, British Airways charges the First Class rate for Business Class award seats.  It’s something to keep in mind if those are the award seats you prefer.

I found Business Class award seats from Philadelphia to Cancun for 20,000 British Airways Avios points each way, which is still fewer miles than United Airlines charges.  So it can still be a good deal for some folks!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Folks in Dallas or Miami Can Visit Cozumel for the Same Prices!

And if you’re departing from Dallas or Miami, you can visit gorgeous Cozumel, 1 of the top diving destinations in the world, for the same amount of points!  Check out what the folks on TripAdvisor recommend about what to do in the area!

2.   Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

If you prefer Mexico’s West Coast or the Baja Peninsula for your vacations, you’re in luck!  Folks in several cities can fly to Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta cheaply with British Airways Avios points.

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Enjoy Colorful Sunsets Over the Pacific Ocean From Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta

You can fly to Los Cabos direct from:

  • Chicago – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Dallas – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Los Angeles – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Phoenix – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Portland – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • San Diego – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • San Francisco – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Seattle – 10,000 British Airways Avios points

From Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, or San Diego, you’ll only pay 15,000 British Airways Avios points plus taxes and fees for round-trip award flights.  That’s a terrific deal for an international trip!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Enjoy Swimming and Whale Watching, or Stroll Near Coastal Mountains in Puerto Vallarta

Folks in several cities also have direct access to Puerto Vallarta with British Airways Avios points.

You can fly non-stop from:

  • Dallas – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Los Angeles – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Phoenix – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Portland – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • San Diego – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • San Francisco – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Seattle – 12,500 British Airways Avios points

You’ll pay more for Business Class or First Class award flights, but some routes are still better deals with British Airways Avios points.

For example, Phoenix to Puerto Vallarta is 15,000 British Airways British Airways Avios points each way in Business Class.  But Seattle to Puerto Vallarta is 37,500 British Airways British Airways Avios points each way, which costs more than using United Airlines miles.

Again, you can use the British Airways award flight calculator to check how many miles you’ll need.  It’s worth it to pay fewer miles!

3.   Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama

Central America is farther, so there aren’t as many cities with non-stop flights where British Airways points are a better deal than United Airlines.

But if you don’t mind connecting, you can pay the same or slightly fewer points.  And in that case, it’s worth it to check both airlines for award flights.

That’s a big reason I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Because you have the flexibility to transfer to either British Airways OR United Airlines!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

In Belize, You Can Tan on the Shores of the Caribbean Sea, Scuba Dive off the Belize Barrier Reef, or Explore Ancient Mayan Ruins!

From Dallas, you can fly non-stop to:

  • Belize City, Belize – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • San Jose, Costa Rica – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Panama City, Panama – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Costa Rica Has Endless Waterfalls, Lots of Native Birds to Watch, and Guided Hikes for Eco-Tourism

And from Miami, you can fly non-stop to:

  • Belize City, Belize – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • San Jose, Costa Rica – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Liberia, Costa Rica – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Panama City, Panama – 10,000 British Airways Avios points

Folks in Los Angeles can fly non-stop to San Jose, Costa Rica, for 12,500 British Airways Avios points.

Don’t stop with these ideas!  You can also fly to many other destinations in Mexico and Central America, including:

  • Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Monterrey, Mexico
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • San Salvador, El Salvador

Use Wandering Aramean’s Avios calculator tool to check the where you can fly from your home airport for 12,500 British Airways Avios points or fewer!

What If You Have to Connect?

It makes sense to connect from certain cities, and pay for each segment, because it will still cost fewer miles. 

For example, folks in Charlotte can pay 7,500 British Airways Avios points to fly to Miami.  And then another 7,500 British Airways Avios points to visit Belize or Costa Rica.  In total, you’d pay 15,000 British Airways Avios points 1-way, which is still a better deal than using United Airlines miles.

Don’t Forget Southwest!

Link:   Southwest Route Map

Southwest now has international flights, including destinations in Mexico and Central America like Belize City, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta.

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Folks with the Southwest Companion Pass should check if Southwest flies to where you want to go, because it’s like getting a 2-for-1 ticket (you only pay the taxes and fees on the 2nd ticket)!

Or, you could pay to fly Southwest to or from your destination, and use miles if 1 of the flights is very expensive.  This is another way to get more flexibility if you can’t find flights on specific dates.

You also get 2 free checked bags on every flight, and no change or cancellation fees if your plans change!

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.

Which Offer Is Right for You?

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:  Chase Sapphire Preferred

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

This is the highest bonus ever for the card.  And it’s the top card I recommend if you’re new to miles and points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program.  Because the points are flexible, they transfer 1:1 to airline and hotel partners like British Airways, United Airlines, and Hyatt if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold cards.

If you have the Chase Freedom or Chase Ink Cash cards, you can combine your points and transfer them to any travel partner as long as you have 1 of the other cards!

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 Spent on Dining and Travel. That Includes Casado, a Traditional Costa Rican Meal!

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to earn with everyday spending.  For example, you can earn up to 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when shopping at Amazon through December 31, 2015, with the the Chase Freedom card if you activated the offer in time.

United Airlines miles are a better choice if you have to connect, or if you’re in the Northeast or Central US and want to visit Mexico or Central America.  With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have the option to transfer points to United Airlines, British Airways, Southwest, or any other partner that fits into your travel goals.

Chase British Airways

Link:   Chase British Airways – Earn a Total of 100,000 British Airways Avios Points

Chase also has a terrific offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways card. (EXPIRED.)

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Time for a Getaway! Go for the Chase British Airways Card If You Want More Award Flights

That’s enough for 5 round-trip flights from Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, or Phoenix, to Cancun.  Take the family on a vacation!

If you’re in a city where you’ll pay fewer miles to Mexico or Central America (or Europe!), you might consider the Chase British Airways card.  Just be sure you’re comfortable meeting the full minimum spending requirement.  You might also consider opening this card even if you don’t want to earn the full sign-up bonus.

Check out my series on how to book British Airways award flights like a pro.  And my review of the Chase British Airways card offer to decide if you should sign-up.

Considering Both Cards?

It’s possible to get both!

Keep in mind, Chase has tightened up on their approvals, for folks who have opened more than 5 new credit cards within the past 24 months.  However, some folks report success opening new Chase cards anyway.  If you have a good relationship with Chase, they may decide to extend new credit to you as long as you have a history of paying your bills on time.

How To Fly To Mexico Central America With British Airways Avios Points

Most Folks Will Enjoy the Flexibility of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Unless You Know Which Routes You Want to Redeem British Airways Avios Points For!

I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st, even if you want both, because Chase’s application rules only seem to apply to personal cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

It’s also the top card I recommend if you’re starting out with miles and points.

Where to Stay?

Check out my guides about how to get award nights with your hotel points:

Bottom Line

You can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  And transfer your points directly to British Airways and United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio for award flights to Mexico and Central America!

You can use British Airways Avios points for award flights on airline partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.  Although you may be better off using United Airlines miles if you have to connect, or you’re farther from where you want to visit.

If you’re in a city with non-stop service on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines to Mexico or Central America, you may prefer the Chase British Airways card because you’ll have the opportunity to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points.  Depending on where you are, you can fly a family of 5 (or more!) on vacation!

Or, get both!  But keep in mind Chase has tightened up on their approvals, although there have been lots of exceptions.  I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st if that’s your top choice.

Will you plan a trip to Mexico or Central America with your miles and points?

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3 responses to “How to Fly to Mexico & Central America With British Airways Avios Points

  1. Seriously? No taxes on United or American? I’m based in the uk and use points to fly business with Avios but the taxes are a killer!

  2. @Anne – You’ll still pay taxes, but NOT fuel surcharges to Mexico or Central America, so depending the route, you can get a good deal on an award ticket.

  3. Hi, I was able to see tickets from NYC to Cozumel on United.com but couldn’t see the same flight on ANA website. Is there a reason why? Do I have to call to get those tickets? 20,000 round trip sounds like a great deal!