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1. US Airlines Begin Flights to Cuba This Summer
Via The Points Guy, US airlines could start service to Cuba as early as September 2016. Airlines proposing routes include:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Silver Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
- United Airlines
Emily went to Cuba and loved seeing the architecture, plazas, and vintage cars!
This is excellent news if you collect miles on these airlines. Or have a way to offset the price of a ticket, like the $250 annual airline credit with Citi Prestige. Or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, because you can use miles towards statement credits for $100+ travel purchases (including flights!).
Folks with the Southwest Companion Pass could also bring a friend or partner along with them for only the cost of taxes and fees!
2. Virgin America Adds Flights to Hawaii
Virgin America will begin flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu (on Oahu) on May 5, 2016, and Kahului (on Maui) on June 14, 2016.
This is great for folks with Virgin America points or AMEX Membership Rewards points. AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer instantly to Virgin America.
And through March 10, 2016, you’ll get a 50% bonus when you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Virgin America.
The number of points you’ll need for a flight on Virgin America depends on the cost of a paid ticket. But you can also use Virgin America points to fly on partner airlines like Hawaiian Airlines!
Folks on the West Coast can get a round-trip ticket to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines for:
- 20,000 Virgin America points in coach
- 50,000 Virgin America points in Business Class
Once you’re in Hawaii, you can also get inter-island award flights within Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines for 3,000 Virgin America points each way (and 6,000 points for a round-trip award ticket)!
Here’s Virgin America’s award flight calculator so you can check how many Virgin America points you’ll need for flights to Hawaii, or anywhere else they fly!
3. LAN Will Fly From Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile
Beginning October 16, 2016, LAN will begin flights between Los Angeles and Santiago, Chile, 3 times per week.
You can also redeem 30,000 American Airlines miles each way for a coach award seat. Or 57,500 American Airlines miles each way for a Business Class award seat starting March 22, 2016.
4. Interjet Adds Flights Between Los Angeles and Cancun
Interjet is a budget airline based in Mexico. And starting May 19, 2016, folks in Los Angeles will have a new low-cost way to visit Cancun.
Southwest also flies this route (with a connection). And folks with the Southwest Companion Pass can use it to bring a friend with them to Cancun.
Lots of Southwest’s other US destinations also have non-stop flights to Cancun. And hopefully more competition to Cancun will translate to lower fares!
Remember, you can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio if you need enough for an award flight.
5. JetBlue Expands Into Ecuador
You can now fly between Fort Lauderdale and Quito, Ecuador, on JetBlue!
Quito is an excellent jumping-off point for folks who want to visit the Galapagos Islands.
You can book this route with JetBlue points. And soon, there will be new Barclaycard JetBlue cards. I’ll let you know when I find out what the sign-up bonus will be!
You can also book these flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward paid travel if you have the Chase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available).
So there are lots of ways to access these flights, and visit Ecuador even sooner!
Let me know which new route you’re looking forward to the most!