Ultimate Guide to Big Travel With American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 6: Caribbean & Mexico

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You get lots of travel flexibility with AMEX Membership Rewards points.  Because if you don’t have set travel plans for a future trip, these transferable points give you the option to choose from multiple airline partners when you’re ready to book.

Folks in the miles & points hobby know earning transferable points, like AMEX Membership Rewards points, are the best way to get Big Travel.  

The AMEX Membership Rewards program has 17 direct airline partners.  Plus, you’ll get access to other indirect partners as well, which opens up lots of options for award flights to the Caribbean & Mexico!

Or you can keep it simple and use AMEX Pay With Points to book flights through the Membership Rewards travel portal and get a fixed amount per point.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Terrific Airline Partners for Flights to Beautiful Destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico!

I’ll show you the best ways to use American Express Membership Rewards Points for flights to the Caribbean & Mexico!

The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Points:

AMEX Membership Rewards Points for Flights to Caribbean & Mexico

Link:   Which Miles & Points Should You Collect for Award Flights?

I’ll share a few airlines that are great for flights to destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico that you can book using AMEX Membership Rewards points.  Even though the airlines might not be direct AMEX transfer partners, you can still book award flights thanks to alliances and partnerships.

The best transfer partner will depend on:

  • Available award seats
  • Destination you’d like to visit
  • Which airlines fly from your home airport
  • Your airline & alliance preferences

Keep in mind, there are taxes and fees added to the cost of most award flights to the Caribbean & Mexico.  But using points can still be a great way to save money instead of paying cash for the same flight.

If you don’t have the time or don’t want to book your own award tickets, you can consider using an award booking service.

1.   Air Canada

Link:   Air Canada Award Chart

Link:   How to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award Tickets

Air Canada is a great AMEX transfer partner for award flights to destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico.

Because you can redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles for award flights on Star Alliance partner airline United Airlines.  And you’ll pay no fuel surcharges.

And you’ll pay the the same number of miles for flights to more than 20 destinations in the Caribbean, no matter which city you’re starting from in the continental US, Alaska, or Canada.  One-way award flights cost:

  • 20,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles one-way in coach
  • 30,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles one-way in Business Class
American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Air Canada to Book United Airlines Award Flights to the Caribbean & Mexico

The easiest way to find available award seats using Air Canada Aeroplan miles is to first search the United Airlines website.

You can only use Air Canada Aeroplan miles to book “Saver” level awards on United Airlines.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Search United Airlines Website for Available Saver Award Seats Before

Note:   Booking award seats to the Caribbean & Mexico directly through United Airlines requires 2,500 less miles in coach.  But paying slightly more to use AMEX Membership Rewards points through Air Canada is still a great alternative for folks who do not collect United Airlines miles.

2.   British Airways

Link:   American Airlines Caribbean Destinations 

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator   

Link:   How to Fly to the Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways and fly to more than 30 Caribbean destinations on oneworld alliance partner American Airlines.

You can also redeem British Airways Avios points for non-stop flights on Alaska Airlines to destinations like:

  • Cancun
  • Liberia, Costa Rica
  • Los Cabos
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • San Jose, Costa Rica
American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Use British Airways Avios Points to Visit Puerto Vallarta and Enjoy the Beautiful Sunsets!

Although the transfer ratio is not 1:1, you can still find great deals because British Airways uses a distance-based award chart.  Remember, you’ll get 400 British Airways Avios points for every 500 AMEX Membership Membership Rewards you transfer.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

You’ll Get 400 British Airways Avios Points for Every 500 AMEX Membership Rewards Points You Transfer

The number of miles you pay depends on the length of your flight.  So folks traveling shorter distances to the Caribbean, like from the East Coast or Southern US states will pay less!

One-way coach award flights cost:

  • 7,500 British Airways Avios points for flights under 1,151 miles
  • 10,000 British Airways Avios points for flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles
  • 12,500 British Airways Avios points for flights between 2,001 and 3,000 miles

Business Class award seats require double the number of miles.

I recommend using the British Airways award flight calculator to check the cost of an award flight.

Keep in mind, available award seats can be extremely limited.  So this might not be a great option if you’re looking to book a family vacation to the Caribbean or Mexico using points.

I found available coach award seats on a non-stop, round-trip American Airlines flight from Miami to Havana, Cuba for 15,000 British Airways Avios points and ~$72.  This same flight requires 30,000 American Airlines miles if you book directly with the airline.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Fly American Airlines to Cuba and Enjoy the Wonderful Culture Like Emily Did!

To find available award seats to Mexico or the Caribbean on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, it’s easiest to search the American Airlines website for low-level “SAAver” seats.  These are the only type of award seats you can book with British Airways Avios points.

You can book American Airlines flights on the British Airways website.

But for Alaska Airlines flights, you must call British Airways at 800-452-1201 to book your award tickets.

3.   Delta or Flying Blue

Link:   Flying Blue Miles Calculator

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points directly to Delta or Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio to book Delta flights to the Caribbean or Mexico.  Both airlines are part of the SkyTeam Alliance.

But remember, you’ll have to pay an excise fee to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Delta because it’s a US airline.  But you will NOT pay any fees to transfer to Flying Blue.

You can find non-stop flights to destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico from Delta hub cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Cincinnati
  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • New York (JFK and LaGuardia)
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle

Delta no longer publishes an award chart!  So you’ll need to search specific routes and dates to find the price of an award ticket.  The cheapest one-way flights I found cost:

  • 15,000 Delta miles in coach
  • 30,000 Delta miles in Business Class

But the majority of coach award flights I found cost 17,500 Delta miles.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

The Delta 5 Week Award Calendar Allows You to Find the Cheapest Non-Stop Award Flights in Coach or Business Class

If you use Flying Blue miles for the same flights, you’ll pay:

  • 15,000 Flying Blue miles in coach
  • 30,000 Flying Blue miles in Business Class

But you’ll pay even less to get to these Caribbean destinations:

  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Cancun
  • Cozumel

Because Flying Blue considers these destinations in North America, it will only cost 12,500 Flying Blue miles one-way in coach.  That’s a fantastic deal!

For example, I found a one-way flight from Atlanta to Aruba in February 2017 for 12,500 Flying Blue miles and $~34 in taxes and fees.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

You’ll Use Fewer Flying Blue Miles When You Fly to Certain Delta Destinations, Like Aruba!

Keep in mind, you might not find the same number of available award seats using Flying Blue miles.  So I always recommend searching the award calendars before transferring points.

4.   JetBlue

Link:   JetBlue Destinations

Similar to British Airways, the AMEX transfer ratio to JetBlue is 5:4.  But the cost of a JetBlue award flight is based on the cash price of the flight.  So the cheaper the flight, the fewer points you’ll have to redeem.

For example, I found a round-trip flight from Orlando to Havana in March 2017 that costs 2,000 JetBlue points and ~$72 in taxes and fees.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards Points to JetBlue Can Make Sense for Cheap Flights

So with the 5:4 transfer ratio, you’d need to transfer 2,500 AMEX Membership Rewards points to JetBlue to have enough points to book the flight.

And JetBlue has 5 US departure cities to fly non-stop to Caribbean & Mexico destinations including:

  • Boston
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • New York (JFK)
  • Orlando
  • Washington, DC

Plus, JetBlue flies to the most destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico of any airline, including:

  • Antigua
  • Aruba
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Cancun
  • Cuba
    • Camaguey
    • Havana
    • Holguin
    • Santa Clara
  • Dominican Republic
    • La Romana
    • Puerto Plata
    • Punta Cana
    • Santiago
  • Grenada
  • Grand Cayman
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • Puerto Rico
    • Aguadilla
    • Ponce
    • San Juan
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • Turks and Caicos
  • US Virgin Islands
    • St. Croix
    • St. Thomas
American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

You Can Redeem JetBlue Points for Award Flights to Beautiful Caribbean Destinations Like Grand Cayman!

Use AMEX Pay With Points for Flexibility

Link:   AMEX Pay With Points 

Link:   Now Get 50% of Your Points Back With AMEX Business Platinum

Link:   The Secret Way to Get the Most Southwest Flights From Your Points!

If there are no award flights available for your desired travel dates, you can redeem points for airfare using Pay With Points through the Membership Rewards travel portal.

When you use your AMEX Membership Rewards points towards air travel, you’ll get 1 cent per point towards your ticket.  And folks with the AMEX Business Platinum card can effectively get 2 cents per point using the Pay With Points perk to get 50% of their points back.

Folks with the Southwest Companion Pass and AMEX Business Platinum card will get the best deal using Pay With Points.

For example, you can book a round-trip Southwest flight from Houston to Cancun in March 2017 and pay with your AMEX Business Platinum card.  This flight costs ~$279 or ~27,900 AMEX Membership Rewards points.

American Express Membership Rewards Points For Flights To Caribbean

Folks With the Companion Pass Can Book a Southwest Flight and Pay With the Business Platinum Card to Utilize the Pay With Points Perk!

Then, if Southwest is your selected airline, you can use your AMEX Membership Rewards points to offset the flight purchase.

And with the Business Platinum, you’ll automatically get 50% of your AMEX Membership Rewards points back.  So you’ll end up paying ~14,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for the round-trip flight.

And you can add your companion for the just the cost of taxes and fees.  Using 14,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for 2 round-trip flights to Cancun is an amazing deal!

Southwest flies to these destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico:

  • Aruba
  • Belize City
  • Cancun
  • Cuba
    • Havana
    • Santa Clara
    • Varadero
  • Los Cabos
  • Mexico City
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

Bottom Line

You can use AMEX Membership Rewards points to book award flights to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico by transferring to airline partners like Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, Flying Blue, and JetBlue.

For example, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways and book a round-trip American Airlines award flight from Miami to Havana, Cuba for 15,000 British Airways Avios points in coach or 30,000 British Airways Avios points in Business Class.

Or transfer to Air Canada and book a United Airlines award flight to more than 20 destinations in the Caribbean.  If there are available seats, you’ll pay the same amount no matter which city you’re starting from in the continental US, Alaska, or Canada.

Keep in mind, there are taxes and fees added to the cost of most award flights to the Caribbean & Mexico.  But transferring points can still save you money instead of paying cash for the same flight.

You can also use AMEX Pay With Points through the Membership Rewards travel portal to book airfare on airlines that are not direct or indirect transfer partners.  Folks with the AMEX Business Platinum effectively get 2 cents per point on coach flights on your selected airline.  This can be a great deal for folks flying Southwest who have the Companion Pass!

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3 responses to “Ultimate Guide to Big Travel With American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 6: Caribbean & Mexico

  1. Thanks for the great article. I am having trouble avoiding the fuel surcharge and have tried BA, Aeroplan and Flying Blue. I end up having to pay $360 + 75,000 amex points for three tickets that would cost $750 by themselves making it a poor transfer value. Have the airlines been cracking down and adding these surcharges where they didn’t used to be?

    • Unfortunately, the taxes and fees tend to be high on most award flights to and from the Caribbean. These are mostly government taxes and fees rather than airline fuel surcharges. You might consider using AMEX Pay With Points to book the flights where each point is worth 1 cent each. So $750 worth of flights requires 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.

  2. great post. although you are overlooking AeroMexico.

    35K Miles (56,000 Km) gets you a round trip anywhere in USA to anywhere in Mexico.