The Big Travel Guide to AMEX Membership Rewards Points: Part 6 – Best Ways to Fly to the Caribbean and 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 and hotel partners when the time comes.
Folks in the miles & points hobby know earning transferable points, like AMEX Membership Rewards points, are the best way to get Big Travel. This can mean a First Class adventure around-the-world, a family trip to Europe, or so many other options! And it’s easy to earn AMEX Membership Rewards points from some of the best American Express cards.
The AMEX Membership Rewards points program has many direct airline and hotel partners. Plus, you’ll get access to other indirect partners as well! So you’ll have lots of choices when planning flights to the Caribbean or 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.
We’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:
- Part 1 – Transfer Partners
- Part 2 – How to Transfer Points
- Part 3 – Best Ways to Fly Within Continental US
- Part 4 – Best Ways to Fly to Hawaii
- Part 5 – Best Ways to Fly to Canada & Alaska
- Part 6 – Best Ways to Fly to Caribbean & Mexico
- Part 7 – Best Ways to Fly to Europe
- Part 8 – Best Ways to Fly to India & Middle East
- Part 9 – Africa
- Part 10 – South America
AMEX Membership Rewards Points for Flights to the Caribbean & Mexico
We’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.
1. Air Canada
Air Canada is a great AMEX transfer partner for award flights to destinations in the Caribbean & Mexico.
That’s 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
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.
Note: Booking award seats to the Caribbean & Mexico directly through United Airlines requires 2,500 fewer 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
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:
- Liberia, Costa Rica
- Los Cabos
- Puerto Vallarta
- San Jose, Costa Rica
The transfer ratio is 1:1. And you can find great deals because British Airways uses a distance-based award chart!
With a distance-based chart, 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 1,151 miles or less
- 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.
We 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.
We 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.
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
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:
- Los Angeles
- New York (JFK and LaGuardia)
- Salt Lake City
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 we found cost:
- 6,000 Delta miles in coach
- 14,000 Delta miles in Business Class
But the price will vary significantly based on the route selected and whether or not a connection is needed.
If you use Flying Blue miles for the same flights, you’ll usually pay:
- 15,000 Flying Blue miles in coach
- 30,000 Flying Blue miles in Business Class
It might seem like booking with Delta is a better deal, but keep in mind that Delta prices will change significantly based on the routes you are looking at while Flying Blue redemptions will remain relatively constant. It’s always best to compare to make sure you are getting the best deal!
Keep in mind, you might not find the same number of available award seats using Flying Blue miles. So we always recommend searching the award calendars before transferring points.
The AMEX transfer ratio to JetBlue is 5:4, which isn’t quite as good as the other AMEX partners. 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, we found a round-trip flight from Orlando to Havana in April 2019 that costs 3,800 JetBlue points and ~$30 in taxes and fees.
So with the 5:4 transfer ratio, you’d need to transfer 4,750 AMEX Membership Rewards points to JetBlue to have enough points to book the flight. That’s less than you’d pay with any other transfer partner even considering the worse transfer ratio!
And JetBlue has 5 US departure cities to fly non-stop to Caribbean & Mexico destinations including:
- Fort Lauderdale
- New York (JFK)
- Washington, DC
Plus, JetBlue flies to the most destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico of any airline, including:
- Santa Clara
- Dominican Republic
- La Romana
- Puerto Plata
- Punta Cana
- Santo Domingo
- Grand Cayman
- Montego Bay
- Haiti (Port-au-Prince)
- Mexico City
- Puerto Rico
- San Juan
- St. Lucia
- St. Maarten
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos
- US Virgin Islands
- St. Croix
- St. Thomas
Use AMEX Pay With Points for Flexibility
If there are no award flights available for your desired travel dates, or you just can’t find an itinerary that meets your requirements, you can always 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 Business Platinum Card® from American Express can effectively get ~1.54 cents per point using the Pay With Points perk to get 35% of their points back when they book coach seats on their selected airline, or Business or First Class seats on any airline.
For example, you could book this round-trip coach itinerary through the AMEX Travel Portal between Miami and Cancun for 22,469 AMEX Membership Rewards points. But if American Airlines is your selected airline, you’d get 7,864 points back (22,469 points X 35%). So your total cost round-trip would be just 14,605 AMEX Membership Rewards points (22,469 – 7,864).
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 ~1.54 cents per point on coach flights on their selected airline or Business and First Class flights with any airline.
What’s your favorite way to get to the Caribbean and Mexico with points?
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