How to Fly to the Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points

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Get a great deal on a Caribbean vacation from several US cities with British Airways Avios points!

You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and meet the minimum spending requirements.  And you can transfer your points directly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Aruba, Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico…Where Will You Go With British Airways Avios Points?

There’s also an offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card.

I’ll show you how to get to the Caribbean with British Airways Avios points.  And help you decide which card is best for your situation!

Who Should Use United Airlines Miles Instead of British Airways Avios Points?

Folks who can’t get to 1 of the US departure cities with non-stop flights using British Airways Avios points might consider using United Airlines miles instead.  (I’ll show you which cities have direct flights.)

You can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to both United Airlines and British Airways.

United Airlines charges the same number of miles for flights to the Caribbean, regardless of which city you’re starting from in the continental US, Alaska, or Canada.  And there’s no price difference if you fly on United Airlines, or a partner airline.

To the Caribbean, 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

Note that United Airlines doesn’t have many planes that have First Class to the Caribbean.  So your options are mainly coach or Business Class.

Here’s how to get to the Caribbean using United Airlines miles.

Who Should 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

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

You can use British Airways Avios points to book flights to the Caribbean on American AirlinesDepending on where you depart, you’ll often pay significantly fewer miles with British Airways Avios points to the Caribbean.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Folks in the Eastern or Southern US Will Get a Better Deal (and Get to Relax on the Beach Faster) With British Airways Avios Points, Because You’ll Pay Based on Distance Flown

Folks less than 3,000 miles from where they want to visit will get the best deal with British Airways Avios points.  That’s because you’ll pay:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points for flights under 650 miles (until February 2, 2016, then 7,500 British Airways Avios points)
  • 7,500 British Airways Avios points for flights between 650 and 1,150 miles
  • 10,000 British Airways Avios points for flights between 1,150 and 2,000 miles
  • 12,500 British Airways Avios points for flights between 2,000 and 3,000 miles

Beyond that, you’ll get a better deal using United Airlines miles to fly to the Caribbean in coach.

With British Airways Avios points, you’ll pay 2X to 3X the coach price for Business Class award flights.  And up to 4X the price for First Class.

Using the same award prices from before, folks under 2,000 miles from where they want to visit will get the same or better deal with British Airways Avios points in Business Class or First Class.  Otherwise, you’re better off using United Airlines miles.

Also consider if you have more of either type of points, and how easy they are for you to collect.  Flights times and dates might be a deciding factor, too.

For example, if British Airways Avios points are easier for you to earn, you may decide to pay a little more for better flights.  As always, do what’s best for your situation.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
If You Have to Connect, You’ll Pay More British Airways Avios Points, So United Airlines Miles Might Be a Better Deal For You. Always Run the Numbers Before You Book!

Keep in mind British Airways charges per segment flown.  So if you have to connect, you’ll pay more miles.

Sometimes it can be worth connecting, and you can get a better deal even if you pay for each segment.  You can always use the British Airways award flight calculator to add them up and see how many miles you’ll need for your trip.

And you can check Wandering Aramean’s Avios calculator tool to see all the places you can fly from your home airport non-stop with British Airways Avios points.

Where Can You Go?

It’s a good idea to check flight prices using United Airlines AND British Airways Avios points.  And pick the flights you like better.

That’s 1 reason I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Because you have the flexibility to transfer to either British Airways OR United Airlines!

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

United Airlines never adds fuel surcharges to award tickets, although the final cost varies depending on the route and the country you fly into.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Taxes and Fees Can Add an Extra $100 to Your Award Ticket, Depending on Where You Visit

And round-trip taxes and fees on American Airlines are usually around $100, regardless of which cabin you fly.  For example, I found round-trip non-stop award flights in January 2016 on American Airlines from Dallas to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for 20,000 British Airways Avios points + $115 in taxes.

You’d pay 35,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip award flight, so in this case, it’s a better deal to use British Airways Avios points.

As always, run the numbers to find the best deal for you before you book!

Let’s look at a few examples where you can go, and who gets the best deals to the Caribbean with British Airways Avios points.  I used Wandering Aramean’s Avios calculator tool to check lots of different Caribbean destinations.

1.   Aruba

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Folks in Charlotte, Miami, or Philadelphia Get a Great Deal With British Airways Avios Points to Aruba!

You can fly to Aruba non-stop from:

  • Charlotte – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Miami – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Philadelphia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
See Aruba’s Pink Flamingos for 10,000 Avios Points (or Less) Each Way From 3 US Cities!

2 and 3.   Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica

How about Grand Cayman?  Folks on TripAdvisor recommend it for the scuba diving and snorkeling.  Emily might want to use her new scuba certification here!

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Are You Adventurous Enough to Swim With the Sting Rays?

Or perhaps you could visit Sting Ray City to see the sting rays!

You can visit non-stop from:

  • Charlotte – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Dallas – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Miami – 4,500 British Airways Avios points

From the same cities, and same prices, you could also visit Montego Bay, Jamaica!  This is a popular destination for folks who like to stay at all-inclusive resorts during their vacations.

4.   Nassau, Bahamas

The Bahamas are also a popular tourist destination.  You can fly from Charlotte or Philadelphia non-stop for 7,500 British Airways Avios points.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Find Wild Dolphins Swimming in the Clear Blue Water Near The Bahamas!

But if you’re not in 1 of those cities, you might be better off using United Airlines miles instead.

Don’t forget, you can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest and get a fantastic deal on a vacation on a Bahamian vacation!

5.   Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a perennial favorite thanks to its warm temperatures and beautiful beaches!  Be sure to read my tips on how to get the best price at all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.

Emily had a great birthday trip to the Dominican Republic with 1 of her best friends, including Latin dancing!

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Swim, Lay Out, or Even Windsurf on the Beaches of the Dominican Republic

You can fly non-stop from:

  • Boston – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Charlotte – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Miami – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Philadelphia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points

6.   San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a fun island to visit – and you don’t need a passport!

And because it’s a US territory, there are no credit card foreign transaction fees to think about.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
San Juan Is Close to Home – and There Are Lots of Cities You Can Fly From!

This destination also has the most non-stop flights on American Airlines, including:

  • Charlotte – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Chicago – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Dallas – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Miami – 7,500 British Airways Avios points
  • New York – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Philadelphia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points

Chase Ultimate Rewards or British Airways Avios Points?

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 best bonus I’ve seen on the card.  And it’s the #1 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 Business Cash Credit Card, 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 The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
You’ll Earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on All Your Travel and Dining, No Matter Where in the World You Travel

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.

For folks who aren’t near 1 of the cities with non-stop flights, United Airlines miles might be a better choice.  With Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer to both programs!

And the Chase Sapphire Preferred does NOT have foreign transaction fees.  So it’s ideal to use to earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points while dining out in the Caribbean!

Chase British Airways

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

Chase also has a fantastic offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways card after meeting the required tiered spending.  Here are the details of the offer.

That’s enough for 5 round-trip flights from New York to Aruba or Puerto Rico on American Airlines.  Or 6 round-trip flights from Charlotte to Grand Cayman or Montego Bay, Jamaica.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Pack Your (Beach) Bags! If You’re Near a City With Non-Stop Service to the Caribbean, You Can Get Lots of Trips With British Airways Avios Points!

If you live near a city with non-stop service to the Caribbean, this card might be the better choice because the total bonus is double – more award flights for you!  But be sure you’re comfortable meeting the full minimum spending requirement.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase British Airways card does NOT have foreign transaction fees.

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.

And you might even decide to get the Chase British Airways card even if you don’t want to spend what’s required to earn the most bonus points.

As always, do what’s best for you!

Can’t Decide Which Card?

It’s possible to get both cards if you’re comfortable meeting the minimum spending requirements.  And as always, only get into this hobby if you pay your bills on-time!

Chase has tightened up on their approvals, especially 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, and pay your bills each month, you still have a good chance.

How To Fly To The Caribbean With British Airways Avios Points
Which One? Why Not Both? But Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st to Be on the Safe Side

That said, you should apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred if that’s your top choice.  It’s the #1 card I recommend if you’re starting out with miles and points because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are very flexible.

But if you know you want to redeem British Airways Avios points for award flights to the Caribbean or Europe, the current offer for the Chase British Airways card is the best I’ve seen in nearly 2 years!

Both cards could add up to a LOT of Big Travel to the Caribbean!

Where to Stay?

Check out my posts about where to stay 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 you can transfer your points directly to British Airways and United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

You can use British Airways Avios points for award flights to the Caribbean on airline partner American Airlines.  It’s a fantastic option for folks on the East Coast, or in the Southern US.

And if you’re on the West Coast, or far from where you want to visit, you might prefer to use United Airlines miles.

If you’re in a city with non-stop service the Caribbean, the Chase British Airways card is ideal because you can earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points.  That can add up to a LOT of Big Travel!

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

Let me know if you’ll plan a Caribbean getaway with your miles or points!

Million Mile Secrets features a team of points and miles experts who have traveled to over 80 countries and have used 60+ credit cards responsibly to accumulate loyalty points and travel the world on the cheap! The Million Mile Secrets team has been featured on The Points Guy, TIME, Yahoo Finance and many other leading points & miles media outlets.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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