I recently posted that I’ll be heading down to Miami for July 4th weekend after I had two successful BRG hotel claims (note: since that post, I managed to snag another successful BRG too!). Since it was cheaper [by far] to fly from EWR-MIA from Wednesday-Wednesday, I figured I’d block out a few days after July 4th and play around with some Avios redemptions to the Caribbean.
Personally, I am a huge fan of the British Airways Avios program for a number of reasons. The first reason is because the program is distance-based, meaning that award flights start at just 4,500 Avios each way if the distance in air miles is under 600. The second reason is that Avios are generally really easy to obtain via credit card sign-up bonuses. Lastly, I love using Avios for domestic redemptions because the taxes are only $2.50 each way on partner airline, American Airlines.
So far Avios have come to the rescue many times. Not only have I’ve found a number of last-minute flights in the $500+ range that I was able to book with Avios and just $2.50, but Dad and I also used 4,500 Avios each and $31 in taxes to get from Sydney to Melbourne on Oneworld partner, Qantas. Avios are definitely a staple in our household, and I generally transfer all of my American Express Membership Rewards points into the Avios program, especially when there is a transfer bonus.
So now that I have a few days to spare after meeting with friends in Miami, I started putting thought into where in the Caribbean I’d like to hop to from Miami. I’m sure most of you already know that getting to the Caribbean during the summer months, especially over a holiday weekend, can cost a fortune, so if you have Avios to spare this is an excellent redemption opportunity.
I’ve never been to Grand Cayman before, and knowing that the flight is only 4,500 Avios each way (or ~3400 Membership Rewards points with the current 35% transfer bonus) plenty of daily availability, I was pretty much sold. The price in Avios and taxes below reflects the total for two passengers.
That same one-way flight on American Airlines prices out for $504 for two passengers. The return from GCM-MIA came out to 4,500 Avios each plus $82.10 a piece in inevitable taxes. Still, not bad – $84.60 and 9,000 Avios per person for a round-trip flight to Grand Cayman during a peak travel time works for me.
Below is a quick sample guide of where in the Caribbean and Mexico you can go to with Avios. As always, you can always play around with the British Airways Avios Calculator like I did to find more options from your home airport.
- 4,500 Avios Each Way – Grand Cayman (GCM), Nassau, The Bahamas (NAS), Turks & Caicos (PLS), Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
- 7,500 Avios Each Way – Aruba (AUA), Punta Cana (PUJ), Bermuda (BDA), San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), Belize City (BZE), Roatan (RTB), San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR)
- 10,000 Avios Each Way – St Maarten (SXM), Barbados (BGI), Curacao, (CUR), St. Lucia (UVF), Trinidad and Tobago (POS), Martinique (FDF)
From New York
- 7,500 Avios Each Way – Bermuda (BDA)
- 10,000 Avios Each Way – Curacao, (CUR), San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
- 12,500 Avios Each Way – Barbados (BGI)
- *Any of the 4,500 Avios redemptions listed above from Miami are effectively 12,000 Avios each way from NY since NYC-Miami is 7,500 Avios each way.
From Los Angeles
- 7,500 Avios Each Way – Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD)
- 12,500 Avios Each Way – Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
So How Do You Get Avios?
The easiest and fastest way to get Avios is through credit card sign-up bonuses. The first one that obvious comes to mind is the British Airways Visa Signature Card, which comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Avios after a low minimum spending requirement of only $2,000 within 3 months.
For even more Avios, keep in mind is that British Airways is a transfer partner in both the American Express Membership Rewards program and the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program.
Some other Chase cards that allow you to get Avios with 1:1 transfers are the Ink Plus, Ink Bold (both the Plus and the Bold earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months), or Sapphire Preferred (earn 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 in 3 months). All of them earn Ultimate Rewards, which can transfer instantly to British Airways Avios online.
Has anyone else recently redeemed Avios for a flight to the Caribbean or Mexico? If so, where did you go? Any other destinations I can add to the list?
Also, anyone have any recommendations for the Grand Cayman? I’ve already ironed out one night at the Westin Grand Cayman using Starpoints. Would love to hear feedback and recommendations from those who have visited before!