How to Fly to the Caribbean for as Few as 4,500 Miles

Alaska Mileage Plan and British Airways Executive Club offer affordable award flights to the Caribbean.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Updated

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From white sand beaches to incredible resorts, travelers have plenty of compelling reasons to book a Caribbean vacation. However, flying to the Caribbean can be expensive when using airline miles.

But, there's a trick to getting cheap flights to the Caribbean — even for as little as 4,500 miles. All you need to do is book through a distance-based award program, such as Alaska Airlines or British Airways.

Both of these airlines are part of the Oneworld alliance, meaning you can use your Alaska miles or British Avios to book flights on fellow Oneworld partner, American Airlines. Plus, American Airlines has the most extensive Caribbean route map of the U.S. airlines.

Here's what you need to know to fly to the Caribbean for as few as 4,500 miles.

Alaska Airlines Caribbean sweet spot

In March 2024, Alaska Airlines revamped its award chart. Rather than pricing partner awards based on geographic regions, Alaska implemented a distance-based award chart. Now, the price of an award flight depends on the actual distance of the flight.

That was bad news for several Alaska Mileage Plan sweet spots, but great news for travelers who want to fly American Airlines to the Caribbean. That's because partner awards now start at just 4,500 Alaska miles each way.

Alaska Airlines partner award chart

For partner award flights within the Americas, Alaska Mileage Plan now charges the following rates:

  • 4,500 miles for flights up to 700 miles in distance.

  • 7,500 miles for flights of 701 to 1,400 miles in distance.

  • 12,500 miles for flights of 1,401 to 2,100 miles in distance.

  • 17,500 miles for flights of 2,101 to 4,000 miles in distance.

How to get Alaska Airlines miles

The downside to this sweet spot is how hard it can be to easily rack up Alaska Airlines miles. Alaska Mileage Plan is only a transfer partner of a couple of major transferable points programs:

Outside of these few transfer partners, you'd need to earn Alaska miles the hard way — such as flying on Alaska and its partners, via spending on Alaska Airlines credit cards and shopping through Alaska's online shopping portal.

How the Alaska cards compare
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa® Credit Card
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Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card
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Annual fee

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$70 for the company and $25 per card.

Welcome offer

Get 60,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) with this offer. To qualify, make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Get 50,000 bonus miles, $100 statement credit and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $3,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Earning rates

• 3 miles per $1 on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.

• 2 miles per $1 on eligible gas, EV charging, cable, streaming services and local transit (including ride share) purchases.

• 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

• 3 miles per $1 on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.

• 2 miles per $1 on eligible gas, EV charging, shipping and local transit (including ride share) purchases.

• 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

Still not sure?

British Airways' Caribbean sweet spot

Like Alaska Mileage Plan, British Airways Executive Club also uses a distance-based award chart. While the pricing isn't as great as Alaska's, British Airways Avios are easy to accumulate as British Airways is a transfer partner of most major transferable points currencies.

The downside with this British Airways sweet spot? British Airways prices each flight individually. So, this sweet spot is best when you're flying a nonstop route rather than connecting.

British Airways partner award chart

British Airways doesn’t currently publish an award chart. However, we’ve found that award flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines — the two U.S.-based partners of British Airways — cost the following in economy class:

  • 8,250 Avios for flights up to 650 miles in distance.

  • 11,000 Avios for flights of 651 to 1,151 miles in distance.

  • 14,500 Avios for flights of 1,152 to 2,000 miles in distance.

  • 16,000 Avios for flights of 2,001 to 3,000 miles in distance.

Iberia Plus prices American and Alaska awards at the same award rates as British Airways. However, Iberia award searches and bookings can be especially frustrating.

So, we recommend sticking to booking American Airlines award flights through British Airways, even if that means transferring Iberia Avios to British Airways.

British Airways transfer partners

British Airways is a direct transfer partner of all but one major transferable currency — plus an indirect transfer partner of the last. That means it's remarkably easy to accumulate British Airways Avios. You can transfer points to British Airways at a 1:1 transfer ratio from:

You can also transfer Citi ThankYou Points to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio by first transferring points to Qatar Privilege Club and then combining Avios between Qatar and British Airways.

Travelers also have the option of transferring hotel points from several hotel programs to British Airways. However, the poor transfer rates on these generally mean that it's not a good option.

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Welcome offer

Limited time offer! Earn 85,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Limited time offer! Earn 85,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

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Should you book awards with Alaska Airlines or British Airways?

Now that we've covered the award chart for each program, let's compare the award pricing between the two to see which option is better:

Flight distance

Alaska Mileage Plan

British Airways Executive Club

1-650 miles

4,500 miles.

8,250 Avios.

651-700 miles

4,500 miles.

11,000 Avios.

701-1,151 miles

7,500 miles.

11,000 Avios.

1,152-1,400 miles

7,500 miles.

14,500 Avios.

1,401-2,000 miles

12,500 miles.

14,500 Avios.

2,001-2,100 miles

12,500 miles.

16,000 Avios.

2,101-3,000 miles

17,500 miles.

16,000 Avios.

As you can see, Alaska Airlines' new award charts are the clear winner here. As long as you can generate enough Alaska miles, it's almost always better to book American Airlines award flights via Alaska Airlines instead of British Airways.

American Airlines U.S.-Caribbean routes by distance

Because both Alaska Airlines and British Airways use distance-based award charts, the key to saving on American Airlines awards flights to the Caribbean is knowing the distance of the flight you want to take. Let's review which routes price out at each tier.

Routes under 700 miles

To fly to the Caribbean for as few as 4,500 Alaska miles, you'll need to fly on a route under 700 miles. That limits the options to 22 American Airlines routes — almost exclusively from Miami.

Eligible routes from Miami include:

  • Bahamas: Freeport, George Town, Governor's Harbour, Marsh Harbour, Nassau and North Eleuthera.

  • Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman.

  • Cuba: Camagüey, Havana, Holguín, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero.

  • Jamaica: Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Ríos.

  • Mexico: Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum.

  • Turks and Caicos: Providenciales.

The only other routes that slip in at just under 700 miles are between Charlotte, North Carolina, and two destinations in the Bahamas: Freeport and Marsh Harbour.

Routes between 701 and 1,151 miles

The next distance band worth highlighting are routes between 701 and 1,151 miles in distance. Booking an award flight on these routes costs just 7,500 Alaska Mileage Plan miles or 11,000 British Airways Avios — which can be especially appealing during a transfer bonus.

Of the 30 routes in this distance band, almost half (14 routes) are from Miami:

  • Aruba: Oranjestad.

  • Belize: Belize City.

  • British Virgin Islands: Beef Island.

  • Colombia: Barranquilla and Cartagena de Indias

  • Dominican Republic: Puerto Plata, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.

  • Haiti: Port-au-Prince.

  • Honduras: Roatán.

  • Puerto Rico: San Juan.

  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) and Christiansted (St. Croix).

You can fly from Charlotte to eight routes in the Caribbean for as few as 7,500 miles:

  • Bahamas: North Eleuthera, Nassau and George Town.

  • Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman.

  • Mexico: Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum.

  • Turks and Caicos: Providenciales.

Or, you can fly from six other cities to the Caribbean for as few as 7,500 miles each way:

  • Austin to Cancun, Mexico.

  • Dallas-Fort Worth to Cancun, Cozumel or Tulum, Mexico.

  • Nashville to Cancun, Mexico.

  • Philadelphia to Nassau, Bahamas.

  • Raleigh-Durham to Cancun, Mexico.

  • Washington National to Nassau, Bahamas.

Routes between 1,152 and 1,400 miles

The next distance band is narrow but offers some incredible options. Routes up to 1,400 miles are still just 7,500 Alaska miles each way — although the Avios rate jumps to 14,500 Avios each way. That means this distance band is a key sweet spot for Alaska miles.

This distance band covers 24 routes from a dozen different U.S. cities:

Once again, Miami has the most options with seven routes to Anguilla, Antigua, Bonaire, Curaçao, Guadeloupe, Saint Kitts, and St. Maarten.

Charlotte-based travelers can fly to Belize City (Belize), Montego Bay (Jamaica), Puerto Plata and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) for as few as 7,500 miles.

Dallas-based travelers can fly to Belize City (Belize), Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), Nassau (Bahamas) and Roatán (Honduras).

The remaining one-off routes to the Caribbean in this distance band include flights from:

  • Chicago-O’Hare to Nassau, Bahamas.

  • Cincinnati to Cancun, Mexico.

  • Columbus, OH to Cancun, Mexico.

  • Indianapolis to Cancun, Mexico.

  • Kansas City to Cancun, Mexico.

  • New York-JFK to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.

  • Philadelphia to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.

  • Pittsburgh to Cancun, Mexico.

  • St. Louis to Cancun, Mexico.

Routes between 1,401 and 2,000 miles

Lastly, let's review the American Airlines routes up to 2,000 miles. These 39 routes should price at either 12,500 Alaska miles or 14,000 Avios each way.

This list includes 10 routes from Charlotte to southern Caribbean destinations including Aruba, San Juan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Lucia and even Grenada.

Philadelphia-based flyers have nine routes to choose from, including Cancun, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Aruba, Punta Cana, and San Juan.

Seven remaining Miami routes fall in the range between 1,401 and 2,000 miles, including Barbados, Port of Spain, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.

Chicago flyers can book six different routes under 2,000 miles, including flights to Cancun, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.

That leaves seven other routes out of Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York:

Booking tips for award flights to the Caribbean

If you want to book cheap award flights to the Caribbean, Alaska Mileage Plan miles are the key. However, American Airlines needs to release award availability to partners in order for you to take advantage of this sweet spot.

Thankfully, Alaska Airlines makes searching for partner awards a breeze. You can start an award search right on the Alaska Airlines homepage — without even needing to log in — by entering your route, dates, number of passengers and clicking "use miles."

The search results will show a flexible date bar that you can use to easily see prices for nearby dates. Or select "view by calendar" at the top right corner to see a full month-by-month calendar of rates.

Select your date to see the price options for that date — such as these search results for New York to Providenciales.

British Airways doesn't make finding availability as easy. The multistep process requires logging into your account and searching day by day. So, even if you plan to book through British Airways Executive Club, you might want to find availability through Alaska's website first.

If you want to book cheap flights to the Caribbean with miles

Alaska Mileage Plan and British Airways Executive Club offer excellent award rates on American Airlines flights within North America. If you're in Miami or Charlotte, you can book award flights to the Caribbean for as few as 4,500 miles each way.

However, the deals aren't just limited to Miami and Charlotte. Travelers from 17 cities across the U.S. can book flights to the Caribbean for 7,500 Alaska miles or less by taking advantage of this new sweet spot.


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