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American Airlines recently launched nonstop service from two southwestern airports — Phoenix Sky Harbor and Dallas-Fort Worth — to the Baja California Peninsula where culture, clear water and aquatic adventures abound. There’s much to do on Mexico’s westernmost peninsula, from sunbathing on the beach and snorkeling off the coast, to investigating historic missions and whale watching.
And now that there are new nonstop flights from these two airports in the U.S., the region is even more accessible. We’ll show you how you can fly to Baja California, Mexico, on American Airlines, plus how to do it using points and miles.
Airports serviced by American in Mexico’s Baja California
American Airlines now flies into three major airports in the state of Baja California Sur:
La Paz International (LAP) — located in the state's capital city, La Paz.
Loreto International Airport (LTO).
San Jose del Cabo (SJD).
The nonstop routes to and from La Paz and Loreto from Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix (or that connect in either airport) are new routes as of December 2020. American Airlines has offered flights to San Jose del Cabo for years; these connect in many other U.S. cities, including Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina.
No matter which airport you’re flying back into, remember that travelers returning to the U.S. must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight home. La Paz airport offers rapid antigen tests on-site to make return travel easier, as do many hotels in California Baja Sur. Plan accordingly.
When to go
There are plenty of ways to take advantage of these new nonstop routes with American Airlines. However, you will have to schedule strategically, as the number of flights is limited to one per week (on Saturdays) between Dallas-Fort Worth and La Paz or Loreto, three per week between Phoenix and La Paz, and four per week between Phoenix and Loreto.
These flights aren’t all available year-round. According to American Airlines’ schedule, flights started in December and continued through April to La Paz and through May to Loreto. Then, flights to La Paz pick up again in June through December. Many sources state a slightly different schedule; checking the booking calendar on aa.com will tell you for certain what is available.
Flights with a stop are available throughout the week to the Baja California Sur destinations.
How to book your flight with miles
You can fly to Baja California, Mexico, on American Airlines with miles. It's easy to figure out how many miles you’ll need because American is one of the few major airlines left that still publishes an award chart.
From the continental U.S. or Canada, you can expect to book a round-trip flight for as few as 12,500 miles for MileSAAver off-peak flights. However, most award flights we found were in the 10,000-15,000 range per one-way flight.
It’s easy to book award travel on aa.com. All you have to do is select your preferred travel dates and check the Redeem Miles box. All available award flights will then be shown.
You can book your hotel with points, too
The Coast Baja Resort and Spa in La Paz is an IHG hotel and can be booked with points. Located on the shimmering Sea of Cortez, rates start at 17,500 points per night. There does appear to be limited availability, however. When booking award nights, your best bet is to plan ahead.
Don’t have enough points for your whole stay? Consider the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase. The current sign-up bonus is: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Benefits include a free night after your account anniversary, automatic Platinum Elite status and a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit, among other benefits.
How to earn AAdvantage Miles
Get a co-branded credit card
If you need more miles for an American Airlines award flight to Baja California, Mexico, fast, consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. You can earn this sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening The $450 annual fee is even waived the first year. Cardholders earn up to 2x miles per dollar spent, and in 2021, the Elite Qualifying Dollar requirement to qualify for AAdvantage Gold, Platinum or Platinum Pro status is waived as long as you spend $30,000.
» Learn more: 34 ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles
Transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy to American Airlines
If you have Marriott Bonvoy points saved up, you can also use those to book an award flight on American Airlines — simply transfer them to your AAdvantage account. Marriott will even tack on an extra 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points you transfer.
Points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, meaning for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll get 1 AAdvantage mile.
You can transfer 3,000 to 240,000 points a day, so whether you need a little boost or enough miles for a whole flight, you’re covered.
Earn by flying American Airlines or its partners
You can also earn AAdvantage miles by flying with American Airlines or its partners. Frequent flyers who are loyal to the airline will rack up miles more quickly. The number of miles you earn per flight is based on the price of your ticket, so the more you spend, the more you earn.
Passengers who are AAdvantage members start earning 5 miles per dollar spent, but that number goes up with each elite status level. Members in Executive Platinum, the highest elite status tier, for example, earn 11 miles per dollar spent.
You can also earn miles on American’s partner airlines, which include Oneworld airline partners, plus several others, like:
If you fly to Baja California with American Airlines
Baja California Sur, Mexico, is more accessible than ever with the addition of new nonstop routes on American Airlines from the southwest. Sure, Cabo San Lucas may have been off your radar for some time now, but the new routes to La Paz and Loreto offer an escape from some of the crowds as well as adventure opportunities galore, on and off dry land. And since the destinations are easily booked with AAdvantage miles, the Mexican peninsula is more inviting for points-savvy travelers.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card