How to Travel to Cuba on Points and Miles

International flights originating from the United States to Cuba will begin this fall, but until then you’re stuck taking a charter flight from the US or flying to Cuba from somewhere in the Caribbean. Last April, I traveled to Cuba by way of Cancun. From Cancun to Havana I flew on Cubana (Cuba’s state owned airline) direct to Havana. I flew from the United States all the way to Cuba for free. Let me show you how to get to Cuba on points and miles!

 

Charter Flights

Booking a flight to Cuba can be done a variety of ways but the easiest way is to fly on a chartered flight direct from the US. That doesn’t come cheap at around $425-900. Cuba Travel Services allows you to book your flight to Cuba online, with direct charter flights from Miami at around $450. This option was not available to me when I booked my flight. I chose to go through Cancun as the next cheapest option.

Thrifty Tip #1: Use Barclays Arrival statement credits on flights not eligible for point/mile redemptions. Through this method my round-trip flight from Cancun to Havana cost me nothing.

Thrifty Tip #2: Are you planning a future trip and don’t have a lot of time to accumulate points and miles?  The Barclays Arrival card is the best option because you can purchase your flight/trains/hotels now and as long as you receive the bonus points within 120 days, the points can be applied to the prior purchase.

 

Flights from the Caribbean

The best option is to position yourself somewhere in the Caribbean:

Almost all major airlines in the United States fly to Cancun/Mexico City, Grand Cayman, or Nassau. I’d recommend using points and miles to get you there. Then use points from the Barclays Arrival card to pay for your final flight from one of those locations to Havana.

I booked my flights on Cubana, the Cuban state-operated airline, through the Cuba Travel Network, and it was an easy and straightforward process. I had tried to book through Cubana directly but my credit card was declined. My total flight cost was $340 and I was able to get a $340 statement credit using the reward points from the Barclays card, which resulted in the ticket costing me nothing. Slightly more expensive flights can be found from Mexico City, but Cancun seems like the cheapest and easiest routing to Havana. If I were to fly again I’d fly Aeromexico as it’s a much better airline than Cubana. A quick search on Cuba Travel Network shows flights from Cancun for $284.

Thrifty Tip #3: When booking a trip through the Cuba Travel Network make sure to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.  You may be required to pay in a foreign currency.

 

cuba on points

Booking through Cuba Travel Network

 

Bottom Line

If you want to simplify your life, book a charter flight and put the flight on the Barclays Arrival card. The Arrival card even allows you to pay for a prior purchase with points after you’ve earned them! We receive no compensation from Barclays for promoting their credit card. It’s a great card to help you get you to places you can’t book with points, like Cuba! Have you traveled to Cuba on points and miles? Let us know in the comments below!

 
 

Cuba Articles You Should Read Next:

American Travel Guide to Cuba

Tips for Booking Airbnb in Cuba

How to find the fastest WiFi in Havana

 

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