Off-peak awards are great – it gives you a chance to stretch your miles and be able to experience more places for less. Unfortunately, not every airline publishes off-peak awards. The good news is that American Airlines is one that does have these special awards. We will break down each of the zones that American Airlines uses for their off-peak awards. The first one we looked at was hawaii. The next was to north asia. After that, we looked at Europe. Now, we will look at Mexico and the Caribbean.
American Airlines Off-Peak Awards – Mexico and the Caribbean
American Airlines offers several off-peak awards and they actually have a couple of ways that their off-peak awards are better than US Airways. For example, the awards themselves do not only need to be on AA flights (US Airway off-peak awards must only be on US Airway flights) and you can book one-way awards with AA (US Airway awards must be round-trip). Given the amount of flights that these advantages give us at a decreased level, the American Airline off-peak awards should definitely not be missed.
North America to Mexico and the Caribbean
For the purpose of regions and awards, American Airlines actually has Mexico and the Caribbean separate, but they share award mileage requirements and off-peak dates so I decided to put them together as one. Yes, I know they are geographically different areas. 🙂
US Airways also offers off-peak awards to the Caribbean that can be had for as low as 20,000 miles (roundtrip) for those who carry the US Airways credit card. While American’s off-peak award price is not that low, it does make up for it by giving us a better calendar of availability (US Airways is only available for the month of September).
- Regular award rate in coach – 17,500 miles one-way
- Off-peak award rate in coach – 12,500 miles one way
- Off-peak dates – September 7 – November 14
The off-peak dates make up 18.5% of the year, which is more generous than US Airways and is not that bad considering that these locations are prime vacation spots.
Availability is spotty throughout the Caribbean so you will need to poke around a bit to find what you are looking for. The good thing is that American shows a full month calendar of availability and that can help to break it down a bit. By going through looking at departures out of both Dallas/Ft. Worth and Miami to several destinations, the best destinations seemed to have the most limited availability. American Airlines does offer quite a few destinations throughout the Caribbean so there are a lot of options available. If you do not have a preference of island then you could pick based on availability.
There are many other options, but these are just a few of the random ones that I pulled up for availability.
If you are in the New York City, Charlotte, Philadelphia, or Miami areas, you can use British Airways Avios to book the same saver level awards but for much less than AA requires, even on off-peak pricing. The least amount is 4,500 miles one-way but it can go higher. The normal amount out of Miami would be more likely the 7,500 Avios amount. Here is the zone chart to give you an idea of the Avios required for your trip.
Out of all AA’s off-peak award options, I think this region is the least exciting. The exception would for those who need to make a connection or father away than 3,000 miles from your destination. So, this off-peak option is exciting to people on the West Coast, Canada, Alaska – pretty much anyplace outside of the southeastern US. So, I am not saying this off-peak option is not good, just that it is not as exciting as the other options. Between poor calendar availability and the fact that Avios can be used as well, there could be better ways to use AA miles.
What are some of your favorite Caribbean destinations?