Along with their off-peak awards to Europe, US Airways has some of the best off-peak awards to the Caribbean. I have taken advantage of them before and it is an incredible deal!
US Airways Off-Peak To The Caribbean
The normal price for awards to the Caribbean from the US or Canada (on US Airways) is 35,000 miles. Of course, that amount can be reduced 5,000 miles per person if the account the tickets are booked from has a US Airways credit card tied to it. That by itself can be a huge savings!
But, during the special time of September 1 – 30, 2014, US Airways has declared that as their off-peak economy award season for travel to the Caribbean and only requires 25,000 miles round-trip. That is the same price as normal award travel within the continental US! There is good reason for off-peak timing as September statistically has the most storms in the island areas. However, that can vary widely depending on the island and can still can give you a wonderful opportunity to relax.
We went to Jamaica on US Airways off-peak awards a few years ago and had a great time! Of course, we had a couple of brief island showers, but that did not curb out relaxing time at all. The resort we stayed at had a beautiful balcony right at the water’s edge and also had double-wide doors that opened right up to it from our bedroom. In a way, it was even more relaxing to just lay on the bed and watch the storm take place right outside our bungalow! So, do not let the weather possibilities totally deter you from traveling during this time. Not only can you get a great off-peak award, but you can also secure some great deals on lodging – some up to 50% off!
The exact dates for the off-peak pricing is September 1 – 30. The award prices drop from 35,000 miles round-trip to 25,000 miles round-trip. If you have the US Airways credit card, you are looking at saving another 5,000 miles per person making it only 20,000 miles for travel to the Caribbean!
That is the price for economy. For first/business, it is 50,000 miles round-trip, or 45,000 for cardholders. Even though it is the same difference in price, depending on where in the US you are departing from, I would consider the economy option to be the best way to go. It does not take that many hours to fly to the Caribbean from the hubs of Philadelphia and Charlotte and most cities in the eastern US have just short hops to those hubs. For the price of one business class off-peak ticket, you can get two economy tickets!
Availability is generally pretty good throughout the Caribbean, so you should be able to pick your destination (providing you are able to find award space to the hub airports which normally is not too bad).
- This pricing is only available on US Airway flights – even AA flights do not count
- Only round-trip awards can be booked with US Airway miles
- The $35 award processing fee per ticket
- Some of the destinations (the near ones) can be booked with Avios for a smaller amount, but are only a better deal if booked from Charlotte (because they are distance based). One example is Philadelphia to Bermuda – 7,500 miles one-way.
Just be prepared with the taxes and fees as well – counting the $35 award processing fee, the total cost could be in the average of $150 per ticket.
Below is the list of Caribbean destinations US Airways serves:
- Freeport, Bahamas
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
- Grand Cayman
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- St. Croix, USVI
- St. Thomas, USVI
- Saint Kitts
- St. Lucia
- Bridgetown, Bahamas
That is a nice list and is spread throughout the Caribbean region. Some of them have less availability than others (like St. Lucia – no availability at all except two days of business class!), but you should still be able to find a decent destination.
Getting the Miles
Obviously, the easiest way to get the miles is through the credit card bonus. It currently sits at 40,000 miles after your first purchase payment of the $89 annual fee. So, for $89 (and spending $1 additional), you can pick up 40,000 miles. That is enough for two tickets to the Caribbean during this off-peak period! However, keep in mind that the US Airways Mastercard is offered by Barclaycard. Before you apply, I encourage you to read this previous post to see whether or not this card is the best choice for you right now.
application link – US Airways Mastercard – 40,000 miles (I receive a commission if you apply using this link)
This is an incredible way to get away for even a long weekend. For east coaster dwellers, this is not that different from traveling to the west coast, in fact, it can be even shorter than that. Not only that, but it can give you one final glimpse of decent weather before the difficulties of snow descend on your hometown!
I know my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Jamaica. What happened was that we had some miles with US Airways and we thought we would use them to do an impromtu celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary. For the same amount, we could have gone anywhere in the continental US, but the ability to go to the Caribbean for the same amount was too much of a draw. We had gone to St. Lucia for our honeymoon, so we knew we liked the idea of the Caribbean for relaxation. Sure, you can actually buy tickets a lower cost during this time as well, but if you would like to get a great use from your US Airway miles, this would be a fantastic way to do it!