How to use British Airways Avios points for flying to the Caribbean

How to use British Airways Avios points for flying to the Caribbean

Few destinations in the world offer a better tropical-paradise experience than the beaches of the Caribbean. The white sands, turquoise waters, and lovely locals combined with some of the best luxury accommodations money can buy make this a destination like few others. If you're thinking about what to do with your British Airways Avios points, the Caribbean is a great option to consider.

But how do you get the best deals and make the most of each point? How do you choose the best itinerary to stretch each Avios to the max? Understanding loyalty rewards and redemption options can sometimes feel daunting, which is why, in this post, I'll show you how the British Airways Avios loyalty program works, how to find flights to the Caribbean for next to nothing and even some tips on how to use credit card bonuses to get enough Avios points to pay for your next luxury vacation.

What are Avios points?

Avios points are the loyalty points used in three popular airline loyalty programs:

  • British Airways' frequent flyer program, Executive Club
  • Spain's Iberia airline's loyalty program, Iberia Plus
  • Ireland's Aer Lingus loyalty program, AerClub

These are loyalty rewards programs that let you earn loyalty points by flying on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus flights, as well as on other partner carriers. You can also accrue Avios points by signing up to and using certain partner credit cards or transferring points or miles from other frequent flyer programs such as Air Canada's Aeroplan or hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy.

In other words, Avios points are the point currency you use in the Executive Club, Iberia Plus and AerPlus frequent flyer programs. They're what you earn as a club member when using these airlines' services, and they're what you use to pay for reward flights, merchandise and other types of redemptions within each program.

Redeeming Avios for flights is the best way to use these points. They'll help you save hundreds of dollars per fare in every leg of your trip, meaning you'll have more money left to save or to invest or to spend on your next luxury trip.

Why choose Avios over other loyalty points or miles

Avios points are very valuable because you can use them in one of the widest-reaching airline partner networks out there. This is another way of saying that, no matter where you are in the world, there's a good chance that you'll be able to buy a flight with Avios instead of cash. I've personally used Avios points to book flights between several South American countries like Colombia, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay; within South Africa; into and out of Asia, and more. They just work.

The other thing I like about Avios is that they offer almost unmatched flexibility. No matter what flight you want to book, Avios lets you choose between several points and cash splits, which most other loyalty programs don't offer. This lets you decide how many Avios you want to spend (if you're saving some for something else) and makes redemption flights available even if you don't have enough Avios to book the whole fare.

It's as if you could choose different combinations of different currencies to pay for your flight. This alone makes transferring points from other loyalty rewards programs to Avios worthwhile. In the following sections, we'll see how you can use your Avios to pay for flights and how much your points are worth when redeemed this way.

Flying to the Caribbean with Avios points

From Miami to The Caribbean using Avios

The best way to get to the Caribbean using Avios is by taking off from Miami. This is because American Airlines' hub in Miami feeds most beach destinations in the Caribbean, and you'll be able to pay most of the fare with Avios.

Do note, however, that American Airlines doesn't offer first-class seats to the Caribbean, so if traveling in style is what you're looking for, you'll have to settle for business class instead. In the worst of cases, you'll have to choose an economy class ticket and leave all the pampering to the hotel once you get there.

Here are some example flights you can take from Miami to some popular Caribbean destinations:

From Miami to The Bahamas for under $7 (Economy Class)

The following is a screenshot of the Avios program's reward flight finder. This particular flight is an economy-class flight on American Airlines. As you can see, you can travel from Miami to the Bahamas for next to nothing.

Avios 1

Most Caribbean destinations departing from Miami will cost you 7,500 Avios like the one above, plus a slightly variable amount in taxes, fees and other surcharges. If getting there is all you care about, this flight will leave your wallet almost untouched so you can enjoy more on the island.

From Miami to Aruba in Business Class for under $16

If you think your Avios will only help you fly cheaply in economy class, think again. Consider this longer flight in business class that only costs 16,500 Avios + $15.60 in taxes and fees.

Avios 2

Aruba is among the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. This particular flight offers great value for each Avios you spend. If we compare this payment option with the cheapest possible business class flight from Miami to Aruba on the same day, you'll get an idea of how much these 16,500 Avios are saving you.

The following screenshot shows the cheapest flight as found on Google Flights. 

Avios 3

This flight costs $313, which means that, by redeeming your Avios, you're saving $313 - $15.60 = $297.4.

This means that each Avios gets a redemption value of 1.8 cents per point (CCP), which is about average for business-class flights.

From New York (JFK) to The Caribbean

Miami isn't the only hub where you'll get a good value on redemption flights to the Caribbean. Another good option is to depart from New York. For example, this next flight takes you from La Guardia to Aruba for 22,000 Avios and the same $15.60 in taxes and fees.

Avios 4

In this case, the cheapest similar flight for the same date costs $428.

Avios 5

Based on the above, the 22,000 Avios help you save $412.40, giving each Avios a value of 1.9 CPP, so this option lets you get more out of your hard-earned Avios.

How To Get Avios Points

Credit card welcome bonuses

Your ticket to 100,000+ Avios points is to sign up for a travel rewards credit card like the American Express Platinum Card or another similar option. There are some cards that will earn Avios directly, but it’s usually better to stick with card-issuer loyalty programs since they’ll normally deliver a higher earn rate and many offer juicy bonuses that will have you flying for almost nothing in no time.

Once you have your points, it all comes down to transferring them to Avios so yu can redeem them for flights.

Transferring points from other loyalty rewards programs

As mentioned before, Avios allows you to transfer points from several different loyalty rewards programs, including hotel chains like Marriott, credit card loyalty programs like the Amex Membership Rewards program, and even other frequent flyer programs like Aeroplan, Ait Canada's loyalty program.

This can be a great way to top off your Avios account if you need a few more for that dream redemption flight. However, you have to be mindful of the ratio at which each transfer is performed. Marriott Bonvoy points are less valuable than most other loyalty programs, so you'll get 1 Avios for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points, which is not a great deal. However, most other loyalty programs let you transfer at a 1:1 rate.

You first have to sign up for Avios here. The application takes only a couple of minutes and everyone is approved, plus you’ll get access to British Airways’ Avios search tool, so you can start searching for your ideal flights right away.

Once your account is live and verified, you'll be able to transfer your other points to Avios.

The bottom line

Avios points are great to have and even better to redeem. No matter where you're looking to travel in the Caribbean, there's a good chance that you can find a great flight deal using Avios. American Airlines offers some of the cheapest flights to many popular destinations, and if you're willing to fly business class, you can get even more value for your points. So don't wait - start redeeming your Avios today for a trip to paradise.

Article by Jordan Bishop