Zika-Free Beach Destinations on Points & Miles

Zika-Free Beach Destinations on Points & Miles

Category : Uncategorized

[DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or medically trained professional; the destinations suggested are based on my research and understanding of the virus. Travel to these destinations at your own discretion]

The onslaught of the Zika virus and the deleterious affects on fetus has caused understandable concern amongst travelers worldwide, but in particular those in North America, on travel to the Caribbean, South America and Central America.

Some areas are more affected than others, but the question remains for those pregnant, or attempting to conceive: is it worth the risk?

60% of Americans have indicated that they would change their travel plans to avoid Zika zones.

So does that mean all of the Caribbean, South and Central America are off limits?

I am not a physician. Consult your doctor before going to any of those geographical regions. That being said, the CDC has published it’s map/list of Zika affected areas in those geographical regions, and as hard as it is to believe, there are still some Zika free beach-y destinations that are not as more or required as many miles asHawaii or Phuket, Thailand.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 9.31.11 AM

Or…

zika infected

Per cdc.gov as of 04/18/16

 

So, what’s left?

  • Turks & Caicos
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Monserrat
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Bermuda
  • Anguilla
  • Peru
  • Chile
  • Argentina
  • Uruguay

Keep in mind:

  • With many of the South American destinations you will may to transit through an airport that is in an affected area.
  • Always re-check the CDC site as it is constantly being updated.
  • Do your own search; the tourism websites, if Zika free, will proudly display that (Bahamas, for example).
  • Contact your doctor!

The Fun Part: Using Miles

In terms of using miles on flights, Monserrat and the main airport in the British Virgin Islands (on Tortola, EIS) only has regional island flights which can only be booked using miles on United.

 All tickets are one-way and coach/business
Destination Airport Code American United Air France Singapore
Turks & Caicos PLS 12,500/25,000 17,500/30,000 15,000/37,500 17,500/30,000
Nassua, Bahamas NAS 12,500/25,000 17,500/30,000 15,000/37,500 17,500/30,000
Antigua & Barbuda ANU 12,500/25,000 17,500/30,000 15,000/37,500 17,500/30,000
Monserrat MNI Not bookable Not bookable Not bookable Not bookable
Tortola, British V.I. EIS Not bookable 17,500/30,000 Not bookable Not bookable
Bermuda BDA 12,500/25,000 17,500/30,000 15,000/37,500 17,500/30,000
Anguilla AXA 12,500/25,000 17,500/30,000 15,000/37,500 17,500/30,000
Lima, Peru LIM 20,000/30,000 20,000/35,000 17,500/42,500 30,000/50,000
Santiago, Chile SCL 30,000/57,500 30,000/55,000 25,000/62,500 30,000/50,000
Buenos Aires, Argentina EZE 30,000/57,500 30,000/55,000 25,000/62,500 30,000/50,000
Montevideo, Uruguay MVD 30,000/57,500 30,000/55,000 25,000/62,500 30,000/50,000

Using Singapore miles on the United flights would get you to your Caribbean gateway, but not get you to Tortola (via most likely San Juan). Singapore air is not partners with the regional, non-Star Alliance partner so they would be unable to book you on that flight.

What about British, jetBlue and Delta?

British Airways Avios

British is distance based, so it will depend on your departure. In terms of using those miles on American flights, Miami has the most non-stop flights to the Caribbean and South and Central America. That’s great if you’re starting from Miami. If you’re leaving from any other hub there may, or may not be a direct flight, especially to some of these not-as-common Zika-free Caribbean locations. Check for departures from Charlotte (CLT), Raleigh-Duram (RDU), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) .

New York to Bermuda – 7,500 Avios/person/direction of travel

At 7,500 miles and $5.00, this is a great bargain

At 7,500 miles and $5.00, this is a great bargain

Miami to Nassau, Bahamas – 7,500 Avios/person/direction of travel

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 10.44.56 AM

Using Avios for Caribbean getaways can be a great value, but if you need to connect via Miami or another focus/city or hub of American, British will charge you two award tickets.

jetBlue

Like Southwest, jetBlue’s award tickets are based off of the price of the ticket. So depending on the time of year and your flexibility (as always), you can score some sweet deals… or not so good.

jetBlue also operates many, many flights to many Caribbean and South/Central American destinations. San Juan is also a mini-hub for them so you can connect to some of the more remote islands via that airport.

jetBlue has a nice calendar view that shows you the cheapest prices:

New York’s JFK to Nassau, Bahamas, month of May –

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.42.26 PM

Fort Lauderdale (FLL) is also a hub for jetBlue and a gateway to some locations, include Turks & Caicos:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.43.36 PM

Overall, jetBlue represents another solid option to lots of these destinations with nonstop availability. If you can be flexible, you’ll get better results and cheaper redemptions.

Delta

Delta is hardest to pin down as their Skymiles pricing is variable. It’s very possible to find one-ways from their North American gateways (ATL, DTW, JFK) to places like the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos for 10,000 Skymiles per direction, per person. Not a bad deal.

Here’s my tip: if you’re flexible, use the 5 week flexible calendar search. And always search one ways with Delta.

Here’s a sampling with random dates and some of the destinations from the chart.

Atlanta to Turks & Caicos, non-stop starting at 17,500 per person, per direction in coach:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 10.52.39 AM

But, can we do better?

New York to Nassau, Bahamas:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 10.54.17 AM

We sure can! That’s just one month, for one passenger, but I’ve seen these prices at various times of the year. If the tickets are worth about $100, or even a little less, I’d jump on these if the dates and timing worked.

Some points hotels in these locations:

This is not a comprehensive list of hotel options; rather, it shows a list of point options available in the location. I use Wandering Arameans Hotel Hustle tool to see availability and locations across the hotel chains.

  • Turks & Caicos – None
  • Nassau, Bahamas – Marriott/Atlantis
  • Antigua & Barbuda – None
  • Monserrat – None
  • British Virgin Islands – Scrub Island, Marriott, 45,000 pts.
  • Bermuda – Two Fairmont hotels
  • Anguilla – None
  • Lima, Peru – Wyndham, IHG 25,000 pts., Marriott 20,000 pts., Hilton 40,000 & 50,000
  • Santiago, Chile – Hyatt 5,00 & 8,000 pts., IHG 25,000 pts., Hilton 30,000 & 50,000 pts., Marriott/Rits 25,000, 30,000 & 45,000 pts.
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – Wyndham, Hyatt 20,00 pts., Starwood 7,000 & 10,000 pts., IHG 25,000, Hilton 60,000 pts.
  • Montevideo, Uruguay – IHG 15,000 pts., Hilton 40,000 pts.

Overall

Ultimately, it depends where you want to go and how flexible you can be. If you’re limited to the nine or ten destinations from the Zika free zone, you now have a sense of which miles are cheapest, best redemptions, and best flexibility.  And because Zika is so limiting and if it is something you may want to avoid, it’s best use this list as a starting point.

 

-The Miner

[DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or medically trained professional; the destinations suggested are based on my research and understanding of the virus. Travel to these destinations at your own discretion]

 


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