Last updated: 02:49 PM ET, Wed March 18 2015

How To Use Frequent Flier Miles to Fly to Cuba

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | March 18, 2015

How To Use Frequent Flier Miles to Fly to Cuba

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The guys over at the Mile Value blog stay way ahead of the game when it comes to knowing what you can and cannot use your frequent flyer miles for.  They also do a pretty good job at figuring out ways to beat the system.  Travel hacks like applying for credit cards to get frequent flyer miles, and then using those miles to fly free. 

Well when Cuba opened for travel, Mile Value started to crunch the numbers, make the phone calls and do the research to figure out if there truly was a way for someone to use their miles to fly to Cuba from the U.S.  And the envelope please?

The short answer is yes.  You can indeed use your points in a very limited, work-around kind of way.  If you would like to read about the minutia of how exactly the guys did figure it out, you can read about it here. But I will give you the answer as “plane” Jane as I can.

Lufthansa is willing to book you through Panama to Cuba with their partner Copa Airlines, which is Panama’s flag carrier and maintains their hub there. They fly from many places in the U.S. including Boston, New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and more. Now keep in mind that you are still going to responsible for your taxes, etc. but theoretically you should be good to go.

So how many miles does it cost? Well if you book through Lufthansa you are looking to spend about 17,000 each way. That isn’t that bad because sometimes domestic flights are more than that. Now remember you have to have the 34,000 Lufthansa Miles and More points before you could redeem that. 

Here is a nice workaround for you with that. The Mile Value guys recommend taking your Starwood Hotel SPG Starpoints and transferring them at 1:1 rate over to Miles and More points which, as of right now, works out to 5000 point bonus per 20,000 points transferred to Miles and More.

There you go.  Is it easy? Sort of. But is this doable? Definitely.  You can go to Cuba on points.  Now I just have to figure out how to apply for all those credit cards to get those free miles.  I know that Scott and Bill from Miles Value have some tips for you there.

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