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Getting to Cuba with miles – Flying Blue is your easiest bet for now

by on Fri January 16, 2015 • 3 Comments

Itching to get to Havana now that travel restrictions are eased?

For now, no U.S. carrier can issue you an award ticket to Cuba, so you won’t be able to use your regular American, Delta, or United miles just yet.

But if you use a foreign country airline’s mile program it is possible

These are the major alliance-linked routes into Havana from North America and Northern South America:

  • Mexico City, Cancun: Aeromexico (SkyTeam)
  • Panama City: Copa (Star Alliance)
  • San Salvador: Avianca (Star Allliance)
  • Bogota: Avianca, Copa (Star Alliance)
  • Lima: LAN (OneWorld)
  • Toronto: Air Canada (Star Alliance, but no award seats available)

And the easiest points program to use is Air France Flying Blue, which is both an American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partner.
That lets you take advantage of Aeromexico’s flights from Mexico City, as well as its less frequent Cancun to Havana flights.

You can search for Mexico to Havana award seats on the Air France website, but you can’t search for trips that originate in the U.S. online just yet.

To get around that, you can call the Flying Blue service center on 800 375 8723.

They can set up a reservation that includes connecting flights on Delta or Alaska Airlines, like this one:


We didn’t try to ticket this, but the Air France agent said it would be possible (though we take it with a grain of salt). We also contacted Delta and agents said as long you have the proper documentation, it’s okay to board an itinerary to Havana that begins with Delta, but ticketed on another carrier.

Alternatively, if you want to fly to Mexico City on a separate ticket, perhaps with British Airways Avios, you can do that too, and just buy the Mexico to Havana ticket with Flying Blue. That will definitely ticket.

But only do this with a U.S. credit card if you are going for one of the currently legitimate reasons. Though clearly things are becoming much more relaxed.

What about Star Alliance?

Air Canada doesn’t sell any award seats on its Havana flights. It stopped doing so on its daily Toronto to Havana flight in 2012, when it transferred the marketing of the flights to Air Canada Vacations, which sells them as part of vacation packages. That means no luck for using miles from Air Canada or any other Star Alliance partner.

Other Star Alliance members can show award seats. But you have to travel to Bogota, San Salvador, or Panama City for flights, all of which are pretty far out of the way from the U.S. You could also use other Star Alliance miles like ANA or Lufthansa to book those routes. But note the ANA site says its US call center and site won’t sell tickets to Havana, though if you use its international call center it’s possible.

Copa + MileagePlus could eventually work. We actually tried making a reservation by calling the Latin America MileagePlus call center on +507 265 0040 which is designed for Copa Airlines fliers, as this FlyerTalk thread mentioned. Copa and United share the MileagePlus program, though that ends this Summer.

We had success making a reservation using a U.S. MileagePlus account as the basis, but the agent said the reservation needed to be ticketed at a Copa Airlines ticket office, making this impractical.

And OneWorld?

There isn’t much OneWorld presence in Central America outside of American Airlines, which can’t issue tickets yet. But Andy of Lazy Travelers Handbook notes below there is availability on LAN’s Lima to Havana route when you search on


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3 thoughts on Getting to Cuba with miles – Flying Blue is your easiest bet for now

  1. XRO

    Are you sure you can still fly from Pointe a Pitre to Havana on AF?
    Did you get a miles quote for LAX GDL MEX HAV in business?
    For AM HAV MEX YUL, the flying blue website quotes 61250 miles, which is 30k for HAV MEX and 31.25k for MEX YUL, instead of something around 30k for the whole trip from zone HAV/Caribbeans to zone North America.

  2. Andy Shuman

    Great research, but One World would be yes! Lim-Hav on LAN Chile for 12.5K Avios. search shows some availability. I’ve come all the way to the payment page.


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