How to fly to the Caribbean with BA Avios or Virgin Points

Jul 28, 2021

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If you’re a U.K.-based traveller and dreaming of a tropical beach break in the sun, the Caribbean is a great option — especially during the northern winter when warmth and sun back home are in short supply.

Related: These are the best times to visit the Caribbean

Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have substantial Caribbean networks and can be a great use of Avios and Virgin Points.

Related: The best UK miles and points credit cards of 2021

Here are your options, and how to book them.

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(Photo courtesy of The Islands of Copperfield Bay, Bahamas)

British Airways Avios

Currently, British Airways does — or plans to — fly from London (LHR and LGW) to the following Caribbean destinations, though this is subject to change due to the pandemic:

  • Antigua and Barbuda (ANU)
  • Barbados (BGI)
  • Cayman Islands (GCM)
  • Grenada (GND)
  • Nassau (Bahamas) (NAS)
  • Port of Spain (Trinidad) (POS)
  • Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) (PUJ)
  • Saint Kitts (SKB)
  • Saint Lucia (UVF)
  • Tobago (TAB)
  • Turks and Caicos (PLS)

Related: An insider’s guide to what to see and do in Jamaica with a family

All British Airways Caribbean destinations cost the same amount of Avios:

  • World Traveller (economy) — 16,250 Avios each way off-peak per person or 25,000 Avios each way, peak per person;
  • World Traveller Plus (premium economy) — 32,500 Avios off-peak or 50,000 Avios peak;
  • Club World/Club Suite (business class) — 62,500 Avios off-peak or 75,000 Avios peak; and
  • First (where offered) — 85,000 Avios off-peak or 100,000 Avios peak.

Fees, taxes and surcharges are payable on all redemptions.

If you can’t decide on just one Caribbean island to visit and fancy some island hopping with Avios, you’re in luck.

While schedules and routings are subject to change, British Airways usually operates some cool fifth-freedom routes where it flies from London to one island and then onto another. For example, the flights to the Cayman Islands operate via the Bahamas. You can book London to just the Bahamas, London all the way to the Cayman Islands or just the Bahamas to Cayman Islands leg if you wish.

Even better, these fifth-freedom flights can be booked as a Reward Flight Saver, and availability in all classes is usually excellent as the flights are rarely full on those extra hops.

Related: The cheapest and most comfortable way to island-hop around the Caribbean

You could also choose to redeem Avios on flights via the United States and Spain with British Airways’ partners American Airlines and Iberia, respectively, though note this will require significantly more Avios and travel time than flying nonstop with BA.

Bottom Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Caribbean island of Barbados. (Photo by Fyletto/Getty Images)

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly to quite as many islands as British Airways, but there’s still plenty of great options to use your Virgin Points.

Virgin currently flies to — or intends to fly to — the following destinations from London (LHR):

  • Antigua and Barbuda (ANU)
  • Barbados (BGI)
  • Grenada (GND)
  • Havana (HAV)
  • Montego Bay Jamaica (MBJ)
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVD)
  • Tobago (TAB)

Virgin also flies from Manchester (MAN) to Barbados (BGI).

Related: 9 amazing places to use points for a trip to the Caribbean

Virgin Atlantic also prices all of its Caribbean destinations the same amount of Virgin Points.

  • Economy — 10,000 Virgin Points each way off-peak per person, 20,000 miles each way, peak per person;
  • Premium economy — 17,500 miles off-peak, 27,500 miles peak; and
  • Upper Class (business class) — 57,500 miles off-peak, 67,500 miles peak.

Fees, taxes and surcharges are payable on all redemptions. When compared to the British Airways Avios price, Premium with Virgin Atlantic is an especially excellent deal.

Virgin Atlantic’s partner airlines Delta, KLM and Air France also fly to a number of destinations in the Caribbean. You will need to spend more Virgin Points and it will take longer to reach these destinations if flying via the United States, France or the Netherlands versus nonstop, but it at least opens some additional options.

If you’re looking for an unusual Caribbean destination, consider the Dutch overseas territories like Aruba and Curacao.

Related: 7 incredible ways you can now use your Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points

(Photo by Monet Hambrick / The Points Guy)

Bottom line

If you fancy a beautiful sunny beach to escape to in the depths of winter, the Caribbean is a fantastic option. Points and miles collectors in the United Kingdom are spoilt for choice with plenty of great options you can fly to direct from the U.K., and they can be a very good way to maximise your travel.

Plus, keep in mind that if you haven’t already got a large stash of Avios or Virgin Points, you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to both programmes at a 1:1 rate.

Featured image by Pola Damonte via Getty Images/Getty Images

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