Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

Many American Airlines Flights to Cuba Are Now Bookable

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Since this post was originally published, AA has updated its site to allow travelers to book tickets on all of its Cuba routes. Previously, tickets to Santa Clara and Varadero were not bookable.

Late last week, the Department of Transportation approved routes for several US airlines — including American Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver, Southwest and Sun Country — to begin service to Cuba. As of last week, Havana (HAV) routes had not been awarded, just those to Camaguey (CMW), Cayo Coco (CCC), Cayo Largo (CYO), Cienfuegos (CFG), Holguín (HOG), Manzanillo (MZO), Matanzas (VRA), Santa Clara (SNU) and Santiago de Cuba (SCU). Now, it looks like flights to Cuba are actually bookable with American Airlines.

AA will operate several daily round-trip flights to Cuba, including:

  • Beginning September 7, 2016:
    • Cienfuegos (CFG; one daily flight from MIA)
    • Holguin (HOG; two daily flights from MIA)
  • Beginning September 9, 2016:
    • Camaguey (CMW; one daily flight from MIA)
    • Santa Clara (SNU; two daily flights from MIA)
  • Beginning September 11, 2016:
    • Varadero (Matanzas; VRA; two daily flights from MIA)

It’s interesting that only some of these cities are bookable so far — all but Santa Clara (SNU) and Caradero (VRA) appear to be as of this writing. Note that pricing for the bookable flights is quite expensive. It also appears that you can only book round-trip flights so far, not one-way tickets.

You can fly on the inaugural flight between Miami and Cienfuegos for $488 round-trip.

A round-trip flight between Miami and Cienfuegos.
A round-trip flight between Miami and Cienfuegos.

It looks like seating on most of the flights is wide open right now, as you can see below. Note that the 24-hour free hold option is available for flights to Cuba — TPG Contributor JT Genter is holding an itinerary.

Seating is pretty wide open for the inaugural flight from MIA to CFG.
Seating is pretty wide open for the inaugural flight from MIA to CFG.

When booking, AA will generate a popup, reminding you of the approved reasons one is allowed to travel to Cuba, including family visits, religious activities, support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, educational activities and people-to-people exchanges.

Upon checking out, AA reminds you of the acceptable reasons to travel to Cuba.
Upon checking out, AA reminds you of the approved reasons to travel to Cuba.

It’s worth noting that you can apply 500-mile upgrades — or free upgrades for AA Executive Platinum members. There don’t appear to beat award redemption options for these flights as of yet, but stay tuned, as an AA representative confirmed that AAdvantage members can earn and redeem AAdvantage miles on flights to Cuba.

TPG Senior Editor Kaeli Conforti recently returned from the first cruise to Cuba in 50 years and raved about the time she spent in Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Havana, especially how welcoming the Cuban people were. TPG himself has also been to Cuba several times and loved it — after his first trip, he already planned on revisiting. And now, with flights open for booking (at least on American Airlines), it seems visiting Cuba is well within the reach of travelers.

As of this writing, AA is the only airline that’s released its flights for booking. Stay tuned for complete details, especially when the Department of Transportation releases the full list of approved flights to Cuba, including to Havana.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit