How to fly lie-flat to Mexico and the Caribbean with American and Delta award space

Apr 25, 2021

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American and Delta are flying wide-body jets to the Caribbean this summer, giving you a lie-flat seat on short flights. You’ll find American 777 and 787 aircraft and Delta 767 aircraft on select routes. These include destinations like Port-au-Prince (PAP), Mexico City (MEX) and San Juan (SJU) where mainland U.S. can travel for tourism during the coronavirus pandemic.

This can be a great way to get your lie-flat fix while international travel to Europe and other destinations remains limited. There’s wide-open business class award space on many of these routes too, so you can book without breaking the bank.

Let’s take a closer look at the award space and how to book them with points and miles.

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American Airlines award space to the Caribbean

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

On the American side, you’ll find open award space on a handful of routes that are currently operated by wide-body aircraft. These can be booked with American Airlines AAdvantage miles, which may be beneficial due to discounted Web Special awards. You can book awards with standard MileSAAver award space using partner miles like British Airways Avios and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles.

Routes:  Here are the routes with scheduled wide-body service:

  • Miami (MIA) — Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP)
    • Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
  • Miami (MIA) — San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
    • Boeing 777-200
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) — San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU)
    • Boeing 777-200

These flights don’t have lie-flat seats on all flight frequencies, but most have at least one lie-flat equipped flight per day. Make sure to check the operating aircraft before you book. Even then, your aircraft could change shortly before departure in the event of an equipment swap.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

While this is a limited set of routes, you can connect from other cities in American’s route network if saver award space is available.

Cost: From 42,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip in first class, 55,000 Alaska miles round-trip

Dates: Summer

Pay Taxes/Fees With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.

Sample itineraries

Here are a few sample itineraries you can book this summer.

Miami (MIA) to San Juan (SJU)

MIA to SJU round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Miami (MIA) to Port-au-Prince (PAP)

MIA to PAP round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Dallas (DFW) to San Juan (SJU)

DFW to SJU round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

New York-JFK to San Juan with a connection

JFK to SJU round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Port-au-Prince with a connection

ORD to PAP round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Los Angeles (LAX) to San Juan with a connection

LAX to SJU round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Phoenix (PHX) to Port-au-Prince with a connection

PHX to PAP round-trip American calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

Delta Air Lines lie-flat award space to Puerto Rico and Mexico

Delta One Boeing 767-400 seat
Experience Delta One suites on flights to San Juan this summer. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Delta is running its A330-200 and retrofitted 767-400 aircraft between its Atlanta (ATL) super-hub and San Juan (SJU) this summer. It’s also flying lie-flat-equipped aircraft from New York-JFK to Mexico City (MEX) on limited dates. Delta’s award pricing makes it harder to give a price estimate, but I’m seeing first-class seats for as low as 22,500 SkyMiles one-way to San Juan. This can be a great way to experience a Delta One seat without spending a ton of miles this summer.

Routes: These routes have some frequencies with lie-flat seats:

  • Atlanta (ATL) — San Juan (SJU)
    • Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 767-400
  • New York-JFK — Mexico City (MEX)
    • Boeing 757-200

Like American awards, make sure to double-check that your flight is indeed operated by a lie-flat-equipped plane.

ATL to SJU Delta flight details on 767 aircraft
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Cost: From 54,000 SkyMiles round-trip

Dates: Summer

Pay Taxes/Fees With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.

Sample itineraries

Here’s a look at Delta lie-flat award pricing.

Atlanta (ATL) to San Juan (SJU)

ATL to SJU round-trip Delta calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

New York-JFK to Mexico City (MEX)

JFK to MEX Delta flight details on 767 aircraft
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Baltimore (BWI) to San Juan (SJU) with a connection

BWI to SJU round-trip Delta calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Detroit (DTW) to San Juan (SJU) with a connection

DTW to SJU round-trip Delta calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Nashville (BNA) to San Juan (SJU) with a connection

BNA to SJU round-trip Delta calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Related: The best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability

Earning American and Delta miles

There’s no shortage of ways to earn American miles, but you can earn them quickly with a co-branded credit card. Some of the best welcome offers include:

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you’re looking to book Delta flights instead, consider applying for a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards. You can transfer these points to Delta at a 1:1 transfer ratio, though you’ll have to pay a small excise tax recovery fee. Here’s a look at current American Express card offers:

  • American Express® Green Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 3x points on dining at restaurants, travel and transit (including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services), 1x points on all other purchases ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Earn 4x points on dining at restaurants; 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x points); 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or American Express Travel; 1x points on all other purchases, ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. Earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with American Express Travel (earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts; 1x on all other purchases, ($550 annual fee; see rates and fees).

The information for the American Express Green card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Earning another American Airlines card sign-up bonus: What you need to know

Bottom line

If you’re comfortable traveling during the pandemic, these flights present a great way to fly in lie-flat business class this summer. Just make sure to keep up-to-date on changing travel restrictions and ensure you’re booking a flight on a lie-flat-equipped aircraft. But book fast — these tickets may sell out soon.

Feature photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

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