9 Caribbean destinations you can fly to in a lie-flat seat
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If you’ve ever flown first class to the Caribbean, you’ll know that the in-flight experience typically isn’t all that different from domestic flights. You’ll usually get the same recliner-style seat, which oftentimes doesn’t even offer a built-in TV.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re strategic about the flights you book, you could fly in the same lie-flat seats typically reserved for longer-haul flights, such as to Europe and Asia. Sure, you might not need a lie-flat seat on such short flights, but why turn down extra space and privacy? It usually won’t cost you extra — you just need to know which plane to book.
We did some digging and found at least nine Caribbean destinations that regularly offer lie-flat seats.
Let’s dive right in.
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JetBlue offers year-round Mint flights from the New York area to Aruba (AUA). In fact, this route has gotten so popular that Mint service is now available on flights from New York-JFK and Newark (EWR).
Mint service is only available on select A321 flights. Additionally, from the beginning of April toward the end of October 2021, it will only be offered on Saturday flights.
Fares currently start at $440 one-way or 40,000 TrueBlue points, though we have seen Mint tickets available for under $300 on this route. Those points are worth $520 according to TPG valuations, so you might want to save your points for another trip. You can usually get more value from TrueBlue points on coach redemptions.
If you choose to redeem your points to book one of these flights, you can top off your TrueBlue balance by transferring points from any of the major transferable points programs: American Express Membership Rewards (1.25:1 rate), Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1), Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 for Chairman, Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier® Card cardholders, 1:0.8 for Citi ThankYou Preferred; card no longer available and the Citi Rewards+® Card) or Capital One (2:1.5).
The information for the Citi Prestige 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.
JetBlue also offers Mint service on select flights to Bridgetown (BGI). It’s available out of New York-JFK and only on Saturdays. Fares start at $431 one-way or 40,000 TrueBlue points.
Pro tip: Solo travelers will want to pick a seat in an even-numbered row for a suite seat with a closing door. Odd-numbered rows are arranged in a 2-2 configuration, so they’re slightly less private, albeit better for traveling couples.
You’ll find the most lie-flat options on flights to Cancun (CUN). American Airlines flies Boeing 787-8s to Cancun from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Chicago (ORD) and Philadelphia (PHL). (Note, ORD and PHL resume 787 service on Oct. 31, 2021.)
American’s 787s are were designed to operate long-haul international flights. As such, all business class seats are lie-flat and offer direct aisle access. Additionally, these planes are equipped with premium economy seats (larger seats, with less dense configurations), but they’re sold as Main Cabin Extra seats. This means that most elites can select them for free or you can reserve them for a small fee.
Starting April 1, 2021, for a limited time, American Airlines is extending Admirals Club access to all international premium cabin passengers, as well as those flying to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Previously, most short-haul international passengers didn’t get lounge access.
One-way business class fares start at $254 from DFW, $334 from PHL and $425 from ORD. If you’re looking to redeem AAdvantage miles, we’re seeing Web Specials for business class awards from 25,000 miles one-way.
Another good option would be to book your award through British Airways Executive Club. Thanks to the program’s distance-based award chart, flights from DFW to CUN cost just 16,500 miles one-way in business class and 22,000 miles from ORD or PHL.
British Airways is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so you can use your points from cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Just remember that not all flights to Cancun from the cities listed above offer lie-flat seats. American typically operates multiples flights per day on these routes and only one to two are operated by a 787. Pay close attention to your aircraft type and the seating configuration of your specific flight before booking.
Here’s another JetBlue Mint route. You can fly mint from New York-JFK to Grenada (GND) from $445 one-way or 40,000 TrueBlue points. Like many of JetBlue’s flights to the Caribbean, Mint service is currently only available on Saturdays. According to JetBlue’s schedule, Mint service will be available on this route daily around Thanksgiving and the December holiday period.
Liberia, Costa Rica
JetBlue recently expanded its footprint in Costa Rica and now offers Mint service to Liberia (LIR) from Los Angeles (LAX) and New York-JFK.
The JFK Mint flights operate on Saturdays from now through April 3. Then, Mint service is slated to become available daily on this route beginning Sep. 8, 2021. Meanwhile, the LAX Mint flights begin April 3 and will operate on Saturdays through the end of the schedule.
Both flights start at $447 one-way or 40,000 TrueBlue points.
Costa Rica’s borders have reopened and you don’t need a COVID test to get in. If you’re planning a trip there, consider staying at the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. It’s about 35 minutes away from the Liberia airport and costs just 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Eyeing a trip to Puerto Rico? American Airlines, Delta and United all fly wide-bodies with lie-flat seats to San Juan (SJU).
With American, you can fly on a 777-200 from Miami (MIA). On some days, the 777 operates two flights on this route or just one. On other days, the 777 doesn’t fly this route at all. So, as with the Cancun flights discussed above, pay close attention to the aircraft type when picking your flights.
Fares start at just $139 one-way in business class or 20,000 AAdvantage when booking a Web Special. Alternatively, you can book this flight for 16,500 British Airways Avios.
Meanwhile, Delta regularly deploys either an A330-300 or Boeing 767-300 on its SJU flights out of Atlanta (ATL). The wide-bodies used for this route typically don’t have Delta’s latest business class seats, but they’re lie-flat nonetheless and offer direct aisle access. Business class starts at $223 one-way or 19,000 SkyMiles.
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Additionally, United is currently flying a 777-200 on one of its daily flights from Newark (EWR). Even better, these are the internationally-configured 777s with true Polaris business class seats and Premium Plus seats (sold as Economy Plus). As of now, the plane is only on the schedule until March 31, but it’s possible that it’ll continue to be used on this route beyond that date.
Sint Maarten (St. Maarten)
In case you haven’t noticed, JetBlue offers Mint service to several Caribbean destinations. Another one: St. Maarten (SXM).
Mint service is available on Saturdays out of New York-JFK and Newark (EWR). Beginning Sep. 8, 2021, it will be available daily out of Newark.
In line with JetBlue’s other Mint flights to the Caribbean, fares currently start at $430 one-way or 40,000 TrueBlue points.
Related: Plane spotting at SXM
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Sept. 11, JetBlue will offer Saturday Mint service to St. Thomas (STT) from New York-JFK. Fares start at $730 one-way but aren’t currently available with points.
If you’re sitting on a large stash of Marriott Bonvoy points, considering redeeming them for a stay at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. It recently underwent a major renovation and is one of the ritziest places to stay on the island (pun intended). It’s a Category 8 property, meaning that award nights will cost between 70,000-100,000 points per night.
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Last but not least, you could fly JetBlue Mint on select flights to St. Lucia (UVF). The flights are available out of New York-JFK on Saturdays and start at $435 or 40,000 TrueBlue points.
Related: Best points hotels in the Caribbean
Although flights to the Caribbean usually aren’t very long, your in-flight experience can vary drastically from one plane to another. And if you’re splurging on business or first class anyway, it makes sense to book the best available product.
JetBlue leads the pack when it comes to U.S. carriers offering lie-flat seats to the Caribbean. However, American and Delta offer lie-flat seats to several Caribbean destinations as well.
One of the easiest ways to tell if a flight will offer lie-flat seats is by using Google Flights, as it lists what type of seat will be offered, as well as amenities. Just be sure to monitor the aircraft type in the days leading up to your flight, as airlines can make last-minute equipment swaps.
Featured photo by Daniela Schwebke/Oneworld Picture/Universal Images Group/Getty Images.
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