How to get to Puerto Rico this summer for just 20,000 miles round-trip

May 24, 2021

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With a recent announcement that vaccinated travelers no longer require a negative COVID test for entry, Puerto Rico is fast becoming a go-to destination for vaccinated Americans. Even better: No passport is required if you’re a U.S. citizen, so you can board a flight with just your state I.D. 

With dozens of nonstop flights to and from the island and lots of options for hotels you can book with points, your Puerto Rico vacation is within reach.

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In This Post

Airfare

You have plenty, and I mean plenty of options for getting to Puerto Rico cheaply. In addition to the Puerto Rico flight deals we send out periodically, you have several mileage options.

Cheapest Oneworld awards to Puerto Rico

You can use British Airways Avios points on American Airlines flights if you live in the southeastern part of the U.S. to score a great deal to Puerto Rico. A one-way flight to Puerto Rico from Miami (MIA) will cost you 9,000 Avios plus $5.60 for economy and 16,500 Avios for business class.

Avios are incredibly easy to collect thanks to British Airways’ partnership with three major transferable points currencies. You can transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer from Marriott at a 3:1 ratio (plus a 5,000-Avios bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer).

Related: Maximizing the British Airways Distance-Based Award Chart

You can also take advantage of the AAdvantage award chart and snag a MileSAAver off-peak ticket for 12,500 miles each way in economy or 25,000 in business class.

If you’re low on AAdvantage miles, one of the easiest ways to earn them is through sign-up bonuses and everyday spending on co-branded credit cards. Citi and Barclays currently issue six credit cards with different welcome bonuses and point-earning abilities.

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile on other purchases. ($450 annual fee)
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on gas station, restaurant, and eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile elsewhere. ($99 annual fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. ($99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months)
  • American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card: Earn 10,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on grocery store and eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile on other purchases. (No annual fee)
  • Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase in the first 90 days and paying the $99 annual fee. Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 mile elsewhere.
  • Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®: Earn up to 75,000 miles: Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days and earn another 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. Earn 2x AAdvantage miles on office supply, telecom, car rental and on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 mile elsewhere. ($95 annual fee)

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select, Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red, and Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business 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.

Cheapest Star Alliance awards to Puerto Rico

The best way to get to San Juan is by using Turkish Miles & Smiles for just 10,000 miles each way in economy or 15,000 in business class. You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Turkish at a 1:1 ratio using the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier® Card.

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

United no longer publishes an award chart, but it’s easy to find cheap tickets to the island. For instance, I’m seeing one-way flights from Newark (EWR) to San Juan (SJU) for just 17,500 miles one-way plus $5.60 in taxes in June.

NYC-SJU award availability United June 2021
(Screenshot courtesy of United.com)

If you’re low on miles, United is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and a 3:1 transfer partner to Marriott Bonvoy.

If you’re starting from scratch or looking to save up for an expensive award, you’ll want to consider signing up for a United credit card. You’ll have your choice between entry-level and premium cards and personal and business options:

  • United Club Infinite Card: 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • United Explorer Card:  Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 total in the first six months. The first year’s annual fee is waived, and it’s $95 per year after that.
  • United Business Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus, earn an additional 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $20,000 total in the first six months from account opening.

Cheapest SkyTeam awards to Puerto Rico

 Flying Blue now offers a pricing calculator, which will let you know the minimum number of miles needed for an award. I ran several searches from airports like New York and Atlanta and the cheapest economy award ticket I found was 17,500 FlyingBlue miles one-way from Miami on Delta Air Lines.

The best way to earn Flying Blue miles is by using a transferrable points card. You can transfer points to Flying Blue from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Amex, Citi and Chase transfer at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One transfers at a 1:1.5 ratio and Marriott transfers at a 3:1 ratio.

Delta is also pretty generous from its Atlanta hub, with flights as low as 10,000 SkyMiles one-way in basic economy.

Delta ATL-SJU airport award space June 2021
(Screenshot courtesy of Delta.com)

If you’re low on Delta SkyMiles, there are several Amex-branded cards for you to choose from:

Finally, you can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points directly to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. This allows you to convert points earned on cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card into SkyMiles. There are other Amex transfer partners that could offer better value for your Membership Rewards points. But under the right circumstances, this could be a great way to boost your Delta account balance.

Hotels

There are many points hotels on the island, including Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and even Choice Hotels. I’ll walk through some of the many hotels on the island so you can get a sense of what’s the best deal for your points. For more about earning hotel points, check out our guide to the best hotel credit cards.

Hilton

You have seven Hilton hotels to choose from in Puerto Rico. The Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort is the only one located outside of the San Juan area. It’s also home to one of the largest casinos in Puerto Rico. It has a 27-hole golf course, as well as a large pool and tennis courts.

An oceanfront patio room will typically set you back 43,000 Hilton Honors points a night in December. It’s a pretty good deal if you find yourself on the other side of the island.

You have a range of options in the San Juan area, from the Caribe Hilton to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan, Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan Hotel & Casino and the Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan. These properties start at 38,000 points per night in December. Remember, Membership Rewards transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, though sometimes Amex runs targeted transfer bonuses.

If you’re still short on points, here are some of the best Hilton cards you should consider adding to your wallet (terms apply):

  • Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 100,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 8/25/2021.
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 130,000 points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/25/2021.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership. 

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex 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.

If you have Hilton Honors elite status, you’ll enjoy a fifth night free on award stays of five consecutive nights or longer.

Hyatt

There are several World of Hyatt properties in Puerto Rico, mostly in the San Juan area. They range from functional to luxurious.

During my trip, I wanted to decompress and get off the grid. I booked a three-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico for 36,000 Hyatt points. I didn’t expect to be blown away by a Category 3 property, but the Grand Reserve completely exceeded my expectations. The resort offers a private beach, swim-up bar, spa and is close to the El Yunque National Rainforest.

If you’re set on being near San Juan, the lower-tier Hyatt Place or Hyatt House properties in San Juan will only set you back 12,000 points a night. Both properties are close to Old San Juan and the airport. 

If you want to visit the Bacardi Distillery, the Hyatt Place San Juan/Bayamón is only 8,000 points per night. The Hyatt Place Manatí is just 12,000 points a night and located close to Mar Chiquita, Los Tubos Beach, and La Cueva de Los Golondrinas.

There’s also the Category 5 Olive Boutique Hotel, which goes for 20,000 points a night for a luxurious La Petite Suite, which includes an indoor veranda with a dining table.

World of Hyatt points aren’t the easiest to earn, but credit cards like the World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) can get you to your next redemption. The World of Hyatt card offers up to 60,000 bonus points. Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2x bonus points total on purchases that normally earn 1x bonus point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening. 

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. If you’re short on Ultimate Rewards, you can stock up by applying for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Just keep the Chase 5/24 rule in mind.

Looking for more tips for your Puerto Rico vacation? Check out TPG’s Puerto Rico hub for everything you need to know.

IHG

If you have IHG Rewards Club points, you might want to look at the Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado, which starts at just 20,000 points per night. With the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, you can get a fourth award night reward when you book consecutively.

Marriott Bonvoy

You have over a dozen Marriott Bonvoy hotels to choose from throughout Puerto Rico. They range from lower-category hotels like Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft to The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, which is considered one of the island’s best. An off-peak night at the St. Regis will cost you 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, while the standard is 85,000 a night and peak is a whopping 100,000 points a night.

St. Regis Bahia Beach Puerto Rico. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
St. Regis Bahia Beach Puerto Rico. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.)

You can transfer both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott at a 1:1 ratio. If you’re still short, there are several solid card choices you may want to consider:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.​ Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership. Terms apply. 
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each free night award has a redemption value up to 50,000 bonus points, that’s a value of up to 150,000 total points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 10X total points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations within the first 6 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Activities 

If you have a ton of points saved up, you can use Chase’s “Things to Do” portal to search for activities in Puerto Rico. This might not be the best use of your points, however.

If you already have some Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned via the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for instance, they are only worth 1 to 1.25 cents each toward travel.

Ground transportation

During my trip, I stayed at a resort an hour outside San Juan. While I had a fantastic time, getting around proved to be a hassle. Uber is plentiful in San Juan, but you may have trouble getting a ride if you’re further outside the city. It’s also pretty costly if you’re not staying in the city. Ubers from my resort to the airport and Old San Juan easily topped $30 each way.

If you’re staying outside of the major cities, you should consider renting a car. San Juan airport offers several options, including Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise.

Related: A beginner’s guide to visiting Puerto Rico: Everything you need to eat, see and do

Using miles for a rental car

There are two ways you can use your miles to rent a car. The first is to pay with a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Discover it Miles. These cards allow you to redeem miles for any travel purchase, including car rentals. The information for the Discover it Miles has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The other way is to redeem rewards directly for rental car reservations. For instance, programs like the Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards all offer these options.

For example, when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you can pay with points and still receive primary car rental insurance by paying with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The Sapphire Preferred allows you to redeem each point at 1.25 cents each, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a higher redemption of 1.5 cents each.

Photo courtesy of Chase

Reserving a rental car through the Ultimate Rewards portal is similar to both flights and hotels.

  1. From the main landing page, navigate to the ‘cars’ header and type in your itinerary.
  2. Hit search and the results page will pop up.
  3. All you need to do is enter your pick-up and drop-off location, date and time. You’ll then be able to pick your preferred car and sort by how many points you need to redeem.
Photo courtesy of Chase

When you redeem points directly for a rental car, you’re not paying for your rental with your credit card. So you usually won’t be covered by your credit card’s auto rental insurance policy (with the exceptions mentioned above).

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a quick getaway that won’t completely wipe out your points balance, Puerto Rico should be high on your list. The island offers a healthy mix of budget, standard and luxury hotels. Coupled with how easy it is to travel here on points, it’s a great option for solo, group or family travel.

Because you’re saving money by using points, it means you have more cash in your wallet for experiences, such as experiencing Puerto Rico’s lush nature and amazing food.

Photo of San Juan, Puerto Rico by dennisvdw/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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