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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here –  United Explorer Business Card

What’s better than a trip to the Caribbean? Flying there in a lie-flat seat. While these flights aren’t as long as flights to Europe or Asia, booking a flight to the Caribbean with lie-flat first/business class seats means that you’re going to be flying a much better product than the standard recliner “domestic first class” seats. After all, especially if it’s the same cost — in cash or points — why not fly the best available product?

We dug into the flight schedules for each US-based airline to find the options. Here’s they are arranged by airline:

In This Post

Here’s how the options break down by carrier:

American Airlines

In the current American Airlines flight schedule, there’s seven routes to the Caribbean that have lie-flat seats. Each of these operate daily through at least the end of March.

First off are American Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. These forward/rear-facing staggered seats aren’t my favorite in the AA fleet — especially as your seat will rock when the passenger in the connected seat moves. However, it’s a great way of flying down to Cancun:

Business class seats on American Airlines
Business class seats on American Airlines’ Boeing 787-8. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

A legacy product of US Airways, AA’s Airbus A330-200s still have the “Envoy Suites” that US Airways rolled out in 2009. While it doesn’t compete well against other international business class products, it’s perfectly fine for a flight from a legacy US Airways hub down to the Caribbean:

  • Charlotte (CLT) to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) — ends Mar. 30
  • Philadelphia (PHL) to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ) — starts Feb. 14
Image by JT Genter / The Points Guy
Business class seats on American Airlines’ Airbus A330. Image by JT Genter / The Points Guy

While AA’s Boeing 767-300 business class isn’t nearly as nice as the above options, it’s still a much nicer seat than a recliner domestic first class seat on the alternative. These seats don’t have in-flight entertainment screens, and it’s unclear if AA will hand out the IFE tablets on shorter routes.

  • Miami (MIA) to Cancun (CUN)
  • Miami (MIA) to San Juan (SJU)
  • Philadelphia (PHL) to San Juan (SJU)
Business class seats on American Airlines’ Boeing 767. Image by JT Genter / The Points Guy

Thankfully, the Caribbean survived AA’s recent premium cabin award chart devaluation. Lie-flat options between the US and the Caribbean still cost 25,000 AAdvantage miles each way. AA added an ambiguous asterisk to the award chart saying that award prices would be 7,500 higher “if the award includes travel on an aircraft that offers lie-flat seats in the U.S. and Canada.” However, awards are still pricing at 25,000 miles each way:

That means that you can get enough miles for a lie-flat round-trip for the 50,000 miles you can earn by signing up for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard ($2,500 spend in first 3 month required) or the 50,000 miles you can earn by signing up for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard ($5,000 spend in first 3 months required).

But, if you’re flying nonstop, there’s a better option: use British Airways Avios instead. Nonstop business class flights under 1,151 miles will cost just 15,000 Avios each way, and nonstop flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles cost 20,000 Avios. If you’re connecting, you can use total mileage-based Iberia Avios to score a cheaper-than-AA award.

Both British Airways and Iberia are 1:1 transfer partners of American Express and Chase. Or you can transfer Marriott points to BA or Iberia at a 3:1 ratio — plus 5,000 bonus Avios for transferring 60,000.

Stock up on Chase Ultimate Rewards points by signing up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve (50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months ) for consumers, or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months ) or Ink Business Cash Credit Card ($500 cash back or 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, when linked with another UR-earning card) for businesses.

Delta

Delta One lie-flats will arriving in the Caribbean via an A330 route to Puerto Rico (Photo by Christian Kramer/TPG)

While Delta has offered minimal lie-flat options to Caribbean destinations, that’s all changing come winter 2019-2020. Beginning Dec. 21, 2019, it will insert an Airbus A330-300 on a route between its home base in Atlanta (ATL) to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU). We reviewed this aircraft on a flight between London (LHR) and New York (JFK), and those seeking to stretch all the way out without needing a passport will appreciate its 34 lie-flat seats.

JetBlue

JetBlue Mint won the Best Domestic Business Class of the year at the TPG Awards and is one of TPG’s absolute favorite business class products, with great food, great service and snazzy amenity kits. And, yes, the seats lie fully flat. While these were made famous on transcontinental routes in the US, the good news is that you can also fly this award-winning product to the Caribbean.

JetBlue Mint seats lie fully flat — and come with excellent amenities and service.

However, for all of these, you’re going to have to plan for a seven-night stay in the Caribbean if you want to fly Mint both ways. All of these routes are currently only operated on Saturdays.

From New York’s JFK, you can fly JetBlue Mint to:

  • Aruba (AUA) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Aug. 31
  • Barbados (BGI) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Aug. 31
  • St. Lucia (UVF) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Aug. 31
  • St. Maarten (SXM) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Apr. 30
  • Liberia, Costa Rica (LIB) — which isn’t quite the Caribbean, but close — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Apr. 30

From Boston (BOS), JetBlue flies the Mint product to:

  • Aruba (AUA) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Aug. 31
  • Barbados (BGI) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Aug. 31
  • St. Lucia (UVF) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Apr. 30
  • St. Maarten (SXM) — 1x weekly on Saturdays through Apr. 30

Award pricing varies based on the price of the revenue flight. So, if you find cheap Mint fares, consider booking the flight with JetBlue TrueBlue points. Score some extra JetBlue points by signing up for the JetBlue Plus Card which is currently offering a 40,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.

United

From what I can find from United’s current flight schedule, you have three options to fly lie-flat to the Caribbean on United:

  • Newark (EWR) to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) — daily on a B/E Aerospace Diamond-fit Boeing 767-400ER
  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Cancun (CUN) — Saturday only on a Boeing 777
  • Newark (EWR) to St. Thomas (STT) — daily on a lie-flat Boeing 757 starting Feb. 14

United Airlines charges 30,000 MileagePlus miles for saver business-class award flights between the US and the Caribbean. That means you’ll have more than enough miles for a round-trip by signing up for the United Explorer Business Card during the current 75,000-mile sign-up offer.

Are you finding any other lie-flat options to the Caribbean? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

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