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United Airlines adds 7 new sun routes to Caribbean and Latin American destinations for winter

Oct. 16, 2020
3 min read
United Airlines adds 7 new sun routes to Caribbean and Latin American destinations for winter
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United Airlines is offering stir-crazy Americans seven new routes to escape their homes and hit the beach this during the upcoming coronavirus pandemic winter.

The Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier will connect Belize City (BZE), Liberia (LIR) and San Jose (SJO) in Costa Rica, San Pedro Sula (SAP) in Honduras, and Santo Domingo (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic to four more of its U.S. hubs beginning in December, United said Friday. In addition, it will resume two suspended routes to Cancun (CUN) and Mazatlan (MZT).

Tickets for all of the new routes except for select routes to Costa Rica go on sale on Oct. 17. Flights to Liberia and San Jose from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) can be booked starting Oct. 21.

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The route additions come even as United plans to hold flying steady from the end of year into 2021. COVID related travel restrictions and public fear of the virus have driven air travel to historic lows. On Oct. 15, United CEO Scott Kirby said flying levels are not expected to return to "normal" for at least four years.

“Our new and increased service offers travelers more opportunities to find warm-weather getaways and visit friends and family over the winter season,” said Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances at United, in a statement.

United will also add more flights on 21 routes to seven Mexican beach destinations, as well as three routes to Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA) and San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL).

Related: When will business travel return? Not until 2024, predicts United CEO

The new routes target the one area of travel that appears to be doing well: holiday flying. Through the summer, Americans have shown a willingness to get on a plane to either escape to an outdoor-oriented destination where they can socially distance or to visit friends or relatives.

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The new Caribbean and Latin American routes do both. United will offer beachgoers more options to Mexico's beaches or for sons and daughters, nieces and nephews to visit relatives in Central America.

United's new routes also come amid new competition. JetBlue Airways will begin service between its new Los Angeles (LAX) base and both Liberia and San Jose on Dec. 18, with United planning to open both routes beginning a day later.

Related: Budget airlines muscle into big airports as coronavirus creates new opportunities

New flights between Denver (DEN) and Belize City come following Southwest Airlines' continued service suspension to the Latin American country.

And flights like United's planned service between LAX and San Pedro Sula harkens back to its once strong Latin American network from the airport after it acquired Pan Am's South America assets in 1991.

Related: United Airlines adds new route from Washington Dulles hub, expands schedule in November

Details of United's new and restarted Latin American routes are below.

New routes

  • Denver - Belize City and San Jose from Dec. 19
  • Los Angeles - San Pedro Sula from Dec. 17, San Jose from Dec. 19, and Liberia from Jan. 8, 2021
  • San Francisco (SFO) - Liberia from Jan. 9
  • Washington Dulles (IAD) - Santo Domingo from Dec. 17

Restarted routes

  • Cleveland (CLE) - Cancun from Dec. 19
  • Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH) - Mazatlan from Dec. 19
Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more