Copa ConnectMiles, New Star Alliance Program and Award Chart Announced. What are the Sweet Spots?

Copa, the Panamanian Star Alliance carrier, has long been part of United's MileagePlus program. That relationship will end June 30, and Copa ConnectMiles will launch on July 1, 2015.

Copa has released two award charts in anticipation: one for flying Copa and one for flying Star Alliance partners.

The charts are nearly identical to United's award charts. Compared to United, the only value I see is in economy on the Copa-only award chart.

You need 17,500 United miles to fly to Panama, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Anatomy of an Award: Flights to Cuba with Miles

I just booked myself a trip to Cuba with miles. One direction I am flying on a single award from the United States to Cuba. On the return, I am flying two awards: Cuba to Colombia and Colombia to the United States.

I used American Airlines, Asiana, and Lufthansa miles, all of which are easily available to Americans.
Can Americans Travel to Cuba?
Here is the State Department's page on visiting Cuba.

I am going to travel to Cuba on a general license as a journalist.

You Can Book Award Flights from the United States to Cuba with Miles

I'm considering a trip to Cuba next month, so I wrote about the paid flight and award flight options last week. I can now confirm that Americans can use Lufthansa Miles & More Miles to book Avianca and Copa flights to/from Cuba.

You can even book these commercial flights from the United States to Cuba via Panama, and the awards are super cheap.

In Cheapest Flights and Awards To &