The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® currently has a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 in three months.

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One of the perks of the devaluation that hit American Airlines’ award charts March 22, 2016 is the new price of awards from the United States to the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. It now only costs 12,500 miles one way in Economy during the off peak season for those regions. That means if you sign up for the AAdvantage Executive card and meet the minimum spending requirement, you would have enough miles for two people to travel roundtrip in Economy to anywhere in any of those regions from the United States during either one of the following time periods:

  • April 27 – May 20
  • September 7 – November 14

Region Definitions

American Airlines defines the Caribbean as the following countries:

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Central America is defined as:

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Mexico is defined as– you guessed it–the country of Mexico.

Where to Go and Why

There’s a reason these awards are cheaper for the periods of time defined as off peak. Off peak seasons vary depending on what part of the world you travel to because they are the traditionally slower seasons for tourism and often have less desirable weather, hence why the airlines are trying to attract your business with discounted prices. But that shouldn’t stop you from considering travel during those periods, it just means you need to research your destination more thoroughly beforehand. The off peak awards are some of the best values on American Airline’s chart now. so take aadvantage of them! The awards are easy to book as availability is usually wide open during these less traveled months.

Belize: Mid-October Through Mid-November

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Mid-October to mid-November sees the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season in Belize. The showers you may encounter shouldn’t last more than a couple hours, and in exchange you get highly discounted hotels and tours, and way less tourists to deal with. The average temperature that time of year is around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Go cave tubing, scuba diving, explore Mayan ruins, and perhaps spot a jaguar or two.

Award availability is wide open from all of American Airlines’ hubs scattered around the United States. Below is the availability from Dallas to Belize City.

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Costa Rica: Mid-October Through Mid-November

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Costa Rica gets a bad rap this time of year for being rainy. But the beauty of a country with so many microclimates is that generalizations don’t necessarily apply. Mid-October to mid-November is also the end of rainy season and beginning of dry season in Guanacaste, which tends to be one of the drier regions, even in rainy season. Once again, you’ll get great rates on hotels and excursions and see a lot fewer people. The average temperature that time of year is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Explore volcanoes and waterfalls, go horseback riding, surfing or bird watching.

There are plenty of award seats available from all of American Airlines’ hubs. Below is the availability from Washington, DC to San Jose, Costa Rica.

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Puerto Rico: Mid-September Through Mid-October

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You can probably guess what I’m going to say by now… mid-September thru mid-October is also the rainy season in Puerto Rico, so prices on hotels and everything else are low! Head to the picturesque and undeveloped Vieques and Culebra islands off the coast of Puerto Rico and you’ll find better weather. You don’t even need a passport to travel here as it’s a US territory. The average temperature that time of year is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy the tranquility of near empty beaches by day, snorkel the coral reefs and journey over to the bioluminescent bay on Vieques by night.

Wide open availability from all the hubs. Below is the availability from the New York area to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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More About the Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard

Aside from the great awards you can book with the 50,000 mile sign up bonus, there are other reasons why this card should be considered. While the annual fee is a hefty $450, there are valuable benefits that help offset the cost.

  • Admirals Club® membership for you with guest privileges: Full access to 90+ affiliated clubs and free guest access for two people each time you go.
  • Complimentary Admirals Club® Lounge access for authorized users: You can authorize someone who is 18 years or older for access to Admirals Club® Lounges, and you don’t even have to be with them.
  • 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles from American Airlines after $40,000 spent on purchases every year (January through December billing statement)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

Even after the devaluation that struck American Airlines awards yesterday, I value one mile at 1.5 cents. That makes the sign up bonus worth roughly $750. An Admirals Club membership costs $500 if you don’t have any status, no to mention you get a partial membership for someone else. There are EQM’s for you status chasers, and you don’t get penalized for using the card when traveling abroad. Global Entry is worth $100. Need I say more?

This card is optimal for someone who flies American Airlines often, as they will reap the most benefits.

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Bottom Line

American Airlines off peak awards are some of the best deals on the new award charts. Awards to Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico actually got cheaper. Now you can fly yourself and a lucky companion to a destination in one of those regions for the amount of miles earned from signing up for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® and meeting it’s minimum spending requirement.

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