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

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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 & From Cuba, I mentioned that there is award space from the United States to Panama to Havana on Copa Airlines.

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These flights are not bookable with United miles because United pretends like Havana doesn’t exist online and by phone.

These flights appear to be bookable with LifeMiles. Unfortunately the only easy way to get LifeMiles is when they are on sale for 1.65 cents each (not currently), and I don’t have any.

I went looking for other foreign Star Alliance options to book the flights. Lufthansa–the German airline–is also a member of the Star Alliance, so it partners Copa and Avianca. Its Miles & More award chart shows a great price of 17,000 miles one way or 35,000 miles roundtrip to Central America or the Caribbean from the United States. I called Lufthansa to try to book awards to Cuba, and it worked!

First I tried to book Bogota to Havana on Avianca because I may want to combine Cuba with a return to Colombia, but the flight costs $400+ one way between Colombia and Cuba.

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I searched lifemiles.com for award space on the direct Avianca flight. I found plenty of award space in both directions. (I believe partners have access to all the space in the “Limited Seats” columns.)

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I called the British Miles & More service center at +44 371 – 945 97 37. Perhaps the American service center would be just as able to book Cuba flights, but at 1 cent per minute via gmail, I’d rather just call a foreign service center.

I fed the agent my date, and she priced the Bogota to Havana segment at 17,000 LifeMiles + $15. Fantastic!

I asked her to check on the award flights I’d found from the United States to Havana.
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She priced that award–Washington-Dulles to Havana–for 17,000 Miles & More miles and 4.5 GBP ($7.)

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We got to me handing over my credit card, and I disconnected. I’m still not 100% sure I’ll travel to Cuba, but hopefully I’ll decide this week and book my flights.

Will I Have Trouble in Washington?

When I check in at Dulles, and the agent sees I have a flight to Cuba, will my flights be cancelled? I don’t know. In a worst-case scenario, I’d ask her to just print my boarding pass to Panama, and I’d collect my boarding pass to Havana there. If anyone has booked an award from the United States to Cuba and actually flown it, please share your experiences.

Bottom Line

Lufthansa is willing to ticket awards from the United States to Cuba for 17,000 miles one way plus minimal taxes. Copa has several destinations in America from which you can get to Cuba with only one connection in Panama. If you don’t live in one of those cities, you can connect on United and Copa flights to Panama and then to Havana on your Miles & More award.

Lufthansa Miles & More is a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints, and every 20,000 Starpoints transferred earns a 5,000 mile bonus. You can get the 35,000 miles you need for a roundtrip to Cuba by transferring 30,000 Starpoints to Miles & More.


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19 COMMENTS

    • Didn’t test it because BOG-HAV is really expensive with KrisFlyer points 25k/40k one way. USA to HAV should be 17.5k/30k one way, but I haven’t tested it.

      If I do this trip, I’d probably book WAS-BOG with AA, BOG-HAV with Lufthansa, HAV-PTY-WAS with Singapore.

    • I just called Singapore Air to check this. Apparently it will work… the agent priced out the fare using my US-based KrisFlyer number, but couldn’t give me any more confirmation than that. I’m going to transfer points for a one-way, make sure that books, then transfer the rest and go ahead with the rest of the booking.

      Be prepared to wait for an agent… but they were helpful. I found the call quality with dialing their US KrisFlyer number directly was terrible (the non-800 number). I called back to their normal booking line, and asked to be transferred – much better quality then.

  1. Yeah that makes sense. I will probably try it out too. I am trying to figure out the cheapest way from Guatemala City (where I live) to Cuba on award flights.

  2. I searched the same IAD – HAV and all sold out for April and May. Also JFK – HAV all sold out July and Aug.
    I saw individual legs available but the PTY-HAV flights had a stop in SAN or BOG. Anyone else having any luck finding availability?

  3. Thanks for this hugely helpful post! I was working on the same challenge, so I’ve outright stolen your approach.

    I was also concerned about someone in the US not honoring my ticket – I asked on FlyerTalk and Jimbo gave me this very useful info:

    Go to the Copa Air website (www.copaair.com) and click on the icon for “affidavit for travel to Cuba”. You will print the document as a pdf file, fill it out and turn it in at the CM check in counter at JFK. In the document, you check off what authorized travel category you are traveling to Cuba under. CM now markets and tickets flights between the US and Cuba.

  4. am in the process of booking award flights to cuba.

    lifemiles seems to have better copa availability than lufthansa. also, it’s 10,000 lifemiles for a one-way flight between havana and central america or the upper part of south america. even if you don’t have any lifemiles, it’s cheaper to buy lifemiles and select a combination of pay with miles/money; all you need is 4,000 miles, which is $133 to buy – the remainder is about $150, making it $280 for a one-way flight from cuba (obviously, if you are thinking of doing this and have any *A flights coming up, it would make sense to credit them to lifemiles).

    while this may not sound great, those who have looked at fares have probably noticed that a one-way flight to/from cuba to anywhere nearby costs the same as a roundtrip flight (around $500-$600), so it’s actually a very good savings if you can’t book on lufthansa.

    • Yes, and during 50% off sales, the first 4k miles is half that price, only $66 to buy and the last 6k is $90. That would be $156 + taxes.

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