Getting To Puerto Rico Using Miles

Yesterday, I blogged about the Parrot Lovers Cruise.  Today, I am going to show you how to get to SJU airport in Puerto Rico FOR FREE using credit card bonuses so you can join this wonderful cruise.  Well not exactly “free” there are about $10 worth of taxes to pay.  If you are unable to travel at that time, this post is still worth reading as the advice would be valid for any trip between the USA and Puerto Rico.


You need 25,000 miles per person or a total of 50,000 miles for a couple.  You can get these miles for free by getting the Citibank AAdvantage credit card.  Only one person in the couple has to get the card but if you both have good credit, you should both get one.  I have general airline credit card advice for Americans.   See below a sample screen with random dates near the cruise and allowing for at least 1 day layover in San Juan before the cruise.  There are several options for Citibank cards so choose one from this Flyertalk post which best meets your needs.  Remember, the cruise itself will take up about $800-ish per person of your minimum spending for a couple, then just put your groceries and bills on the card to make it up.  Both people can get 40,000 miles after a $1000 spend with this offer.



The dates for this cruise have only medium and high level awards available so you need 60,000 miles per person.  But for future reference, low level awards can be had for 35,000 miles round trip if you are lucky with dates.  These lower awards are capacity controlled.   If you have the US Airways Mastercard, you get a 5000 miles discount if you fly on US Airways but not if you use a partner award.  The current best offer gives you 40,000 for first spend, extra 10,000 for balance transfer and 10,000 each year anniversary bonus.


Credit card discount


I randomly chose Seattle as the departure city and plugged in some sample dates to see a schedule and award rate to San Juan.  This award valid for any US city would require 70,000 miles for 2 people.  There is a credit card that would do this for you.  If you have miles in your United account already, log in and you should see an ad to apply for the Chase United Explorer Visa on the home page.  If you pretend you are making a booking and get a fare quote, the offer will increase to 50,000 miles plus 5000 to add an authorized user plus $100 statement credit.  Ideally, both people should sign up for this offer.  You will have to make a minimum spend of $1000 per person/card which is easily done with normal household spending and the cost of the cruise.

UA Award



This option works best if you live in the east coast USA and have a non-stop flight to SJU on AA from MIA, JFK or ORD.  Awards are based on distance so use the Great Circle mapper tool to determine distance.


Then use the Avios chart to see how many Avios you need.

Avios Chart

You can get Avios by applying for the Chase British Airways Visa.  The current best offer is 50,000 Avios after $1000 minimum spend with other bonuses for larger spends.  For most couples, the 50,000 will be enough to get you from east coast USA to San Juan.

So now that you see how easy it is to get to San Juan for free just from getting one credit card per couple or at most one credit card per person, you need a place to stay in San Juan.  In tomorrow’s blog, I will show you how to use other credit cards to get free hotel nights to rest up before your cruise and have some fun exploring Puerto Rico.