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One of the places we have visited that really imprinted on my oldest daughter, who at the time was only four, was The Bahamas. I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t my all time favorite destination, though the beaches were postcard perfect and there were things about it that I really enjoyed. However, she really, really enjoyed it, and with things like the Atlantis water park, beautiful beaches, and this small but apparently impactful play area at the airport, how can I blame her for wanting to return?
With the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar property (finally) coming online, I have spent more time than I’ll admit to here in the last few days trying to put together a logical and affordable trip to The Bahamas. My rough plan is to spend a couple days at the Grand Hyatt on points and then a night or two at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island using some of my Choice Hotel points. I’ve stayed at the Comfort Suites before, and while it isn’t luxurious, it is a heck of a deal since it gets you into the neighboring Atlantis water park ‘for free’.
Since there are now four of us in our traveling crew that require airline tickets, going anywhere gets pricey in a hurry. I don’t care if it is dollar or miles, it now adds up very quickly when we head anywhere for a family trip. This means that a “quick trip” to the Bahamas from Texas really isn’t that feasible or affordable unless we got very lucky with some kind of sale. Whenever possible, I’m really trying to move us firmly away from those quick weekend trips that burn a whole bunch of miles, but don’t really give us enough time on the ground to soak it all in. That quick hit travel may be good for hotel reviews on this site, but it really isn’t a sound family travel strategy.
Adding a short trip to The Bahamas may not turn out to be financially feasible, but I started to wonder what it would look like if I just added a few Bahama days on to an already partially-booked trip to The Caribbean? We are roughly 75% booked to go to Grand Cayman next spring break. We have our hotel and outbound flights booked using miles and points, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on the return flights quite yet.
My new idea is to not book a return flight from Grand Cayman to Texas at all, but to instead book a short 467 mile hop from Grand Cayman to Nassau on a British Airways 777 for just 4,000 Avios + $27.50 in taxes! We could then enjoy a few days in The Bahamas and head home from there!
Four economy tickets from Grand Cayman to Nassau would cost me a total of 16,000 Avios + $110. That is obviously far cheaper than booking round trip airfare for four from Texas to Nassau! This is not to mention there is an undeniable cool element to flying a British Airways Fifth Freedom route from Grand Cayman to Nassau!
I had already been toying around with the idea of combining two trips into one without remembering that Nassau – Grand Cayman was actually a British Airways route until I saw a recent post by Richard Kerr who runs the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook Group.
In case you don’t have these sort of unusual routes memorized, know that this is not the only Caribbean route operated by British Airways. British Airways also operates bookable flights from:
- Antigua – Saint Kitts
- Antigua – Tobago
- Nassau – Grand Cayman
- Saint Lucia – Grenada
- Saint Lucia – Port of Spain
These flights don’t operate every single day of the week as their primary purpose isn’t to ferry passengers between islands; rather to enable British Airways to satisfy the needs of more travelers on their longer routes. For example, if you booked a British Airways flight from London to Grand Cayman, you may first stop in Nassau to let off passengers who are just flying London – Nassau. A little later the plane would continue on to Grand Cayman and let off/pick-up more passengers. This way British Airways doesn’t have as many 777s flying back and forth from London to these islands in The Caribbean.
When there is space available (and there often is), you can book just the intra-Caribbean segment and fly in some serious style from one island to the next on a 777 instead of a little hopper like we flew from San Juan to St. Thomas. Some of these routes start at about $150 each way on cash, and others can be pretty pricey at close to $500 each way.
Using British Airways Avios will often be the best play here, as these flights start at just 4,000 or 4,500 Avios each way depending on whether you are looking at on-peak or off-peak dates + a flat $27.50 in taxes/fees. If you want Premium Economy seats they start at 5,750 Avios + $30.00 and business class starts at 7,750 Avios + $40.00 each way.
I’m not yet 100% sold on booking one super long Caribbean trip where we hop islands instead of two distinct trips, but I am very seriously considering it since it really is a much better use of resources. For those in need of British Airways Avios, remember that pretty much all of the major transferrable programs like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, SPG, and more all transfer to British Airways.
Have you flown one of these fun Caribbean routes or thought about combining two trips into one?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.