As I was in Panama this last week and needed to get to Cancun for this coming weekend, I decided to visit Havana. I have been here before, so just decided to stay for a few days. Please don’t get me started about the internet connectivity here.
Beyond using my LifeMiles for getting from Bangkok to Buenos Aires (access the piece here), it did not usually make any sense to use miles from Oneworld or Star Alliance programs for travel within South/Central America. It has always been a better deal to purchase paid tickets and use the allowed stopovers and other flexibilities.
When I was looking at options of getting from Panama to Havana, I was truly shocked about the one-way prices that Copa was charging. The one-way would have been $741 for a distance of only 978 miles in economy.
I could have ticketed PTY-HAVo-PTY-CUN for about the same price, but didn’t want to waste half of my day getting from Havana to Cancun when I could just purchase a one-way on Cubana.
Also, although Copa uses United’s MileagePlus as its frequent flier program (leftover from the days when Copa was partly owned by Continental), I doubt that the PTY-HAV-PTY would have credited anything to MP due to the (stupid) trade embargo.
I was however able to get this segment ticketed for around $300 taking into account the price of the purchased miles using Avianca’s LifeMiles. Isn’t it ironic that you cannot redeem for Copa’s HAV flights using its own frequent flier program?
Booking Copa’s PTY-HAV Using LifeMiles
When you search using the LifeMiles standard interface, it doesn’t bring up anything other than Avianca’s own flights for this city pair and there was nothing available for the Monday.
However, when you choose Copa as the operating carrier
it brings up all the Copa options at 15,000 miles per one-way. It seems that all Copa flight has award availability.
I decided to substitute 8,000 of the miles using cash (1.5 cents per mile) and the total with all the taxes/fees came to $186.25 +7,000 miles.
Unlike on my Bangkok to Buenos Aires trip
the ticketing didn’t time out and the ticket was issued promptly.
I absolutely hated paying $300 for this short flight in economy, although I did get an upgrade to business class based on my United MileagePlus Premier Gold (this is my lifetime status) as all Copa flights are eligible for Premier upgrade. But sometimes you have to just pay. It makes sense to have miles and points on various programs because you never know when they can come in handy.