If you are a “frequent” Caribbean traveler, it’s likely that you’re a member of some kind of rewards club or have a special travel credit card. But not all such credit cards are created equal — and some may be far better for those making regular trips to the islands of the Caribbean. We’ve investigated the top options for travelers to the region, and found four cards that offer the most rewards (and optionality) for you. You just have to decide what’s more important – saving on flights or saving on hotels. We’ve ranked the best credit cards for those traveling to the Caribbean in 2017.
JetBlue Card from Barclaycard
JetBlue is no longer working on a card with American Express, meaning this is your new best option: the JetBlue Mastercard from Barclaycard. It includes some great features, ranging from no foreign transaction fees (a huge plus in the Caribbean) to 50 percent inflight savings on cocktails and food purchases on JetBlue flights to 3x points on JetBlue purchases. (That’s along with 2x points at grocery stores and restaurants).
You can redeem points for any seat at any time on JetBlue operated flights, meaning no blackout dates — and points awarded to your TrueBlue account don’t expire.
It’s a natural for consideration, given that JetBlue is the fastest growing airline in the Caribbean.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
If you stay at luxury resorts in the Caribbean, this Visa card will be a big boost.
The perks are numerous: first, you get three complimentary nights at any tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening your account.
Even better? You also get 5x points at any participating Ritz-Carlton hotel including brands like JW Marriott, Edition, Autograph Collection Hotels (think Atlantis, for example), Renaissance and Marriott Hotels. Other benefits include 2x points on airline tickets and at restaurants and car rental firms. This credit card also has no foreign transaction fees.
Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
Citi has partnered on four credit cards with American Airlines, but this is the top-level option. The Executive World Elite edition offers you the chance to earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months after opening your account. There is $450 annual fee, though, which is definitely something to think about. But that’s potentially offset by this card’s part piece: Admiral’s Club membership, giving you access to more than 50 global lounges and up to two guests. With Admiral’s Club day passes at $50, regular travelers could see this pay big dividends. Also included? Priority check-in and early boarding, along with a $100 statement credit every five years for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre.
You also get 10,000 elite qualifying miles for every $40,000 you spend each year, with 2x miles on all eligible AA purchases.
Thanks to AA’s recent changes, accumulating miles means more in the Caribbean, with reward travel comparatively favorable in the Caribbean than some of the carrier’s other markets.
And then there are other inclusions, like lost baggage protection that can refund the purchase price of missing items or the cost to repair damaged items, and worldwide travel accident insurance.
Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express Card
The best Amex option for Caribbean travelers, this card is a great option, especially for those heading to the region for business travel. The annual fee is just $75, and you get 75,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on the card in within your first three months of becoming a member. Then there are the other perks: complimentary gold status; 12x Hilton Hhonors bonus points for any purchase at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio; 6x Hilton Hhonors points for spending at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations in the U.S., and 3x Hilton Hhonors points for all other purchases, among other features. Hilton has seven hotels in the Caribbean under the Hilton brand alone, along with several more under the Waldorf-Astoria, Curio, Conrad, DoubleTree and Embassy Suites brands.