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This great deal to one of my favorite destinations reminds me of my amazing St. Maarten getaway a few years ago with my husband, daughter, best friend and her family. We traveled using a combination of my Citi/AAdvantage card and my SPG Starpoints – flying first-class using miles to upgrade our flights, and getting an upgrade to a stunning suite upon check-in, thanks to my SPG Platinum Status. It was an unforgettable getaway to an incredibly unique and picturesque island. Take advantage of this deal before it expires to experience this island for yourself. And remember to earn as many points as possible along the way!
The first major snow storm of the season is about to hit the Northeast so here’s a great last-minute deal to help you escape the cold temperatures by planning a beach vacation to the Caribbean. American Airlines is currently offering incredible deals on flights from New York (LGA) to Philipsburg, Saint Maarten Princess Juliana airport (SXM). Flights to St. Maarten start around $292 round-trip on limited dates next week and there is a short connection in Charlotte, NC. Nonstop flights start around $450 and are going to be much higher as we approach holiday weekends and spring break.
Airline: American Airlines
Route: LGA to SXM
Cost: $292+ round-trip
Dates: January 27, 2016 through February 2, 2016
Get packing with the Citi/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® – starting with 1 FREE Flight
Traveling to St. Maarten/St. Martin requires very little advance planning of lodging, dining, sightseeing, and making sure you packed the best credit card to use on your trip to maximize your points and rewards. One card worth considering is the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select® Mastercard.® For a limited time you can get 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. This card will allow you one free checked bag per flight for you and up to four other travelers. You’ll also enjoy Group 1 boarding and earn AAdvantage miles that can be redeemed for future travel. What’s more, if you book your trip with the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select® Mastercard® you earn double miles, as this is an eligible American Airlines purchase. With this card you’ll also get:
- Earn 30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
- Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases1
- Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
- Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
- Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
Book your stay at one of Point Savvy’s favorite SPG hotels with the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
A great hotel that we highly recommend in St. Maarten is The Westin Dawn Beach that sits on the border of St. Maarten’s Dutch side and is a short distance to St. Martin’s French side.
This convenient location is a plus in getting to know the island’s two sides. Booking your stay at the Westin will earn you 5 Starpoints® per $1 spent. Apply for this card before your trip and know you would be earning 25,000 bonus Starpoints too. With this card you’ll get:
- Get 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- Terms and limitations apply.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
- Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
- Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
- Get free nights at over 1,200 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with no blackout dates. Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Visit our credit card partner’s site in order to learn more and securely apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Now that I have found the round-trip flights to St. Maarten cost as low as $292 in January 2016 it’s time to research both sides of the island. Here’s a little snapshot of their cultural attributes and tourist attractions.
Some fun information about traveling to St. Maarten/St. Martin
St. Maarten/St. Martin is a rich and cultural crossroads of the world –French and Dutch. The island has more than 37 beautiful beaches, hundreds of world-class eateries, from Parisian bistros to American sports bars, to restaurants serving German, Indian, creole, Vietnamese, and Italian fare.
Whatever can be done in or on the water – snorkeling, scuba, sailing, windsurfing and more – can be found on this 37 square mile island. Day trips are available by ship or plane to the nearby islands of Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Barthélemy.
Where to Stay
On the French side, attractive Baie Nettlé and busy, popular Baie Orientale (Orient Bay) are the two main resort areas. You’ll find the hotels here more intimate, with breathtaking views of the mountains and beautiful beaches. One of the more beautiful hotels in the entire Caribbean is Belmond La Samanna. This luxurious hotel overlooks a perfect white beach and is set on 55 acres of lush gardens. This Mediterranean-style retreat is pure luxury.
On the Dutch side you will either stay on beaches at Simpson Bay or Maho, or in the heart of Philipsburg, where shops and eateries abound. You’ll find a huge range in hotels from the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa to the Horny Toad. The Horny Toad is an intimate eight-room, oceanfront guesthouse and is one of the island’s best values for those who want a traditional Caribbean vacation experience for a reasonable cost with rooms that over look the white-sand beach at Simpson Bay. But, as we mentioned earlier, our favorite hotel is the Westin Dawn Beach because of it’s awesome location, amenities, and opportunities to earn more SPG Starpoints.
Wherever you decide to stay and whatever you decide to do on your St. Maarten/St. Martin vacation, make sure you’re maximizing your points and rewards. Be Point Savvy!
What’s the best card to use for this trip?
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
- Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named a ‘Best Credit Card’ for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
- Premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
You’ll earn double points on your airfare and hotel purchases, plus all of your restaurant visits on your vacations. Your 50,000 bonus points are valued at $625 towards airfare or hotels when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® – giving you even more savings on travel. Plus, you can transfer points to participating frequent travel programs at full value.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
- Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
- Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is a fee for balance transfers.
You’ll get 5% miles back every time you redeem, so each trip you book takes you to the next. For example, a 60,000-mile redemption toward your trip will give you 3,000 miles toward your next trip. You’ll earn 2X points on every single purchase, so there no keeping track of what purchases to make with the card. You can book on any airline and any hotel, so finding the best travel deal and purchasing it is easy with this card. Plus, your miles don’t expire as long as your account is open.
Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates.