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Flights to St. Thomas or St. Kitts

Discussion in 'Marriott Vacation Club' started by DB-Wis, May 2, 2017.

  1. DB-Wis

    DB-Wis TUG Member

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    We've got exchange requests pending for next February or March at the Marriott properties on St. Thomas (Frenchmen's Cove) or St. Kitts. I've been exploring flights to either island (from Chicago or Milwaukee) and I've been surprised at how expensive the flights are -- in the range of $800 per person or more. I was wondering whether any of you who regularly travel to these islands during peak season have any suggestions for lowering travel costs. Perhaps I'm just naive and inexperienced, but that seems surprisingly expensive.
     
  2. 2disneydads

    2disneydads TUG Member

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    Those fares are roughly consistent with some fares I'm seeing to St. Thomas in March from New York. The fares I've seen are between low $600s to low $800s for flights from New York.

    Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
     
  3. Tommyhob

    Tommyhob Guest

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    We went to St Thomas out of ORD in mid February, arriving just after the Super Bowl and being back home before Presidents week. I scoured fares for most of the year and was consistently seeing $550-$700 for that timeframe. We ended up booking an award with AA because it seemed like it was $800+ unless I wanted to have two connections or spend a whole day getting there. You may want to consider putting together awards miles/points to get there.

    Either way, it was our first time to St Thomas and we loved the island and Frenchman's Cove. It was worth it to us.
     
    DB-Wis likes this.
  4. SandyPGravel

    SandyPGravel Guest

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    I booked flights to St Thomas for late Feb early March(2016) from ORD last year for $450. (Booked the flights in September with Capital One Travel. I have had great interactions with Cap One Travel when AA changed our flights.) When I was looking to buy my resale week I was comparing several different weeks within a month or so. I checked on airfare and the later weeks coincided more with Spring Break and Easter and the flights were way more expensive. I ended up buying week 9. Flights were more reasonable from ORD at the end of February/beginning of March than mid to late March. Next year I am considering booking Southwest to SJU and then an island hopper flight to St Thomas. A night or two in San Juan then on to St. Thomas.

    But it also depends on what your expectations for flights are. This year I paid extra for a flight that would get us back to ORD around 7:30 pm. My flight cost was $560. I could have booked for around $480 if I was ok with landing around 11pm. The two and a half hour drive to Madison is more palatable at 7:30 than at 11pm! :thumbup:

    I use google.com/flights and Skiplagged.com to watch airfare. Google flights allows you to save an itinerary so you can compare the changes from day to day and different airports as well. I was watching flights from ORD, MKE & MSN and at one point it was cheaper to fly from MSN!

    I have no experience going to St Kitts, so I can't help with that.
     
    DB-Wis likes this.
  5. mdurette

    mdurette TUG Member

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    We did an extreme last minute trip this past February to Frenchmans. Booked the trip less than a week before it started and dealt with last minute flights during area school vacation week. We paid about $300 each for non stop outbound. The return was more....but we used points from Chase UR so we didn't feel it.

    You have time to earn some decent points. It may be time to pick up a credit card with a large sign up bonus and use that for the flights.
     
  6. hangloose

    hangloose Guest

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    Last time we travelled to St Kitts from the U.S. East Coast, flights were around $750 with a connection in Miami through AA. This was in early August (mid season), so not sure it helps. I also thought it was very high, while we did eventually pay it as I couldn't find anything cheaper. We had a great last minute II exchange, so felt that made up for some of it. We were not a fan of St Kitts Beach Club and would not likely go back. The villa was huge, but the resort just didn't hit the mark for us. There are many other beachfront MVC resorts we like far better.

    We had an II confirmation for St. Thomas this past April. Airfare was about $800 per person. We ended up cancelling and choosing to go somewhere else because of several factors (including airfare cost). We haven't been to Frenchman's Cove yet, but hear it is very nice. I'm certain we'll exchange there in the future.

    I think Feb and March are peak season for both locations, as such, it would not surprise me if you had to pay a premium to fly. I would suggest watching flights for several weeks (or even a month or two) to get an idea of approximate costs until one of your exchanges is matched. You'll then be able to get a feel for the average prices to fly as well as the high/low points prior to your exchange being matched. Google Flight tracker works well, among others.

    The Marriott Aruba properties are also very nice, if you want Caribbean.

    In reality, no flights are cheap these days. Sometimes, we just have to pay the price, forget we did, and enjoy the vacation!
     
    turkel and DB-Wis like this.
  7. jimf41

    jimf41 TUG Member

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    Just booked last week. R/T BC from JFK $618 in February but not week 7. My son is coming down Pres week and he got $800 R/T FC but it's 1 stop each way. He wanted non-stop coach but that was $1100 R/T. Both are with AA.
     
  8. SkyBlueWaters

    SkyBlueWaters Guest

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    How expensive. At that rate, I'm heading to Hawaii or SE Asian islands.
     
  9. TravlinDuo

    TravlinDuo TUG Member

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    It’s unfortunate that the airfare cost to St Thomas has dramatically increased over the last 2-3 years; especially if non-stop or better departure and arrival times are desired (arriving STT at 8pm means you’ve lost an entire day at the resort). We bought MFC in 2007 and the RT airfares then were between $225 and $250 for the 3 major airports nearest to us. Adding airfare costs to the yearly increase in maintenance fees and the new USVI timeshare tax of $25/day has caused us to start thinking about renting our week or depositing it with II and requesting an exchange for a beach location having less expensive airfares. It’s mind boggling to think about the airfare costs for a family of 4 or more to fly to the Caribbean. Perhaps the result of higher airfares and the new daily timeshare tax will be an impact the volume of (timeshare) vacationers or the spending habits of those who do travel to the USVI - both of which will hurt the businesses on the islands.
     
    Fasttr likes this.
  10. jimf41

    jimf41 TUG Member

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    Yes it is expensive but it doesn't come close to the cost of Hawaii or the South Pacific. Lowest R/T BC ticket from NYC to HNL is $2941 in February 2018. That's a 12 hour plus trip with a stop in Chicago. Compare that to non-stop 3.5 hours @ $600 and STT is looking very reasonable.
     
  11. DB-Wis

    DB-Wis TUG Member

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    Thanks for this post. You've captured many of my feelings. I expect to pay an exorbitant amount to fly to Hawaii -- it's essentially half way around the world from where I live in the midwest. But it's ridiculous to pay $700 to fly to the Caribbean when a flight to Phoenix (about the same distance) costs $300. But, that's what happens when airlines are allowed to merge to the point where there now is virtually no competition.
     
  12. jimf41

    jimf41 TUG Member

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    It's not the lack of competition that's keeping airfare high at STT. There are five major airlines with regular service there and seven minor or foreign carriers. The terminal is very small with limited maintenance facilities. Most of the flights return to their origin point which means the airline has to dedicate a plane and a crew just for that destination. The flights are subject to large seasonal fluctuations in traffic. All these things combined tend to drive up costs and the fact that the airport and terminal really can't handle much more traffic means you won't see any more competition than you already have.
     
  13. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    All excellent points. Also remember that 10 years ago when airfares were lower and we had more airlines, even a small economic slowdown would send airline profits plummeting and many airlines into bankruptcy (remember Eastern, Braniff, and Pan Am?). Now, the number of carriers has declined and fares are higher, but the airline industry actually has the potential to become a stable, profitable business. While higher fares are no fun for those of us who have to pay, neither is having your airline declare bankruptcy while you are on vacation. The next time the economy heads south, we'll see if the smaller number of carriers results in more discipline, better capacity control, less cutthroat fare cutting, and more stability in the industry than in the past. Maybe an industry structure with four larger carriers and a few smaller lower cost carriers is the optimal structure for this industry.

    I also think that one reason customer service in the airline industry has always been poor is that they always had to be so concerned about cost control versus customer service due to the instability of their revenue/profits. Maybe if the current competitive landscape allows for more stable revenue streams, the airlines will begin to see the advantages of improving their service levels as a way to compete rather than slashing fares and expenses and destroying everyone's bottom line.
     
  14. elleny76

    elleny76 Guest

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    Hawaiian Airlines coach _ NYC to HNL has R/T for appx $800 if booked in advance. 11 hours.
     
  15. travelbugs

    travelbugs TUG Member

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    We just returned from Frenchman's Cove. Our flight from San Diego was $465 r/t. We normally fly out of LAX, but it was $300 cheaper overall for three of us to leave from San Diego on a Saturday and get a hotel for one night in STT! Crazy!!!! I found the airfare on Expedia, which I never use for flights, and also went through Ebates for a tiny rebate. I couldn't believe the savings one day and an airport made!
     
  16. SandyPGravel

    SandyPGravel Guest

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    Did you find a more reasonable airfare? I just booked ORD to STT for $427/pp.(Feb 22 to Mar 2) We are flying out of ORD quite early but arrive in St Thomas at 2:22 pm. Since we are staying on St. John I didn't feel comfortable booking the morning flight home so we arrive back at ORD at 9:47 pm. Not too bad for flight times. I would have preferred to arrive at ORD around 7 pm but those airfares were insane!
     
  17. DB-Wis

    DB-Wis TUG Member

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    Gina, our trade requests are still pending and so we are not yet in a position to buy tickets. (Our trade requests have now been pending for about three months -- I'm a little disappointed we haven't yet gotten a confirmation. I had thought we'd have little difficulty getting into St. Kitts.)

    I think you got a great price for the airline tickets to STT! I can only hope to do as well if and when I finally get a confirmation.
     
  18. SandyPGravel

    SandyPGravel Guest

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    I've never traded before, just used the VSE network. That has to be frustrating :wall:to sit and wait without knowing if you can go or not. Good luck hope something comes through soon! :)
     
  19. travelover

    travelover Guest

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    I have found it is much cheaper to buy two separate tickets when going to expensive places. For example flying to St. Thomas from Puerto Rico and other places is very cheap. So then you just find a cheap flight to Puerto Rico.
     

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