How does the new-old CUP currency influence the first Cubacel promo in 2021

Cuban woman on the first Cubacel promo in 2021

Photo credits: Vanessa Kintaudi on

Cuba finally took the plunge and ended its dualcurrency system that was on since 1994. The old Cuban pesos are back in style with this change, that The Economist labels as “a long-awaited reform [that] will cause pain in the short run”. The same time, the first Cubacel promo in 2021 requires a moment of adaptation, since the CUP replace the CUC. Are Cubans abroad (who recharge their folks’ Cubacel numbers) ready for more zeros or are we going to get lost in the translation until we figure it out back again? We’d say they are too adaptive to get puzzled. Plus, it’s a matter of time for all until the CUC will be a nice memory.

Why 2 currencies so far?

Of course, Cubans call both CUC and CUP ‘pesos’. But CUC was a bit much more valuable and much more commonly used. The circulation of the second currency (CUC) besides the national currency came as an attempt to economically open up Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Reuters explains along other publications.

How did the existence of 2 currencies influenced the citizens, some may ask, if not really familiar with the situation…

It set up the dual-currency system in 1994, when the country was reeling from the loss of subsidies from the Soviet Union, on which it had relied during the cold war. Alongside the Cuban peso it created the CUC, a convertible currency pegged to the dollar at one to one. It hoped this would prevent Cubans from dumping pesos in favour of dollars. Importers, which are state-owned, use CUC to obtain dollars on favourable terms, which makes imports cheap. Most Cubans, who work for the state, are paid in pesos. It takes 24 pesos to buy a CUC at the official exchange rate. Workers in the country’s growing private sector, most of whom are paid in CUC earn seven times what state employees make. (Cuba ends its dual-currency systemThe Economist, Dec 16, 2020)

How does the CUP impact people?

Cars in Cuba during the first Cubacel promo in 2021

Photo credits: Nick Karvounis on

What’s next? Many economists speak of an inevitable inflation, as well as price increase and increase in state-wages. We’ll see…

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said it would leave the peso at a single fixed rate of 24 to the dollar, scrapping other more favorable rates in the first official devaluation of the peso since Cuba’s 1959 revolution. (How Cuba’s monetary reform will take place and impact the economy, Reuters, Dec 11, 2020)

The government started opening up stores where transactions take place in dollars, as long as  the purchases go through a bank card. The capital authorities announce it as a temporary measure. Yet, it seems the dollarization will bring stability for families who receive remittances.

First Cubacel promo in 2021 in CUP

In this context, the first Cubacel promo unfolds. Bonuses range from 1000 CUP to 2000 CUP, that is 37.73 CUC to 75.47 CUC to make a comparison with the previous promos (20 CUC-60 CUC)… We’re talking about Doble Bono and Triple Bono in terms of value. Yet, the minimum recharge value went up. That could be a win for your folks in Cuba who receive the recharge, yet with all the inflation.

So, basically the proportions stay the same as inn the past Cubacel offers. Yet, the minimum and maximum top up values went up a few dollars, and thus the rest as well.

The first Cubacel promo runs between January 11-16. 

man during the first Cubacel promo in 2021

Photo credits: Ricardo IV Tamayo on

When you top up a Cubacel number on or using MobileRecharge app, here’s what you order and what you send:

  • 500 CUP top up = 500 CUP + 1000 CUP Bonus
  • 650 CUP top up =  650 CUP + 1000 CUP Bonus
  • 750 CUP top up = 750 CUP + 1000 CUP Bonus
  • 1000 CUP top up = 1000 CUP + 2000 CUP Bonus
  • 1100 CUP top up = 1100 CUP + 2000 CUP Bonus
  • 1250 CUP top up = 1250 CUP + 2000 CUP Bonus