This year, many countries that normally maintain open borders have restricted international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, 2020 has proven to be a great time to fall back in love with domestic destinations, particularly ones that can be reached by car.
But if you aren’t the driving type, flights to beach cities may be just the ticket for you. With health safety protocols at an all-time high in commercial aviation, a quick weekend getaway for some Vitamin D might be in order before winter sets in. All of the destinations we searched don’t require passports from U.S. travelers, even if some destinations such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii feel like exotic escapes.
The lowest fares we’ve found originate from Newark (EWR) and fly nonstop into Fort Lauderdale (FLL) for just $43 round trip on Spirit, or $51 on United in basic economy — cheaper than a good steak after tax and tip.
Some of these fares book into basic economy, which means different things to different airlines, but often means you may not have free use of the overhead bins for a carry-on bag. You probably also won’t be able to select your seat, get an upgrade or earn PQM/PQS/PQDs. Also, keep in mind that flights booked in basic economy may incur change fees despite many airlines eliminating most change fees on domestic and Caribbean/Mexico flights this summer. However, it’s possible to defeat some of basic economy’s negative aspects by having elite status or a cobranded credit card.
To find a deal, head to Google Flights and enter your origin and destination cities. Scroll through the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you. Finally, click through to book directly with the airline or an OTA like Orbitz or Expedia.
Not sure how to utilize Google Flights to its fullest? Check out our guide to booking flights like a pro.
Airline: American, United, Spirit, Volaris, VivaAerobus and more
Routes: EWR/IAH/JFK/DFW/ATL/ORD and more to FLL/MIA/SJU/SAN/STT/STX
Cost: from $42 round trip in basic economy
Dates: October 2020 — June 2021
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; starting Jan. 1, 2021 earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
The information for the Citi Prestige Card and Citi Premier Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Here are some examples of specific flights that are available:
Newark (EWR) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) for $42 round trip nonstop on Spirit via Google, or $51 on United in basic economy:
Newark (EWR) to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) for $64 round trip nonstop on Spirit, or $67 on United in basic economy:
Chicago (ORD) to San Diego (SAN) for $96 nonstop round trip on American Airlines and United:
Dallas (DFW) to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT) for $164 round trip on Spirit:
Atlanta (ATL) to Key West (EYW) for $177 nonstop round trip on Delta:
San Francisco (SFO) to Maui (OGG) for $257 round trip nonstop in January on Hawaiian Airlines:
Maximize your purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline)(starting Jan. 21, 2021 earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
Featured image by cdwheatley / Getty Images.