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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.
Full-service carriers are offering some pretty spectacular deals on nonstop transcon flights. The sub-$100 fares seem to mostly be with United, though other carriers are offering flights in the mid-$200 range, which is still pretty great for these routes. Some scattered dates are available in March and May, but the vast majority of availability seems to be for April travel, across all carriers and cities. Begin your flight search on Google Flights and then click through to the airlines themselves to complete your booking.
Airline: United, Delta, Alaska, JetBlue
Routes: EWR/JFK/BOS/BWI to SMF/SEA/LAX
Cost: $89+ round-trip in regular economy
Dates: March-May 2018
Booking Link: Use Google Flights to find your ideal dates, then book directly with the airline
Pay With: The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Here are some available dates you can book:
Newark (EWR) to Sacramento (SMF) for $89 round-trip on United in April:
Baltimore (BWI) to Los Angeles (LAX) for $217 round-trip on Alaska in April:
Boston (BOS) to Seattle (SEA) for $228 round-trip on Delta in April ($198 round-trip in basic economy):
New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) for $247 round-trip on American in May:
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
Featured photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards