Spring break sale: $121+ round trip to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama

Jan 21, 2020

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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 Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the 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.

Finally, a great deal alert for the Texans and Midwesterners: Flights to popular Central America destinations begin at just $121 round trip. The lowest fares go from Houston to Guatemala city from $121 in basic economy or $161 in regular economy on United.

These are cheap fares by any standard, but especially for international travel, where taxes and fees add up. The best fares originate out of the Midwest — Texas cities, Chicago and New Orleans, specifically. The best dates fall in February and March for the perfect spring break getaway.

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The only drawback is that many of these fares begin in basic economy. Basic economy means different things to different airlines but you may not have free use of the overhead bins for a carry-on bag and you probably won’t be able to select your seat, get an upgrade, or earn PQM/PQS/PQDs. However, it’s possible to defeat many 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.

Airline: United, American, Interjet, Spirit
Routes: IAH/DFW/HOU/ORD/MSY and more to GUA/PTY/SJO
Cost: $121+ round trip
Dates: February — May 2020
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier℠ CardChase 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:

Houston (IAH) to Guatemala City (GUA) for $121 round trip on United basic economy:

Houston (IAH) to Guatemala City (GUA) for $144 round trip on Spirit via Google:

Houston (HOU) to Guatemala City (GUA) for $190 round trip on American basic economy:

Chicago (ORD) to Guatemala City (GUA) for $205 round trip on Spirit via Google:

San Antonio (SAT) to Guatemala City (GUA) for $224 round trip on Interjet basic economy via Bravofly:

New Orleans (MSY) to Panama City (PTY) for $242 round trip on Spirit:

Dallas (IAH) to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) for $249 round trip on Spirit:

Houston (IAH) to Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) for $303 round trip on Spirit via Google:

Houston (IAH) to Managua, Nicaragua (MGA) for $303 round trip on Spirit via Google:

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 flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express® Gold CardCiti Premier CardCiti Prestige Card (5x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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