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Deal alert: Nonstop fares to Chicago starting at $81

Dec. 11, 2021
5 min read
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From its spectacular architecture to its endless array of great food, there are lots of reasons why Chicago makes a great city for a weekend jet-away.

You have even more motivation to visit Chicago this winter because you can book nonstop fares at greatly reduced prices. Some routes are going for as low as $81 round-trip. The fare sale also works in reverse if you live in Chicago, and are looking for a break from the Midwest's chilly temperatures.

Fares from American and United are Main Cabin, which comes with a carry-on and seat assignment. Alaska and Delta's discounted fares are basic economy.

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Our friends at Thrifty Traveler first spotted this deal, which they sent out to their premium subscribers first. Non-members can find sale prices by using Google Flights to search for desired routes and dates.

Deal basics

Airlines: Delta, American, United, Alaska
Routes: ATL/AUS/AVL/BOS/CHS/DFW/FLL/IAH/JFK/LGA/LAX/MIA/MSY and other cities to Chicago IL (MDW/ORD)
Cost: Nonstop flights available from $81
Dates: January-October 2022; availability varies by city.

Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express for 5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year); the Citi Prestige® Card for 5x on airfare; the Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel); Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on air travel); the American Express® Gold Card for 3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for 2x on travel — which you could redeem for as little as 13,000 points.

The information for the Citi Prestige 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.

Pedestrians crossing the street in downtown Chicago. (Eduardo Fonseca Arraes for Getty Images)

If you live in Miami as I do, you can experience a few days of winter in January for just $81 nonstop from Miami International Airport to Chicago (ORD). This is a United Basic Economy fare, so you don't get a carry-on bag. You can upgrade to Economy for $28, which comes with seat selection and a free carry-on. That's a better move than paying $70 for a checked bag at the Basic Economy tier.

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(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

You can book Tampa (TPA) to Chicago in February for just $127 nonstop. This is an American Main Cabin fare, which comes with a free carry-on bag and a seat assignment.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

One of the best deals we found in this, er...deal, was from Atlanta (ATL) to Chicago (MDW) in March. This nonstop itinerary costs less than half what it normally sells for. Even better, it's for Delta's basic economy, which, despite more restrictions, does come with a free carry-on. Note that you fly into Chicago-Midway Airport on this route, which is closer to the city than O'Hare.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

We found a steal of a deal on American to fly from Nashville (BNA) to Chicago (ORD) in February.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

We also found fares from San Francisco (SFO) to Chicago (ORD) in late January at great prices. This nonstop itinerary on Alaska Air for just $113 is more than 50% off usual prices. It's Alaska's Saver tier, which includes a free carry-on though no seat assignment.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Related: 11 activities you must do when visiting Chicago

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a card that earns bonus points on airfare purchases, like The Platinum Card® from American Express for 5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year); the Citi Prestige® Card for 5x on airfare; the Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel); Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on air travel); the American Express® Gold Card for 3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for 2x on travel — which you could redeem for as little as 13,000 points.

Bottom Line

Once you book your trip, make sure to pack comfortable footwear. Chicago is a great walking city, and exploring on foot is a wonderful way to take it all in. And of course, bring your best coat and layer up. They don't call it the Windy City for nothing!

Featured Image: Duane Walker for Getty Images

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023