Fly round trip from nearly 70 cities to the Florida Panhandle for under $200

Nov 10, 2021

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With the holidays quickly approaching, one thing is certain: Winter is coming. To help everyone eager to escape winter’s chill, we’ve rounded up nonstop flights to Destin, Panama City and Pensacola, Florida, for as low as $126 round trip.

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Panama City Beach, Florida. (Photo by Terry Kelly/EyeEm via Getty Images)

The deal

Airlines: American, Delta and United.
Routes: ATL/BWI/CHS/DCA/IAH/LGA/LIT/MEM/MSY/STL and others to VPS/ECP/PNS, depending on the route.
Cost: Starting as low as $126 round trip for select routes.
Dates: December 2021-March 2022, excluding holidays.
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 or Chase Sapphire Reserve for 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.

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.

This deal was originally sent out by Thrifty Traveler Premium, where members get notified of cheap flights, award flight sales and business-class deals for $7.99 monthly or $49.99 annually.

Routes

Flights from nearly 70 departure cities — including nonstop ones from Atlanta, Dallas and Houston — are featured in this deal. Plus, the deals work in reverse if you live in Florida and are looking to take advantage, though you may not want to leave Florida in winter.

Listed fares are for flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) or Pensacola International Airport (PNS), but just note that not all destination cities are available from all departure cities.

Sample round-trip fares in this deal to VPS, ECP or PNS include ones departing from:

  • Atlanta (ATL) — $126, nonstop.
  • Nashville (BNA) — $144.
  • Houston (IAH) — $146, nonstop.
  • Charleston, South Carolina (CHS); Chicago (ORD); Little Rock, Arkansas (LIT); Memphis (MEM); and St. Louis (STL) — $151.
  • Charlotte (CLT) — $152.
  • Baltimore (BWI) — $153.
  • Milwaukee (MKE) — $164.
  • Columbus, Ohio (CMH) — $173.
  • Dallas (DFW) — $186, nonstop.
  • Kansas City, Missouri (MCI) — $174.
  • New York (LGA) and Newark (EWR) — $193.

Related: Florida tourism on the rebound as airlines add flights and hotels sell out

(Photo by Laura Jennings Photography via Getty Images)

How to find this deal

As is the case with deals, the quickest and most efficient way to find fares is by using Google Flights, which allows you to play around with this deal based on where you live and intend to travel. Deals tend to disappear quickly, so be sure to try switching your departing airport of choice to see if there are any flights leaving from nearby cities if your home city is not listed.

Since I know from first-hand experience how unexpectedly cold Chicago can get outside of June, July and August, let’s start with a round-trip flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Destin in early December for just $152 on American Airlines.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

This is for American’s Main Cabin fare, which includes free seat selection and one free carry-on bag.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Although St. Louis tends to be about 10 degrees warmer than Chicago at any given point, Destin is a popular destination among St. Louis residents, so let’s try this round-trip flight to Destin for $165 on Delta.

Related: Florida’s top 10 vacation regions for different types of travelers

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

This fare is for Delta’s basic economy, which doesn’t include seat selection but does cover a carry-on bag.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

If you are traveling from the Washington, D.C., area, consider this nonstop American flight out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Pensacola for just under $200 round trip.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Like the above AA flight, this is for their Main Cabin, which scores you advance complimentary seat selection and one carry-on bag.

Destin, Florida. (Photo by Sabrina Buonavoglia/EyeEm via Getty Images)

Bottom line

Delta basic economy fares booked for travel through Dec. 31 are eligible for free changes and cancellation vouchers. Otherwise, you will have to upgrade to the Main Cabin on American or United to make changes or receive a voucher for cancellation. Checked baggage will run you $30 on both AA and Delta; it is twice that on United.

“Not as well known as some parts of Florida, the Panhandle in the northwest part of the state has a number of excellent vacation spots despite its relatively small footprint — just 200 miles long and varying between 50 and 100 miles wide,” writes TPG’s Andrea Rotondo. “The states of Alabama and Georgia border the Panhandle; the body of water to its south is the Gulf of Mexico.”

If Destin is your final destination, try the Back Porch for seafood, take a walk to Henderson Beach State Park, ride a banana boat (I can attest this is very fun) or take a sunset cruise to see dolphins.

If you find Destin to be a bit too touristy, I would highly recommend visiting Seaside, a resort community on the Gulf of Mexico between Destin and Panama City. It is known for cute pastel-colored homes and a long beach. Hikers also can enjoy nearby Grayton Beach State Park and downtown’s many shops and restaurants, including Amavida Coffee Roasters and the Meltdown on 30A, which is known for its gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

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Related: 13 of the best beaches in Florida

Featured photo by Valeri Clincy/EyeEm via Getty Images.

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