Less than the cost of lunch: Domestic flight deals from $14 one-way

Jul 8, 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 (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). 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.

Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

With many international borders still closed to Americans, domestic travel will likely take the lead when travelers return to the skies. If you’re trying to get ahead of the pack and are ready to book future trips now, then we have a deal for you.

We’re currently seeing a number of domestic flights available starting as low as $14 one-way. Some cities you could fly to/from include Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK/LGA), Newark (EWR), Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Cleveland (CLE), Nashville (BNA) and more. The low fares are being offered by American, JetBlue and United and are available for travel between July 2020 and Feb. 2021.

The lowest fares we’re seeing all book into basic economy, meaning added fees and more restrictions in return for the attractive price. You can combat some of the negative aspects of basic economy by using your airline elite status or a carrier’s co-branded credit card. If you want to upgrade to standard economy, it will typically cost you at least $35 each way. Keep in mind, a number of airlines are currently offering free changes or cancellations (including for basic economy fares) for flights booked by July 31.

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Should I book travel now?

There is some risk with booking travel now, as there’s no way to guarantee when it will be safe to travel again. The CDC still has a strong warning against any nonessential travel within the United States. While we hope things will return to normal quickly, there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

Also, although all states have at least partially reopened, several have a mandatory 14-day quarantine order in effect. If the situation does not get better soon, you may end up being forced to change or cancel your trip.

Related: New coronavirus cases hit record high; many travelers entering New York, New Jersey and Connecticut must enter mandatory quarantine

Fortunately, most major airlines are currently offering flexible change and cancellation policies. Typically this means that you’ll be able to postpone your trip by one to two years and even change your destination. You still need to pay any difference in fare. Note that basic economy fares are excluded from American’s flexible booking policy.

Related: Airline coronavirus change and cancellation policies

Domestic flight deals currently available

Airlines: American, JetBlue, United

Routes: Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK/LGA), Newark (EWR) to/from Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), Chicago (ORD), Cleveland (CLE), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Nashville (BNA), Orlando (MCO) + others

Cost: $14+ one-way in basic economy

Travel Dates: July 2020 – February 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 (3x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare booked directly with the airline or amextravel.com) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (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.

Sample itineraries

Here’s a look at some of the best deals you could book. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you may be able to find deals between other cities as well.

Newark (EWR) to Cleveland (CLE) for $14 one-way nonstop in basic economy on United:

(Photo from United)

Newark (EWR) to Nashville (BNA) for $17 one-way nonstop in basic economy on United:

(Photo from United)
(Photo from United)

Los Angeles (LAX) to Nashville (BNA) for $24 one-way nonstop in basic economy on American Airlines:

(Photo from American Airlines)

Boston (BOS) to Chicago (ORD) for $24 one-way nonstop in basic economy on JetBlue:

(Photo from JetBlue)

Newark (EWR) to Atlanta (ATL) for $25 one-way nonstop in basic economy on United:

(Photo from United)

Miami (MIA) to Nashville (BNA) for $25 one-way nonstop in basic economy on American Airlines:

(Photo from American Airlines)

New York (LGA) to Miami (MIA) for $25 one-way nonstop in basic economy on American Airlines:

(Photo from American Airlines)

Los Angeles (LAX) to Orlando (MCO) for $28 one-way nonstop in basic economy on JetBlue:

(Photo from JetBlue)

How to book

It’s easy to find these fares. Just head to Google Flights and plug in your desired departure and destination cities. Use the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you and then click through to book with the airline directly or an OTA such as Expedia or Priceline.

If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, select economy class and type “United States” in the “Where to?” field for a map showing the cheapest flights to destinations around the continent for your desired dates.

(Photo by Google Flights)
(Photo from Google Flights)

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns bonus points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express® Gold Card Citi Premier® Card (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 image by Kruck20/Getty Images.

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