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Act fast: Get round-trip flights to Costa Rica for under $400

Aug. 13, 2022
6 min read
Conchal beach. Guanacaste. Costa Rica.
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As sweltering summer temps soon give way to a cooler fall and changing leaves, consider making a trip to a country where it’s summer year-round: Costa Rica.

Round-trip flights are less than $400 from every region of the U.S. You can fly into the capital city of San José or Liberia to enjoy this popular tourist destination known for its lavish resorts and beautiful beaches.

Act fast, though. With flights discounted by about 50% compared to their normal $650 price tag, these flights will sell fast.

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National Theatre of Costa Rica in San Jose. (Photo by repistu/Getty Images)

Deal basics

Airlines: American, Copa, Delta, JetBlue, United.
Routes: Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Houston, Baltimore, Denver and others to San José and Liberia.
How to book: Search Google Flights for the best dates, then book directly through the airline.
Travel dates: August 2022 to November 2022; January 2023 to June 2023; some include availability over Thanksgiving depending on the route.
Book by: ASAP.

Thanks to Scott’s Cheap Flights for sending us this deal. You can get discounts up to 90% off through the site’s Premium membership, which has a 14-day trial period and costs $49 a year. You can also upgrade to Scott’s Cheap Flight’s Elite tier membership for $199 per year so that you can receive Premium deals and premium economy, business-class and first-class deals.

Sample flights

This deal offers many options. Fly from almost any region in the U.S. to Costa Rica for under $400, including nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Aiport (LAX) and John F. Kennedy International Aiport (JFK) to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO).

Other airports like Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) also have flights under $400 to Costa Rica but include a layover. We found that every flight available to Guanacaste Airport (LIR) includes a layover.

Here are a few standouts:

  • Copa: Departs from Miami International Airport (MIA) to SJO, starting at $235 (includes a layover in Panama City).
  • American: Departs from DCA to SJO, starting at $322.
  • American: Departs from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to LIR, starting at $323 (includes a layover in Miami).
  • JetBlue: Departs from JFK to SJO, starting at $326.
  • Delta: Departs from LAX to SJO, starting at $354.

We recommend finding availability based on desired travel dates through Google Flights and then booking your flight directly through the airline of your choice.

Booking through airlines is more reliable in case of a delay, cancellation or booking change. Also, prices on Google Flights can sometimes be lower compared to airlines since Google Flights provides third-party booking options.

Related: Welcome to the jungle: How I redeemed 100,000 Chase points to book a Costa Rica trip of a lifetime

For example, you could book a nonstop flight from JFK to SJO the first week of February on JetBlue for $326 round trip.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

The prices of this flight to SJO are low, but it doesn't include many perks. For example, this flight is for JetBlue's Blue Basic fare type, which does not allow you to bring a full-sized carry-on bag or select a seat. If you want those perks included in your fare, consider upgrading to Blue for $406 round trip.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

To continue booking this flight, you would head directly to JetBlue to do so, as shown below.

(Screenshot from jetblue.com)

Other flights in this deal on other carriers, including United and Delta, are for basic economy fare types, the baggage policies of which vary by airline. To check in luggage, United charges $35; Delta and American American Airlines charge $30. These fees apply to the first bag.

For example, you could book the below Delta flight from LAX to SJO in basic economy for just over $350 round trip in early May.

(Screenshot from delta.com)

Delta's basic economy fare type does not let you select a seat or make any changes to your flight. If you're a Delta SkyMiles member, the economy basic option does not let you earn credit toward SkyMiles Medallion Status.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

Maximize your purchase

Use a card that earns bonus points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel), on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year; Citi Prestige® Card (5 points per dollar on airfare); Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on airfare); American Express® Gold Card (3 points per dollar on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

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.

Bottom line

Even if the flights don’t come with many perks, this is still a great deal to travel to Costa Rica because round-trip tickets to Costa Rica can typically cost at least $650.

At the time of publication, there were limited tickets left for the routes we checked, so act fast to take advantage of this deal.

Featured image by Universal Images Group via Getty
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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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases