Skip to content

Good time to book fall travel: flights to Panama City for $300 or less

April 24 2022
6 min read
Sunny Panama City skyline
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

For so many travelers, vacation plans are getting firmed up and the travel industry is preparing for a busy summer like none we’ve seen since the pandemic started. With prices on the rise though, we’ve been noticing some better fares if your trip can wait until the fall – and that’s especially true in some fares we saw this weekend on flights to Panama.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Panama City is full of incredible sights, from historic landmarks and museums to beaches near town, and of course, the Panama Canal – one of humankind’s most incredible achievements, and one I’ve long wanted to see myself.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
Panama Canal (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

While round trips originating from plenty of U.S. cities to Panama can range anywhere from $400 to $600, you can book flights out of a number of cities for $200 to $300 for a few months this fall and into early 2023.

Your options span several airlines, which is in part thanks to expanded flight options to Panama City we’ve seen of late; for example, Delta Air Lines announced three new routes to the city just last year.

These deals include options not just from the eastern U.S., but throughout the country including multiple departures out of California.

Related: Exploring Panama City during a mileage run

TPG first learned of these deals from Scott’s Cheap Flights, which offers a premium membership that alerts readers on discounted fares for a subscription starting at $49 per year for economy class deals and $199 per year for an elite membership, which also includes first, business and premium economy deals.

Deal Basics

Airlines: American, Avianca, Copa, Delta, Spirit and United

Routes: ATL/DCA/IAD/IAH/JFK/LAX/MCO/MIA/ORD/SFO to PTY

How to book: Directly through the airlines or through Google Flights

Travel dates: September through March 2023, excluding the holidays in most cases

Sample Flights

We took note of deals under $300, but many and in fact closer to the $250 mark or even less for flights out of East Coast cities.

While you can certainly find some cheap options on this route here and there over the summer months, the deals become widely available around early to mid September. Generally, you can find these deals throughout the fall and into the winter months of 2023. The one exception tends to be the holidays, when the prices (as is to be expected) tend to rise.

Here are just a few itineraries we found:

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Panama City (PTY) for $299 on American
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Panama City (PTY) for $266 on American
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Panama City (PTY) for $242 on Delta
  • New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Panama City (PTY) for $242 on Delta
  • Houston-Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Panama City (PTY) for $296 on American

There are plenty of options departing from the West Coast as well as the East Coast. That being said, many of the options out of San Francisco are going to either require you to make two stops in both directions, or have an overnight layover in your connecting city.

In the interest of avoiding a hotel stay, I would chose the two-stop option on American, but that's up to you. The itinerary below includes brief layovers in Charlotte (CLT) and Miami (MIA) on the outbound trip, with layovers in Miami and Los Angeles (LAX) on the way back.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

The itinerary below on American out of Los Angeles is a bit more straightforward, with LAX being an American hub. You stop in Miami in both directions.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

On the East Coast, many of the routes involve a flight out of or connecting in New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), so let’s start there. For $242, I found direct flights to Panama City, which range from 4.5-5 hours.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

You may also end up connecting at JFK if you’re leaving from the Washington, D.C., area. I found a round trip for $256 on Delta, which involves a flight out of Dulles International Airport (IAD) with a layover in each direction at JFK.

This itinerary is also noteworthy because although we noted that this deal is not generally available during the holidays, this round trip spans the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. so it could present an affordable getaway that week.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Finally, I’ll highlight an option out of Texas. American regularly has round trips for under $300 this fall out of Houston-Intercontinental Airport (IAH). These trips generally involve layovers in Miami.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Maximize your Purchase

Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express for 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), the Citi Prestige® Card for 5 points per dollar on airfare, the Citi Premier® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3 points per dollar on air travel, the American Express® Gold Card for 3 points per dollar on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for 2 points per dollar on travel.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to travel this year but want to avoid high-priced summer fares, traveling during the fall months could be your best bet. This deal presents a great opportunity for people in numerous U.S. cities to get to Central America for some sightseeing this fall.

Featured photo by (Photo by Gualberto Becerra / Shutterstock.com)
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.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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 Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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 Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees