Deal alert: Flights to the Caribbean starting at $96 round-trip
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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If you're tired of the cold and looking to escape early next year, these deals to the Caribbean are sure to warm you up.
We're seeing deals from the East Coast and Midwest to Caribbean destinations such as Aruba (AUA), Santo Domingo (SDQ) and San Juan (SJU) starting at just $96 round-trip. That's right: less than $100, and many nonstop routes.
Keep in mind that most of the tickets are on Spirit and Frontier, two lost-cost carriers. Both airlines are effectively basic economy, in that they charge for carry-on and checked baggage. You're limited to a small personal item and the complimentary snacks and drinks you receive on international flights? Forget about it: both airlines charge for food, snacks and beverages. If you're trying to save a dollar, we recommend you pack light and either bring snacks or eat beforehand.
Related: The best credit cards to use on low-cost carriers
However, if you're flying United basic economy you do have some options to make your journey a bit more comfortable -- but only with the right credit card. You can use a United co-branded card, which can defeat basic economy and help ease some pain. You’ll jump from the last boarding group to a much-earlier one. And, you’ll earn back a carry-on bag and get a first free checked bag — or two with certain cards.
With American, basic economy restrictions mean that you’ll be assigned a seat at check-in (likely a middle seat), you won’t be eligible for an upgrade, you’ll earn fewer elite-qualifying miles/segments, you’ll board in the final boarding group (9 of 9) and the ticket doesn’t allow any flight changes or refunds. You will be able to bring a carry-on bag on board, which is a plus.
Those with AA elite status get to maintain their boarding group, checked bag benefits and carry-on allowance. If you don't have status, then you can use an eligible card to get an even better boarding group than standard economy, earn back your carry-on bag and get the checked baggage allowance allotted by the credit card.
Related: Everything you should know before flying Spirit Airlines
To search, head to Google Flights and enter your origin and destination cities. Scroll through the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you. Finally, click through to book directly with the airline or an OTA like Orbitz or Expedia.
Airline: United, American, Spirit, Frontier
Routes: EWR/ORD/FLL/MIA/MCO/ATL – SDQ/PUJ/SJU/BQN/AUA/PLS
Cost: $96+ round-trip in basic economy
Dates: January – February 2020
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) 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.
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Orlando (MCO) to San Juan (SJU) for $96 round-trip nonstop on Frontier:
Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Aguadilla (BQN) for $99 round-trip nonstop on Spirit:
Newark (EWR) to San Juan (SJU) for $103 round-trip nonstop on Spirit:
Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Aruba (AUA) for $173 round-trip nonstop on Spirit:
Newark (EWR) to Santo Domingo (SDQ) for $186 round-trip nonstop on United basic economy:
Chicago (ORD) to Punta Cana (PUJ) for $195 round-trip nonstop on Frontier:
Miami (MIA) to Providenciales (PLS) for $214 round-trip nonstop on American basic economy:
Maximize your purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Premier® Card, Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.