Deal alert: Last-minute weekend flights from $37 round-trip
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
For a long weekend, Labor Day really seemed to be over with the snap of a finger. Even though some consider it the end of summer, it doesn't mean your travels have to end — especially when you can snag a good weekend deal.
My personal favorite last-minute deal of the weekend is this round-trip flight from Baltimore (BWI) to Portland, Oregon (PDX), for a mere $127. Yes, it's an eight-hour journey in Spirit economy, but if you've been dying to visit Portland and haven't been able to cough up the cash for a typical transcon flight then this is a deal you'll want to take advantage of.
Frontier is also hosting a sale with one-way flights for as low as $19 that lasts until tomorrow, Sept. 4.
Looking to getaway pronto? The cheapest fares you'll be able to find are on low-cost carriers such as Spirit and Frontier, but occasionally you can find some killer deals on legacy carriers like American and Delta too. If you’re a business-class-only flyer, these fares probably aren’t for you. But if you’re an adventurous reader aching to go on a trip and willing to pack light, check out these last-minute deals.
Be aware of extra fees and restrictions. Low-cost airlines such as Frontier and Spirit all charge extra to choose your seat and to bring a large carry-on bag. Although these low-fare carriers tend to get a bad rap, you may end up pleasantly surprised, like TPG himself when he flew Spirit (and he wasn’t even in the Big Front Seat)! The same goes for Frontier. Bottom line: if you’re in the market for cheap tickets and want to get away as soon as this weekend, this is a great way to go.
If our example dates and times don’t fit your schedule, play around with the dates on Google Flights as there are often other times available for a little more or sometimes less depending on your dates. All of the routes listed have flights available under $150 between September 6 and September 9. Also note that most of our example routes are also available in the reverse direction.
If you’re looking to get the Spirit deals even cheaper, you can often buy Spirit flights cheaper at their airport check-in counter. However, it’s not always guaranteed and sometimes the limited savings may not be worth the hassle— it really just depends on how flexible you are.'
Worried about Spirit or Frontier's reliability incase of irregular operations (IRROPS)? You can buy insurance through Freebird from $19 one-way, who will rebook you if your flight's been delayed more than four hours or cancelled.
To search, head to Google Flights and enter your origin, destination and stopover 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 through an OTA like Priceline or Expedia.
Airline Spirit, Frontier, American, Sun Country
Routes: LAS/MCO/DEN/SAT/BWI/EWR/MIA/AUS to PHX/AUS/COS/IAH/DEN/CLT/SFO/PDX (many available in the reverse direction)
Cost: $37+ round-trip
Travel Dates: Sept. 6 - Sept. 9, 2019
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, American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Las Vegas (LAS) to Phoenix (PHX) for $37 round-trip when booked separately on Frontier and Sun Country:
Orlando (MCO) to Austin (AUS) for $39 round-trip on Frontier:
Las Vegas (LAS) to Colorado Springs (COS) for $49 round-trip on Frontier:
Denver (DEN) to Houston (IAH) for $59 round-trip on Frontier:
San Antonio (SAT) Colorado Springs (COS) for $67 round-trip on Frontier:
Baltimore (BWI) to Denver (DEN) for $83 round-trip on Spirit:
Newark (EWR) to Charlotte (CLT) for $96 round-trip on American:
Miami (MIA) to Denver (DEN) for $97 round-trip on Frontier:
Austin (AUS) to San Francisco (SFO) for $107 round-trip on Frontier:
Baltimore (BWI) to Portland (PDX) for $127 round-trip on Spirit:
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), Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American 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.