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Late summer or autumn vacation? Lots of good deals to Cancun

May 23, 2022
7 min read
Beach in Cancun
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Demand for travel to Mexico has surged in recent years. Fueled in part by a rise in flights aboard low-cost airlines, the number of U.S. travelers heading south of the border to visit Mexico’s many beaches has grown so much, some domestic airports have begun to re-think how much space they need to keep up with the trends.

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As more airlines are servicing Mexico’s most popular vacation destination with more flights, it can also mean deals are available when you depart from a wide swath of the U.S. That’s certainly the case this fall.

From the Northeast to Southeast, deep south to the Midwest and West Coast, right now you can find all sorts of flights to the popular vacation destination of Cancun for under $300. In some cases, you can get a round trip in the low $200s, or even the high $100s, aboard some low-cost carriers — just be sure, when booking, to check the fees you’ll pay.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Related: 14 of TPG’s favorite hotels on the beach in Mexico

It’s just the latest example of how you might be able to save on your vacation if it can wait until just after the peak demand of summer, as the next few months are looking downright expensive for travelers.

Scott’s Cheap flights was the first to tip off TPG on these deals. The site offers a premium membership that alerts readers to discounted fares starting from $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: America, United, JetBlue, Frontier, Spirit, Viva Aerobus

Routes: BWI/LAX/ORD/HOU/MCO/FLL/ATL/PIT and others to CUN

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

Travel dates: August through November 2022

(Photo courtesy of Club Med)

Sample flights

The deals that caught our eye involved round trips to Cancun International Airport (CUN) in the $200-to-$300 range or less.

While many departure cities are seeing round trips to the popular Mexican vacation destination for several hundreds of dollars, there are fairly widespread options at a much better rate once autumn arrives — or even very late summer.

The deals are available on a whole host of airlines. Depending on the airport, you can get a competitive fare on any of the U.S. legacy carriers, to go along with a host of low-cost airlines and at least one Mexican carrier.

Related: A review of the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa

While these deals typically start after summer and exclude the end-of-year holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, we did see some limited examples of good bargains around those times. So be sure to check your options carefully if there are particular dates you’re eyeing.

Here are a few of the itinerary options we found:

  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Cancun (CUN) for $235 on United
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Cancun for $294 on Viva Aerobus
  • Baltimore/Washington (BWI) to Cancun for $269 on American
  • Atlanta (ATL) to Cancun for $285 on Spirit
  • Pittsburgh (PIT) to Cancun for $282 on American
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Cancun for $252 on JetBlue
  • Fort Lauderdale to Cancun for $170 on Spirit
  • Orlando (MCO) to Cancun for $174 on Frontier
  • Houston-Hobby (HOU) to Cancun for $264 on American
(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Let’s start with the itinerary out of Chicago. In addition to being one of the best deals we found on a legacy carrier to Cancun this fall, it also has the benefit of being an itinerary with nonstop flights…at least on the way down. This trip below falls before autumn even starts — you can get this itinerary for $235 departing and returning on either side of Labor Day weekend. It’s about a three-and-a-half-hour flight to Cancun from O’Hare International Airport, with a fairly brief layover at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on the way back.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

While there are several low-cost carrier options out of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), most notably on Spirit, I was surprised to see most of the D.C. area’s best deals on U.S. legacy carriers that also flew out of BWI despite American and United each operating hubs at other airports in the region. In any case, you can get a round trip on American out of BWI for $269 for a trip that falls right as it’s starting to get chilly in the mid-Atlantic, at the end of October. The trip involves layovers at Miami International Airport (MIA) on both the outbound and return flights. The stops are a little lengthy, between four and five hours each, but you’re getting a solid deal on the trip.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Related: Planning a perfect trip to Cancun

As mentioned, it’s not just the East or the Midwest benefitting from some cheap deals to Mexico this summer. You can fly to Cancun for under $300 this fall out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as well. I did have to do a bit of searching to avoid a really long stop in Mexico City International Airport (MEX), so be sure to vet the itinerary before you book it. I found a $294 round trip on Mexican carrier Viva Aerobus, with reasonable layovers in Mexico City of between two and four hours. This itinerary was for an early October trip to Cancun.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Maximize your purchase

Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express will get you 5 points per dollar on airfare you book through the airline, or through American Express Travel (applies to up to $500,000 on purchases per calendar year.) You get 3 points per dollar with the American Express® Gold Card on flights booked with the airline directly or Amex Travel. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns you 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 2 points per dollar on all other travel. If you’re booking travel on American Airlines, the Citi® /AAdvantage ® Executive World Elite Mastercard® gets you 2 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on airline purchases, and comes with an Admiral’s Club membership. The Free Spirit ® Travel More World Elite Mastercard® earns you 3 points per dollar on eligible airline purchases; you'll find Cancun deals from Spirit from numerous U.S. gateways.

The information for the Free Spirit Travel More Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

With a lot of interest in travel to Mexico, airlines are adding flights to the country’s most popular vacation and beach destinations, and this fall, that means a combination of good deals and wide availability. This is just the latest reminder that fall can be a great time to take a vacation and save money — especially in a year when summer travel is expected to be expensive.

Featured image by DAN THORNBERG/GETTY IMAGES
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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Rewards

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5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
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The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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Recommended Credit

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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

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
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  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.