This is kind of a big deal alert: Fly to San Diego for under $150 round-trip

Dec 12, 2021

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.

To know San Diego is to love San Diego. It’s a city that has near-perfect weather, a great food scene and one of the best downtowns in the country, the Gaslamp Quarter. Most of all, it’s a place where people know the value of a day spent relaxing at the beach or the park. San Diego is a city that has perfected the laid-back California vibe.

If you haven’t been to San Diego or are looking to make a return visit, check out the fare sale happening right now. Some of the available flights are incredibly low, and there are more than a few nonstop routes offered, too. In addition, the sale includes main cabin seats on American, United and some Delta flights.

The best availability we saw was for winter travel, and who wouldn’t want to visit southern California then? Oh, and the fare deals work in reverse if you live in San Diego. As always, to get the best prices, it helps to be flexible with your travel plans.

Want TPG news and deal alerts delivered straight to your inbox each morning? Sign up for our daily newsletter

Thanks to our friends at Thrifty Traveler for alerting us about this deal, which they gave out first to their premium subscribers. Non-members can find sale prices by using Google Flights to search for desired routes and dates.

Related: Top 15 things to do in San Diego

In This Post

Deal basics

Airlines: Alaska Air, American, Delta, United
Routes: AUS/BOS/DEN/EWR/FLL/JFK/MIA/MSP/MSY/ORD/PHL/SEA/SFO and other cities to San Diego, CA (SAN)
Cost: Flights available from $117
Dates: January – November 2022; availability varies by city.

Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express for 5x 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 5x on airfare; the Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel); Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on air travel); the American Express® Gold Card for 3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for 2x on travel — which you could redeem for as little as 13,000 points.

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.

The Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. (Photo: Philippe Turpin for Getty Images)

 

We found nonstop fares from San Francisco (SFO) to San Diego (SAN) on Alaska in February for just $117 round-trip. That’s for a main cabin ticket, which comes with a free carry-on and a seat assignment.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

We found similar bargains for flights departing out of San Francisco in January. United has nonstop economy fares for just $127 — substantially cheaper than that route typically costs. And as the screenshot below indicates,  you can downgrade the ticket to basic economy and save $10, if you’re OK traveling without a full-sized carry-on bag.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Related: Planning a family trip to San Diego

You can fly cross-country nonstop from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL) to San Diego for just $169 round-trip. The lowest fares we saw were for January travel on American.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Since this fare sale supposedly includes November travel, we decided to see what bargains were available 11 months out. Turns out you can book a Fort Lauderdale-San Diego round-trip ticket for less than $200.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Newark (EWR) to San Diego in March can be booked on Alaska for $153. That’s more than 50% off the normal price of that ticket. It’s a Saver fare, which means you have no seat assignment and board the plane in the final group, but you do get a carry-on and the knowledge that you probably paid less for your seat than anyone else on board the plane.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Delta also has $153 nonstop fares out of Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City to the west coast. Overall, we found the most availability at the lowest prices for flights out of Newark and NYC in February and March.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

We also stumbled across some deep discounts on February flights out of New Orleans (MSY) to Ron Burgundy’s favorite city. American has Main Cabin seats for just $171 round-trip, a significant discount from normal prices.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a card that earns bonus points on airfare purchases, like The Platinum Card® from American Express for 5x 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 5x on airfare; the Citi Premier® Card (3x on air travel); Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on air travel); the American Express® Gold Card for 3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for 2x on travel — which you could redeem for as little as 13,000 points.

Bottom Line

San Diego is one of those rare places that can offer big-city fun while retaining a small-town atmosphere. Once you book one of these bargain fares, make sure your itinerary includes a visit to the USS Midway Museum and the San Diego Zoo, breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House, and save some quality time in the evening for the bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp.

Featured Image by David Toussaint for Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.