Deal alert: US travelers can visit Mexico’s top tourist destinations from just $144 round trip
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.
¡Viva México! It's been a long, long year for many of us. With many countries restricting U.S. travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic, most international travel opportunities have been few and far between.
Fortunately, many of Mexico's most popular vacation destinations are open to tourists from the U.S. — as long as you get there by air, that is. And airlines are offering extremely low fares for dates ranging from October 2020 to April 2021.
Unsurprisingly, the cheapest routes we've found originate in states that border Mexico — Texas, Florida and California — with the lowest flights beginning from $164 round trip on American to Cancun, or from the low $200s to other popular cities. According to Google's records, these are some of the lowest prices you'll find, even during non-pandemic times.
We first heard about these deals from Dollar Flight Club.
Some of these fares may book into basic economy, which means different things to different airlines, but often means you may not have free use of the overhead bins for a carry-on bag. You probably also won't be able to select your seat, get an upgrade or earn PQM/PQS/PQDs. Also, keep in mind that flights booked in basic economy may incur change fees despite many airlines eliminating most change fees on domestic and Caribbean/Mexico flights this summer. However, it’s possible to defeat some of basic economy’s negative aspects by having elite status or a cobranded credit card.
To find a deal, 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.
Not sure how to utilize Google Flights to its fullest? Check out our guide to booking flights like a pro.
Airline: American, United, Spirit, Volaris, VivaAerobus and more
Routes: IAH/SAT/MIA/DFW and more to CUN/MEX/SJO/PVR/CZM (rates are lowest to Cancun)
Cost: from $144 round trip in basic economy
Dates: October 2020 — June 2021
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; starting Jan. 1, 2021 earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 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 some examples of specific flights that are available:
Dallas (DFW) to Cancun (CUN) for $144 round trip nonstop on Sun Country Airlines:
Miami (MIA) to Cancun (CUN) for $164 round trip nonstop on American in basic economy ($194 in full-fare economy):
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Cancun (CUN) for $164 nonstop round trip on JetBlue Basic ($204 for full fare):
Houston (IAH) to Mexico City (MEX) for $190 round trip nonstop in January on Volaris via Gotogate:
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 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). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.