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Mexico travel demand fueling major airport expansion in San Antonio

May 22, 2022
4 min read
SAT airport san antonio
Mexico travel demand fueling major airport expansion in San Antonio
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Amid surging demand for service to Mexico and other international destinations, officials in San Antonio are planning major changes that will transform the passenger experience at San Antonio International Airport (SAT) in the years to come.

The plans include new gates already in the works, terminal improvements, runway renovations, upgraded baggage, parking and ground transportation facilities, and an entirely new terminal expected to open within the next six years.

Airport officials detailed the plans -- which are expected to cost billions of dollars over the coming two decades -- to San Antonio’s city council last week.

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A big part of the need for improvements is a huge spike in demand for international travel, Airports Director Jesus Saenz said. He told city leaders, in 2021 alone, the airport saw a 60% jump in international traffic compared to pre-pandemic 2019; growth he believes is nowhere close to finished.

“A lot of that right now is Mexico,” Saenz said, “And we have more future expansion plans we’re working on,” mentioning airport officials are eyeing between 12 and 20 new additional international destinations.

San Antonio is just one of many U.S. airports that have seen surging demand to Mexico over the last couple years.

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

On top of the international traffic, city documents reveal leaders anticipate passenger traffic in general will likely come close to doubling over the next 20 years in San Antonio.

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Currently, construction crews are working to add two new gates in San Antonio’s Terminal B, which airport leaders say will help bolster American Airlines’ operation.

Gates highlighted in red show the new B-concourse gates in the works at San Antonio International Airport (SAT). (Rendering courtesy of the City of San Antonio)

The airport is also adding a new Gate A16.

New A-gate in the works in San Antonio. (Rendering courtesy of the City of San Antonio)

These three new gates – added to the airport’s existing 24 gates – are expected to boost potential passenger capacity by about 13%, leading to more than a million new enplanements annually.

Related: Road trips from San Antonio

As airport officials plan for renovations to existing terminal facilities to go along with major runway improvements, there’s even bigger plans in the works for an entirely new Terminal C.

This rendering shows the plans for a new 17-gate Terminal C in San Antonio, which would include an. international arrivals hall. (Rendering courtesy of the City of San Antonio)

The new terminal is expected to include space for up to 17 new gates, including several international gates and a new international arrivals hall, along with a wider concourse and improved concession options.

Planning is underway for that new terminal, and while a lengthy contracting and construction process is yet to come, airport officials hope it would open by the spring of 2028.

A Volaris aircraft is seen at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. (Photo: Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images)

San Antonio currently serves 40 destinations in the U.S. and Mexico. In addition to flights to many of the major hubs of U.S. legacy carriers, the airport also has service on a growing list of low-cost airlines like Allegiant, Breeze, Frontier and Sun Country. International carriers Viva Aerobus, AeroMexico and Volaris offer nonstop service from San Antonio to Mexican destinations in Mexico City, Leon, Guadalajara and Cancun.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of City of San Antonio via Facebook)
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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
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    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

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  • Annual Fee

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  • 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.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees