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Sub-$100 Roundtrip Flights: Why Cheap Domestic Flights are Making a Comeback

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Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

You’ve likely already received these deals. If not, log into your Premium deals hub to see every recent alert we've sent.

Cheap flights are the best, and it doesn't get better than when you can get somewhere for less than $100 roundtrip.

We search for cheap flights all day, every day for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members and an undeniable trend has emerged lately: Sub-$100 roundtrip flights within the U.S. are back in a big way.

It's a much-needed win for travelers looking to fly somewhere without breaking the bank after months of seemingly high domestic flight prices. While sub-$100 roundtrip flights never disappeared entirely, we keep seeing more and more cheap flights popping up for destinations across the U.S. for this winter and spring, especially.


Why Are Domestic Flights Getting Cheaper?

As is typically the case in the summer months and early fall, domestic airfare has been high over the last couple of months. To save, we've recommended travelers empty their bag of tricks including using their credit card points, burning those SkyMiles, and even ditching the idea of domestic travel altogether and looking abroad for the best airfare.

Now that cheap domestic flights are back, you don't have to work as hard to get a great deal when flying within the U.S. But why is this trend happening?

Part of it is just the ebbs and flows of the calendar. Demand to fly during the winter months is almost always lower for Americans. That means, in any given year, it's typically cheaper to fly during January and February.

Bigger than your regular seasonality are the forces of overall travel demand, which hit record highs last year, causing domestic flight prices to increase to match it. What happened, though, is that those higher prices might have spooked many domestic travelers who closed their Google Flights tab and opened Google Maps to plan a road trip instead.

Now that the booking window for the holiday travel season is coming to a close, the airlines are seeing empty seat maps across their network of U.S. flights. And just like that, American, Delta, Southwest, and United are suddenly willing to slash prices back to reasonable rates to lure you back onboard.

The result? Travel within the U.S. suddenly got crazy cheap for the coming months. And now we're seeing a lot more of this.


Palm Springs flight deal


This ultra-low fare has been booked already! Get an alert for the next great domestic deal with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

But it wasn't just a one-off on this Southwest flight from the Bay Area (OAK) to Palm Springs (PSP). For the domestic routes that we search every day, we're routinely seeing the lowest fares bottom out to double-digit prices. From Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, double-digit fares have become more and more prevalent.

As the holidays near and you're looking for some last-minute gifts, these $77-$99 roundtrip fares could be the perfect stocking stuffer for a loved one, or heck, even the whole family.

Here's where we're seeing the lowest fares right now.


Roundtrip Flights for Under $100

When it comes to a sub-$100 roundtrip flight, I can't think of a better winter getaway than Palm Springs, California. We showed you the $77 roundtrip fare on Southwest above, but this deal offered value from airports other than Oakland (OAK), too.


Palm Springs flight deal


Sign up for Thrifty Traveler Premium to get alerts about cheap U.S. flights like this one!

While they weren't all $77, there was some unbelievable value on this list, including some long flights from Chicago (ORD) and Minneapolis (MSP). And let's be honest, people in those places need a little desert sun more than most during the winter months!


Palm Springs flight deal


Speaking of the desert, a nonstop flight to Phoenix (PHX) can also be a perfect winter antidote…at the right price.


Phoenix arizona flight deal


This nonstop flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Phoenix (PHX) was on sale for just $89 roundtrip when we found it!


LAX to Phoenix flight deal


All domestic airfare works in reverse, too, meaning travelers in Phoenix could head for Hollywood for the same price.

Up the coast of California is another fantastic destination with cheap flights: the Bay Area.


San Francisco flight deal


The Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO) route is among the busiest in the world. There are dozens of flights between those two airports every day, and the result can be some crazy low fares…like this!


LAX to SFO flight deal


Paying less than $100 for a flight feels like stealing. It's an amazing feeling getting the better of the airlines like this. But there's something better: paying just $10.20 in taxes and fees for a roundtrip flight booked with points!


Seattle SkyMiles flight deal


This Delta SkyMiles flash sale to Seattle (SEA) is a perfect example. Look at all of those destinations on sale under 10,000 SkyMiles roundtrip.


Delta Skymiles flight deal


This is one of my favorite uses of Delta SkyMiles: Short, domestic flights that require only a few miles to get you there and back. You might not even notice the miles leave your account!

If you're wondering where the love is for the East Coast, we've got you! Arguably, the short-hop flights from all across the East Coast are your best bet at finding sub-$100 roundtrip flights.

Lately, that trend is growing fast, too.


Charleston South Carolina flight deal


This flight deal to Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) offered sub-$200 flights from all over the U.S. And if you live in Washington, D.C., the flight was less than $90 roundtrip.


Washington, D.C. to Charleston flight deal


As I mentioned above, these deals all work in reverse. Once we saw that sweet $89 fare to D.C., we checked the rest of the nonstop flights from the capital region and found some more insane value.


Washington, D.C. flight deal


This American Airlines flight from Charlotte (CLT) to Baltimore (BWI) was the lowest among them, giving travelers a look at some $88 roundtrip fares!


Charlotte to Baltimore flight deal


Over the past few years, Nashville, Tennessee (BNA) has become an up-and-coming hot spot for cheap flights, too. Take this deal we sent to our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers this weekend, for instance.


Nashville flight deal


The highest fare on this deal was $199 roundtrip. But the lowest fare – to Atlanta (ATL) – was less than $80 roundtrip…


Atlanta to Nashville airfare


Whether you're heading to Nashville for a bachelorette party, to see the Country Music Hall of Fame, to take in a Nashville Predators or Tennessee Titans game, or you just want to spend a night ripping up Broadway, this flight is at least two-thirds off the regular price.

Roundtrip flights for a family of four for less than $400! Sign us up.


Bottom Line

Cheap domestic flights had all but disappeared for many months, but now, you can find a cheap flight to many destinations across the U.S., and for less than $100 roundtrip in some cases!

The airlines overextended themselves with high airfare earlier this year, and now they're playing catch up by offering cheaper domestic flights for this winter and spring. When airlines make mistakes like this, let them! Now's the time to book your next domestic getaway.

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.

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