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Spring Break Flights Too Expensive? How You Can Still Save on a Trip This Year

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Spring break is fast approaching. If you're hoping for a spring break getaway but haven't booked your flights yet, you might be seeing some eye-popping prices. But fear not: Good deals are still out there – though maybe not for much longer.

Everyone wants to get away over spring break, and all that demand pushes flight prices up … and even further up the longer you wait. Travelers tied to the spring break calendar don't exactly have a ton of flexibility to find cheaper flights, either.

But all hope isn't lost. Whether you want to stay close to home, hit the beach, or even head over to Europe for spring break, we're still finding and sending our Thrifty Traveler Premium members flight deals with late February, March, and April travel dates.

And even if the dates and destinations on those deals don't line up with your travel plans, there are still plenty of ways to save anywhere from little to a lot on your spring break flights this year.

Don't Wait Much Longer to Book!

If you haven't booked your spring break flights yet, it's time to pull the trigger. Whether you've been using Google Flights price alerts to track flight prices or you just started searching … if you see a price you're comfortable with, book it. 
 Google Flights Minneapolis (MSP) to Fort Myers (RSW) flights 

Depending on where you live, spring break falls within the next 60 days or so – and that means flight prices are far more likely to go up than down. Google Flights data shows the best time to book spring break flights for domestic trips is between 23 and 59 days before departure. 
 Google Flights price graph 

Keep a Google price alert on your flights even after you book, too. If prices do drop afterward, you can cancel and rebook your flights at the cheaper rate and pocket the difference as an airline credit – at least so long as you booked a main cabin ticket or higher, not basic economy.
 

Exhaust Your Points & Miles

 
When cash fares are too high for your spring break dates, turn to your points and miles to help cover the cost. That's what they're there for: to be used.

Whether you've got a stash of flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Capital One Venture miles or just have miles saved up with Delta or Southwest Airlines, they could all help you save on otherwise pricy spring break flights.

Do you have a big stash of credit card points from travel cards like the *chase sapphire preferred*? Find the best fare you by searching through Google Flights, then book it using your points through the Chase travel portal.

It's one of the easiest ways to take a flight and make it free. And since every point is worth 1.25 cents toward travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you could book a $500 flight with just 40,000 Chase points.

Have Amex or Citi points – or even Bilt points from paying rent? You can follow the same steps to cover the cost of your flights by booking through each bank's respective travel portal – although each point will only be worth 1 cent each redeeming them this way.
 Amex Travel booking for a Minneapolis (MSP) to Phoenix (PHX) flight 

If you've got a Capital One card like the *capital one venture card* or the *venture x*, it's even easier. Simply charge your flight to your Capital One card, then go back and cover the purchase using Capital One miles.
 Covering an American Airlines flight purchase with capital one venture miles 

But you may also be able to book those same flights for fewer points by booking through an airline partner. Airlines like Delta and American use dynamic pricing to determine how many SkyMiles or AAdvantage miles you'll need to book a flight. So when cash prices are high, award rates are going to be high, too.

But you can book those exact same Delta flights through Virgin Atlantic for much less than what the airline itself is charging in SkyMiles. Take these flights to Chicago for a weekend in early March, for example: Delta is charging 39,000 SkyMiles for these flights to Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) for a weekend in March.
 Delta SkyMiles flight from Minneapolis (MSP) to Chicago (ORD) 

But you can book these same Delta flights through Virgin Atlantic for just 15,000 points. That's a savings of 24,000 points!

 Delta flight from Minneapolis (MSP) to Chicago (ORD) booked through Virgin Atlantic

 

You can transfer credit card points from any of the major banks – Amex, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and even Bilt – to Virgin to book. Check out our master guide of all the airlines you can transfer credit card points to!

The same goes for booking American flights through British Airways. You can even turn to airline loyalty programs like Avianca LifeMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan to book United flights for less.

So don't write off your airline miles if you're still in spring break planning mode. We're still seeing airlines like Delta slash rates to some popular spring break destinations – like this SkyMiles flash sale to Tulum (TQO) we sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members just last week, which included some spring break dates.

Thrifty Traveler Premium deal Delta SkyMiles flash sale to Tulum
 

And you don't need to have a ton of SkyMiles to take advantage: Just 19,000 SkyMiles were enough to get you a roundtrip flight down to some of Mexico's best beaches for spring break. If you had a Delta credit card with its TakeOff 15 benefit to save 15% on SkyMiles bookings, you could book these flights for as few as 16,000 SkyMiles!

Let Google Flights Explore Be Your Guide

Have your heart set on going somewhere for spring break, but not sure where to go? Three words: Google Flights Explore

Simply navigate to the Google Flights home page, enter your preferred departure airport, and plug in the dates you want to travel over your spring break. You can either leave the destination blank or enter a region like “Europe,” “The Caribbean,” or even “Mexico” to narrow down your search slightly.

 Google Flights Explore search

 

Hit search and you'll see a map of all the destinations with the cheapest flights during your desired travel dates.

 Google Flights Explore search

 

You can then use the filters to zero in on nonstop flights, a certain length of the flight, specific airlines, free carry-on bags, and more. Toggling around the map or zooming in and out will show you more options, too.

Choose the flights you want and click through to book directly with the airline.

Where You Can Still Find Cheap Spring Break Flights

Flight prices might seem out of control for a spring break trip, but that doesn't mean they're expensive everywhere – and we have the proof.

Our team of flight deal analysts at Thrifty Traveler Premium scours the globe for the best flight deals every day, and we've found plenty of cheap flights during spring break season – even in just the last few days.

Seeking some European culture during your time off? This nationwide sale on flights to Spain could get you there for $500 roundtrip or less!

Thrifty Traveler Premium deal nationwide to Spain
 

After a record-breaking summer of travel to Europe, winter has ushered in a period of low demand – and lower prices. Travelers from airports as small as Rochester, Minnesota (RST) to as big as Atlanta (ATL) could fly to Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN), or even Valencia (VLC) and Málaga (AGP) for less than $495 roundtrip!

Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal for Spain flights
 

Of course, we know most people want to go somewhere warm over spring break. You might think that means flights will be expensive.

Think again. So if you want to experience “pura vida” for a week down in Costa Rica, nonstop flights to Costa Rica during March, April, and even into May recently dropped below $424.

Thrifty Traveler Premium Deal for Costa Rica nonstop flights
Thrifty Traveler Premium deal for Costa Rica nonstop flights
 

Don't live near one of these airports? No problem. One-stop flights through any of these cities are slightly more expensive, but still reasonable. And these flights are still bookable at these prices – we just found this deal on Tuesday morning.
Google Flights search for Sioux Falls to Costa Rica flights

Another tropical destination that would make for a perfect spring break vacation? Belize. And as luck would have it, flights to Belize just got cheaper, too – including throughout much of March and April.

Thrifty Traveler Premium deal on nonstop flights to Belize
 

And you can still find some of these rates as of publication, too. This $434 fare from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Belize City (BZE) at the end of March – right in the thick of spring break season up here – was still kicking at last check.
 Google Flights search for Minneapolis (MSP) to Belize (BZE) flights 

Hawaii is always a popular spring break destination and cheap flights to Hawaii seem to be in constant supply if you know where to look.

Thrifty Traveler Premium Hawaii flight deal
 

Airlines recently slashed prices on flights to the Hawaiian Islands, no matter where in the U.S. you were flying from. Travelers in Denver (DEN) were especially lucky with this $322 roundtrip fare to Maui (OGG).

Google Flights search for Denver (DEN) to Maui (OGG) flights
 

Booked a cheap flight to Hawaii? Follow these tips to save on your lodging, too! 

Want to stay a little closer to home? Orlando (MCO) is an easy trip for most in the U.S. And while tickets to Disney World or Universal Studios might be expensive, your flights out there don't have to be.

Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal for Orlando
 

At these rates, you could fly a family of four down to Florida for spring break for under $800 – or even less!
Google Flights search for Minneapolis (MSP) to Orlando (MCO) flights

Read next: A Sneaky Way to Purchase Disney Tickets with a Credit Card

Spring break is also peak ski season, especially out west. We affectionately refer to Southwest as the skier's airline thanks to the two free checked bags you get with each ticket and reasonable flight prices. And it gets even better when they run a big sale like this one.

Thrifty Traveler Premium Denver sale
 

This was a nationwide sale. And if you could make the dates work, you could be hitting some fresh powder in the Colorado Rockies for less than $249 roundtrip!

Thrifty Traveler Premium Denver sale departure cities
 

This sale is over now, but it's also worth a quick search on Southwest (whose fares don't show up on Google Flights) to see if you can snag a cheap flight to the mountains for less.

Read next: The Best Mountain Resorts for Your Next Ski or Snowboard Trip 

Bottom Line

Spring break is fast approaching, and if you're looking to travel during that time, it's time to get to booking.

With everyone wanting to travel during March and April, flight prices can be understandably expensive, but don't resign yourself to staying home if you don't see what you want. Follow these tips to save on spring break flights, or book one of these flight deals before it's too late.

 

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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