If you have winter or spring travel plans, now is the time to look for deals.
Last year, Southwest launched a blowout sale in early February for spring travel, and the airline may repeat it. We also have been seeing some incredible fares to Denver and other U.S. cities.
For a number of years, Southwest has offered sales in June for fall travel and in October for winter travel, but last year Southwest surprised everyone by offering a sale in February for travel in April, May and early June.
These blowout sales are typically based on distance, with the cheapest fares starting at $49 one way or $98 round trip.
Southwest launched the sale last year on Feb. 5. If the sale is repeated this year, it could be launched on Feb. 4, or maybe even earlier, so you’ll want to check for this sale every Tuesday in the coming weeks.
If Southwest offers this sale and you can take extra time for a vacation, you may be able to combine a sale fare with a drive-out-of-Florida car-rental rate. These one-way rental rates are currently being offered by Alamo, Enterprise and National, and other companies could offer discounts later this winter.
Rates start at $10 per day, plus taxes and fees, for pick up in Florida from April 1 through May 31. The maximum rental period is 21 days, so cars must be dropped off in another state by June 21.
If Southwest does start a sale in February for travel after April 1, that’s at least a 60-day advance purchase, preventing business travelers from taking advantage of the fares. Also, most schools have spring break in March, so it would exclude this peak season.
Even if Southwest doesn’t do this sale, we expect to see cheaper fares for April and May travel, so look for deals for travel during that time.
Colorado has been in the news lately as a new destination for marijuana tourism. Whether or not you want to indulge, you should consider a trip to Denver if you are looking for a cheap getaway. We have been seeing wild and crazy airfares to Denver from cities across the United States.
We’ve also seen three-night packages at a four-star Omni hotel for $258, per person based on double occupancy, even during ski season.
The fares are so low because United, Frontier, Spirit and Southwest are competing for Denver passengers. Denver is a hub for United and Frontier, and while it’s not a hub for Southwest, the airline has more than 100 flights per day from Denver.
This battle for passengers is great for consumers, so think about Denver if you want a cheap getaway.
Two other destinations where we’ve been seeing cheap airfares are Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit launched a sale to both of these destinations recently, causing American and US Airways to also offer low fares.
We saw $99 round-trip fares to Philadelphia, and US Airways doesn’t charge all of the a la carte fees Spirit does. Also, you can now earn American AAdvantage miles for travel on US Airways.
Spirit also launched a sale to Fort Lauderdale, which caused American to lower its fares for Tuesday and Wednesday departures to an unbelievable $155 round trip.