There's no sugarcoating it: The last year or so has been rough if you were trying to fly on a budget. Travelers have been seeing sky-high flight prices as travel demand explodes. But today, we get to deliver some good news.
That's right: Cheap flights are back – and it couldn't come at a better time as we head into summer 2023.
We've been finding and sending our Thrifty Traveler Premium members dozens of cheap fares – and Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members have been getting award alerts to lock in a trip this summer using their points and miles, too. And thanks to an unusual (but welcome!) trend, we've repeatedly seen flight prices dropping as summer draws near, making it easier to book a trip for this summer without dipping into your savings.
Whether it's a sub-$100 domestic flight, a summer trip to the Canadian Rockies, a cheap fare to your favorite National Park, or a lie-flat business class seat overseas using points, here are some of the best deals we've been seeing for summer 2023.
Attention, Thrifty Traveler Premium (or Premium+) members: You've already received these deals! If not, you might want to log into your Premium account and adjust your departure airport settings – or select “All Cities” to see every deal!
The Best Cheap Flights for Summer 2023
Cheap Domestic Flights
Trust us: You don't have to spend a small fortune just to fly somewhere this summer.
This doesn't mean every single flight you search for via Google Flights will be cheap … but the trend is undeniable: Fares have been dropping as summer approaches, especially within the U.S. or relatively close to home. And that makes it much cheaper to book a summer trip for lower prices than we've seen in a year.
As many U.S. travelers know, you don't have to leave our country's borders to see something epic. And Zion National Park is one of the most epic areas we have in the U.S. Now, if only there were some epic fares to go along with it…
These more-than-half-off fares to St. George (SGU) in Utah pus you close to the park entrance for a trip this August, which is past the peak crowds the park sees in June and July. You'll still get some amazing weather for unbeatable hiking and views.
On the other side of the country, the coast of Maine is unbeatable whether you want to stick around Portland (PWM), head up to Bar Harbor, or take a road trip all the way into Acadia National Park. This flight deal to the Maine Coast featured tons of peak summer availability we had never seen before – at record-low pricing, too.
These cheap fares are gone now – get the next deal in your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!
The same goes for the Land of Enchantment: New Mexico. This recent fare alert to Albuquerque (ABQ) connected a bunch of U.S. cities to one of our most beautiful states, including availability in August. If you think that August in the desert sounds suspect, you need to see towns like Santa Fe or Taos, New Mexico: all with the undeniable desert southwest charm, but set in some of our country's finest mountains.
The middle of the U.S. is also benefitting from this cheap summer flights trend, especially cities like Chicago and Minneapolis. Trust us: Summer is when you want to visit these otherwise chilly cities.
And if the city is what you seek, we just found a flight deal to the grandaddy of them all: New York City for as low as $100 roundtrip!
We love sub-$200 cheap flights here at Thrifty Traveler, and every fare on this NYC flight deal meet that threshold. But a few of them reached sub-$100 status, like this one connecting La Guardia (LGA) to Savannah, Georgia (SAV).
Just up the road from Savannah is a summery paradise called Hilton Head Island (HHH). And while you can easily make the drive from Savannah up to the island, you can also just grab a cheap flight and land straight there, too.
While it wasn't one of the sub-$100 fares we've been seeing more and more of lately, it's still a fantastic value to the sought-after east coast hotspot.
Cheap International Flights
Domestic flights are definitely the sweet spot for lower fares this summer, but that doesn't mean you can't leave the country for a bargain.
Of all the international destinations that have benefitted from cheap flights lately, Calgary (YYC) stands out most. Thanks to some new routes from Canadian carrier WestJet, we've seen fares that usually clock in at $700 or more roundtrip tumble below $300 total! That's the perfect way to pull off a visit to Banff or Lake Louise this summer.
Let's set our sights on the Atlantic Ocean because while North American destinations are prime for cheap summer flights, hotspots like Bermuda has definitely have entered the chat. With some especially great fares from Canada, this Bermuda (BDA) flight deal could get you on a pink sand beach in June, July, or August for less than $400. In peak summer, these flights should be priced about $600 or $700. Not for you, though!
Finally, we'll celebrate one destination that's a stronghold for cheap flights: Iceland.
These low fares to Iceland this August are still on sale as of mid-May. That's amazing, and more proof that Iceland is the place to look for cheap flights not just this summer but really any time of the year.
Some of those fares should be closer to $900 or $1,000 in August when the weather is best in Iceland and you still get those long, long summer days of sunshine.
Moral of the story: You won't have to dip into your life savings to book a summer flight for cheap this year. It's not too late!
Using Points & Miles for Summer 2023 Travel
When it comes to using your points and miles, it pays to plan ahead – far ahead.
If you want any shot at a good deal using points and miles for a summer 2023 trip, you should already be on the prowl for award availability for flights that are actually bookable with points and miles. Or … you could let us do the legwork for you. Our team of points and miles masterminds has dug up plenty of ways for our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ subscribers to use their hard-earned points and miles this summer.
This first example will put you in the throes of the Rocky Mountains for just a few thousand miles roundtrip.
Only Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members get alerts to use their points and miles on flights like this one!
Flying economy close to home, Delta SkyMiles can have enormous value thanks to Delta SkyMiles flash sales. You won't see rates this low booking through other U.S. carriers.
This flash sale to Denver was half off typical SkyMiles rates or more. There must have been a lot of empty seats on these routes to Denver because it makes no sense why rates were this low for peak summer travel.
We've sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ subscribers hundreds of award alerts to use their points and miles over the last few months, including many that can help you get to Europe. But in the last two weeks, we've sent a few real beauties – including some availability over peak summer to prime European destinations, like this one.
Thrifty Traveler Premium+ is the only service that sends both award deals to use points & miles as well as cheap domestic and international cash fares!
I flew these exact TAP Air Portugal Business Class seats last year and loved the experience. And for that rate, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option for a summer trip to Portugal that would normally cost $3,000 or more each way.
But Brussels Airlines wants into the conversation, too. Any business class availability to Europe in the summer is tough to find, but our subscribers in Washington, D.C. (or those willing to book positioning flights to get there) got to benefit from this amazing award availability all summer long.
Get the next award deal in your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
Finally, we also just unearthed more points and miles award space to Europe – and this time it's flying Delta!
From New York City (JFK) to London-Gatwick (LGW), you could have booked this older yet still cozy lie-flat business class seat to Europe in August. Usually, getting to London in business class is practically impossible using points … or it'll cost you $3,000 or more. But our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ subscribers wouldn't know that: They booked a trip to London in Delta One business class for just 54,000 points each way this summer!
If you want to save a few points, but still are looking for some extra comfort on your summer 2023 trip, take a good look at premium economy. Like business class, premium economy award space can be hard to find. But not for our flight deal analysts.
Air France's premium economy seats look really nice, with tons of business class-like amenities as well. It's certainly the second comfiest way to cross the ocean this summer – and for just 36,000 points roundtrip, it's a steal. These flights would probably cost you north of $2,000 for peak summer travel, so it's an amazing use of your points.
It's not too late to book cheap summer 2023 flights to wherever you want to go this year, and these flight deals are the proof.
There's a new trend happening in airfare: Flights are getting cheaper again, and that includes peak summer flights! Make sure you're subscribed to Thrifty Traveler Premium+ to get all the best summer 2023 flight deals as we find them.