Orlando Cheap Flights: Here’s How to Book With Miles, Points, or Cash
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INSIDER SECRET: When you use credit card miles or points to pay for your flights, you can earn frequent flyer miles on your free flight. If the cash price of the flight is cheap, you could end up using fewer points compared to booking an award flight with airline miles.
A trip to Disney to see Mickey or Universal Studios to visit Harry Potter is on many must-do lists. These theme parks in Orlando, Florida are perennial favorites.
While park tickets can be pricey, your flights don’t have to be. A trip to Orlando is well within reach if you want to redeem miles and points from the best credit cards for travel. And there are lots of ways to find those Orlando cheap flights with miles, points or cash.
How to Get Orlando Cheap Flights
We’ve written our tips to save money at Disney World. Now we’ll show you the best ways to use your points.
We’ll also give you tips about budget airlines, and how to offset the cost of your flights.
If you want to visit the theme parks, Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the best airport to fly into. Luckily, it’s a decent-sized airport with direct flights to many destinations in the US and one-stop flights from almost anywhere.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United Airlines all fly into Orlando from destinations across the US. Let’s take a look at some options to get there.
Southwest is a great option, especially if you have the Southwest Companion Pass. The pass allows you to bring a companion with you on any Southwest flight for only the cost of taxes (~$6 each way in the US) on both paid and award tickets. Yes, that means you can redeem your Southwest points for your flight, pay ~$6 in taxes, and bring a companion along for no additional points and ~$6 more!
Southwest flies from Orlando to over destinations within the US all year and they fly to more than 10 destinations seasonally.
Let’s take a look at some typical cash and points prices on popular one-way Southwest routes for late-summer travel.
- Indianapolis (IND) to Orlando — $82 to $117 or 4,911 to 7,401 points
- Las Vegas (LAS) to Orlando — $159 to $216 or 10,449 to 12,553 points
- Denver (DEN) to Orlando — $95 to $166 or 5,854 to 11,006 points
Remember that with either option, you can bring a companion with your Southwest Companion Pass for only an additional ~$6 in taxes. Read our step-by-step guide about how to get the Southwest Companion Pass if you want to find out more.
Another thing that’s great about Southwest is that you can redeem your points as long as there’s a seat available. You don’t have to worry about award availability like you do with other airlines. That means that even if you are traveling with your family of five during the holidays or spring break, you can use points for everyone. It just may cost more points because the points cost is tied to the cash price on Southwest.
Remember you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.
American Airlines flies into Orlando from nine airports in the US. Depending on where you are flying from, the cheapest award tickets will be with either American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points. You can book American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios points because they are partners.
One of the best uses of British Airways Avios points is for short flights on American Airlines. That’s because a one-way coach award ticket is only 7,500 British Airways Avios points for flights up to 1,151 miles. This applies to American Airlines flights from:
- New York (LGA)
- Washington, DC National (DCA)
If you have a longer flight or a connection, you’ll be better off booking with American Airlines miles.
For example, a winter one-way flight from Charlotte to Orlando on American Airlines costs $376, but you can book this same flight for only 7,500 British Airways Avios points.
If you are looking at booking a connecting flight or have one of the longer American Airlines flights, your better bet is going to be to use your American Airlines miles to book your ticket. American Airlines charges 12,500 American Airlines miles for a one-way award flight from anywhere in the continental US, or 25,000 American Airlines miles round-trip.
United Airlines flies direct to Orlando from eight destinations in the US. For the most part, United Airlines charges 12,500 United Airlines miles for a one-way award flight from the mainland US, and 25,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip flight.
These prices only apply for travel before November 15, 2019. For flights after that date, United will price awards dynamically, so you should expect the price to vary according to the cash price of the flight. You’re likely to find cheaper awards during low seasons and outrageously priced flights during times of high demand.
Delta flies 13 direct flights to Orlando all year, and an additional two seasonal routes. Even though there is no longer a Delta award chart, you shouldn’t discount Delta for your trip to Orlando.
For example, you can get a one-way flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Orlando for only 9,500 Delta miles. The flight does have one stop, but that’s still a great deal.
Buy Cheap Flights to Orlando With Cash
If you’re low on miles, or want to save them for an international trip, another option is to travel with a budget airline.
Orlando is a focus city for Allegiant Air. They operate a limited schedule, but if they fit your travel plans, you could get a good deal.
Note: Allegiant Air flies into Orlando-Sanford Airport (SFB), not Orlando International Airport (MCO).
Sanford Airport is about 60 minutes from Orlando (depending on traffic), so you’ll need to arrange a shuttle or car service, or pick up a rental car when you land.
Allegiant flies into Orlando-Sanford direct from 61 US airports and 12 more airports seasonally, and they’re typically cheaper than major airlines. For example, you can often find one-way flights to Orlando for $100 or less.
Frontier Airlines often has great sales including “penny fares” which when you include taxes come out to $15 one way on select routes — you could get a very good deal.
Frontier flies year-round from 48 US destinations to Orlando, and 10 more destinations seasonally.
As with other budget airlines, be on the lookout for extra fees.
JetBlue flies from 21 destinations in the US to Orlando all year long, and beyond to a number of Caribbean and Central American destinations.
You could fly from Atlanta to Orlando for a week-long trip this fall for only $107 per person round-trip.
Keep an eye out for JetBlue fare sales, because sometimes you can snag a very cheap flight. If you want to redeem JetBlue points, you can transfer them from Chase Ultimate Rewards, but remember JetBlue award seat prices are tied to the cost of a paid ticket.
JetBlue won’t charge you extra to bring on a full-size carry-on bag, but they do have checked bag fees.
Spirit has a bad reputation, but they offer some incredibly cheap flights! Spirit has direct flights to Orlando from 30 destinations in the US.
You can book a flight from Detroit to Orlando this fall for only $185 per person round-trip.
As with other budget airlines, don’t forget that Spirit is notorious for charging additional fees. Make sure you account for those before you commit yourself to a Spirit flight.
Use Flexible Points to Pay for Cash Flights
Redeem Citi ThankYou Points With the Citi Premier
Another helpful trick is to redeem Citi ThankYou points for flights. If you have the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll get 1.25 cents per Citi ThankYou point in value when you book flights through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.
Note: You can also get 1.25 cents per ThankYou point when using them to book flights through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center with the Citi Prestige® Card, but this benefit is disappearing from this card on September 1, 2019.
That means that a $300 flight will cost 24,000 Citi ThankYou points. So a family of four could fly to Orlando for under 100,000 Citi ThankYou points.
Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase offers a similar way to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each if you book through the Chase travel portal. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can do even better with a rate of 1.5 cents per point.
So with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll pay only 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the same $300 flights. That means that you can actually fly a family of five to Orlando for 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers up to a $300 annual travel credit that can be used for anything travel related, including flights.
Redeem Points for Travel Statement Credits
You could consider a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card if you prefer to redeem points and miles for travel statement credits after booking flights directly with your card.
With the Capital One Venture card, you can use Capital One miles for statement credits toward flights (and other travel expenses). To do this, pay for your flights with your card, and when the charge posts on your account, you can redeem at a rate of 1 cent per mile against your airfare within 90 days of purchase. There’s no minimum redemption amount unless you’re using your Capital One miles to partially pay for a purchase.
To fly to Orlando, you can redeem miles with airlines like American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, British Airways, or Southwest. Also remember that you can take a friend or loved one for nearly free when you have the Southwest Companion Pass.
British Airways Avios points can save you a lot of money when you use them for short flights on American Airlines.
If you don’t want to redeem miles, consider flying on a budget airline such as Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines or Spirit Airlines.
What’s your favorite way to save money on flights to Orlando?
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