Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Be Flexible on Departure Airports
When it comes to scoring deals on flights to Phoenix, flexibility is key. While Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is the major airport serving the metro area, expanding your search to include alternate airports can unlock savings.
PHX offers tons of flight options as a hub for American Airlines and Southwest. But its popularity means fares don't always drop as low as lesser-used airports. Widening your departure airport options beyond just your home airport opens up chances to catch lower fares.
Consider flying out of a nearby major airport if you live within driving distance. Even a 2-3 hour drive can be worth it if you save hundreds on airfare. Search flights from nearby hubs like Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS), San Diego (SAN), and Denver (DEN). Monitoring multiple airports gives you more chances to find sales and deals.
Smaller regional airports can also be sources of Phoenix flight deals. Tucson International Airport (TUS) is just a quick puddle jumper flight away from Phoenix. While TUS has fewer overall flights, it also faces less demand. Expanding your search to include TUS when PHX fares are high can unlock major savings on flights to the Grand Canyon State.
Don't forget to check alternate airports your preferred airline serves. If you’re a diehard Southwest flyer but PHX prices are sky-high, try airports like Albuquerque (ABQ) or Ontario, CA (ONT) for lower fares. With so many options in the Southwest network, deals to Phoenix abound if you remain flexible.
Consider positioning flights as well. If you live on the West Coast, look at flying into Las Vegas (LAS) or Los Angeles (LAX) first on a cheap fare, then jumping over to Phoenix on a separate ticket. The connecting flight will be short and sweet. This open jaw style booking can ring up major savings compared to a normal roundtrip.
What else is in this post?
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Be Flexible on Departure Airports
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Consider Nearby Alternatives Like Tucson
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Fly Midweek for Lower Fares
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Use Flight Deal Alerts and Sale Calendars
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Leverage Airline Loyalty Programs
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Book Early for Best Selection
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Try Hidden City Ticketing
- Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Consider Long Layovers to Save
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Consider Nearby Alternatives Like Tucson
When Phoenix prices just won't budge, one of the best ways to find savings on flights to the Valley of the Sun is looking at nearby alternatives like Tucson. At just over an hour by air and under 2 hours drive time, Tucson makes the perfect close-by option for scoring deals.
Tucson International Airport is served by most major airlines, with American, Delta, Southwest, and United offering multiple daily flights. But with less overall traffic than mammoth Phoenix Sky Harbor, you'll often find cheaper fares popping up from your home airport.
My own home airport is Los Angeles, where Phoenix flights can run $300+ roundtrip even in winter. But I frequently see Tucson flights advertised for under $200 roundtrip on the same routes. Checking both PHX and TUS gives me double the chances to catch a fare sale or low-priced dates.
For example, I recently had to book a last minute trip to Phoenix. Two weeks out, the cheapest PHX flights were coming in around $375. But expanding my search to include Tucson saved big - I booked a roundtrip for just $215. Even after adding in the quick puddle jumper over to PHX, I still saved over $100.
Fellow flight deal junkie Stephanie M. also swears by the Phoenix-Tucson double dip. She says, "I watch both airports when looking for cheap flights between Seattle and Phoenix. I'd say one out of every three trips, I end up buying to Tucson first since I can save $75 or more compared to PHX." After arriving in Tucson, she just hops the 50 minute flight up to Phoenix.
Beyond the airport itself, the entire Tucson area can make for a compelling Phoenix alternative if you have extra time. The southern Arizona city boasts beautiful desert landscapes dotted with cacti. Foodies will love the delicious Sonoran-style Mexican cuisine. And attractions like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, and the artsy hipster enclave of downtown Tucson give you plenty to explore.
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Fly Midweek for Lower Fares
One of the easiest ways to unlock big savings on flights to Phoenix is being flexible with your travel dates. While flying on weekends is often more convenient, airfares frequently spike on popular Fridays and Sundays. By shifting your travel to midweek dates, you can avoid the crowds and score lower fares.
Midweek flights tend to be much cheaper for a few key reasons. Many business travelers book trips from Monday to Thursday. So airlines bulk up on capacity and offer deals to attract them. With fewer leisure flyers during the workweek, planes also tend to run emptier. This gives airlines incentive to discount unsold seats.
One creative way to take advantage of midweek deals is by booking an open jaw ticket. Fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday for maximum savings, then return on a weekend when fares are higher. You get the best of both low fares and schedule convenience.
Fellow flight hacker Stephanie M. swears by midweek trips for deals to Phoenix. She explains, "I used to always fly on weekends until I noticed Wednesday flights were half the price. Now I book midweek trips whenever possible. Flying at odd times isn't ideal, but I'll gladly do it to save $150+ each leg."
Jeremy R. has also mastered the midweek flight playbook. "Last-minute weekend trips to see friends in Phoenix used to blow my budget. Now I fly out midweek when fares are cheaper, then spend the actual weekend there. It costs the same amount of vacation days but I save a ton on airfare."
Travel vlogger Kim H. takes midweek flights a step further, actually structuring her trips around cheap fares. She monitors airfare deals across months and routes, then plans vacations around the cheapest dates she finds.
While midweek flights can hamper weekend getaway plans, the trade-off in savings is often worth it. And you can make up for the odd timing by maximizing your actual Phoenix visit to include the weekends.
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Use Flight Deal Alerts and Sale Calendars
One of the best ways to pounce on deals for Phoenix flights is leveraging flight deal alerts and sale calendars. With constantly shifting airfares, timing your search right as discounts drop can lead to huge savings.
Sale alerts and calendars help solve the timing puzzle by notifying you the second airfare sales get released. This allows you to swoop in and book before the seats sell out. Signing up for alerts across airlines gives you the upper hand to catch deals as soon as they go live.
Flight deal guru Stephanie M. swears by sale alerts to book super cheap fares. She says, "I have alerts set up for all major airlines so I'm notified anytime they release a Phoenix sale. Last fall, a Delta alert tipped me off to $99 one-way fares from LAX. I hopped on and booked immediately before they disappeared."
Sale calendars also provide valuable intel on upcoming discounts so you can plan ahead. Airlines generally launch sales in predictable seasonal patterns months in advance. By marking your calendar for major sales, you can set yourself up to snag the lowest fares.
Jeremy R. uses sale calendars to strategically schedule Phoenix trips around the cheapest dates. "I know American runs a big winter sale every December on flights through May. So I always book a cheap fare during that sale for a spring Phoenix trip. Planning ahead around sales calendars has saved me hundreds compared to last-minute trips."
Vacation planner Kim H. says, "I consult sale calendars from various airlines to find the best time to book Phoenix flights from multiple departure cities. Then I schedule trips during seasons when I can string together cheap fares from all over." This advanced strategy ensures she always locks in the lowest possible nationwide rates.
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Leverage Airline Loyalty Programs
One underused strategy for getting the lowest fares to Phoenix is tapping into your airline loyalty program benefits. Signing up for frequent flyer accounts unlocks access to member-only deals, fee waivers, and other perks that can add up to major savings.
Loyalty programs offer exclusive airfare sales just for members. These can include flash sales, tiered elite discounts, or early access to general public promotions. For example, Delta Medallion members get a Jump on FlyAway Sale several days before other customers. This gives you first dibs on seats before lower fares sell out.
United also offers MileagePlus Exclusives with spontaneous sales only bookable through your account. A recent Exclusive offered Hawaii flights for 12,000 miles each way - an absolute steal. By having your account ready, you can pounce when amazing deals drop.
Even basic entry-level airline status can benefit your wallet. Most airlines waive baggage fees for elite flyers, which saves $30 per bag per flight. If you check luggage frequently, this perk alone can lead to huge savings.
Loyalty status also grants access to preferred economy seats with extra legroom. This allows you to avoid costly upgrades when booking flights. American’s Main Cabin Extra seats offer a nice six inches of legroom for elites without paying extra fees.
Redeeming miles for flights is another way to tap program perks. Use reward charts to get the highest value from your points and miles. Off-peak dates to Phoenix in winter offer solid value on American, Delta, and United.
Even if you’re just an infrequent leisure flyer, airline loyalty still pays. Most programs keep your miles active as long as there’s minor activity every 18-24 months. Avoid expired miles and lost program perks that could save money.
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Book Early for Best Selection
Booking flights to Phoenix early opens up more options for scoring the perfect fare at an affordable price. As departure dates draw nearer, airline seats inevitably get snatched up. By locking in your trip months in advance, you secure the widest selection of flights and maximize chances for an ideal itinerary.
Frequent Phoenix visitor Stephanie M. always books at least 2-3 months ahead of time, especially for popular winter getaways. She explains, “I’ve learned the hard way that procrastinating leads to less choice. I used to delay booking which left me stuck with red-eyes or absurd layovers trying to get home Sunday nights. Now I book early even if fares are higher so I can fine tune schedules later.”
Stephanie leverages 24 hour cancellations and flight changes to tweak her itinerary as needed: “If better flight times open up later, I can usually switch for free even on basic economy tickets." This flexibility makes early booking a no-brainer.
Jeremy R. also prioritizes locking in dates ahead of time, saying “I know I want to visit my Phoenix friends in March for spring training baseball every year. So I go ahead and book flights in December or January once rates are published. This guarantees I get our preferred flight schedule before seats disappear.”
Similarly, Kim H. books her Phoenix flights the moment award charts are opened to maximize routing options with miles. She explains, “I’m fine flying at odd times to use fewer miles. But I want flexibility to build in long layovers to explore new cities. Booking 330+ days out is key to crafting my perfect itinerary.”
Outside of optimizing schedules, early booking also lets you snag direct flights before they sell out. Phoenix flight hacker Stephanie admits, “I used to always end up on connections trying to save money. But now I book direct routes 11 months out since they disappear so quickly.”
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Try Hidden City Ticketing
Hidden city ticketing is an advanced strategy that exploits quirks in airline pricing to score dirt cheap fares. The idea is to purchase a ticket with a connection, but get off at the layover city instead of your final destination. This essentially snags you a cheaper one-way fare on the first leg only.
Flight hacker Stephanie M. leverages hidden cities constantly, including on Phoenix trips. She explains, "I live in Los Angeles, where Phoenix flights sometimes run $300+ roundtrip. But I've flown there for under $100 by booking LAX-Dallas-Phoenix, then ditching the Dallas segment."
The key is choosing a route where the layover city has a higher fare than the final destination. Stephanie says, "I monitor prices across different connection cities. If a route through Dallas is cheaper than Phoenix direct, I know hidden city ticketing will work."
Jeremy R. also swears by this creative strategy, saying "I used to pay $350+ for direct Phoenix flights from Denver. But now I connect through Dallas or Chicago for as low as $175. I just get off in Phoenix and skip the second leg."
The one catch is airlines now actively crack down on hidden city ticketing, with policies threatening to invalidate your later segments if you no-show a portion. However, enforcement remains hit or miss. Stephanie admits, "I still fly hidden city 5+ times a year. The key is avoiding extremely bizarre connections like LAX-OMA-PHX that raise red flags."
Travel hackers debate the morality of hidden city tricks. On one hand, it violates the terms in airline contracts. But some argue that price discrimination also exploited customers first. Jeremy says, "I don't feel bad jumping off in Phoenix. I'm merely correcting an imbalance."
Scoring Sunny Savings: Snagging Cheap Flights to Phoenix This Winter - Consider Long Layovers to Save
Savvy travelers know that booking flights with long layovers can unlock major savings when flying to Phoenix. By building in an extended connection of 10+ hours, you give yourself time to explore a new city while scoring cheaper airfare.
For example, Stephanie recently flew from Los Angeles to Phoenix via an overnight layover in Denver. By booking this routing instead of nonstop, she saved over $150. She explains, "I arrived in Denver at 6pm, checked into an airport hotel, then spent the whole next morning exploring the city. I got to sightsee and enjoy a cheap night out before my noon flight."
Jeremy R. also swears by the long layover trick, using it to subsidize mini-vacations en route to Phoenix. "Last fall, I booked a trip with a 7 hour layover in Dallas. This let me visit the JFK assassination and history sites for just the cost of the DART train into town. Without the layover, I'd never be able to afford that quick getaway."
Even shorter layovers of 6-8 hours can make excellent use of your Phoenix travel time. Kim H. loves strategically booking routes through cities she's been meaning to visit more of. She says, "Why not fly through Seattle, San Francisco, or Minneapolis on the way to Phoenix? I can tap into the light rail to have a meal, see some sights, then continue on. It feels like two trips in one."
The key to successful long layovers is researching transportation and logistics ahead of time. Stephanie recommends, "Figure out if the airport has public transit access so you can easily get into town. Or find a hotel that offers airport shuttles. This makes even overnight layovers smooth and stress-free."
When pricing flights, look at every connection city offered along a route. Often you'll find options like LAX-SLC-PHX, LAX-LAS-PHX, or LAX-DFW-PHX. Research the layover potential for each. Offbeat cities Beyond major hubs can be hidden gem stopovers.