How to Fly to Panama and Save Money!

An example of how we used multiple travel-hacks to save on our travels!

The following post will serve as an in-depth look on how we travel-hacked our way to Panama, a country we didn’t plan to visit pero bueno salio la oportunidad!

Our first leg from DCA to FLL we used the remaining JetBlue flight credits we had from our original trip to Puerto Rico which we cancelled for the Emirates Inaugural Flight from MIA to DXB. We booked the Blue tickets since we had one baggage to check/in. These were very easy to use – simply proceed with booking your tickets and apply the credits when adding your form of payment. We used our AMEX Gold card because we would earn 3x Membership Rewards (MR) points from the balance we are paying.

From MIA to PTY, we used our American Airlines flight credits…or was it trip credits? Honestly, American Airlines needs to simplify that process. In any case, we used these credits from a trip we had planned to Chicago in 2021 to book our economy seats. Given their complicated rules, we had to used our AMEX Gold to pay the difference of the ticket price. Since we have OneWorld Sapphire status due to our Alaska MVP Gold status, we were granted seat upgrades and access to the American Airlines lounge in Miami!

From PTY to MIA for our return, we used the $300 trip credit that is offered from the Capital One Venture X credit card to book our two economy tickets on Copa Airlines. Remember that you have to use the Capital One Travel Portal to make use of these $300. We ended up paying slightly extra for our checked baggage.

Finally, our return from MIA to DCA we used the remaining American Airlines credits and paid the difference with our AMEX Gold card. We didn’t gain access to the American Airlines lounge (quite the complicated rule – apparently its only available to travelers flying OUTSIDE of the USA and the Caribbean) but since we have our Priority Pass access through our Capital One Venture X card we had access to the Turkish Airlines lounge.

As for our hotel stays, no hacks as we ended up paying for our stays with our Marriott Bonvoy American Express card. However, we do have Titanium status with Marriott so we were looking forward to our upgrades. We stayed at the Aloft Coral Gables and got an upgrade to one of their suite rooms. Nothing spectacular about the room itself but it was spacious and located in Coral Gables, which is one of the more posh neighborhoods of Miami. For Panama City, Panama, we stayed at the Le Meridien Panama. The breakfast could be a lot better, but we did receive an upgrade to their Platinum suite and it was a fantastic suite with views of the Pacific Ocean!

Vamos viajando. The world needs to see us!

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