The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, four nights' accommodations, and a $100 resort credit, from $409 per person—plus about $33 in taxes.
When: Through Dec. 27, 2008. Rates will be slightly higher for travel through April 26, 2009.
Gateways: Albuquerque; add $90 for Omaha; $100 for Kansas City; $120 for Chicago, Nashville; $130 for St. Louis; additional cities available.
The fine print: Does not include taxes and fees of $33 per person. Based on Tuesday and Saturday departures; other days will be at a slightly higher rate. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $355. Kids under 17 stay for free. Requires a five-day advance purchase. Lowest prices are based on online bookings; prices vary when booking over the phone. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Nov. 28, 2008.
Contact Southwest Airlines Vacations, 800/423-5683, southwestvacations.com.
Why it's a deal: A recent Kayak search produced a $202 round-trip flight between Albuquerque and Phoenix in early December (US Airways). Rates at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort for early December start at $129 per room per night. So if you booked this yourself, it would cost $460 per person before hotel taxes. By booking through Southwest, you'll save $18, including all taxes, and have a $100 resort credit in your pocket.
Trip details: Southwest Airlines' package begins with a direct flight on Southwest to Phoenix.
There are lots of hotels available in this package, but the lowest rate is based on a stay at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, about 11 miles from the Phoenix airport, near Paradise Valley and the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Airport-hotel transfers aren't included. The resort offers a car service for $30 each way from the airport; you can call when you get there, and they'll pick you up.
The 563-suite resort just went through a $24 million renovation. You'll stay in a standard suite, which has a living room area and a foldout sofa bed. You can use your $100 resort credit for food or in-room charges. The resort has two restaurants, two golf courses, a spa, and the Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch, with a lazy river and a 130-foot slide. There's a concierge just for kids' activities.
While travelers could easily while away the trip at the resort, there's plenty to explore in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the surrounding area. Two popular attractions are Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural marvel Taliesin West and the Heard Museum, a collection of ancient and contemporary Native American art and artifacts.
Sedona and Tucson are each about a two-hour drive away, and the Grand Canyon can even be visited as a long day trip or overnight—it's a four-and-a-half-hour drive each way. Southwest can add a rental car to your booking for about $100 per person more.
Other participating hotels in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area are the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch for about $200 more per person and the W Scottsdale for about $300 more per person.
Winter temperatures in Phoenix range between the mid-40s and upper 60s Fahrenheit.