Comparison of Miami (MIA) and Ft. Lauderdale’s Airport (FLL)

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South Florida is a very popular travel destination. Many people who are visiting South Beach or Miami choose to fly into Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which is about an hour drive to the north.

If you’re looking to redeem your credit card points or airline miles for free flights to South Floridawe recommend using the Juicy Miles award booking service, who can help you redeem for the lowest amount of miles, as well as using partner airlines.


It’s a smaller airport than Miami International Airport. It’s easier to navigate (you don’t need to take a monorail between terminals, as is the case with Miami’s airport). Plus, many of the lower cost carriers, like JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines fly into Ft. Lauderdale, instead of Miami.

But if you’re staying in Miami or South Beach, your best bet is to fly into Miami International Airport, unless you’re able to find a flight into Ft. Lauderdale for at least $100 less.

That’s because an Uber ride from Miami airport into South Beach — which is slightly farther away from downtown Miami — costs only $17-$20. By the way, a taxi cost $35-$40.

If you were to fly into Ft. Lauderdale, you would face at least a 45 minute drive to South Beach, costing at least $60-$100.

The goal of this blog post is to show you that flying into a city’s lesser known airport may seem like a cheaper and more convenient option, especially if you’re able to score a deal on a low-cost carrier, you might end up spending more money (and time!) after factoring in ground transportation costs.

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As mentioned above, the rise of the sharing economy (outlets like Uber and Lyft) has dramatically decreased the cost of ground transportation. But that doesn’t mean you should be throwing the savings you scored from a cheap plane ticket into long distance Uber rides. The goal is to travel for less, not travel frugally in one area, only to spend frivolously in another area.

As mentioned, If you’re looking to redeem your credit card points or airline miles for free flights to Miami or Ft. Lauderdalewe recommend using the Juicy Miles award booking service, who can help you redeem for the lowest amount of miles, as well as using partner airlines.

Which airport do you prefer when headed to South Florida? Miami (MIA) or Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)? Feel free to share your feedback below!

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. Not a close call. Not even close. Miami is a horrible, horrible airport. Even knowing the horrible traffic that Miami has, i would still rather fly into Ft. Lauderdale and drive.

  2. It’s a convenience vs. price tradeoff. If you do fly into FLL, you can take the free bus from the airport to Trirail, which will take you to the Metrorail system in Dade county. From downtown Miami, you can Uber it to South Beach, or take Metrorail to MIA, where you can catch the express bus to Miami Beach for cheap.

  3. Hm,

    I just checked Uber X fare estimate from Biltmore hotel (Coral Gables) to FLL and it was $31-$40.

    Am I missing something?

  4. I guess it is a matter of preference. FLL is still a much better airport. MIA is a zoo. FLL added another runway last yet so flights are much more on time there than they used to. If you are rally trying to save money, the previous comment about using the trirail works too.

  5. I fall on the opposite side of this. MIA is a much proved airport. Sure it’s a Zoo but if you have Elite status with American, you pretty much avoid all of it. FLL is dirty. The place smells like old musty carpet. The economy parking at FLL is not close and takes forever. I live North of the West Palm Beach airport so I either fly from PBI or MIA. I chose to avoid FLL on purpose.

  6. Agree with Captain. FLL is like a stripped down Toyota. It is functional, but offers absolutely no amenities. It feels like a bus terminal with carpet and a dingy snack bar. Parking is a complete pain. I hate FLL and avoid it like the plague. As bad as MIA is — and I agree MIA is not well designed — it is infinitely better than FLL.

  7. I typically find more award space flying into FLL but I prefer MIA. This is really true if you have a layover or need to wait in the airport. Also MIA is closer to downtown, cruise ports, etc. Many trips to the area find me flying into FLL and out of MIA due to my schedule and award availability.

  8. PM&M,

    The premise of your post would be true if we were to assume (as you appear to) that one’s only transit options from the airport is uber or cab. You neglect public transit options. In my opinion, the best option for the budget-minded traveler (flying on a paid ticket) desiring to get to Miami is to fly into FLL (or even PBI, if cheaper) and take the tri-rail train to the MIA airport station. Tri-rail has free shuttle buses from FLL and PBI to their nearby stations, and a one-way ticket to MIA is around $6. Once at MIA, one can take an uber or cab, but an even better option is the “MIA airport flyer” city bus with express service from MIA baggage claim to South Beach for a couple bucks. If you can’t walk to your hotel from its route, you can take one of the many north-south A1A buses once at sobe, or a super cheap uber. Granted, this option will double, at least, the time it takes to get to your lodgings from the airport. However, people who are willing to kill time to save money should know that paying a premium of $100 to fly to MIA vs FLL is a poor idea.

    On the issue of which airport I’d rather spend time in, MIA’s terminal D hands down, for the reasons already stated in other comments.

  9. It really depends on the time of day you arrive. If you arrive during rush hour on a weekday (morning or afternoon) definitely fly into MIA. The traffic to/from FLL will be miserable. If you have a late flight or a weekend flight or even midday flight, FLL is fine. It is 30 miles from downtown Miami remember that.

    If there are irregular operations (delays, weather, etc.) MIA has significantly more options to get you routed to your destination if flying American. As a frequent traveler, this alone is reason to keep me at MIA unless the flight is $150 cheaper at FLL.

  10. MIA is 1000x times better than FLL…. I just avoid rush hour and thats it. FLL is impossible to find parking space, then you have to take a bus to the terminal which takes a lot of time and then there is nothing! Only stinky carpet and ugly people. Lets be honest… The people who travel using FLL are mostly very low class and not FF, so the terminal is designed for that. There is not even a lounge… It looks like an ugly bus station.

    MIA if you are a FF is way better. Many lounges, everything is clean, many stores and places to eat. I enjoy my time in MIA and I visit it at least 4 times a month.

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