Yes, it works! I just bought our first airline tickets using our pensionado visas. First, I went on line and chose the flights I wanted to buy. The good folks at the Copa office could help you with this, but I thought it was easier to walk in knowing what I wanted.
These are already very good prices compared to what I have paid in the past. And, Copa now has direct flights from Panama City to San Francisco, exactly what we need. There is a difference in price because of dates. Joel is staying only a week but I am staying longer (new grandbabies coming soon!).
I took my info and went to the Copa office in downtown David, and came back with tickets.
As you can see, the tickets were $422 and $414, a savings of $190! (only the ticket price is discounted, not the taxes and fees so it’s not -25% off the bottom line). This more than covered the additional tickets I will need to go Seattle during my US trip.
I am still researching which airlines honor the discount. Copa, a Panamanian company, will for sure and I have been told that their partner United will as well. I’m not sure about other airlines that fly into Panama or how one would go about arranging that. The good people at Copa told me though that they can’t help me with my flights on Alaska Airlines between California and Seattle, which made sense to me.
As retirees in Panama we also get discounts on hotels, restaurants, medicines, and a number of other things. There is an article HERE with details. I recently got about $1 discount on some cough medicine at the pharmacy. We don’t eat out much and I wouldn’t ask for a discount at a little local eatery (the restaurant has to eat the cost) but at a chain restaurant or more expensive place, I would use it. The only hotel stay we have had, they declined the discount because we had booked at an already discounted rate. I know friends have saved money on hotels though.
How do you get this wonderful visa? It is a process involving various documents and a lawyer. I wrote some posts about it HERE (the application) and HERE (the success). I think if you like life in Panama and plan to stay it’s worth getting residency, and this type of residency has some definite benefits along with your legal status.