Finding great airfare is a tricky business and requires a certain amount of dedication. The difference in pricing from day to day and even hour to hour is frustrating. What’s worse is finding out that the person sitting next to you paid a lot less for the same seat! So here’s some tips on how you can become the traveler with ‘the most enviable airfare’..
Never take a flight without joining the frequent flyer program of the airline. You’ll need to keep a log to track points and expiration dates, but it could be worth a free flight or two.
Several major airlines offer credit cards and will give you instant points for applying. Continue adding points through purchases. To maximize the benefit, use it to pay as many of your everyday purchases as possible and pay it back at the end of the month. I’m also a fan of American Express as I can use their points toward many airlines and hotels.
Be aware of the specific airline’s Point Program guidelines, as several carriers have points that expire. For example, with American Airlines, your points will expire 18 months from the date of your last flight but if you join their Dining and/or Shopping programs, you’ll get points for purchases. The new expiration date will be 18 months from the time of your last purchase. Other carriers, such as JetBlue and Delta, have no expiration date. Check here for current point expiration dates by airline.
Use www.skyscanner.net. You can input your city of origin and the dates you’d like to travel, but choose ‘everywhere’ for your destination. You’ll get a list of destinations that currently offer the best deals traveling from your location. Let the next amazing deal be the inspiration for your trip. If you’ve already chosen a destination but can play with the dates, choose the destination and you can check rates by month to find the best fare.
Sign Up For Fare Alerts
Another option would be to enter your chosen destination into a fare alert site, such as www.airfarewatchdog.com. You’ll receive emails and/or pings when a significant price drop occurs. This site employs people to do the checking, in addition to search engines, to help you find something great! Let them do the initial checking for you.
Look At Several Area Airports Close to Your Destination
It sometimes worth a little extra travel time in a rental car to save big $$$ on airfare. For example, New Smyrna Beach, Florida is 20 minutes from Daytona airport but you can get super cheap flight and better schedules flying into Orlando and driving an hour.
Check Round Trip vs. One Way Flights or Flights With Stopovers
I was just looking for a flight from North Carolina to New York. I only needed one way. The one way ticket was $341. I checked roundtrip, same airline, same original flight and it was $287. Looks like I can save $54 and not take the return trip. I may even be able to call and get the $143 return flight credited toward another trip.
This theory also works with stopovers. Let’s say I want to go to Los Angeles but the fare is really expensive. I find some crazy deal going to Hawaii with a stopover in LA. I can pay less and take the first flight only (but on second thought, maybe I’ll go to Hawaii too!).
Clear The Cookies On Your Browser During Your Search!
Some sites are set to catch your cookies (I know this sounds violating and believe me, it is). You are ‘known’ by your IP address. Several recent searches for the same trip can result in higher pricing. No joke. They know you want to go! Delete cookies, change devices or try it from a different location/IP address.
Know Which Airlines Charge More For Baggage
Baggage fees can be ridiculous! Don’t overlook this, its so important when booking a flight. Spirit Airlines advertises a $9 fare and then charges you up to $100 for a CARRY-ON! It appears you’re getting a great deal on a $9 seat, until you realize that your carry-on bag will need to pay the equivalent of 11+ seats . I wonder what they’ll charge me if I layer up and wear everything that would have been in my suitcase. It’s a thought…. See my list of airlines baggage fees for 2016.
Check It Again Before You Book
No matter what you find, don’t forget to check the airlines’ website. On occasion they’ll have specials that they only advertise on their own site. Also, it can’t hurt to follow the airlines on social media as they will sometimes send out deals to their followers. Look to see if there’s a promo code available. Yes, that’s right. There’s promo codes for airlines now. Google it.
Check It Again Within 24 Hours of Purchase
Several airlines will refund you the difference plus some if you catch a price drop for the same flight, same day on any other website.
If it’s through their own site within 24 hours, you may have to cancel your flight and book again. Ask about change or refund fees first which could potentially wipe out any possible savings.
Now You Need A Vacation…!
I know it’s possible you gave up hours ago. I don’t blame you. Rest assured it does get easier over time. There is a point when the amount of money you’re willing to spend and the amount of time you’re willing to utilize meet in the middle. Sometimes, ‘good enough’, is. Enjoy the savings and put it toward your next trip!
- Involuntarily Bumped.. What Can You Do?
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- Plan Your Cruise in the Western Mediterranean!