Top 12 Tips for Finding Great Airline Bargains
Who doesn’t love a bargain? A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Think of all the beer I could buy and gulp down with the money I could save on an airline ticket. In fact, the airline ticket could be the most expensive part of your trip. And it becomes all the more expensive if you have to buy more than 1 ticket. But you got to be smart. Here are a few tips on how to get a good deal on your airline ticket. And save not only money but time too and hopefully keep frustration at bay.
1: Keep it a hush-hush secret!
When we erase the cookies we will appear as first-time visitors of a site, and they will show us a price of the flights without knowing if we are interested or not. Something you can know from our previous searches, stored in cookies. So, many people suggest that you delete the cookies and search in incognito. It can increase your chances of finding promo codes, and cheap ticket offers like Aeromexico promo codes, American Airlines cheap flight deals, Qatar Airways special offers, etc.
One can also consider booking an air ticket from Faremart.com which provides many useful and worth grabbing offers for 450 different airlines, further reducing your airfare.
2: Do a comparison of prices on more than 1 site.
Use more than 1 flight search engine. Google flights and Momondo are 2 of the most popular ones. Google flights primarily go through the listings directly from airline websites. Momondo, on the other hand, primarily compares the prices of 3rd party booking sites. It is noteworthy that even though most airlines require the user to book directly through their website for the best deals, these 2 search engines can help you find the best flight options thus saving you time. And time is money! Some of the other useful search sites/engines are Skyscanner, AirFareWatchdog, CheapOair, AirWander, JetRadar etc. It is to be noted that no single search engine is 100% perfect. Thus, try a combination of 3 /4 search engines to ensure you do not miss the deal of the Century!
3: Keep your flying schedule flexible.
Ticket prices can vary widely within the same week even from 1 day to the next. So, you can save a few bucks by say flying out on Thursday morning instead of saying Wednesday evening. Most airline websites and flight search engines have user-friendly features that enable you to compare prices on different dates. However, as a general observation, third-party websites are better at this.
4: The sooner the better.
If, however you do know your schedule and travel itinerary, then purchase the tickets as soon as possible. The airline tickets are only going to get dearer as the travelling date approaches. It is a simple law of markets: demand and supply.
5: Make use of schemes such as Award miles or frequent flyer points.
If you are a regular flyer with one airline, you can fly any alliance airline with the same miles. Award flights on the airline website can be searched for by clicking the “Pay with Award Miles” button.
6: Get your credit card rewards points transferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Platinum Card are 2 of the best travel rewards cards out there. Both cards allow you to redeem your purchase rewards points through their respective credit card portal. The points can also be transferred to an alliance partner airline on a 1: 1 basis. So, you end up losing nothing and are at par.
7: Fly a budget airline
If you don’t mind eating a paid chicken sandwich instead of free caviar on the in-flight menu, then try a budget airline. But keep in mind that you have already paid for that caviar at your much-inflated ticket price. Of course, you will have lesser leg space in a budget airline, but then do walk the aisle a few times to stretch your legs which is recommended otherwise too.
Budget airlines such as Southwest Airlines, Norwegian, Jetlines, WOW Air, Porter, Air Transat, Frontier, Spirit Airlines, Tiger Air, Air Asia, Dragon Air, Spice Jet, Vanilla Air, Easyjet, RyanAir, Iberia Express, Eurowings, Aer Lingus and Jetblue to name a few are cheaper than the bigger mainstream airlines.
8: Book a vacation package instead of just the airline ticket
If you need to book the whole shebang, then just like a McDonald’s combo pack a flight and a hotel package can save you money, and you’ll get more bang for the buck so to speak. Both kinds of websites ie airline websites and 3rd party websites offer the airline and hotel deal. “Costco travel” and hotel loyalty program such as “Marriott flights and nights” are 2 of the best bets.
9: Buy flights in bulk
As with everything, if you buy in bulk, the cost per ticket can come substantially down. This usually however only works if you are buying from the same airline or airlines with alliance partnerships. As an example flying return, tickets works out as a cheaper option than 2 single way tickets.
10: Book connecting flights on your own
Yes! Sometimes this works out to be the cheaper option. Suppose your flight is from A to C with a stopover at B. Then sometimes booking the legs separately from A to B and then B to C works out as a cheaper option. Sometimes 2 different airlines work out even cheaper. Sometimes adding a destination B on purpose with a stopover in between A and C can actually work out cheaper than a direct flight from A to B. It’s all a matter of trials and errors and permutations and combinations. Sometimes circumnavigating the entire globe also works out to be cheaper. As an example if you fly from A to C via B, then flying back from C to A via D might work out cheaper than a return ticket from C to B to A. You just have to try out various options.
11: Paying in another currency
Alternating payment methods and/or types of currencies can influence the final price. Changing the region from where you are looking for a passage (even if it is a lie) and the type of currency (dollars, euros, pesos, etc.) can influence the price.
What I do is that I try with three different countries and types of currencies, I check the conversion rate to the currency with which I’m really going to pay and I evaluate which one suits me the most.
The type of card can also influence if it is a Visa or Master Card. They usually charge an extra percentage when using the Visa.
12: Hop off city
Let me explain this a bit. You need to travel from city A to B. So, you book a flight from the city a to city C instead with a stopover at city B, the connecting airport. Although it defies logic, sometimes this way works out cheaper than booking a direct flight from city A to city B. And don’t worry! It is perfectly legal. You have just beaten the system and have a good story to share at the bar with laughs. But don’t forget to book in any check-in luggage, or you’ll have a hard time getting it back from the already angered airline management!
Also, check this ‘ultimate guide to sustainable baggage planning’ out.
In the end, we can say that cheap fares can be found anytime online. You just need to know where and how to search and be a bit flexible on your itinerary and choice of airline. Also, do some trials and errors. Have a pleasant flight!