By Cordelia Solomon
Flights are typically the most expensive part of traveling, and far too often the frustrating reason why we don’t take a trip. Thankfully these days there are several ways to buy flights without breaking the bank.
Rewards Credit Card
Having a great travel rewards credit card will allow you to travel more while spending less, so it’s important that you consider what every program offers before signing up for one. There are a ton of great options available, each one offering perks that appeal to the varying travel needs of people. Some focus on earning points towards flights and hotels, while others have great deals on dining and entertainment. Understanding what you need from a rewards program is the best way to ensure you end up enrolled in the right one.
Travel rewards points add up quickly especially when you use your card on everyday expenses. So get enrolled and start earning points--you’re next trip awaits!
Insider Tip: Best Travel Rewards Cards for Airfare Deals
Chase Sapphire Reserve - Ideal for the frequent flyer
Chase Sapphire Preferred - Great for those just getting started
The Platinum Card® from American Express - If you want a little extra.
By being loyal to a single airline, you’ll reap even more benefits. After just one flight you’ll be automatically enrolled in their loyalty program where you earn miles based on both monetary spend and distance travelled. Like credit card points, airline miles can be redeemed towards future travel. As you earn more miles, you also gain status, which in turn gives you even more perks including free upgrades, priority access, discounted rates, and entry to premium lounges to name a few.
Deal Sites & Trackers
We recommend signing up with various flight deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, Airfare Watchdog, and The Flight Deal, among many others. These resources are amazing for finding out about the cheapest flights early, so you can book before they’re gone.
With some you can pre-select specific routes you’re interested in and be alerted when cheap flights are found. While others will send you a daily roundup of the best deals to various destinations and the general time frame during which those rates apply. The best deals don’t last long, so be ready to dive into your next adventure headfirst when those alerts come through!
Where to Buy
Google Flights has become our go-to for finding and comparing the best airfare prices. When you enter a flight search, its algorithm considers the best trade-off between price and convenience to determine the best flight options and delivers them to you at the top of the search results. Its additional functionalities also make it easier for you to find the best prices and destinations.
The Price Graph displays estimated fare trends for your chosen destination over a set trip length, which you can adjust as needed. This is a great functionality for those of you with flexible travel dates.
Date Grid accounts for the fact that airline prices fluctuate from day-to-day. With this functionality, you’re given a table view of days with the cheapest flight combinations.
Price Tracker is an insights tool that monitors fare changes for your desired trips, notifies you of price drops, and when the deal will likely expire. And, because you can save multiple routes at a time, you’ll never miss the chance to score the best flight deals to your dream destinations!
Nearby Airports lets you know when fares are cheaper to and/or from other airports close by and lets you compare those prices.
Explore Destinations offers trip suggestions based on the cheapest available flights from your home airport to an array of popular destinations within a specific date range. For the flexible traveler, the interactive map displays the best deals that day to locations all around the world, without considering specific travel dates.
Other Best Practices
Flying direct is typically more expensive, so if you’re on a budget, consider an alternative route that requires a connection. Flying into smaller airports is also a good option for finding cheaper, direct flights.
Flight prices vary from day-to-day on any given route, and unbeatable deals have even less rhyme or reason. With that, when you’re searching for flights, we recommend looking at a month view with prices to determine what date combination will get you the best deal for your desired trip.
As you can see, there are a lot of things you can do to make traveling more affordable when it comes to airfare. Take advantage of all the rewards programs and travel resources available to you, but also be thorough, and patient, in your search—there’s always a great deal waiting for you!