This is a photo of

Allow the trippy community to use this photo in their answers.

Allow the trippy community to use this photo in their answers

Image Source:

Emily Brennan

Chicago, Illinois

Airfare & Airline Hacks

What are your favorite tips and tricks for getting the biggest bang for your airfare buck? How do you find the best airfare? When is the best time to book? Have you had luck being upgraded? How do you make the most of frequent flier miles?

Please include any airline details where applicable!

Comments (0)

Need more information? Question already been asked? Let the poster know!


Comment required

 

					
					
					
				

Answer this Question

 Video: How to write a great answer

Mentioned in this answer:

Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

10 Answers

  • Jake Vanags

    top answer by

    Finding Cheap Airfare:

    1) Use the ITA Matrix to find the cheapest fare at any point in time with highly customizable search filters. Learn how to use the ITA Martix here.

    2) When searching for international fares, include searches on ITA Matrix, Momondo, Skyscanner and Kayak.

    3) Subscribe to, and follow on social media, The Flight Deal (and any number of blogs like The Points Guy and Million Mile Secrets).

    4) Set fare alerts at Airfarewatchdog.com.

    When to book:

    I have not found much clarity here, but booking 8 weeks out seems to be a good time. Waiting for last second deals is a possibility if you're flexible. Flying on Tue, Wed and Sat tend to be cheaper.

    Upgrades:

    Being a high-tier member with an airline's frequent flyer program will give you greater priority over lower tiers and the general passenger if they have upgrades available. I'm not a great expert on this one as I tend to maximize my frequent flyer points by choosing more flights over less (but upgraded) flights.

    Frequent Flyer Points:

    I haven't paid full airfare for a flight in over 3 years, while saving over $40,000+ for myself and $30,000+ for others by hustling the miles and points game. I've also been able to fly business and first class for just the price of taxes and fees. This last year alone I flew to 31 destinations around the world. The retail cost would have been $22,000+, but I only paid $497 out-of-pocket.

    It's way too much to explain here, but you can sign up for free training (or the full training package) over at our website. So that I'm not biased, you can also check out blogs like Million Mile Secrets or MileValue who will give you the same information, but broken up and scattered into tons of different blog posts. Either way, if you want to travel hack, any of these places are a good place to start!


    Comments (1)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    • Jillian G.

      Jillian G.

      Amazing tips - thanks for sharing! · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Jake a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Elliott Lowen

    answered by

    General Trippy MediaGeneral Trippy MediaGeneral Trippy Media

    TI am a big believer in www.hopper.com as a good way to follow what airlines are up to. Here is a summary of good tips and tricks:

    • An average of nearly 80 significant fare sales occur every day in popular markets, but often last for only a few days or even hours
    • The most common day for airlines to launch fare sales is Tuesday, and the most popular time is between noon and 3 pm
    • Keep a close eye on prices for your favorite routes.

    We've all seen the emails from our favorite airfare site - ‘Flights to New York for $99!’,’Book your trip to Vegas now for only $79!’. Not all advertised cheap offers from airlines or any cheaper than typical low prices on a route.

    Airlines start and stop fare sales unpredictably, based on competition or excess inventory, and they are too frequently gone before you even get a chance to look. These sales can sometimes save lucky customers hundreds of dollars, but only if they’re quick enough to grab a ticket before the sale ends.

    The tricky thing about identifying sales is how much information you have to watch. With over 600 active airports in the US alone, there are hundreds of thousands of markets to check for potential sales at any given time. By watching prices in real-time across all these markets, and detecting sudden changes in the typical quoted price, we’re able to find sales soon after they start in any market. For example, Figure 1 shows prices for Oakland to Dallas dropping significantly early on Oct 7th:


    To get a better idea of when sales are most likely, I've looked at the more than 5,500 sales we identified over a 70-day period (Figure 2). This accounted for over 131 unique origins (83 in the US), and 315 unique destinations (76 in the US).


    The most common day for sales to start was early in the week, on Tuesday, followed by Wednesday and Thursday (Figure 3). This is probably because sales are initiated by airline sales & marketing staff. Sales were distributed fairly evenly between business and nonbusiness hours, but looking more closely at time of day, sales are most likely to occur between noon and three, and least likely early in the morning (Figure 4).


    While the majority sales happen in the afternoon, Figure 1 is an example of a sale that starts outside of the ‘peak sale time’. On October 7th, at around 5 AM PDT, the minimum price on the OAK-DFW route dropped from ~$140 (blue) to $115 (red). With this sale occurring so early in the morning, (8 AM on the East Coast), it would be difficult discover manually.

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Elliott a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Tereza Vítková

    answered by

    Applicable to all airlines / booking websites:
    Don't forget to delete cookies after every search. Travel sites often track your visits and will raise the price simply because you've visited before...

    Special tip:
    when reserving seats for two people, choose the aisle and window seats. If no one takes the middle seat, then you get the full row, and if someone does, then just ask to switch seats so you can sit next to your partner.

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Tereza a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Ross Sparks

    answered by

    hidden city

    travelzoo

    skyscanner

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Ross a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Breanna Wilson

    Trippy Ambassadors are elite members of the community, hand picked to help you travel better! Interested? E-mail us at ambassadors@trippy.com.

    answered by

    Hi Emily!

    If you're able to be flexible with your travel dates, try these places:

    The Hipmunk app (and website) has great last-minute deals. Just open the app and scroll down to see their best flight deals. Right now on my app I see everything from $81 round-trip flights to Vegas from LAX (an always expensive hub) to $839 round-trip flights to Beijing from LAX.

    Also sign up for Travelzoo.com's email list. That's what I do and they send some pretty great deals over every week - if only I could act on them all!

    Another thing that I do is I follow The Points Guy on Facebook. They give some pretty great updates on fare deals - that's how I learned about $99 flights to Rejkavik a few weeks ago and the $32 NYC to LAX flights last week! If you're like me and you check Facebook enough you'll get the alerts before they run out.

    Hope that helps! Happy travels!

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Breanna a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Jacey & Scott Mahaffy

    Trippy Ambassadors are elite members of the community, hand picked to help you travel better! Interested? E-mail us at ambassadors@trippy.com.

    answered by

    I start with adioso.com. It allows you very flexible search dates and places (i.e., Europe or France) and will tell you cheapest dates and cities to fly into. It's a great place to start!

    I travel a lot for work. I'm very specific about using my points for the things that are the most expensive, that save us the most. I never use miles unless I can book for the least amount of points possible-this usually means that we book 11 months in advance, the day the airline issues the tickets for the first time. We also book outbound first and then return...this way you don't have to wait the week or two in order to book your return (i.e., if you are travelling for 2 weeks, the outbound tickets will have been available for 2 weeks before you book your return). There is no penalty for booking one way reservations. Most hotels use less points the more nights you stay, so we try to not use points unless staying for multiple nights to being the points per night down.

    We also sign up for credit cards when it makes sense. For example, we are heading to Alaska next summer. If you sign up for a card, you get enough points for a one way flight + a $100 companion fare. So we each signed up (then are flying for free to Sitka), and we have a cheap fare home for one of us. Most airlines and hotels have multiple credit cards, so you can compare what is the best value for what your travel plans are.

    The cards also provide some perks...the Fairmont card got us 2 free nights for signing up, please an upgraded room and access to their executive lounge. We had breakfast for free every morning and cocktails in the evening. We cancel the cards after we don't need them anymore.

    Bottom line-there is not site that will provide all you want in one place, it take some research-but is well worth it for the savings you can find!!

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Jacey & Scott a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Heidi Blanke

    answered by

    Don't forget to check nearby airports (nearby for me is within a three hour drive). For example, flights from Madison are occasionally cheaper than those out of Minneapolis.

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Madison (city)
    2. Minneapolis (city)

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Heidi a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Michelle C

    answered by

    I learned all about "travel hacking" with frequent flyer miles through this Frequent Flyer Master Guide. So my #1 tip would be to start there. It's like Travel Hacking 101 and would answer all of the questions you're asking. The author is in his 30's and has already been to every country in the world. I got his guide a little over a year ago and my husband and I have already booked 3 pairs of international tickets completely on miles - we went to France last summer, Jamaica in December, and will be traveling to Japan and Vietnam this Spring (details on our blog).

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Michelle a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Stephanie Grace

    answered by

    I just found this cool website http://www.hopper.com/ which gives you average price points of what other people paid for a similar flight!

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Stephanie a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment

  • Kim B Wise

    answered by

    I like Trip Advisor. You can see all airfares from many sites using their sites. Aside from this? Airline consolidators are great if you are flying outside of the country. I've found much lower rates there.

    Comments (0)

    Ask for clarification, suggest corrections, or give thanks!


    Comment required

    Mentioned in this answer:

    Type the @-symbol in your answer to plot places on map!

    • ·
      • twitter
      • facebook
      • google
    • ·
      • Doesn't answer question
      • Mean-spirited
      • Spam
      • Inappropriate

    Send Kim a Thank You Note

    • Thank you!

    • Spot On!

    • You inspired me!

    • Amazing details

    • Saving for later

    • Great photos

    • Great restaurant recommendation

    • Leave a comment