Gone are the days of jaw-dropping prices on airline tickets. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, airfares have jumped 27.7% over the past year. While you might not find pandemic flight deals, there are still ways to get great deals on your tickets.
Here are some methods you can use to score cheap flights no matter where you are going.
1. Sign up for deal alerts
This is one of the easiest ways to find deals when buy flights. Why? Because you won’t do the research yourself. There are a handful of websites that analyze flight prices every day and send notable results directly to you.
This includes sites such as Scott’s Cheap Flights and Thrifty Traveler, both of which notify you when they find reduced ticket prices. Best of all, signing up for Flight Alerts is free, though you’ll likely have to pay to receive Business Class or Premium Economy Class offers.
You can also follow other flight alert sites, such as Secret Flying, which posts offers as they appear.
2. Be flexible about your destination
We all probably have that special place we’d like to visit, but the truth is that flexibility is key when it comes to saving money on flights.
According to Scott’s Cheap Flights, the best tip for finding a discount ticket is to be open-minded about where to go. Rather than selecting flights based on vacations you already have in mind, instead look for cheap destinations on dates that work for you.
According to your will be flexible to save on travel, there are a variety of tools you can use to search for cheap flights. Google Flights is a popular option. The “explore” function allows you to choose your departure location, the duration of the trip and the date you wish to leave. Next, you will be presented with an interactive map displaying prices for various destinations.
Skyscanner also offers a robust search function to find cheap flights. You will only have to enter a departure destination and select “Anywhere” for where you want to travel.
A quick search for a flight from San Francisco in October reveals a host of destinations, including a flight to Europe from $374 roundtrip.
3. Use airline miles or credit card points
While using airline miles for travel can be a bit trickier, it’s worth it. Redeeming miles for flights can reduce your outgoings to near zero, even when the cash costs of a ticket are high.
Here is a sample economy class ticket from Chicago-O’Hare to Kona, Hawaii, departing in early March 2023.
This same ticket can be purchased with United miles. Although to spend fewer miles, you’ll often want to redeem your credit card points with non-US airlines for the same flight. As a Star Alliance member, Turkish Airlines is authorized to book these United Airlines flights – and the cost to do so is 15,000 miles round trip. The Star Alliance is one of many airline alliances; these partnerships allow airlines to share routes, resources and other mutual benefits.
And even though it is a foreign airline, it is not difficult to earn Turkish Airlines miles since it is a transfer partner of Capital One and Citi.
Both Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Points transferable point currencies, transfer to Turkish airlines at a ratio of 1:1, which means that one credit card point converts directly into one airline mile. Then you can use the miles to book award flights.
4. Fly to off-season destinations
Each location has its own peak season when you can expect to find more tourists, expensive flights, and expensive accommodations. However, you are better off heading to off-season locations.
Take, for example, a flight from New York-John F. Kennedy to London-Heathrow. Choosing to fly in late August means you’ll pay just under $1,000 for a nonstop flight:
Changing your dates to a lower travel window, like those you’ll find in late February, cuts your trip cost almost in half.
This is true no matter where you are going, so if you have a fixed destination in mind, consider travel during the off-season to save money on flights.
In fact, a NerdWallet analysis – conducted in December 2021 of more than 100 airfares on popular travel routes in the United States on eight major airlines – found that airfares were on average 23% cheaper when they were booked outside of high season travel.
If you are looking for flight deals
Although we can no longer expect very low prices for airline tickets, this does not mean that you should pay huge sums of money for flights. Instead, take advantage of these tips for finding a flight deal.