This summer, airfare is through the roof thanks to pent-up demand and sky-high fuel prices. But, if you are wondering how to save money on flights, there are several hacks that you can use to bring down the cost of air travel. Like most good things, it requires a bit of effort, but you can save money on flight tickets by shopping smart. Keep reading to learn how to utilize these nine tips and get free gift cards, to travel and explore the world.
1. Plan Your Flight Early
While this one seems like a no-brainer, many people wait until the last minute to book their flights, as they sort out their schedules. Instead, you should book airline flights as soon as possible, to find some of the best deals on airline tickets. During the pandemic, many airlines did away with change fees, so there is no penalty if you need to change your date later. The only thing you’d have to do is pay any difference in fare for the new dates. With waived change fees, there is a substantial benefit to booking flights early. You stand to save money on flight booking, since the emptier a flight is, the more chance you have to score the low fares.
2. Watch for Airfare Price Drops
This tip is a golden one, but not many people take advantage of it. Occasionally, airfare for a particular flight you have booked may drop, and you can contact the airline for a refund or credit of the difference. It needs to be the same flight, date, and type of fare, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can save money on frequent flights. Create a cadence where you can remember to check back and see if there was a price drop. You can even set a reminder for yourself with a calendar app or smart assistant.
3. Join Airline Loyalty Programs
By joining an airline’s loyalty program, you can be among the first to know about airfare sales, as well as earn miles when you fly (or via a co-branded credit card) that you can later use for free flights. Some airlines, like Delta, also allow members with a co-branded Delta American Express to use a combination of cash and miles for their trips. This can represent huge savings when you travel.
Also, by joining Fetch and scanning your receipts in the program, you can earn cash back in the form of gift cards to many of your favorite companies. This includes airlines like Delta and Southwest, which is another great way to save money on your next trip. Fetch partners with Delta and Southwest Airlines, allowing Fetchers to redeem their points for free Delta and Southwest Airline gift cards.
4. Be Flexible
This is key when looking for ways to save money on a flight. If you’re willing to fly at any time of day or make a connection (or even change your travel dates by a few days), you can really save some cash. Many flight search engines, like Google Flights, make this easy by suggesting alternate airports, or dates of travel, to save money on your flight tickets.
5. Consider Booking Two, One-Way Airline Tickets
Not all airlines can ticket their flights with other carriers. For example, Delta and American cannot typically be booked within the same reservation. This could limit the type of airfare prices you are presented via search. Instead, consider booking two, one-way tickets instead of a roundtrip. This allows you to search more airlines and even fly out on one carrier, but return on another, saving quite a bit of cash in the process.
6. Book on Local Travel and Airline Sites
This tip represents a great way to save money on international tickets. Oftentimes, the fare can be different when booking in another currency or on another country’s website. For example, booking your flight on the airline’s foreign website can yield cheaper prices. It can pay off to invest in a good VPN for your computer. Log in as if you are in another country, for example, Ecuador, and then go to the local site for the airline. You may find cheaper airfare since these are sometimes priced for the local market. This works best when booking domestic flights within that foreign country.
7. Visit Budget Airline Websites
Not all airlines appear in traditional airfare search engines. For example, you may not find Ryanair or Allegiant airfare on websites like Google Flights or Orbitz. It can be helpful to visit the Wikipedia page of the airport you are visiting (most have one) because it lists all of the airlines and destinations that are available at an airport. Knowing this information and which other airlines you might need to search if they don’t appear in a traditional search can be quite helpful in scoring the cheapest airline ticket.
8. Utilize Airfare and Travel Search Sites
These can be extremely helpful as well, as they provide inspiration for your next trip. Websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights or Secret Flying often list dozens of city pairs, where you can score solid discounts on both economy and premium cabin tickets. You can also find bonus travel tips like where to find lodgings or rent cars, on sites like these. You can even get free gift cards for travel-friendly services like Uber and Airbnb with Fetch. Check the “Travel” section in the “Rewards” tab to find them and more.
9. Use Private Browsing Mode or Clear Cookies
To keep tabs on what you are searching, many websites monitor the city pairs and dates where you want to find airfare. Be sure to switch on private browsing mode, on the browser you are using, or clear the cookies on your computer, between searches. Websites track user behavior with cookies and other tools, which they can use to show you specific offers and prices. Using incognito and/or clearing your cookies can help to make sure that the cheapest fares are always on offer. You may often see a note that a flight is selling out fast or that there is only one seat left for that fare. This may not always be accurate, and by searching for airfare “privately,” you’ll find better deals without this type of “scare tactic” to get you to book more quickly.
- The fastest way to open an Incognito window is with the keyboard shortcut combination Ctrl-Shift-N (Windows) or Command-Shift-N (macOS)
- How to clear cookies in Chrome
Get the Fetch App
You can’t earn free gift cards for flights, from Fetch, if you don’t have the app. Click the buttons below or scan the QR code with your smartphone’s camera to start earning points and save money on flights. Be sure to use a referral code when you sign up for thousands of bonus points and get your friends and family to sign up with your code for even more points.
Happy Fetching and flying!
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe. He's a contributor to NerdWallet, Forbes, Fortune and more.
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