If you’re looking to save on airfare and travel, Cheap Flight Day might just be your favorite day of the year. Though it’s not a recognized holiday, Aug. 23 and the days surrounding it represent a period of declining prices for both domestic and international flights. Use this guide to find out how you can save on airline travel this fall.
How to Find Cheap Flights
Frequent flyers know that sales, in the traditional sense, aren’t widely found when it comes to airfare. Even without buy-one-get-one deals or sale pricing, there are still some easy ways to save some money on your next family vacation or weekend getaway.
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Airline Deals and Specials
Some airlines offer discounted flights on routes to popular destinations when booked before a certain day. Here are some deals for the Cheap Flight Day season worth getting excited about:
- Delta: Fly round-trip from New York to Cancun, Mexico on select days in November and December for as low as $251.
- Frontier: Book before the end of the month to get a round-trip ticket from cities like Jacksonville, Tenn. to Cincinnati for just $49.
- United Airlines: Flights from Newark, N.J. to Reykjavik, Iceland are starting at $448 round-trip.
Make sure to check airline-specific deals often, some even offer savings on last-minute travel.
Discount Travel Websites
There is no lack of websites dedicated to helping people search for cheap flights, usually through comparisons of different airline prices and dates. Sites often bundle together hotel, flight, and car rentals to provide people with complete vacation packages. Popular discount travel sites include:
- Google Flights
- Scotts’s Cheap Flights
The websites attempt to add ease to vacation planning by providing deals on a range of travel needs but, like any other purchase, flight savings can be found by shopping around; search both discount websites and sites for individual airlines to get the best deals.
Being flexible with your travel dates can also help you get the best flight deal. For example, flying with Delta from Miami to New York for a week in early September might cost you $318 for a round-trip ticket but switching those dates can decrease your prices to as low as $197. That’s a savings of nearly 40 percent — so make sure to get the best deal possible by staying agile with your flight dates.
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Cheap Flight Deals & Rewards
From travel credit cards to airline clubs, there’s a variety of ways to save on your next adventure.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
If you’re a frequent traveler, it could be in your best interest to apply for a credit card that awards miles and travel rewards for purchases. Plenty of cards are available to choose from, and they often come with different requirements and award amounts:
- Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card: Earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent without annual fees or foreign transaction fees.
- Capital One Venture Rewards card: Earn twice the miles per dollar on all purchases and 10 times the miles on hotels. As a bonus, cardholders can also receive up to $100 credit towards a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred card: Apply for the Sapphite Rewards card with Chase and receive 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $4,000 in your first three months. You’ll also earn double the points on travel and dining at restaurants.
- Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select card: Receive 2X the rewards miles for every $1 spent on restaurants, gas stations, and eligible American Airlines purchases. Cardholders also receive preferred boarding on American Airlines flights and don’t have to worry about paying for their first checked bag on domestic AA flights.
Price Match Guarantees
Perhaps one of the best ways to guarantee a good deal on airline prices this fall is to utilize services, companies, and websites with price match guarantees.
- Orbitz Price Guarantee: Similar to its competitors, Orbitz will refund you the difference if you find your flight listed on their website or another U.S-based site within 24 hours of your reservation.
- Priceline Best Price Guarantee: Find your flight at a cheaper price within 24 hours of booking and Priceline will refund 100 percent of the price difference. If you booked an Express Deal with the website and find a lower price by midnight the day before you travel, Priceline will refund 200 percent of the difference.
- Start The Adventure Price Beat Guarantee: Make your travel plans with STA Travel if you want to save on vacation bundles. STA offers customers a $1000 credit towards your trip if they can’t beat a quote from one of their competitors.
- Travelocity Price Match Guarantee: If you book your flight with Travelocity and find the same flight listed at a lower price on Travelocity or any other U.S.-based website with 24 hours of asking your reservation, the company will credit or refund you the price difference.
Airline Travel Clubs
If there’s a certain airline that you prefer to fly, your loyalty can pay off. Most major airlines offer some version of a frequent-flyer club that helps travelers earn miles that they can put towards free flights.
- American Airlines AAdvantage: Earn miles when you fly on American Airlines or any of their partners. Miles can be redeemed for flight upgrades and ticket vouchers.
- Frontier Airlines Discount Den: A different, but useful, program is the Discount Den from Frontier. For $49.99 a year, members gain access to discounted flights for up to six people. Discount Den members are also enrolled in the FRONTIER Miles program.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards: Frequent travelers with Southwest should sign up for the Rapid Rewards program. There are no blackout dates on rewards travel and points don’t expire as long as members have account activity every 24 months.
- United MileagePlus: Booking with United or any of their partners will earn you miles on your MileagePlus account. You can also connect a United credit or debit card to earn miles on everyday purchases. Rewards include flight upgrades, hotel stays, and gift cards.
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Best Days to Book Cheap Flights
When it comes to the best days and times to make flight reservations, answers vary. Airfare search engine Skyscanner claims that their booking data from the last two years shows that, on average, the best time to book domestic flights is 2-3 weeks in advance of your planned trip (or two months in advance, for international flights) as opposed to a specific time of year. Fare Compare CEO Rick Seaney states that though the cheapest days to fly depend on departure cities, travelers can generally save 11-20 percent on flights in the fall when compared to summer prices.
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Flight prices, deals, and rewards information were compiled on Aug. 10, 2018 at 3 p.m. PST and are subject to change.