I love a free flight! Yet sometimes I choose not to use my frequent flyer mile option. Why? Because I am booking way in advance and the flights are beyond cheap!
Denver to Dallas Round trip 4 people $417.00
Denver to Dallas Round Trip 3 people $218.00 (with 2 pieces of luggage each, I love Southwest)
Denver to Seattle Round Trip 1 person $136.00
I can’t drive to Dallas or Seattle this cheap. The secrets are plain and simple.
- Book at least 3 weeks in advance, 30 days if possible
- Book on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening or early morning. Just go with it don’t ask why, it is like an algorithm only the airlines control it not Google.
- Always, Always book online to avoid fees.
- Do research in advance and know a good price when you see it. The price or the times may disappear in the time it takes you to check another airline.
- Flexible dates get rewarded. The airline or ticket brokers (Expedia/Cheap Tickets/ Travelocity ) often show you the cheaper priced days as you are booking.
- Stop taking luggage! See my article on Beat Airline Luggage Fees.
Ok, I understand there are some great last minute deals too, but with kids jetting away on a moments notice over the weekend is just not an option. Wait, maybe at 9 and 11 they are old enough to handle a quick transition like that, maybe? Anyway, who am I kidding we have lives and dogs and school, so at this stage in my family life pre-planning a ticket is a much better option.
Frequent flyer tickets are a breed all there own with special magical qualities that come in super handy in an emergency when you really do need a ticket in 24 hrs. Pay thousand to fly to a sick relative or a new baby is just out of the budget. I try to have a few such miles saved for just these occasions. Read more about this in “Why Save Frequent Flyer Miles”.
The advanced research is key. Know your budget, be flexible in times and days for flights, and have average price ranges for destinations before you sit down to book a ticket. This way when the perfect price ($35 each way) flashes on your screen you can pull the trigger immediately. Waiting a few hours can cost hundreds of dollars.
If you do have a comfortable level of frequent flyer miles stashed for a rainy day then go ahead use the extras, my treat!
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