As we all know, flights can get costly and add up quickly. Follow some of the tips and tricks below to hopefully save you a few bucks, if not more!
- Sign up for frequent flyer numbers. I think it is still a common misconception for many people (especially those who do not travel regularly) that signing up to receive a frequent flyer number with airline carriers costs money. Well, let me set the record straight–that is not true. In fact, if you are not signed up with all of the airlines you use/prefer, then you are more than likely missing out on some perks (think: status).
- Try to stick with one carrier. Sticking to one airline carrier will allow you to build your “miles bank” quicker. With that being said, your favorite and preferred airline more than likely will not travel seamlessly to all of your travel destinations, so it does not hurt to pick a few favorites and try to fly with those airlines routinely.
- Check fare codes for potential upgrades. Knowing your fare code on a ticket is a great way to potentially receive a seat upgrade for a flight. Every ticket purchased through an airline has a “fare code.” One of the common and important ones to be familiar with is “Y.” Why is that? Well Y signifies that your ticket is a full fare economy class ticket. Okay, so what does that mean? That means you have the ability to upgrade (depending on availability) on your flight to the next class up. So, if you are on a flight with two cabins (First Class and Economy), this would mean you could possibly upgrade from Economy to First Class (again, depending on availability as well as if you have the points to upgrade). How does one take advantage of this? Once you book your flight, view your confirmation, which will display your fare code on it. For example, the below confirmation shows the fare codes (for American) on the right. You can see that on the second flight, the fare code is “Y,” signifying that the ticket was paid at the full economy class value. As a result of this fare code, you can call American Airlines to see what the “associated costs” would be to upgrade and then request the upgrade if you have enough miles in your respective “miles bank” and, again, if there is availability. At the very least, the representative can put you on a waitlist if there is no space available at the time the call is placed. Of note, there is also sometimes a monetary cost in addition the miles, although it is usually not anything substantial.
- Know your cancellation window. Nowadays, most airline carriers and travel websites (think: Expedia, Orbitz, etc.) will give you a 24-hour window to cancel without penalty. So if you find a fare that is relatively low, you can book it and monitor the price for the next 24 hours to check for any changes. If the flight goes down in price within the 24-hour period, cancel the ticket and re-book.
- Book two one-way tickets. This is one that I feel many people do not necessarily think about, but yes, booking two one-way tickets (outbound and inbound) on two different airlines can in fact save you money. So be sure to compare one-way ticket prices in addition to round-trip ticket prices when searching.
- Opt to travel at less optimal times. Grabbing the flight times that other people might not favor may ultimately save you money. Think: that last flight out in the evening that seems way too late or the first flight in the morning on a Saturday when most people have already reached their weekend destination. Also, red eyes can be huge money savers. So just another factor to consider when purchasing flights.