These websites are a breeze to use. Ok, that may not be true for all, but even the less user-friendly among them aren't rocket science. So, do not brush these sites off if you want to search for and compare air fares. For the most part, all you have to do is enter your preferences and keep experimenting with different combinations and options until you are satisfied. Easy peasy!
Fly out on the right day. Sure, leaving on a Friday promptly after work or heading on vacation on a Sunday after a relaxing weekend might be ideal, but it turns out these are the absolute worst times to fly. High air traffic on these days means that airlines jack up the prices. Plan your flights so that you depart on a Wednesday if possible, followed by a Tuesday or a Saturday. Mid week departures are the slowest, so carriers know they will have to accept lower costs in order to fill their seats.
Fly out at the right time. As with most of these search related parameters, turns out what we want the least is what makes the cheapest flight. The earlier your leave on a flight, the cheaper it will be. Red eye flights (in the middle of the night) are by far the cheapest, followed directly by early morning flights. Although you might luck out on a rare evening steal, typically the later in the day you depart, the more expensive your ticket will be.
Many of these budget airlines have their own airline rewards credit cards, and most of them offer a major signup points bonus. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card from Chase offers 40,000 points after spending just $1,000 in your first three months. However, a general travel rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best option for most people, as you have the flexibility to redeem your points towards a wide variety of airlines and hotels. You'll receive 60,000 bonus points worth $750 through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of your account opening, and the card features no foreign transaction fees. Compare this card to other travel cards here.
Use your miles. If you’re a frequent flier, chances are you’ve gathered quite a load of frequent flier miles. These miles are redeemable for, as they suggest, free miles on an airplane to a destination of your choice. Sign up for a frequent flier card via your favorite carrier, or keep track of your miles with an air miles program. With enough saved up, you may even get a free flight!
Fly on multiple airlines. Looking for flights on single airlines may be the easiest, but you may have better results if you look into flying on multiple airlines. Try taking one airline to your destination, and a separate one from. Or, include a layover with another airline mid-flight. Breaking up your trip and splitting it between carriers is likely to save you money, which is worth the extra time and hassle it will cost you.
You can sign up for an airline rewards card that earns points with a particular airline, or a more general travel rewards card that lets you redeem points across a variety of airlines. As a beginner card, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can earn up to 60,000 in bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after your account opening. That's worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and more than enough for a domestic flight. There's also no foreign transaction fees, so it's the perfect all-rounder travel credit card. You can compare this card with other top credit cards.