People often ask us how we get such great deals and are able to go on as many trips as we do. The truth is – there isn’t just one answer. Sometimes it’s luck when we search for a destination, other times it’s jumping on an amazing deal or error fare, and yes, there are plenty of times (like now, as we try to plan a Christmas/New Years trip to New Zealand) that we track and check flights for days, weeks, and months before deciding that we’ve gotten the best deal.
That all being said, here are some of our favorite sites!
This has become a favorite of ours for a few reasons. If you don’t have a specific location in mind, you can use their map view and see different prices for all of the world without having to input individual searches. You can even pick a general length of time and month of the year if you’re schedule is wide open. If you do know the location you’re trying to get to, Google Flights has a calendar view so you can see the cheapest days to fly. Lastly, if you’re loyal to a specific airline or group of airlines (i.e. Skyteam, Southwest) you can choose to only see pricing for those specific airlines or partners.
2. ITA Matrix
It would make sense that ITA Matrix is on our list, as it powers Google Flights. While I don’t find it as user-friendly and you can’t book a flight directly from the website, you have a lot of flexibility for more advanced searches and calendar views. Stay tuned for Toby’s upcoming blog post on how to get the most out of ITA Matrix (it saved us hundreds of dollars on Christmas flights to Vietnam in 2015!)
Secret Flying became a fast favorite of mine last fall when AeroMexico had an error fare from Los Angeles, CA to Santiago, Chile for $208. The error existed on Orbitz so we had to book our flights through their website but all worked out and we had no issues – we were even given the MQD (Miles Qualification Dollars) that we would have received if we had paid $1,100 for the flight. Secret Flying is not just good for posting error fares – many times they are just posting great deals all over the world.
Tip: If you do book an error fare, I recommend waiting a bit before booking any other travel, non-refundable accommodations, etc. While we didn’t run into any issues, I have read stories of airlines not honoring the error fare which can definitely throw a wrench in your plans.
Tip: There are new deals everyday. I like to follow them on Facebook and every time I log on to my account I see the most recent deals at the top of my newsfeed.
This is another one I like to follow on Facebook. The deals are all over the world and not just for flights – they’ll show you deals for hotels and vacation packages as well. This and Secret Flying are great sites to follow if you’re open to booking spontaneous trips (but not necessarily a flight that’s about to leave the next day).
Another website I don’t actually check, but get a daily summary email from. These flights originate from all over the country so depending on what your home airport is, they may not be worth it to you, but they usually provide 5-7 great deals on a daily basis, both domestic and international flights. This is also another one you can follow on Facebook.
Of course, this site wouldn’t apply to those that don’t have these cards, but I have had some good luck booking hotels and rental cars through this site. I have never transferred my points to an airline or hotel, rather I book the travel directly through the site. I have come across hotel listings where the price point on Chase is a bit higher than the hotel’s website (or a third party booking site) but other times Chase has a cheaper rate. And, in one instance, when renting a car at Logan Airport in Boston for a weekend in October was topping out around $300, I was able to book through Chase for $130. Bonus, of course, is being able to use your points, or a combination of points and cash.
While those are our top sites, I still like checking sites like Kayak, Hotels.com, Airbnb, and Skiplagged (although I have yet to actually book something there!).
What are your favorite sites?