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5 easy ways you can make airline travel more affordable

April 20th, 2012 3 Comments

Traveling so often, I’ve devised a little system to help make the numerous tickets more affordable.   These tips assume you have already checked Kayak or Yapta for airlines for lowest prices. Here’s what I do:

  1. Fly during non-peak hours.  If you can fly during the middle of the day, the plane will be unfortunately be smaller and older, but the ticket is cheaper, and you’ll have a better chance for an upgrade.
  2. Buy your tickets on Wednesday at least 2 weeks before departure.  A pilot told me once that Wednesday was the day the fares drop and thus far, that’s been true!
  3. Make the actual purchase on the airline’s website.  This way if you mess up on the date or time, you have 24 hours to change it without a fee.
  4. Pay with Bill Me Later This line of credit through your PayPal usually offers you 6 months no interest on individual purchases over $99.  That way you can take the time to pay for each ticket because they have their own deadlines.
  5. Stick with the same airline. Don’t settle for a cheaper ticket and use a random airline. Stick with the same ones and rack up miles.  If you’re not a frequent traveler this doesn’t apply.
  6. Save miles for international travel.  Whether you rack them up through travel or credit cards, don’t use miles domestically.  Gary Leff, the airline saving expert, taught me that.  Read his blog and follow him on twitter @GaryLeff for the best deals before you travel.

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  • Tiffany H

    Great tips! Thanks!

  • Howard

    great tips Mary!

  • sandeep sharma

    I agree with most of this post, except im not a fan on “Bill Later.” As an Indian, we just dont live on the credit system. Its ingrained in me, if you dont have the money today, then you should not go. So “Bill me Later” would not work for me. Instead, I would apply for the Gold American Express Card for $125. or Platinum if you can afford it at $450. It has its benefits also.

    My Amex card is linked to my Paypal. Make a purchase, earn miles, pay the bill (usually I go online and pay the bill the same day, hence carry no debt).
    So before I go on vacation, I have already paid the airfare, and hotel, giving me a lot more financial freedom to enjoy my trip and indulge a little without the worry that Im going home to a massive bill. In general, I dont carry cash, everything goes on the Amex. I collect the points throughout the year, and I got a freebie vacation to travel somewhere fun. Amex Platinum goes one step further. For that real special feeling, you get the Priority Pass giving you access to the Amex lounge for a free glass of champagne before flight. Travel insurance is cheaper, and sometimes covered (cancelations, missed flights etc), and throughout the year, they have specials eg. Buy a new MacBook or Dell and earn upto 10x points at certain times of the year, incl deals thru Amazon. Yayyy …. Buy a computer and get a free airline ticket, Now ur talking. So while credit cards might be great in the long run, it certainly pays to pay with cash that you have upfront. The other thing with Amex that I love, is when I travel overseas and make a purchase, there are no foreign transations fees, and with buyers protection I have never have to worry if I lose something, or gets stolen. Amex also covers you for extra luggage, where some airlines charge you $25-100.

    I have been using the Platinum card for past yr, but i might downgrade to Gold. Same perks minus the free champagne.