Author Topic: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)  (Read 11216 times)

Jack

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Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« on: July 28, 2014, 10:19:59 AM »
I've agreed for my wife and I to visit my in-laws sometime around Thanksgiving, so I'm going to need tickets from Atlanta to Portland, OR and back. I've only flown a few times in my life and never shopped for the tickets myself before. Could y'all give me some tips about how to get a good deal?

socaso

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 10:32:29 AM »
Try Kayak.com and google.com/flights. I've just started playing around with the later and it's very good for helping you determine when is the cheapest time to fly. If your dates are flexible it's a powerful tool.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 10:33:29 AM »
We usually use kayak.com to book our flights. It enables you to enter your search parameters and then sort by lowest to highest cost, which makes comparison shopping easy. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is such a popular time to fly that you probably won't be able to get the best deal, but, try searching for slightly unusual date and time combinations.

For example, it might be less expensive if you leave on the Monday before Thanksgiving and return the Friday after (or something along those lines) instead of doing the traditional Weds-Sunday itinerary. I'd suggest you spend some time searching different combos of dates to see which yields the best price. Good luck!

NumberCruncher

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2014, 10:34:35 AM »
Be flexible. Thanksgiving is crazy full of travel. Traveling the day after and the day before is the most expensive.

(1) Flexible on Dates
Some sites like Orbitz allow you to do things like "Search 3 days before and after." This gives you a variety of prices to look at.

(2) Flexible on Airports
Sometimes a little extra driving saves quite a bit of $$.


Supposedly there's an "ideal" time to buy flights - X months or weeks from travel (depends on domestic or international), and buying tickets on Tuesday or something is also supposed to be best...I've never had much luck with following these guidelines. It is good to get a sense of what is a "good" deal for your flight path.

Chranstronaut

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2014, 10:40:30 AM »
In the Pacific NW, I like to use Alaska Airlines.  I find their regional prices to be the same as Southwest and their service is better than most US airlines I've flown on.  Might as well sign up for the frequent flier miles club if it's free.  I'm not sure if you can get to Atlanta with them.  Consider mixing and matching airlines if you want.

I would recommend buying tickets around 1.5 months before hand.  Thanksgiving is an expensive time to fly-- you may have trouble finding a deal no matter what you do and you might want to start looking earlier than normal.  Probably the best idea would be to fly on off days and avoid the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after.  Flying Tuesday to Tuesday might be a cheaper option.

Top tip for shopping online: clear your browser cache and cookies.  The sites will track you and when they see you looking repeatedly at the same tickets, they will raise the prices because they know you are a likely customer.  You could also use a private/incognito browser.

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2014, 10:42:49 AM »
I use Travelocity.   Flights are around $450 right now by there are no direct flights I'm afraid

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2014, 11:55:45 AM »
hipmunk.com and google.com/flights are my favorites, but right now I have a Southwest Companion Pass from credit card offers so my wife flies free whenever I fly on Southwest so we've been booking a lot of flights on their website.

southern granny

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2014, 01:27:59 PM »
Be sure to check surrounding airports.  Sometimes driving a couple of hours can save big bucks on air fare.  A couple of years ago we vacationed in California and we saved $150 each ($300 total), by flying into San Jose and driving  1 and 1/2 hours to our destination instead of flying into the closest airport.  This year we went to Naples, Fl.  There is a cheap local flight into Orlando and we drove almost 4 hours to Naples.  The price savings was $400.  I was willing to drive four hours each way to save $400, plus we stopped at several locations that we enjoyed seeing along the way.  Of course others might not be willing to do that, but we didn't have any deadlines to meet.

AlanStache

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2014, 01:43:41 PM »
Dont just look at the up front price, also look at bag fees, taxes, seat options/boarding orders, carry on bag fees, some of these fees are included some are not depending on the airline.  This mess is sold as consumer choice but really it is there to nickle/dime you after you bought the 'cheapest' fare.  +1 for hipmonk.  Not all airlines are listed in the agrigators, you have to go to South Wests site directly to see there prices and then they are listed per direction where hipmonk lists per round trip.  I suggest using a google docs spreed sheet.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2014, 01:48:52 PM »
I use Kayak too.

Also agree about the flexible on date thing. The earlier you book your tickets the cheaper. Might even see about an early Thursday thanksgiving-day flight to check if it's cheaper. I know booking arrival/depart dates in the middle of the week (Tues-Thurs) are generally cheaper than weekends.

I never check luggage. I have a backpack as a carryon, and a small airline overhead bin size rolly suitcase and if the husband is traveling as well, then that's 4 pieces of luggage. Which should be PLENTY of space even for a two week trip if you roll your clothes and pack smartly.

Also, if you're driving yourself, then be prepared to park in outlying lots, or paying a bit more since the general lots will be packed with holiday travelers. Thought I was being so smart missing the x-mas crowds by flying out ON x-mas day, but forgot about the parking! Luckily, the main airport parking (long term) was available and just steps from the entrance for about $5 more a day... but at least the actual airport was easy and the flight was awesome since we got an entire row to ourselves. ;)


If you haven't flown in YEARS, then go check out the new security measures about what is and isn't allowed and wear easy on/off shoes since you'll have to remove them. It's mostly easy now, but can be annoying if you aren't expecting it.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2014, 02:13:02 PM »
Don't waste time!  This is a very difficult time to get a decent deal on flights.  Avoid Wednesday (the day before Turkey Day) and Sunday.  Remember Southwest includes 2 bags, so the pricing is transparent; with the others you have to research the costs.  Great if you can just do carry on!  Please note that you have to book Southwest on their site (they don't pay commissions).

Personally, I am travelling very early Thanksgiving Day and late Saturday night.  My flight is only 2 hours.

Another tip:  Sometimes one leg of the trip seems relatively cheap and the other high.  In my case, I bought my outbound first for $125 when most returns were around $250.  I waited and kept checking for about 10 days, then on a Wednesday around 5 AM, they opened some up for about $130, so I got $255 round trip.  Keep trying, it can be like a slot machine!

lpep

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2014, 04:28:18 AM »
You're in luck: ATL is a hub for Delta. Look for flights with them. It's also the busiest airport in the world, so - you have lots of options.

I'd check the airport's website and see what airlines have regular flights to Portland, then check with the airline. Use incognito mode in Google Chrome.

Also try skyscanner.com, it's GREAT if you're flexible on dates/airports.

kimmarg

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2014, 06:17:19 AM »
As others have said thanksgiving is treacherous for deals. Book afar in advance. Like now! Personally I'm a southwest person but YMMV for those markets.  Consider carefully any connections. End of Nov is a good time to see snow problems if you must connect do it through a southern hub like Dallas, or a far northern one like Minneapolis. Southern regions don't usually get snow ans the far north plows it without a second blink, but mid America doesn't seem to do very well.

lpep

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2014, 06:21:03 AM »
As others have said thanksgiving is treacherous for deals. Book afar in advance. Like now! Personally I'm a southwest person but YMMV for those markets.  Consider carefully any connections. End of Nov is a good time to see snow problems if you must connect do it through a southern hub like Dallas, or a far northern one like Minneapolis. Southern regions don't usually get snow ans the far north plows it without a second blink, but mid America doesn't seem to do very well.

I can't resist: I got snowed out of a flight through ATL in February. It was a pain in the ass!!! I had a separate flight booked on its own that I had to re-schedule... so. Don't be like me.

Jack

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2014, 11:11:13 AM »
Thanks for the advice, everybody! Keep it coming!

Okay, so on Google Flights I'm seeing the following:
  • For $805 (round trip for 2 adults), I could take Alaska Air out with a layover in Seattle (and the flight from Seattle to Portland in a DeHavilland Dash 8 propeller plane!), and with the return flight on Frontier with a layover in Denver.
  • For $1053 I could do Delta non-stop both ways (with a one-day-longer trip than the other option)

Should I be worried enough about potential weather issues that paying extra for the direct flights might be worth it? Should I be worried about the Alaska Air connecting flight using a propeller plane? Should I consider driving  -- oooh... or taking Amtrak! -- from Seattle to Portland (if that would make the trip cheaper)?

(I haven't checked any of the other aggregators or Southwest's website yet, but plan to.)

Also, if you're driving yourself, then be prepared to park in outlying lots, or paying a bit more since the general lots will be packed with holiday travelers. Thought I was being so smart missing the x-mas crowds by flying out ON x-mas day, but forgot about the parking! Luckily, the main airport parking (long term) was available and just steps from the entrance for about $5 more a day... but at least the actual airport was easy and the flight was awesome since we got an entire row to ourselves. ;)

Luckily, I can take MARTA to the airport.

Consider carefully any connections. End of Nov is a good time to see snow problems if you must connect do it through a southern hub like Dallas, or a far northern one like Minneapolis. Southern regions don't usually get snow ans the far north plows it without a second blink, but mid America doesn't seem to do very well.

Good call mentioning the weather -- around here ice doesn't normally become an issue until December or January, so I wouldn't have thought to consider it. In terms of weather-related issues, should I only worry about the weather at the origin/destination airports, or do I have to care about the weather in the entire country?

I can't resist: I got snowed out of a flight through ATL in February. It was a pain in the ass!!! I had a separate flight booked on its own that I had to re-schedule... so. Don't be like me.

At least you weren't here. The entire highway system went from clear to gridlock in one hour flat, and stayed gridlocked for the next entire day (with many people "trapped" in their cars overnight).

Luckily, as a native Atlantan and a traffic engineer, I knew we were going to be screwed and kept my ass at home that day!

nedwin

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2014, 11:31:10 AM »
All of the advice you have received is good, but I will add one item.  I use Kayak.com or travelocity.com or other travel websites to find the cheapest flights, then I go directly to the airline's website and purchase the ticket from them.  It has never happened to me, but I have heard horror stories of people buying tickets through the travel website who later having to change their travel arrangements for some reason, they have to either skip the trip or re-purchase an entire new ticket because the airline will not allow changes to tickets purchased through travel websites, whereas tickets purchased directly from the airline can be changed with payment of the change fee and the difference in fare price.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2014, 11:34:33 AM »
Definitely avoid stops.  If you must stop, be careful about how long the layover is.  Too short and you could miss the flight and get caught in a bottleneck later.  Too long and you will be bored out of your mind waiting in the airport.

Albert

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2014, 11:59:21 AM »
For a peak season prices you have found are pretty good, particularly the one for 800$. I'd be tempted to buy already, most likely direction of those prices is up. There is nothing wrong with connections, optimum time for domestic flights is 1.5-2 h. The only thing you don't want to do is buy tickets for each leg separately because then they won't be responsible for you in case something goes wrong with the first flight.

PilotsWife

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2014, 12:17:15 PM »
If you decide to fly in & out of SEA, look into Boltbus from SEA to PDX. Cheaper & faster than amtrak, but not as comfortable.

Personally, I wouldn't pay those prices to fly within the US. You are definitely hampered by the dates you've chosen (holidays are expensive!) and waiting so long to buy tickets. In the future, I would recommend picking an airline, signing up for a credit card deal to get flyer miles/points, & then shopping way in advance to find a sale.

Christof

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2014, 12:52:17 PM »
If you buy a single ticket and there are weather related issues, then the airline will put you onto a different flight at their expense. You flight might take longer, and you might need to wait a long time at a service desk, but you will not be stranded in Seattle.

The Dash 8 is a perfectly save aircraft and larger than the term propeller machine might imply. Most of my flights on Alaska have been on these machines. I think of them more like a bus with many on board being regular passengers.

Personally, I would rather save the money when travelling on my own dime. But I do consider myself an experienced flyer and would know what to do in case of a problem.

1967mama

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2014, 12:57:58 PM »
Definitely buy tix NOW! We have tried waiting until just before the holiday in hopes of a few last minute cheap seats, and more often than not, there's absolutely nothing available.  So if you must be there, then your best ticket prices will be now...they will only get higher in the weeks to come.  And next time, I'd be buying tix 6 - 9 months in advance for further savings, esp. on holidays. 

Albert

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2014, 02:40:36 PM »
I doubt tickets would have been significantly cheaper 6 months ago. Maybe 700$ instead of 800$ for two…  It's not really that much for 4 1/2 h flight during one of the busiest seasons of the year.

It's often claimed that flights in Europe are cheaper and I guess for certain routes they are because we have true low cost airlines, but for a flight that long (similar to Madrid-Moscow) it would be only marginally cheaper if at all.

lpep

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2014, 06:17:46 PM »
Quote
At least you weren't here. The entire highway system went from clear to gridlock in one hour flat, and stayed gridlocked for the next entire day (with many people "trapped" in their cars overnight).

Luckily, as a native Atlantan and a traffic engineer, I knew we were going to be screwed and kept my ass at home that day!


Ooohhh I've been there. In high school it once took me 7 hours to get home in half an inch of snow. It should have taken 10 minutes. (Not Atlanta, elsewhere in the South.)

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2014, 11:12:48 PM »

All of the advice you have received is good, but I will add one item.  I use Kayak.com or travelocity.com or other travel websites to find the cheapest flights, then I go directly to the airline's website and purchase the ticket from them.  It has never happened to me, but I have heard horror stories of people buying tickets through the travel website who later having to change their travel arrangements for some reason, they have to either skip the trip or re-purchase an entire new ticket because the airline will not allow changes to tickets purchased through travel websites, whereas tickets purchased directly from the airline can be changed with payment of the change fee and the difference in fare price.

Agreed. I lost $600 because of this scenerio.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2014, 01:15:16 AM »
Why pay for tickets when 1-2 credit cards apps can get you 2 tickets for free?

You can invest the difference in FIRE.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2014, 01:15:36 AM »
Why pay for tickets when 1-2 credit cards apps can get you 2 tickets for free?

You can invest the difference in FIRE.

nawhite

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2014, 10:58:19 AM »
Why pay for tickets when 1-2 credit cards apps can get you 2 tickets for free?

You can invest the difference in FIRE.

Because signing up for credit cards to get the rewards is REALLY advanced credit card use and can be downright dangerous (financially) for some people?

That being said, I've flown 2 people round trip from Denver to Dallas, Puerto Rico, and Maine in the past year and am planning another flight to Nashville each for $10/flight (silly September 11th fee) thanks to credit card rewards (Southwest Personal and Southwest Business cards to get the companion pass status and the Barclay World Arrival Mastercard for an additional $440).

Credit card reward offers are awesome when you can do it, but they are not a good idea for some people to mess with. Credit cards are like power tools which need to be treated with respect and care and never taken for granted.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2014, 11:03:03 AM »

Why pay for tickets when 1-2 credit cards apps can get you 2 tickets for free?

You can invest the difference in FIRE.

Because signing up for credit cards to get the rewards is REALLY advanced credit card use and can be downright dangerous (financially) for some people?

That being said, I've flown 2 people round trip from Denver to Dallas, Puerto Rico, and Maine in the past year and am planning another flight to Nashville each for $10/flight (silly September 11th fee) thanks to credit card rewards (Southwest Personal and Southwest Business cards to get the companion pass status and the Barclay World Arrival Mastercard for an additional $440).

Credit card reward offers are awesome when you can do it, but they are not a good idea for some people to mess with. Credit cards are like power tools which need to be treated with respect and care and never taken for granted.

I don't necessarily disagree with this.

But of all the groups of people in the world who I  would think would be most able to deal with paying off their credit cards every month, it would be the Mustachians.

A.k.a. I would feel pretty comfortable sharing power tools with most Mustachians.

For this reason it seems to me that travel hacking and mustachianism are an obvious marriage.


Jack

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2014, 11:14:13 AM »
Up to this point, I've preferred my rewards credit cards to be of the "cash back" variety. Is getting into "travel hacking" really worth it even if I'm not planning on flying more than maybe twice a decade?

red7

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2014, 11:37:41 AM »
Long-time lurker here, also in the ATL area. Just wanted to say you NEED to check out Southwest. If you can make your travel times coincide with their cheapest flights, they are by far the best price-wise. Their customer service is pretty top notch too. I flew to Seattle for a friend's wedding in June, and RT was right at $500. Obviously, flying around the holidays will up the expense, but not by too much. I just checked the website, and they have some fares in the $200s to fly out and a range of low $200s to high $300s to fly back (depending on what day you travel). You could end up paying $500-600 for a RT flight across the country for a major holiday, with no luggage fees and a great airline. I'd be all over it, if I were you.

Regardless of which airline you travel, I agree with other posters that you need to book ASAP. Prices will start escalating much more quickly than you think.

Edit: Just noticed that your earlier prices were quoted for 2 people. Mine are only for 1, but Southwest doesn't charge any extra fees for luggage, etc. If you can really get 2 tickets plus all the fees for $800, you are winning. Book it. :)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 11:41:09 AM by red7 »

marblejane

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2014, 11:50:20 AM »
Up to this point, I've preferred my rewards credit cards to be of the "cash back" variety. Is getting into "travel hacking" really worth it even if I'm not planning on flying more than maybe twice a decade?

I would say yes, but in this case, you may be too late. Most credit card offers give you ~50k points for signing up with their card and spending $X,XXX within the first 2-3 months of opening the card. Once you hit the minimum spend for a card, it can take 6-8 weeks for the points credit to show up on your account.

I am trying to do this myself to book rewards travel for Christmas, but I feel like I am really cutting it close, since I just hit the minimum spend amount on my Southwest card yesterday, meaning I might not be able to book for another 6-8 weeks (mid to late September). I don't think that this would be a viable option if you want to use it for flying this Thanksgiving. However, if you had a lead time closer to 6 months on your travel, it would definitely be worth while to try.

But, I'm trying this for the first time now and haven't yet actually booked my travel, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Christof

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2014, 01:18:37 PM »
Up to this point, I've preferred my rewards credit cards to be of the "cash back" variety. Is getting into "travel hacking" really worth it even if I'm not planning on flying more than maybe twice a decade?

Nope... There is just too much to learn and too much change going on in the five years between two of your flights. If those flights are when every one else is travelling, too, you might not even get the seats.

Collecting miles is when you travel a few times a year, when you travel for business, or when you dream of flying First class internationally.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2014, 10:25:08 AM »
Up to this point, I've preferred my rewards credit cards to be of the "cash back" variety. Is getting into "travel hacking" really worth it even if I'm not planning on flying more than maybe twice a decade?

I would say yes, but in this case, you may be too late. Most credit card offers give you ~50k points for signing up with their card and spending $X,XXX within the first 2-3 months of opening the card. Once you hit the minimum spend for a card, it can take 6-8 weeks for the points credit to show up on your account.

I am trying to do this myself to book rewards travel for Christmas, but I feel like I am really cutting it close, since I just hit the minimum spend amount on my Southwest card yesterday, meaning I might not be able to book for another 6-8 weeks (mid to late September). I don't think that this would be a viable option if you want to use it for flying this Thanksgiving. However, if you had a lead time closer to 6 months on your travel, it would definitely be worth while to try.

But, I'm trying this for the first time now and haven't yet actually booked my travel, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Dumb question here:  If you get 50,000 miles on a credit card, does that mean you can fly 50,000 miles for free?  This seems like a lot of free travel, so I feel I must be misinterpreting something. 

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #33 on: August 05, 2014, 10:28:03 AM »
Avoiding flying in and out of Atlanta always!

marblejane

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #34 on: August 05, 2014, 11:06:16 AM »

Dumb question here:  If you get 50,000 miles on a credit card, does that mean you can fly 50,000 miles for free?  This seems like a lot of free travel, so I feel I must be misinterpreting something.

Not at all! No, airlines love to make it as confusing as possible. It varies from airline to airline, and flight to flight. For example, on United, I can get a one-way coach domestic ticket most places for 12,500 miles if I book early enough. That ticket price will go up to 25,000 miles one way if I am booking closer to my travel date or during a high volume (holiday) season.

On Southwest, I've seen "Wanna Get Away" fares as low as 3,777 points for a one way flight from Boston to Baltimore. For a one way flight the Saturday before Christmas from San Francisco to Boston, I am seeing fares from 14k to 23k points one way.

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2014, 01:36:51 PM »

Dumb question here:  If you get 50,000 miles on a credit card, does that mean you can fly 50,000 miles for free?  This seems like a lot of free travel, so I feel I must be misinterpreting something.

Not at all! No, airlines love to make it as confusing as possible. It varies from airline to airline, and flight to flight. For example, on United, I can get a one-way coach domestic ticket most places for 12,500 miles if I book early enough. That ticket price will go up to 25,000 miles one way if I am booking closer to my travel date or during a high volume (holiday) season.

On Southwest, I've seen "Wanna Get Away" fares as low as 3,777 points for a one way flight from Boston to Baltimore. For a one way flight the Saturday before Christmas from San Francisco to Boston, I am seeing fares from 14k to 23k points one way.

With Southwest, one point is worth about 1.6 cents of airfare. If you look at the dollar cost and then look at the point cost there is a pretty constant exchange rate.

LadyStache

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2014, 05:26:52 PM »
All of the advice you have received is good, but I will add one item.  I use Kayak.com or travelocity.com or other travel websites to find the cheapest flights, then I go directly to the airline's website and purchase the ticket from them.  It has never happened to me, but I have heard horror stories of people buying tickets through the travel website who later having to change their travel arrangements for some reason, they have to either skip the trip or re-purchase an entire new ticket because the airline will not allow changes to tickets purchased through travel websites, whereas tickets purchased directly from the airline can be changed with payment of the change fee and the difference in fare price.

+1

I  have actually used a travel website to compare the costs of flights, figured out the cheapest one, and then checked the price on the airline's website directly. The price on the airline's website is often the same price or cheaper than the travel websites. Also, check the terms of your credit cards -- some include trip insurance if you purchase the ticket with the card.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2014, 10:26:55 PM »
I just signed up for the Capital One Venture Miles Reward card - 40K bonus miles when you spend $3K in first 3 months, every dollar = 2 miles, no blackout dates, expirations, you can use any hotel, airline, etc... 1st yr annual fee waived, after than $59/yr. All great until I realized I don't even spend $1K/month in debit/cash. Oy! So much for bonus point accrual. Will need to figure out that one.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 10:32:52 PM by Chippewa »

marblejane

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2014, 10:30:40 PM »
Chippewa,

You should check out Evolve Money. It's an online service to pay bills that you can use gift (debit) cards on. My mortgage provider allows me to make payments through Evolve, so I bought 3 $500 gift cards with my credit card and used them to make a mortgage payment to hit a $2k minimum spend target.

Also, check out Miles Dividend MD's blog for detailed posts on how to do manufactured spend through Amex bluebird and Amazon payments.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2014, 10:36:34 PM »
Chippewa,

You should check out Evolve Money. It's an online service to pay bills that you can use gift (debit) cards on. My mortgage provider allows me to make payments through Evolve, so I bought 3 $500 gift cards with my credit card and used them to make a mortgage payment to hit a $2k minimum spend target.

Also, check out Miles Dividend MD's blog for detailed posts on how to do manufactured spend through Amex bluebird and Amazon payments.

Thanks for the info marblejane!
It seems Evolve has a new policy. I can understand why, but might be worthy to note here.

Christof

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2014, 12:33:50 AM »
All great until I realized I don't even spend $1K/month in debit/cash. Oy! So much for bonus point accrual. Will need to figure out that one.

The search term you are looking for is "manufactured spending". The most obvious choice is buying gift cards and payment services. However, some are using combinations where you can pay off one credit card with another, some buy electronics and sell them immediately, others buy foreign currency and sell them, or buy a fully refundable ticket a year in advance and either return it once you got the miles or try to get the airline returning it to a different credit card. Thing is this can get out of control quickly.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2014, 12:41:54 AM »
All great until I realized I don't even spend $1K/month in debit/cash. Oy! So much for bonus point accrual. Will need to figure out that one.

The search term you are looking for is "manufactured spending". The most obvious choice is buying gift cards and payment services. However, some are using combinations where you can pay off one credit card with another, some buy electronics and sell them immediately, others buy foreign currency and sell them, or buy a fully refundable ticket a year in advance and either return it once you got the miles or try to get the airline returning it to a different credit card. Thing is this can get out of control quickly.

Christof, thank you for all that info! I would like to spend organically. It's interesting to read how many 'play the system'. haha. Definitely sounds like it could get out of control. Thanks for the warning.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 12:43:28 AM by Chippewa »

goodlife

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Re: Airplane tickets (for a flight-buying newbie)
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2014, 01:07:14 AM »