Amazing Ways To Save Money on Last-Minute FlightsJanuary 22, 2018
There are few better ways to manage your budget and save money on a flight than planning it far in advance. Unfortunately, it won’t always be possible to travel with adequate advanced notice. At times last minute travel is required in circumstances like family emergencies, funerals, last-minute business trips, or even spontaneous romantic getaways. Read on below to find the best tips for saving money on last-minute flights.
Use Flight Maps to Compare Possible Destinations
There are a number of free tools, including Skyscanner and Google Flights, that offer helpful maps that allow you to narrow down the cheapest flights.
These maps are obviously useful when your destination isn’t completely set in stone. You can use the map if you only have a general idea where you might be traveling. If you only have the general goal of a beach vacation a flight map can help you narrow down which destination would have the cheapest airfare. These tools provide you with an easily reviewable map with the cost of each flight once you enter the dates you intend to travel and your home airport. Google Flights has additional functionality that allows you to sort your results by nearby beaches, resorts, and food.
Flight map tools are also useful when your final destination is set. Many metropolitan areas have major airports in close proximity to each other. Flight maps can help you identify any airports near your final destination that might have cheaper airfare.
Contact Airlines Directly
Some airlines still offer bereavement fares in certain circumstances. These fares are helpful in lifting a financial burden during the difficult process of traveling for a funeral. To obtain a bereavement fare you will typically have to book the flight directly by phone. The airline will also require you provide a death certificate or funeral home contact information. The flight must be booked within 7 to 14 days.
Two airlines that offer bereavement fares are Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. Both airlines offer a 10% discount off of public fares when the travel is to a funeral for a close family member. Delta Airlines and Air Canada also have to special bereavement rates for anyone traveling due the death of a close relative.
While bereavement rates are a nice gesture it’s possible there are other, cheaper rates available. Be sure to search sites like Kayak or Last Minute Travel carefully for the best fares.
Take the Red Eye
Most people prefer to travel closer to midday. That often leaves open seats on early morning and late night flights. These seats are frequently far cheaper than at peak travel times.
For example, according to a recent survey of short notice flights a late-night flight from Washington, D.C. to San Diego cost nearly $130 less for a late night flight than one earlier in the day.
Use your reward miles
If you have your heart set on traveling at a certain time and you haven’t been able to obtain a cheap flight it might be time to consider redeeming your travel miles or credit card reward points to help pay for the flight.
There is a formula for calculating the value of your rewards if you’re unsure if using rewards or cash offers the best value. You simple subtract the taxes and fees from the ticket price and divide by the rewards cost. Multiplying that number by 100 will provide you with the value of the reward.
For example, consider a flight that costs $250 for the ticket and $20 in taxes in fees. A flight that costs 25,000 reward miles would have a value of .92 cents per mile. That rate is below the average value of rewards and miles, making it a better value to use cash.
But what if that same flight was $500 with the same $20 in taxes and fees? Assuming the flight costs 25,000 reward miles the value of those miles would work out to be $1.92 per mile. That value is well above average and would likely be worth using miles as opposed to points.
Follow Airlines on Social Media
Your favorite airlines are all active on social media and many of the advertise last-minute deals on their feeds. Keeping an eye on the airlines might lead you to an exceptional price on flights.
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