Nothing can wreck your travel plans faster than paying a high price for airfare. If you prefer first-class travel experiences but you’ve got a shoestring budget, cutting corners on flights can free up more money for your trip. Finding cheap flights isn’t difficult, if you’re willing to do a little research. With the right credit card, you can make air travel even more of a steal.
1. Be willing to bend
The first rule of flying on the cheap is knowing how to be flexible with your travel plans. For example, a non-stop flight could mean a shorter trip but booking a ticket with a layover or two could be less expensive. You have to decide what’s more important in that equation: saving time or saving money?
Being flexible with your travel dates is another way to potentially save on flights. Booking your flight a few days earlier or a few days later could allow you to scoop up a deal if airfare rates go down. Just remember, though, this only works if you’ve got some wiggle room in your plans.
2. Consider a budget carrier
Budget airlines may lack some of the perks that the big-name carriers offer but they give you something else in return: savings on flights. Flying with a discount airline could shave big bucks off the price of your ticket. You might have to forgo the in-flight meal or other extras but that may not matter if saving money is your number one priority. Keep an eye on the baggage and other fees, however, since some budget carriers may charge more in fees to make up for the lower fares on tickets.
3. Use everyday purchases to rack up savings on flights
A travel rewards credit card can yield some major savings on flights if you’re earning points or miles you can redeem for airfare. The downside is that these cards sometimes carry a high annual fee and if you don’t travel that often, it doesn’t make sense to pay for rewards.
A card like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, on the other hand, offers rewards on the things you purchase every day. This card offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to the first $6,000 in purchases per year, for example. You also get 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores, plus 1% cash back on other purchases.
You can use your card to book a flight, earn cash back on the purchase, then redeem your rewards against what you’ve spent as a statement credit. It’s a hassle-free way to save on airfare. Just be sure to check your free credit score with Credit Sesame before you apply since you’ll need good credit for approval.
Set your ideal price
Before you book a flight, decide how much you’re comfortable spending. That can make it easier to stick your budget in the long run and take the stress out of scheduling your next trip.
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