Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
One of the strategies my family uses to travel to places near and far is to pounce on great airfare deals. I have shared the saying “chase the fare, not the destination” before and it holds true today for us. There are lots of places in the world I want to go, so I try not to get fixated on going to a certain destination on a certain date too often, but instead stay open to different destinations at different times based on what deals pop up.
If I just want “a trip to somewhere awesome” in the fall I am much more likely to find a great deal than if I say I want to go to X city on Y date. I may find a good deal for that very specific trip, but I am really limiting my chances because of having a very narrow focus. Of course sometimes our travel plans are fixed and we do simply take the best deal we can find for that specific trip on that specific date, but that isn’t how we score our best deals.
Here is a real example that is live as I type this. My family has always wanted to go to Boston, but didn’t have any specific travel plans to get there. I follow @theflightdeal @faredealalert and @aircfarewatchdog on Twitter and see many of the great airfares that they share on a regular basis. Of course most aren’t of interest to me, but every now and then they share one from my hometown of Houston that catches my eye.
A few months ago they shared that there were $125 round trip flights from Houston to Boston this fall. My parents quickly pulled the trigger and are going to be visiting one of their “bucket list” destinations sooner than expected by being flexible and moving quickly when a deal presented itself.
I didn’t book that trip with them, but have found myself really wanting to experience Boston together since we don’t get the change to travel together as frequently as we used to. Heck, even my sister and aunt are in on this trip, so it was already on the verge of being a full-on-family-festivus.
Today I saw @faredealalert again share the $125 fares on United from Houston – Boston. The dates are limited, but the fares are there. If you are willing to pay a little more your date choices expand. Read their post for tips on finding the fares if you are new to this. Here is a glimpse of availability from October by using ITA Matrix calendar search.
This is a case where using 25,000 United miles for that trip would be a total waste as you would be getting just 1/2 a cent in value per mile. Save those miles for something else, and earn thousands of miles when prices are this low. If you want to use points to pay, use fixed value points from a card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard® to cover the cost of the airfare and still earn miles from flying on a “paid” fare in the process. That would ultimately cost just 11,250 points after the 10% rebate for spending those points on a travel purchase.
We’re now joining in on this trip to Boston in the fall thanks to being flexible, following those on social media who share amazing airfares, and by being willing to move quickly when deals present themselves.