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We have all seen those news stories about the “best time to buy airfare” whether they say it is on a Tuesday afternoon or exactly 3 months before your trip, or on the 5th full moon of the year, or whatever. While there is some truth somewhere in most of those stories, there is also a lot of garbage because there are too many variables in play for there to be one best time.
There just simply isn’t one best time to purchase airfare for your trip (well, at least not at the time – hindsight is 20/20). However, there are some pretty darn good times to buy airfare, and if you want to travel in 2016 today is probably one of them. In fact, this is my own personal best time to buy airfare because the discount routes are so varied and available for so many dates.
Getting the Best Airline Prices of the Year Today
At the very least, today is a great good day to price out some airfare for trips you want to take through mid-December of 2016. I posted yesterday about the very strong Southwest sale with prices starting at $49 each way. This isn’t their run of the mill weekly ‘sale’, but instead it is their current version of their old twice a year sales where the price of the flight was set by how the distance it traveled. If you look at the prices, distance is still a factor in the sale price, but it isn’t as set as it used to be with these sales.
Before you write this sale off because you don’t fly Southwest for whatever reason, know that other airlines are matching these sale prices! For example, my in-laws live in Kansas, and we often fly to visit them or they fly down here to visit us and the grandkiddos. Prices to fly from Houston – Wichita round trip are often $300-ish on a good day and $500 – $800 on a bad day.
However, right now you can book tickets to fly from Houston – Oklahoma City on United (matching that route via the Southwest sale price) for just $97 round trip on many dates through the end of 2016. That is a couple hours by car away from the desired city of Wichita, but if you are shopping for a family of four, then $388 total for four round trip tickets plus a couple of hours of driving is still a very good deal compared to the regular good price of $1,200+!
My in-laws purchased this exact deal to visit us later in the year, and the two of them will fly nonstop on United for just $196 out-the-door for the two tickets! I can guarantee there won’t be a better legitimate deal that comes along even factoring in the couple hours of driving.
If Oklahoma and Kansas aren’t exactly on your vacation radar, another example of United matching this sale would be $156 round trip tickets Houston to Washington National, which again is much lower than the norm for this route. Regardless of your route, you will most likely find the lowest prices for travel on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from August 23 – December 14th (other than some holidays such as Thanksgiving Week).
Whether you prefer to fly Delta, American, United, etc. you will want to price flights today – especially if the route you are after is one that is available on sale via the Southwest $49+ sale.
These discounted flights (on airlines other than Southwest) are bookable on Orbitz or the flight booking site of your choice, and remember you can pay with a card and then redeem points to offset some or all of the charge to take advantage of low fares and using points!
What great prices did you find or book today?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.