My secrets to finding cheap flight deals via deal aggregator sites and bonus points

My friends always ask me: how do you get to travel so much without going broke?

The first ingredient is a cheap plane ticket.

Unless it’s an emergency, I never pay over $500 for airfare. In fact, I rarely pay over $350. My best deal was flying New York- Bangkok with a week-long layover in Europe (which I spent in the Czech Republic) for $300. In April this year, I’m flying to India for $372.99. Normally, people pay $800 or more for those flights. Right there you have $500 in savings! Cha-Ching!

So, what’s the secret? Where do I find these cheap flights? Today I share with you my 3 step process to getting super-cheap airfare. (If you don’t have time to read this at the moment, this post is also available in a podcast episode here.)

Step 1

Have an open mind when it comes to the destination. It’s much easier to find a really cheap deal if you are not limited to a single place you want to see. Instead of having one “dream” destination, your goal should be to visit the world. Sooner or later, I promise, you’ll check off your entire travel bucket list.

Step 2

Know and follow cheap flight aggregator websites. These are companies that have developed web crawlers, API’s and other technologies that go out and search for error fares, and/or cheap flight deals offered through the main airline companies. I use these aggregators when hunting for all my flight deals. In fact, unless I have airline points (more on this in step 3) I never go to an airline’s website.

Here are 6 sites that I check every morning and evening if I’m hunting for a trip:

  1. theflightdeal.com:  this is my favorite site with the most deals, but they go fast. Follow their Twitter account and snatch a deal faster than anyone else.
  2. secretflying.com:  this is the site I’ve gotten most of my deals from, not sure why.
  3. Thriftytraveler.com
  4. Fly4free.com:  good for deals for flights originating outside of the United States
  5. dansdeals.com he is the best all around on saving money on lots of things, including some flight deals.
  6. airfarewatchdog’s Twitter account.

 

Step 3

Get a credit card with airfare signup bonus. I really don’t encourage this if you have a ton of debt. But if you do have a good credit score, pay your bills on time, and maybe you have some bigger purchases coming up, you stand to gain from the credit card deal. To get recommendations on what cards to get (or really, anything points related), I follow thepointsguy.com. Here’s an article he wrote on the topic: The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

Unfortunately, I have an aversion to paying an annual fee for cards even when it makes sense to do it because the reward ends up being larger than the fee you pay. I just hate when banks charge me for spending money with them. So I always get the cards that have their annual fee waived in the first year. After the year is up I cancel the card, so I never end up paying annual fees. Looking at The Points Guy article linked above, when he wrote the article, United had a decent deal – 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months with the $95 annual fee waived in the first year. I’ve had that card twice before and it always served me well, especially because United flies internationally. In the same article, he pointed out a deal with American Airlines that was even better: with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard you get 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. 

Do you know any secret flight deal sites?

Share with me your best flight deal!

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