Last week, I told you why I think cash back has overtaken points in the world of travel. This is especially true when it comes to searching for coach travel. When looking for tickets there are a few sites I typically gravitate towards. There are many sites that show cheap airfare, but these are some top sites I use to search for airfare.
Top Sites to Search for Airfare
I am a BIG fan of Google Flights! I think it is the top site to search for paid airfare. Not only is Google Flights very easy to use, it has a great calendar of searching, plus it has other great features to help plan your airfare.
One of my favorite features is searching Google Flights map search. Not sure where you want to go? You just enter your airport (or airports) and you can see destinations all over the world. This is a great way to find a new place to visit that is in your budget.
I am always looking to see if there is a really low fare somewhere in the world. With many new low cost carriers, we are seeing some really great fares all across the globe.
If you know your destination and flexible on dates, you can save yourself even more. Just like you would when searching award availability, having flexibility can save you hundreds of dollars.
The example above is from New York to Dublin (JFK to DUB) and you can see the prices vary on different days. By moving your travel 1 day, you could save yourself up to $72.
If you are looking for a particular destination, at a particular time Google Flights will allow you to track the flight. When the fare either increases or decreases, Google Flights will send you notifications regarding those flights.
Although this is my favorite site to search for airfare, that doesn’t mean it can’t improve.
If you like to fly Southwest, you are out of luck. Southwest flights do not show in Google Flights, maybe someday, but currently it does not.
My big wish for Google Flights: Let me search from the destination first.
I think it would be great to start at the destination and work backwards. This would really help look at the prices of airports that would fly to that destination. This would help with repositioning, because you would see the best option from the departing airports to your location.
Not only does this help you find cheaper airfare, this could also be used to see which airlines fly to a certain destination when you begin looking at award flights.
Sites that find the Deals:
If you are an opportunistic traveler and don’t care where you travel, there are some sites out there that find great deals for you. They find the deals and you just need to book them.
Some of these deals have many options for travel dates and other deals do not. These are also the sites that are likely to be the ones to show you the error fares out there.
These type of deals are a great way to use your flexible currency at 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point. I think using your cash back (or using points as cash back) is more ideal for this situation, but I would be sure to book on a card that gives you travel benefits.
Link to Airfare Spot.
This site seems to always be the first in my Twitter or Facebook feed before other sites. I am not sure how they find all these deals, but they are pretty fantastic.
Many of the deals are from larger airports, but occasionally there will be deals from smaller airports.
Don’t be afraid to reposition for some of these deals. Some of these deals are just too good to not consider repositioning.
Not only do they show awesome coach deals, Airfare Spot also has section for:
- Premium economy/business/first class deals (for you fancy travelers out there 🙂 ).
- Around the World fares
- 2 in 1 deals
- Open Jaw tickets
- Travel packages
- Promotional fares
If you are not following this site you are definitely missing out. I find this one to be a really good site and worth your time.
The Flight Deal:
Link to The Flight Deal
This is another fantastic site to find great airfare deals. Like Airfare Spot, you can search from big cities, but The Flight Deal has a section from “Other Cities.” These include smaller airports, or lesser flown cities.
I personally like their lay out better than Airfare Spot and find it very easy to navigate.
The Flight Deal doesn’t just post the deal, they show you how to replicate the search in ITA Matrix (if you are into that).
In addition to replicating the search, The Flight Deal give details on:
- Elite Qualifying Dollars (If you are a person who values status)
- Miles Flown
- Elite Qualifying Miles
- Redeemable Miles
For some people that is important, but if you are a free agent, you might not care about any of those (except redeemable miles).
Some of these deals do overlap with Airfare Spot, but there are different deals between Airfare Spot.
If you aren’t following The Flight Deal on Twitter and/or Facebook you are missing out on great deals.
Using these deals:
I like to use these deals to my advantage with my cash back or points.
When I see a deal pop up on one of these sites or through Google Flights, I head to my flexible currency travel portal like Citi or even American Express.
By using my flexible currency to book these deals, I will earn miles for a future trip, plus I won’t need to worry about paying the taxes, because my points will cover that as well. I have also used my Delta Skymiles, “Pay with Miles,” option to take advantage of a great deal to Barcelona. That same deal would have been a lot more had I tried to use the award flight option.
More people are beginning to use this option, because it makes sense. It cost fewer points when booking through a travel portal than booking an award flight. Not to mention banks are really wanting to sweeten the pot and increasing their offerings on earning and redeeming.
These deals are a great way to use your points and save yourself thousands of points. You should consider this and evaluate this option when you find a great fare on Google Flights, or sites like The Flight Deal.
These are the few sites I use when searching airfare, or want to see the deals found by others. There are lots of sites out there that do this, but these are the ones I find to be really good and typically on the ball when it comes to searches.
Using your flexible currency as cash for these fares could be a solid use for these tickets. Either way, you can find a solid deal on these sites and should take advantage when you find a great deal!