The Airfare Sale – How to Plan, Pounce and Snag that Great Travel Deal

Posted on Posted in Airlines, Points World, Travel Tips
British Airways World Traveller Plus view from wing airfare sale
Happy up in the clouds with a view like this

It was 6 p.m. on a Thursday when I happened upon Facebook and saw it – the 3 Day British Airways Business & First Class Fare Sale. This great deal was ending at midnight!  I’m not sure how I missed the tweets, the blogs, the Facebook posts and the many other social media adverts about this but I knew I had to jump on this ASAP!  When a fare sale is announced, you need to be ready to pounce on it so I always have a list of “where to go in Fall/Winter/Spring” at the ready.  But I’ve been doing this for a while now and have the flexibility, freedom and knowledge to take advantage of these deals so how can you?

Airfare Sale Planning:

√ Have a list of destinations you want to visit (solo, couple, family, etc.)

√Have a budget agreed to – “If the fare is x or less, we buy it”

√ Get advanced approval from your partner if necessary (“honey, if I see a deal for under $x can I just buy it for us?”) or have a quick code ready for the work phone call or text (Dublin, $308 direct, October, Yes/No?). This week a $308 airfare from Philly to Dublin appeared and friends took a day to decide they wanted to go….by then the deal was dead and the fare back up to over $600.  You can’t think about an airfare deal.

√ Join AARP for $16 a year (don’t laugh! It can save you hundreds on the British Airways sales with savings in each cabin class) – there isn’t an age requirement to join.

√ Have an updated passport. If you need to renew it, do it now as you don’t want to find a deal only to be thwarted by passport renewals, expedited fees, etc.

√ Know your work vacation policy – can you buy the airfare and plan a trip before your manager approves the vacation? Or do you need to get advanced approvals?  I was lucky that I could manage my vacation and take it whenever I saw open time on my calendar.

√ Don’t overlook the Business class to Europe splurge! Some deals are just too good to pass up – I flew to London for $856, earned my British Airways points and flew on American Airlines from Philly via Manchester to London in business class.  Pretty much the same cost if I flew in coach and yet I enjoyed all the business class perks.

√ Codeshare airlines – the British Airways deals are great because they will include codeshare airlines in the One World alliance so while BA doesn’t service your city, most likely American Airlines does and you can mix and match the airlines to enjoy the deals.

Easter Island Sunset
The colors of the Easter Island Sunset – LAN often has South America Airfare Sales from the US


How to Find the Airfare Sales & Hotel Deals

  1. Sign up for an airline loyalty account to get the email updates.
  2. Create a separate email folder for “travel deals” so you can file in one place
  3. Sign up for hotel loyalty programs of brands you like or aspire to.
  4. Follow on Facebook or Twitter – The Points Guy, One Mile at a Time and McCool Travel
  5. Follow your favorite brands on social media – on Twitter put them in a list so you can quickly check them daily rather than hope you see the tweet in your timeline.
  6. Follow @secretflying on Twitter or visit their website to see amazing deals.
  7. The Mistake Fares – these are rare and usually are canceled after the mistake is caught. Some airlines have honored a few of them but if you see the $40 flight to Asia know that you are taking a chance it will be canceled but if it isn’t, wouldn’t that be amazing to fly across the world for less than pizza night.
  8. A Trusted Travel Agent can help scout out deals if you let him/her know what your parameters are (again be ready to give them your credit card info to book this fleeting deal)
  9. Find Bloggers and their codes or deals (email me or DM me on twitter for the codes)
    • First time $25 discount code for HotelTonight
    • First time discount code for AirBnb
    • First time discount code for Uber
Hoxton Holborn Cosy Room
The Cosy Room at the Hoxton Holborn

How to Pounce on that Airfare Sale!

  • Don’t think about it too long especially if you need more than two seats.
  • Use a credit card that earns you points or better yet the airline specific card for bonus points or the Chase Sapphire card that earns 2xs on travel spend. Always be earning for your spend
  • Have alternative airports in mind (I often use Newark or JFK instead of Philly and spend time in New York City using points) to capitalize on the amount of seats available (more seats to London from New York than Philly)
  • Know your budget maximum. You don’t want to go into debt for a deal. If you can’t afford to go, then don’t use the excuse of “a deal”
  • Accept limitations. Want to go to Paris direct?  So did I but the seats were gone so I’m connecting in London.
American Airlines international business class often airfare sales happen
The business class transatlantic A330 cabin on American Airlines – the last row

Important Travel Tidbit!

♥Be open to new worlds. The $399 Iceland deal for Fall/Winter? Cheaper than most domestic U.S. flights!  I went to Iceland in November and had a great four day Reykjavik weekend.  Never thought of Iceland, well $399 is a great price to sample the country.  Sure the long days of sun are gone but the beauty remains plus the Northern Lights are your reward (if you are lucky) for the cold weather visit.

Iceland Geyser Park
Geyser aftermath and included in the What’s On Reykjavik January 2015 edition

Lucky for me, I was able to find my Business Class airfare sale seats to London for an upcoming conference.  I was on the fence about going but the fare sale pushed me over!  While tempted by the Dublin sale, I have a big adventure with Mom on the horizon so using vacation time for that next.

Are you ready for the next airfare sale or hotel discount?  Let me know what strategies you use when you see an Airfare Sale or Hotel Deal that I’ve missed.


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