This is one of the most asked questions the team of YourAviation receives almost daily: “How are you able to fly around the world, are you rich”? Well no – we aren’t. Some of us are still studying and some are working – this is how we afford to pay Flights & Hotels, but we work, we are not rich. It’s all about knowing how to book, when to book & most importantly where to book! In this blog we will reveal you some of our secrets.
This is the first episode of our series about trip bookings. Today we’re about to see how to book the cheapest flights!
The whole YourAviation Team loves to travel & to share it with others. As most of you know we are all studying or have some side jobs – so not a huge ammount of money to travel. But money is only a small part on our Travel Bookings. With the internet you have multiple ways to book flights, hotels, rental cars & transfers. We try to use many of them in order to get the best prices. This is how WE book our FLIGHTS:
You should always book flights before hotels. The reason is very simple: There are way more hotels than flights available. This is rule number 1 for us, so we first start off with the flights research. There are multiple good websites to search flights. The one we use the most is called SkyScanner. We love SkyScanner because they have a clear design, they compare prices out of multiple websites and they deliver many important informations like the aircraft you will fly, the flight times, Connection times, the legroom, if there is Wifi available and much more.
In order to show you an example we are going to fly to Abu Dhabi in 2 Months. I wish to fly Etihad. So I open the SkyScanner Flight Booking Website & type in my options:
So now I have on the middle top of the page 3 options. The Best, the Cheapest & the Fastest Flights. Depending on my wish I could select up there what I want. As I have chosen “The Best”, SkyScanner proposes me the Best Flight option first. There is nothing better than a direct flight for passengers, so it’s the better option. If I wish to pay less – then I could transit via Belgrade. It would extend the total trip time for a total of 2h15, but I would pay 74 Pounds less. On the left part of the site I could choose some options. I can say the times I wish to fly, if I want direct flights only, which Airlines I prefer and so on. The website is offering many options, so by scrolling down I will also find other options like travels with other Airlines. Once my Flights are chosen, I can click on “Select”. This will open this page:
Here I see the different booking partners with some user ratings. The cheapest seller would be BudgetAir. If I wish I can also pay a little bit more, and book on the Etihad Website directly. So here you can see: SkyScanner is not a Booking Website, it’s a research Website. But the great thing, and that’s why we love it: It’s researching a lot of sites, and you will always get the best prices.
Using the SkyScanner mobile app is even better. There you get more informations about the Flights, and you can also see which travel dates are cheaper. Green means you will get good up to incredible prices, yellow is expensive, and red is really expensive.
Beside seeing that you could also create price alerts. There you will be informed via E-Mail as soon as the prices are about to change or did change, so you won’t miss the last chance of booking the best offer. So SkyScanner is really incredible and we really can recommend it.
Another popular way we use to book flights are Miles. Some Airlines have some outstanding deals you can use whenever you’re part of their miles programme. There we don’t want to reveal all our secrets, but we’ll give you some important background informations.
In order to explain you this, I will take Miles & More, the Lufthansa Group Miles Programme to show you how to spend & collect Miles.
There are multiple way to collect Miles, and many different Programmes like Miles and More. The first and probably most simple way to collect Miles is with Flights. You book a Flight and you get your Miles. The great thing at Miles and More is that you will be able to collect Miles with plenty different Airlines. Also Companies that aren’t part of Star Alliance. You will also be able to spend your Miles on most of those companies.
But there you just to need to be careful whenever booking. Because if you fly on a low fare, you won’t get many Miles. They are even Airlines which aren’t offering any miles on some fares. But therefore there is an incredible website called WhereToCredit ! On their Calculator you can type in your route, the Airline you fly & the Booking Class you booked, or are currently checking.
So if I get back to my ZRH-AUH Booking on Etihad Airways, I will type in the infos:
So I’ve typed in my route, the Airline I am flying & the Booking Class. For example I took Booking Class Economy H. You will be able to find your booking class on the website when you book, or after the booking on your confirmation. This is what the calculator proposes me:
So on this Etihad Booking I could possibly get 4778 Miles on the Hainan Airlines Miles Programme. This is where I will get most of the Miles. As you can see I couldn’t get Miles at Miles & More, as Etihad isn’t working with Lufthansa on this Miles Programme.
So if you know booked, you just need to have your Hainan Airlines Card ready. If you don’t have one yet, then you can just apply for one. This won’t last more than 10 minutes. My advice is: Use as many Airlines Card as possible, and not only 1 programme. This how you will get the best benefits of your Miles.
By flying you will get most of the Miles. At Miles & More you will also get Miles for example by booking hotels. But you will have a look at Hotels booking in the next blog.
Another efficient way to collect Miles is by using credit cards. Staying at Miles & More, you will be able to sign up for Miles & More Credit Cards. You there need to be careful that you are living in a country supporting those Credit Cards, and that you have fix salary. You will also (on most CC Programmes) need to be 18 years old. So the tricks with the credit cards aren’t thought to be for our younger followers, as sorry as I might be. The interesting thing is that most of those Credit Cards have many good advantages.
For example Miles & More used to have an action on their Silver Credit Cards, where you had to pay an annual fee of 60.- CHF (Swiss Francs) and you would get 20’000 Welcome Miles. So with 20’000 Welcome Miles you can book a Round Trip Ticket with Swiss or Lufthansa to LHR (from ZRH). And this is a small offer. Some Credit Cards are offering way more interesting programmes & advantages like lounge entries, free flights… There are even some shops (like for example some tanking stations), where you will get more Miles if you use your Credit Card there.
So yes, you might get a reduced annual fee in the first year & then have to pay more, but if you are intelligent, you just cancel the cards around 2-3 months after having received them. So you will be able to use them with all advantages for 1 year, this for a reduced price and a year later just have to give them back, and do the same thing with an other interesting Credit Card programme. It’s really easy, it’s completely legal and offers many advantages.
So now that you know how to collect Miles, you will at one point need to spend them. You can spend them on Hotel Bookings, on Flights or on Rental Cars. Spending them on flights is very easy, but there again you need to be smart. Using you Miles for a flight in Mid-Summer, isn’t the best idea, as the Airline will request a lot of Miles & a lot of Fees. Because when you book with Miles, then you have to pay Airport & Airline Fees.
So what I would recommend is to book on low season. There you will be able to fly in Ecnonomy or Business Class by spendind less Miles, and the charges won’t be really high. Using Miles is a good way to fly in Business or in First Class. You will need to search, and spend time searching for the deals & the good flights, but it’s possible and it’s totally worth it.
Now I hope you know a little bit more about how to book cheap flights. I can recommend you the websites I mentionned, and check-out the Credit Cards some Airlines are offering. Some of them have really good deals, and it’s surely worth it to take a look at it.
Flight bookings aren’t easy and you will have to spend some time at looking, comparing before finding the good offer. But the small work you invest there will be paid out later, and this is how we have already been able to fly more than 65 times this year!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed that Blog. Feel free to share it with your avgeek friends, and see you soon for part 2, where we will talk about Hotels Booking!