Special Report

14 Secrets to Get the Best Airline Ticket Price Possible

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Book on multiple carriers

Major commercial airlines have complex code-sharing agreements, meaning that any flight plan purchased from one airline may be fulfilled in part by another carrier. But not all carriers share codes with each other. This is where “virtual interlining” might save you money. Some search sites simplify the process of mixing and matching budget and full-service carriers that have so-called interlining agreements to handle the transfer of passengers coming to them from a different carrier. This differs from code sharing because it involves finding and buying separate point-to-point tickets on different carriers that don’t have code-sharing agreements with each other.

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Choose vacation destinations by ticket price

Flexible leisure travelers who don’t feel a compelling desire to arrive at a certain tourist destination at a certain time of year can eke out significant savings by letting the market decide where they go. Many travel booking sites allow you to search for any destination from a specific city at a specific period of time, and then rank those tickets by price. You can also set up alerts for when ticket prices are reduced. For the adventurous, especially those willing to fly off season, this can be the most effective way to find cheap flights.

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Consider airports that are further away

If you fly to Paris you have two choices: Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport. Price differences aren’t likely to be significant when comparing airports within the distance of a normal taxi ride to the city center. With airports that are further away from the bustle, however, the savings could be compelling. For example, a flight to a smaller airport on Long Island could cost significantly less than flying into New York City via Newark, JFK, or LaGuardia – and might be worth the hassle of taking a train into the city.

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Use credits cards that offer miles

All major credit card issuers offer cards that dish out airline bonus points or miles, and frequent travelers (for business, leisure, or both) should consider cards that offer points and other travel perks, like access to premium airport travel lounges. These cards come with and without annual fees, so do your research. If you travel a lot, a card with an annual fee might still be worth it. The longer you use the cards, the more bonuses you rack up, so start accumulating points early in life to reap greater savings later.