Today is a good day to study low fares

With so many airfare deal sites out there offering fare alerts and low fare deal specials, it may seem redundant that I have shifted my focus on Loyalty Traveler from hotel deals to airline deals. The reason I have been focusing so heavily on airline deals the past couple of months is there are so many more short-lived opportunities for low airfare and the scene changes almost daily.

I find the hunt for more airfares more interesting lately than repeating another version of Hyatt Hotel category changes that has been covered in ten other blogs on the same day. Hotel deals are much more difficult to assess since there are something like 40,000 hotels in major chains around the world and deals are so scattered. And hotel loyalty programs were hardly covered when I started Loyalty Traveler with that focus in 2008. That is no longer the case with every aspect of hotel loyalty programs dissected and packaged and latest industry news hand fed by public relations departments to bloggers (often with an embargo date enclosed, which is why the Hyatt category changes hit so many blogs all at once when we had these list of hotel category changes weeks ago.)

In the airline industry the key deals tend to be concentrated in a handful of airports each day. As a one person team, I can provide some unique insight into airfare trends, especially with regard to deals from the USA to international locations. There are all kinds of airfare deal sites out there, but most focus on quantity and not providing any insight to airfare trends.

USA Airfare Deals

Today is a different beast all together with American, United and many low cost carriers battling to put flyers into domestic seats on a variety of routes. I focused today on four USA airports with fare deals on American and United: Dallas DFW, New York LGA/Newark EWR, Philadelphia PHL and Washington BWI/DCA/IAD.

As I finished the last post on New York City and prepared my breakfast meal, came to mind as the type of website that is really useful on a day like today when there are low fare deals from airports all around the USA. Honestly, I seldom look at airfarewatchdog, primarily because it is overwhelming with hundreds of routes covered from each major airport. Too much data is not necessarily a good thing when you find yourself searching for a needle in a haystack of fares. I often find good deals are hard to pick out in the mix. But when it comes to domestic USA routes, AFDW is one site I find quite useful.

For example, when I check AFWD for Dallas fares, their list shows 10 airports under $100 round trip. Then I can quickly locate these fares in Google Flights.

AFWD Fares From Dallas DFW

$81 Las Vegas American

$91 Fort Lauderdale American

$94 New York La Guardia LGA United

$98 Tampa United

$98 Boston United

$108 Miami United

AFDW Fares To Dallas DFW

5 of 10 low fares to Dallas DFW under $100 round trip are Frontier (Milwaukee $77, Denver $77, Cincinnati $87)  and Spirit (Denver $70, New Orleans $80).

The fares that interest me are American and United. Primarily since I know I am likely to receive a complimentary upgrade on American. I have been upgraded to first class free on every domestic flight I have had as an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member.

  • Las Vegas LAS – DFW $81 American
  • Fort Lauderdale FLL – DFW $91 American
  • Tampa TPA – DFW $98 United
  • Boston BOS – DFW $98 United
  • Minneapolis MSP – DFW $98 United

Of course these are mostly the same fares as from Dallas DFW. Fares to and from a place can be a useful tool when looking to book one-way fares in a multi-city routing from one city to another and not necessarily a simple round trip. Last week I showed how a flyer can route cheap one way flights around the USA and see three or four cities around the USA for less than the price of one cheap simple round trip from the USA to a city in Europe.

Loyalty Traveler – AA $432 LAX-ORD-BOS-DCA-MIA-DEN-LAX visit 5 USA cities for less than cheap ticket to Europe (June 29).

On a day like today with many routes around the USA on sale with American and United, AFWD is a useful tool for locating low fares and constructing a multi-city USA domestic trip with a combination of $40 to $70 one-way fares like I showed in the LAX to Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Denver and back to LAX itinerary.

A quick check of California airports shows these low fare deals today are primarily concentrated in the eastern half of the USA.

No certainty as to how long these low domestic fares will last with American and United. Once the major fare sales of low cost carriers end, many of the major alliance airline low fares will disappear too.

Today is a good day to check out for deals.

I’d like to know your strategy for finding airfare deals. There are so many fare deal sites and I probably don’t know most of them. I seldom read daily emails and I have no fare alerts set up to any place at the moment. My problem now is trying to avoid buying some of the great airfare deals I have seen since this past month since my travel schedule is pretty much booked up for 2016 and I am not ready to lock myself into trips for 2017. Although, I do have about six weeks from Sep to early November I could schedule a quick trip if something really special comes around.

AirFareWatchDog Top 50 Fares

AFWD Top 50 Fares


  • rob s July 7, 2016

    I agree with you the AFWD is not a great tool and it’s generally quite useless. I have made the mistake of subscribing to their alerts and they dont’ honor your home airport and sent you a lot of junk. I find kayak flight alerts far more useful

  • Soren July 7, 2016

    I followed fare alerts from several sites on twitter for a while. I had to can it. Information overload and tough to focus.
    However, we are in the instant information age with access to content one could have only dreamed about not that long ago.
    I follow a number of Boarding Area blogs daily on RSS…as much as I can handle.
    With the airlines loyalty progs transition to revenue based, I have had to change my strategy to card churning, I don’t spend enough on airfare these days to make it viable.
    I do Europe maybe 3/4 times a year paid and award – and have shifted my redemption focus to AS to access the best coach award available today. Yeah its tough, but it’s a high class problem and I am grateful.
    My latest churn IHG – AS – Fidelity 2% CB.
    Heading to the recycle bin – Citi HH No fee Visa – US Bank Carlson Visa Sig – Citi AA no fee Bronze M/C – and gasp – *Wood AMEX after many years.

  • James July 9, 2016 for LCC’s in Europe.

    Still waiting for someone to develop an app to show lowest prices for a given hotel property over time in calendar format like (gasp) That would be a coup for Loyalty Traveler. Can you use your pull to get this done for us?

  • Ric Garrido July 9, 2016

    @James – my “pull” with Best Western Rewards is so weak that I have never been able to get them to publish a master list of hotel reward points rates accessible to the public after years of requests. Kind of like me playing tug-of-war with a bull.

    I have to say though that their Low Rate Guarantee has improved substantially in the past two years. They used to be near impossible and now I have little issue getting them to approve lower OTA rate claims on my reservations.

    Best Western Low Rate Guarantee success and Cracking Hotel Confusion in Krakow

    I also like SkyScanner.

  • walter July 10, 2016

    You are really excellent at writing about hotels, it would be sad if you stopped. Yes, we can read about hotel deals on other blogs, but you add much more thought and analysis and your unique perspective. I especially appreciate your articles about your own approach and experience, the thinking behind your decisions: which websites you use, how far ahead to book, and how you blend paying cash some times and using points at others for redemption.

    Hotel costs make up the largest part of my travel budget, so improving my hotel booking strategy helps me travel more and better.

  • Ric Garrido July 10, 2016

    I’ll keep writing about hotel deals, especially as I travel and seek out ways to reduce cost.

    This summer I booked all my hotel stays in Europe with Choice Privileges, Club Carlson and IHG points. Some pretty good deals and I will have about 7 different hotel stays to write about and three cities where I can examine rates and rewards.

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