If you fell victim to expensive flights earlier this year, I’m here to tell you to go check those flights again. Flight prices keep dropping, meaning it’s not too late to book a fall or winter trip – or rebook your existing flights and save even more.
We’ve seen the evidence of cheaper airfare for months and so have our Thrifty Traveler Premium members: countless cheap domestic flight deals over the summer followed by a slew of deeply discounted fares to Europe, Asia and beyond through the fall and into 2024. And the Consumer Price Index backs us up, showing month after month of decreases in average airfare, leading to a 13% decline over the last year.
It’s great news for travelers hoping to book a vacation for later this year or next. But even if you’ve already booked your trip for the months ahead, you could still take advantage of this consumer-friendly trend in flight prices.
Here’s how to make the most of it.
Go Check Your Booked Flights ASAP
If you booked a standard economy airfare airfare or higher, these plummeting flight prices could put you even further ahead.
Unfortunately, the cheapest (and stingiest) basic economy fares can’t be changed – or you’ll forfeit some big fees when doing so – which means you can’t take advantage if and when prices drop. But because major airlines did away with change fees on almost all flights so long as you book at least a main cabin economy fare, that’s your ticket to rebook at the new, lower rate if prices drop.
Follow the steps, and you’ll get a travel credit or airline voucher for the difference to put towards another fun trip! We have a full walkthrough on how to rebook flights after prices drop that you should consult. You might be shocked at what you find.
I’ve done it several times for recent trips: rebooking my long-haul flights to Europe to save about 40,000 points; rebooking some positioning flights into first class (and even getting a few thousand Delta SkyMiles back!); and then changing another domestic flight and getting an e-credit in my account as a result.
It’s one of the best travel hacks you can employ right now and an easy way to save even more on travel. Here’s what I do:
- As soon as I book a flight with cash, I set a Google Flights price alert for the exact flight I booked. If I’ve got some flexibility, I also set a few extra alerts for other flights on the same day, from nearby airports, and for days surrounding that one.
- Every month, I go back through all of my flights and check the prices to see if the price has dropped. This manual process is more important for flights booked with points and miles, but I do it for cash flights, too.
- If prices have dropped on any of my flights, I rebook them right away. If you’re flying an airline like Delta or Southwest, an e-credit (or the difference in miles) is typically automatically deposited in your account. On other airlines, you can simply cancel and rebook your fare, which is slightly less convenient but still easy. For other award bookings with miles, you might have to stomach a change fee to make the switch, so it might not always be worth it.
This year alone, I’ve saved tens of thousands of miles and pocketed hundreds of dollars in additional airline credits because I checked and rebooked my airfare. If you have something booked over the next few months, be sure to do the same. You might be surprised at what you find.
Where are Flights Still Cheap?
Airfare is not a monolith, meaning your searches for flights to Denver and fares to Italy might be a drastically different story. Maybe that Denver rate is way down, but flights to Italy are still sky-high. Pricing trends like this are an overall average, but it never hurts to check.
What I can prove is that we’ve been finding plenty of examples of cheap flights for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members for travel this fall, winter, spring, and even some summer 2024. Some of these deals were the impetus for me to re-check my own flights in the first place!
These Thrifty Traveler Premium deals can serve as a sort of price alert for you too, giving you the heads up when prices on something you’ve already booked have taken a nosedive. Let’s say, for example, that you have an upcoming trip to Colorado on the books. You might be in luck…
This nonstop flight deal to Denver (DEN) included great bargains for travel this ski season, which is exactly when you want to be on the snowy slopes of the Rockies. And if you live in any of these cities, run – don’t walk – to rebook your fares and get a better deal.
Get cheap flight alerts to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!
If the ski slopes aren’t for you, I’m certain that the rainforests and beaches of Costa Rica are. And flight prices to Costa Rica are low right now.
That’s only about a third of the cities that made the cut for this sweet deal to Liberia (LIR) or San Jose (SJO).
A little closer to home, you can fly to Puerto Rico (and leave that passport behind) with another incredible sale we unearthed recently.
We heard from Premium members all over the country who nabbed these low fares and if you paid more than that for a flight from your home city recently, here’s your sign to look and book again.
Those are just a few examples, but it’s been an embarrassment of riches when it comes to cheap flights lately Here are all the deals we’ve sent just in the last eight days!
- Daytona Beach, Florida (DAB) from $155
- Cork, Ireland (ORK) from $536
- Ketchikan (KTN) or Fairbanks (FAI), Alaska from $228
- Premium Economy to Santiago, Chile (SCL) from $887
- Nonstop to Tucson, Arizona (TUS) from $137
- Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) from $684
- Brussels, Belgium (BRU) from $526
- Florence (FLR), Milan (MXP), Rome (FCO), and Venice (VCE), Italy from $504
- Key West, Florida (EYW) from $177
- … and many more!
If any of those places look good to you, the world is your oyster. And if you already have something booked there, go check again!
Better Deals with Your Points, Too
The savings don’t stop with cash flights.
In fact, it’s even easier to take advantage of this pricing trend if you have points and miles stashed away, too. Prime example: This award alert we sent to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members for lie-flat seats to Paris just a few days ago.
Only Thrifty Traveler Premium members get business class deals, including award alerts to use their points and miles!
Booked these fares for far more points months ago? Cancel and rebook at the lower rate: Air France/KLM Flying Blue charges a reasonable $50 redeposit fee.
Paris doesn’t get all the fun, either. ITA Airways, the Italian flag carrier, recently added a new nonstop route from Chicago (ORD). And on those planes you’ll find these swanky lie-flat seats … which you can book for a bargain.
Let’s say you booked roundtrip fares to Italy for next summer and you paid more than $1,000 for economy flights to Rome (which is pretty typical for summer, sadly). You could instead use those hard-earned points and miles and book these ITA Airways business class seats instead, then cancel your economy flight for an airline credit to put toward a future trip.
If your stash of points and miles doesn’t allow for redemptions that big, don’t worry: Using your points to book economy flights is a tremendous value, too.
If you spent way too much on Hawaii flights for later this year or next, dump that reservation and use Virgin Atlantic points to fly nonstop on Delta to Hawaii instead. These nonstop routes from places like Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis (MSP), and New York (JFK) started at just 45,000 Virgin Atlantic points. Don’t fly Virgin much? Don’t worry, Virgin points can be transferred from American Express, Capital One, Chase, and more!
Don’t have your trip booked yet? Here’s your sign to lock it in … maybe at surprisingly low prices.
Already got your flights locked in? Here’s your sign to go double check the prices, because it’s more likely than ever that the price has decreased since you booked.
We’ve been seeing flight prices dropping left and right. Rebooking your previously purchased flights is one of the best and easiest ways to save on travel right now.