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How to Find Cheap Flights, Airfare for 2023 Holiday Travel

Flight prices are increasing as the holiday travel season approaches.
Flight expert Gilbert Ott shared four tips for saving money on airfare during the holidays.
Consider one-way tickets, know the market, and use your rewards points, he said.
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Flight prices are only getting higher as the holiday season approaches. And Gilbert Ott is here to save budget travelers who are scrambling to book the cheapest airfare.
Ott flies more than 200,000 miles a year and has been blogging about flying for the last decade. Ott’s blog, called God Save the Points, covers everything from airline news and flight reviews to travel tips and money-saving hacks, such as how to best use credit-card points.
He recently gave Insider four tips for scoring the lowest prices on airfare during holiday travel, from knowing the market to using your points.
Know the market
It’s easy to figure out what a flight on your route typically costs with free online tools.
“Google Flights gives you a heat index of prices from low to high in a color-coded grid of green to red with orange in between,” he said, adding that he also recommends setting pricing alerts on Google Flights and Kayak a year in advance of when you plan to travel.
Look at prices in calendar mode
Google Flights in calendar mode. Google Flights
In general, Ott said the best fares for domestic travel are found somewhere between 30 to 60 days before travel, but holidays can be less predictable.
When booking your flights, Ott recommended using the calendar view in Google Flights to see what the prices are throughout the month. If the cheapest days don’t fit into your itinerary, see if there are any ways you can adjust. Even a morning flight on the holiday itself may not be so bad.
“You can usually still make it there by the meal, and you’ll have something fresh to talk about because you just got off of the plane,” he said.
Consider alternative routes
Ott also recommended checking prices for two one-way tickets, as they may be cheaper than a round-trip flight.
If you aren’t traveling to a hub city where most airlines operate, Ott said tickets may be more expensive. Instead, consider flying into the nearest hub city and driving the rest of the way to your destination.
Use points
To save big on flights, Ott’s best tip is to use rewards points from airlines or credit-card companies. He recommended taking a look at your rewards programs to see what you’re eligible for. Sites like Point.Me offer free trial searches to find out how much your points are worth, he said.
Ott told Insider he personally likes to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book flights. He said when you book through Chase’s travel portal, you get 1.25 cents per point with the Sapphire Preferred card, while Sapphire Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents each.
“I love this because when there’s a fare sale, like $1,500 round-trip business class to Europe, I can pay 100,000 Chase points and get that ticket,” he said.
Ott added that he also appreciates airline rewards programs with good value, like the British Airways Executive Club, which he said has some of the widest availability with points across airlines.
“I think there’s always been this hidden anxiety around points,” he added. “People think it’s too complicated. But I think using points has never been easier.”



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