No-frills airlines such as Frontier, Allegiant, Sun Country and Spirit are expected to increase market share to over 12% in the next 18 months, according to a new study by aviation forecasting and consulting firm Boyd Group International. These carriers tend to push down prices in markets they compete in, as Southwest has done for decades.
Here’s what you need to know:
- You’ll likely get a better deal at airports with a significant number of discount carrier flights. Flights originating in or going to Oakland, Chicago/Midway, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas and Orlando experience the lowest fares, according to the study. San Jose, Dallas/Love, Denver, Baltimore/Washington and Tampa, Florida, rounded out the top 10.
- You don’t have to fly on a low-cost carrier to reap the benefits. Flights are cheaper across airlines at airports with low-cost carriers. Thus, you can look at an airline that you might be earning miles through at the same airport and even use earned mileage to bump yourself to first class.
- The low-cost carrier effect isn’t the only factor that reduces flight costs. Sometimes flights into an airport are full because of a conference, holiday or event. It always pays to compare nearby airports and competitor airlines. You can also consider redeeming frequent flyer mileage or credit card reward points. Time of day, day of week, availability and off-season travels can also help reduce prices.
Getting a great deal on a plane ticket involves a lot of factors. Airport choice is just one. Also, remember the value of your time: A $50 increase in ticket price for a nonstop flight may help you enjoy your vacation and travel time more.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
- Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase).
- Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases).
- No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual fee).
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, get access to the Global Lounge Collection). Terms Apply.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Don’t let hidden hotel fees spoil your stay
Landing the best airfare is a matter of timing
9 easy ways to earn travel rewards you’ll actually use