Wise Mile Spending

You scrimped and saved for years to take vacations to various destinations.  Now, you’ve finally accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to redeem a cushy reward.  So, do you blow those precious miles on a free ticket or do you use them to upgrade to first class? Travel experts say the key to using award travel miles is to research your options before settling on a prize.   In other words, before you cash in your hard earned miles, consider where you’re going, how much a ticket there costs, and how challenging it will be to claim your reward. For example, if … Continue reading

Travel Savings Strategies

Choosing to fly during the off-season is an easy way to save money; however, there are many other ways you can pad your wallet when your travel plans take you to the airport.  The key to saving big is a little pre-flight strategizing. For example, if you only fly on commercial airlines a few times a year, you may have a hard time justifying the costs associated with an airport lounge membership.  Still, it’s hard to resist the comforts and services provided at these luxurious airport hangouts. Some of the perks of lounge membership include: Peace and quiet:  Most airport … Continue reading

Avoiding Delays

Airport delays can be a costly inconvenience. I once shelled out more than $250 to pay for meals, ground transportation, clothing and a hotel room during an 18-hour delay that eventually turned into a cancelled flight. Of course, that paled in comparison to the emotional and physical price I paid when the cancellation caused me to miss my beloved grandmother’s wake. Thanks, American Airlines. My sad story is just one of thousands that are logged each year with the promise from airline execs that they will work to improve on-time reliability. According to a recent report from the Department of … Continue reading

Flying High Without High-Flying Prices

Everyone loves a sale, but when discounted prices are associated with air travel, frugal vacationers’ hopes begin to soar a bit higher.  Unfortunately, not all sales equate to rock-bottom prices. The trick to getting the most bang for your buck is to examine the fine print.  Just because you see an advertisement by a major airline regarding an airfare sale, it doesn’t mean you will saving a ton of cash.  In most cases, airfare sales come with a long list of restrictions, including specific dates, times and destinations. Airline insiders are quick to point out that most commercial carriers offer … Continue reading

How to Avoid Soaring Flight Costs

Penny-pinching travelers beware:  those airlines that have been nickel-and-diming you to death are not changing their tune any time soon.  In fact, two commercial carriers recently announced amendments to their current policies that may put a real dent in your wallet. Discount airline Southwest will no longer accommodate passengers who fail to show up on their given departure date.  The carrier is launching a new “no show” policy that forces travelers to forfeit their fares if they fail to show up for a flight.  Southwest officials say they instituted the change so that planes are not taking off with empty … Continue reading

Flying Fees Add Up Fast

Think you have enough money saved to fly to your niece’s upcoming college graduation?   Add up the litany of airline fees and you may be forced to drive to the commencement ceremonies. These days the cost of an airline seat is only part of what you will likely have to pay before you take flight.  Most carriers are making a killing by charging hefty baggage fees on domestic flights.  On average, you can expect to fork over $25 each way for your first checked bag and between $30 and $35 for the second.  Think about how deep you have to … Continue reading

Playing the Frequent Flyer Game

Years ago, I enrolled in multiple frequent flyer programs with the hope that I would accrue enough miles to earn free flights.  Nearly two decades later, I’ve scored roughly eight round-trip tickets at no charge thanks solely to miles earned by flying.  Not by staying at select hotels, purchasing meals at participating restaurants, or sending flowers to loved ones using a company affiliated with an airline’s loyalty program. I prefer to earn miles the old-fashioned way: by flying. There has been a growing trend among frequent flyer programs to reward travelers with miles if they patronize companies affiliated with an … Continue reading

Studying Airfare Structures

Saving money on air travel doesn’t come without a little effort.  Or, in some cases, a lot of effort.  The advent of the Internet has made booking more convenient, but not all sites are easy to navigate; consequently, finding the best fare can be quite challenging.  Add to that the vast array of fare structures that vary from airline to airline and you may be tempted to drive to your vacation destination rather than fly. To help travelers find prices that best suit their budgets, American Airlines recently unveiled a new fare structure.  It offers potential fliers three coach-class fare … Continue reading

Save Money and Your Sanity

In an effort to save money on airfare, I once waited until the eleventh hour to book our family’s annual flight to Hawaii. My intent was to score a last-minute deal that could potentially save me hundreds of dollars. It turned out to be one of the worst travel-related mistakes of my life. Not only did I not get a rock-bottom price on the tickets, but because I waited so long to book, I got stuck with an antsy toddler smack in the middle of a five-seat row surrounded by perturbed passengers who suggested my daughter and I would be … Continue reading

Paying the Price for In-Flight Food

Forget about sky-high luggage fees and consider the priceless commodity you risk when you take flight these days—your health. Most travelers are quick to calculate airfare, hotel accommodations, rental cars and souvenir expenses, but neglect to factor in the toll eating overpriced airline food may have on their health. According to a new survey, most airlines don’t offer food items that do a body good; though, some are better than others. According to the poll featuring 10 North American airlines, Air Canada and Virgin America top the list of healthiest in-flight food. Both carriers scored high marks for their healthy, … Continue reading