Updated: September 9, 2016
My friend, Trixie has been telling me to make an entry about how I get my cheap tickets. Finally, after having some free time, I have decided to write about it so that hopefully, I can help my readers with their travels.
Here are some common questions asked:
- When do airlines go on sale?
It depends on the airlines but almost all airlines go on sale when it is their anniversary. Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific give huge discounts.
I flew with Singapore Airlines before and I was able to get roundtrip tickets to SG for only 150 USD. My sister was also able to book a trip to Chiang Mai for only 225 USD. Watch out for their Anniversary sale because it’s really worth it. This usually happens in the whole month of February.
With Cathay Pacific, their roundtrip tickets to HK would cost only 150 USD. You should also watch out for their tickets going to Europe because it’s very affordable. It’s usually 700-900 USD. They usually go on sale every end of November or first week of December. However, I realized recently that if you check their website, they sometimes have “smart saver” deals which are published not only when they celebrate their anniversary. Do check it out regularly! Who knows? You might be able to get cheap tickets to Europe! They also have buy 1 get 1 promos. So you better watch out for that too.
With PAL, they go on sale only if it’s their anniversary (third or fourth week of March). Even if it’s 50% off, it’s still pricey compared to the other airlines. I tried booking recently and their roundtrip fare to HK is 200 USD which is more expensive than Cathay Pacific.
With Cebu Pacific, they go on sale when it’s their anniversary, Chinese New Year, New Year’s eve, every month (usually on pay day), or whenever they feel like it (haha). The famous “Piso Fare” event usually happens during their anniversary (first or second week of March) or New Year’s Eve. It’s really hard to book tickets though because their website is always down. My friend was really lucky though because she recently was able to buy a roundtrip ticket to Osaka for only 3,000 pesos. During Chinese New Year, they usually have this 888 pesos promo to HK but I don’t know if it happens regularly. I check their website all the time and sometimes they go on sale for no reason at all. Usually their domestic flights cost about 500-1000 pesos one-way while their international flights cost 2500-5000 pesos one-way.
- When is the best time to book?
I used to think that booking really early like 7-11 months before is cheaper however after doing a lot of research, I came to a conclusion that booking way ahead is really expensive unless the airlines is on sale.
I recently booked a flight to Japan (December 13) because Cebu Pacific was on sale. It was only 2500 pesos one-way so I obviously grabbed it. However, the return flight is really expensive therefore I realized that I shouldn’t book my return ticket yet. I’ve been looking at the websites of the different airlines I mentioned including Jetstar and the return ticket was insanely expensive. I plan to go home on December 19 which is 10 months away from now. According to the article that read online,
“Rick Seaney, travel expert and CEO of FareCompare, agrees with the three month rule and not booking too far in advance. “There’s such a thing as booking too early,” he told Travel + Leisure. “Airlines don’t really begin managing their domestic flights until about three months in advance — that’s when they start releasing the more affordable seats.”
But it still depends because according to my aunt who works in a travel agency, if you plan to go on a vacation from December 25 to January 1, then it is best to book really early since a lot of people travel on these dates. My suggestion is to religiously check the websites and compare the prices.
- What do you need to purchase cheap tickets?
Credit cards have a partnership with the different airlines. I usually know that there’s a sale because banks email me or send me a text message about it. I booked my tickets with SQ using my BPI credit card and I remember that you have to click a link that was sent via email and put a promo code. You can also use your BDO and Citibank credit cards as well but you have to wait for the email because obviously it won’t be on the same date as BPI’s.
If you don’t have a credit card, don’t fret! You can ask your family members to book for you. Make sure though that you have the same family name so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of validating the card. Some airlines are really strict though and they do not allow you to use someone else’s card. I suggest you research about it so that you don’t have to go through the hassle.
If you have all the time in the world, you can visit their ticketing offices but you will have to wait for a long time since a lot of people are dying to get a ticket.
- How can you book cheap tickets without going through the hassle?
If I remember correctly, Cathay Pacific had a booth in Rockwell last year. The line was ridiculously long and I was too impatient to line up. My aunt was in line with my cousin because she wanted to buy tickets to HK for her family. According to my aunt, she had to get a number before being entertained. But because her number was too far, she just went around the mall to kill time. But still, don’t you just hate the agony of waiting???
Luckily, I saw my sister’s brother-in-law. He told me that an employee from Cathay Pacific told him that as soon as the promotion is announced in the website, people are allowed to book online. So my question is why do they have to have that booth and make people think that going there is the only way to book a ticket? My biggest guess is because of marketing purposes—brand awareness obviously.
- How do you get free tickets?
With SQ, CX, and Pal, through Miles which you can only get if you fly regularly.
With Cebu Pacific, you can earn points not only through flying but through your credit card. You can convert your credit card points to getgo points and use these points to book a flight even if Ceb Pac is on sale. I recently used my points to get a one way ticket from Caticlan to Manila and paid only 300 pesos.
But recently I discovered that airlines have contests on instagram which everyone can participate in. Like for example, Jetstar usually has this “Friday Free Flights” contest wherein users take a selfie and state why they’d rather be in Japan. They choose a weekly winner and that winner gets two free tickets to wherever. Cool right?
The contests are really true. I joined the Air Asia wellness contest and I won 2 roundtrip tickets to Korea. The reason why I joined is because I wanted to know if it’s true and fortunately it is!!! The marketing officer of Air Asia emailed me my tickets the other day. Try it out! Make sure though that you really follow the rules. 🙂
- What if there’s only “1 seat left” in the website?
Usually this is not true. I read somewhere that airlines do this on purpose because they get to earn more money. For example, a flight to Cebu costs 500 pesos and the original price is 1000 pesos. If it says “one seat left” then you book for 3 people, the total price will be 3000 pesos. But if you book for one person, then a ticket would only cost 500 pesos. How will you book for the other two? USE A DIFFERENT COMPUTER! Yes the “1 seat left” you see on the website is a lie. You will be able to book for the other two people if you use two different computers!
- What if the website doesn’t work?
Try downloading the mobile application and book there. It works! When Ceb Pac had a sale 2 weeks ago, my friend used her mobile phone to book 2 roundtrip tickets to Osaka for only 6,000 pesos. TRY IT OUT!
I hope this entry helps you all in your future travels. If you have other tips and tricks when booking cheap flights, kindly let me know! I would love to hear all your stories.