Purchasing airfare during peak holiday travel periods can be painful for your wallet. It’s even worse if you wait too long and find yourself needing holiday flights at “last-minute” prices.
But you can still fly for virtually no out-of-pocket cost if you have been stashing away airline miles. Award availability can be tough on peak travel dates, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find if you use these five tips.
1. Be flexible
Finding award availability for departures the day before Thanksgiving may be tough. However, if you can be flexible about your travel dates, you will likely find more award options.
The same is true with the times of day you fly, the routings you take, and the airports you are willing to fly into and out of. For example, you may not find something out of JFK or LaGuardia, but maybe nearby Newark will have the availability you need.
Also consider flying your outbound leg using one type of airline miles, and your return trip with another carrier. Many airlines permit one-way awards.
If you are traveling with a larger family group, consider splitting up if that is the only way to get where you need to be. In some cases, there may not be four award seats on a given flight. But if you are willing to split up two and two, your odds of finding awards may increase.