Travel

Summer travel deals are few, but here’s how to save money

From high gas prices to rush airfare, the cost of travel in the US is skyrocketing, exacerbated by the huge decline in capacity. Airlines are reducing the number of flights from their schedules due to time overruns and staff shortages. As a result, almost every flight is full, and airfare continues to rise.

Many hotels, also experiencing staffing issues, have limited occupancy to 60% because they don’t have the staff to provide the remaining 40% of rooms they could easily sell. They still charge the same fee as in 2019 and more in some cases, but many hotels have cut restaurants, room service, laundry and housekeeping simply because they don’t have the staff to support these services.

This summer will not be fun for American travelers. Any deals one might have are very few and far between.

If you have a lot of frequent flyer miles lying around, it might seem like a good time to use them when ticket prices are high, but not this summer. Airlines are increasing the number of qualifying miles required to redeem frequent flyer award tickets.

At the height of the pandemic, when planes were flying at 20% capacity, some frequent flyer tickets could be purchased for as little as 7,500 miles. A flight from Los Angeles to New York often cost as little as 12,500 miles. Not anymore. When planes are full, airlines don’t want to crowd out commercial passengers with award tickets. And even if a frequent flyer award is available, the number of miles needed to redeem has also skyrocketed. Is this a New York frequent flyer? Now about 40,000 miles – or more.

The best strategy for your unused miles is to look beyond September 15 and 270 days after that. Preliminary demand forecasts show a huge drop after September 10 when the booking model changes. With so many seats available, that’s when the availability of rewards suddenly becomes noticeable – not just with affordable award tickets, but with more reasonable redemption levels.

But there are still some Plan B approaches to travel deals.

When booking tickets, it is not necessary to think back and forth. Rate your trip as separate one-way tickets, often on different airlines. You may be surprised by the difference in rates.

Instead of booking a round-trip ticket, check the price of a one-way ticket on Airline A’s flight and a round-trip ticket on Airline B’s flight. In many cases, the demand for individual flights on individual days leads to noticeable price fluctuations. A $1,100 round-trip ticket between Los Angeles and New York on the same airline suddenly turns into a $480 one-way ticket from Los Angeles to New York on Flight A and a $370 round-trip ticket on Flight B from New York City back to Los Angeles – $250 savings.

This is also what US airports have the lowest fares. And in many cases, it’s also less expensive taxi rides or parking. Consider Long Beach instead of Los Angeles, Providence instead of Boston,…

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