For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been price conscious when it comes to booking trips.  As anyone who ever has to book travel for yourself or family, we all know that travel expenses can add up quickly.

That is not to say that I only book the cheapest flights.  I have my own reservations when it comes to booking low-cost airlines.  I generally don’t mind paying a little more for an airline that doesn’t nickel and dime the customers.

In some ways, I might an airline’s worth shopper.  I’m not particularly loyal to just one airline, though I have my preferred airline(s) and alliance. The good news is that I almost always choose one of my preferred airlines if the fare difference is minimal.  If the differential is substantial, I have no reservation looking into other airlines.

As my traveling patterns evolved over the years, I also notice a change in my booking behavior.

Round Trips No More

At the beginning, my trips were simple Point A to Point B round trips.  Those were the most economical too – it’s well known that a round trip fare is cheaper than two “one-way” segments.

As my itineraries got more complex to maximize the opportunity to visit multiple countries when flying across the pond, I began booking one way segments.  The timing worked out great, just as airlines were un-bundling their services, including the introduction of one way award segments.  I took note to see how I could make the best use of the new options.

Example

On my trip to visit Orlando last year, it was a most straightforward trip ever.  Point A to Point B.  Most people would just book it round trip.  I booked one way there on Jetblue and flew back on Delta (x family members).

Why?   The fare could normally be had for under $200 for a round trip coach fare during non-peak season and the fare jumped to $300-$400 range during peak periods.

This is where the miles can come into play in a super handy way.

I’ve long stated that I don’t believe in hoarding miles, though I don’t believe in wasting them for poor redemption value either.  I tend to use the miles for international trips when possible.

So, how can I save on travel expenses here?  Well, if you have flexibility around your dates (which I did), then there are some good options. While poking around, I see that I could fly to my destination for as little as 5,500 Jetblue points.

To me, a 5,500 points is a great redemption value for a $100-150 one way ticket that I might have to pay otherwise.

Would I redeem the standard 12,500 for a one way domestic fare that would costs $100-$150?  Probably not, unless the prices for the dates/times I need are up through the roof.

For the return segment, I paid out of pocket for a preferred date and time.  I thought of it as a good deal as it cut down on the out-of-pocket expense.

In Summary:

Is it more work to book two one way tickets?   Absolutely, because whenever you’re looking to save, you have to spend time looking for a deal.  Fortunately, it’s hardly any substantial effort since I already have to look at options on my preferred airline(s).

Leisure trip expenses can add up pretty quickly, especially if you’re also booking for and traveling with other family members.  Every little bit helps, you know?

 

Have you changed your travel booking patterns over the years?  If so, what have you changed?