Maximize Savings with American’s Low Fare Calendar – The Ultimate Guide
Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - When to Check American's Low Fare Calendar
When it comes to scoring low fares, timing is everything. American Airlines' Low Fare Calendar can be a valuable tool for finding budget-friendly flights, but you need to know the best times to check it. Understanding the ideal moments to search the calendar will increase your chances of discovering super cheap deals.
First, start monitoring fares 3-4 months ahead of your intended travel dates. American typically loads their lowest fares 120 days in advance, so checking the calendar during this early window gives you an edge. The most competitive rates get snapped up fast, so you don't want to wait until the last minute. Many savvy flyers even begin tracking prices 6 months out or more, especially for popular routes and peak travel periods. This far in advance, you’ll only see projections, but it allows you to get a baseline idea of what to expect.
Next, mark your calendar for Tuesday afternoons around 3 p.m. EST. American has a regular fare load schedule, and new deals are frequently uploaded at this time each week. Be ready to pounce, as the cheapest seats tend to disappear in just a few hours. Of course, fares can be added at any time, but Tuesdays tend to be a sweet spot.
Beyond that weekly cadence, also check first thing Tuesday mornings, especially following a Monday holiday. With business travelers making last minute plans for the workweek, more discount seats often open up for the upcoming weekend getaways.
Additionally, the general hours of 3 p.m. to midnight EST on Tuesdays through Thursdays tend to provide decent results. Deals loaded earlier in the day have a chance to sell out by now, triggering the release of additional low fare seats. So if an initial search comes up empty, persist and recheck later in the evening.
Monitor booking trends too. As flights start to fill up, especially crossing the 80-90% sold threshold, American will aggressively mark down remaining tickets to boost sales. So if you have a flexible schedule, target flights that are already showing high demand.
However, the inverse can happen too—a surprisingly empty flight may indicate an unappealing departure time. American could be struggling to sell seats on red-eyes, crack-of-dawn flights, and other inconvenient timings. Spotting these desertion warning signs can reveal an opportunity to swoop in with a lowball bid. American may be willing to accept bargain rates just to put a few rear ends in seats.
Like with many airfare deals, the earlier you can nail down domestic reservations, the better the potential savings. But last minute can still pay off too. Look for slashed fares 21 days out for flights inside the contiguous 48 states. At this three week mark, American must legally advertise their cheapest seats. With rock bottom rates guaranteed, this makes a great time to grab true bargains.
For international routes, start monitoring two months out and be vigilant around the 45 day pre-departure window. Due to various regulations and airline agreements, the major price drops often hold out until then. Tickets to Europe, Asia, South America and other far flung destinations can become radically marked down.
Major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are obvious hot spots for deals. But don’t overlook other big events that spike traffic as prime times to score low fares. Busy weekends like Super Bowl, Independence Day, Labor Day and popular festivals or conventions all trigger more competitive pricing. Being flexible around these in-demand dates can equal big savings.
Consider repositioning cruises too. American spots amazing deals when they need to profitably relocate aircrafts to better align with booked travel. For example, if they have too many planes in Miami and not enough in Seattle to meet upcoming flight demands, they’ll discount one-way fares to transport the excess metal. Savvy travelers can take advantage of these empty repositioning legs.
Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - How to Find the Best Deals with the Calendar
With a solid strategy for when to search American's Low Fare Calendar, you're halfway to scoring amazing discounts. But knowing how to effectively use the calendar itself takes some finesse. The interface provides a powerful tool, if you can harness its capabilities. Follow these tips and tricks to dig up the truly rock bottom rates.
Start broad. Don't limit your initial search by destination or date range. Leave all fields blank and click “Search.” This returns every single low fare American has filed, regardless of origin, destination or travel period. It provides an invaluable wide angle lens to gauge price trends and identify red hot deals. You'll be able to spot wildly cheap fares to dream destinations you may have never considered. This low fare brainstorming can unlock some unexpectedly awesome trips.
Pay attention to footnotes! Those little asterisks next to prices indicate fare rules and restrictions. Mouse over them to reveal crucial details. For example, an otherwise amazing rate could be negated by draconian baggage fees. Or you might find notes like “Must stay over a Saturday night” which offer clues for hacking prices on weekends. Reading footnotes prevents unpleasant surprises down the road.
Use filters wisely. Once you've got the lay of the land from a blank search, add filters to pinpoint options. But take care not to limit yourself too severely. For example, only picking one departure airport could cause you to miss out on a killer deal from a nearby city. And locking in dates prematurely defeats the purpose of the flexible calendar. Consider opening filters back up periodically to uncover options you may have overlooked.
Scrutinize connecting airports. Don't get overly fixated on nonstop routes. Saving a couple hundred bucks may be worth a short layover in another city. But pay close attention to the connection points proposed. Make sure it's not suggesting ridiculously long or complex itineraries through random waypoints. The calendar defaults to showcasing the cheapest overall route which doesn't account for convenience. Verify that suggested connections make logistical sense.
Think outside the contiguous 48. Hawaii, Alaska and even Puerto Rico offer amazing value opportunities precisely because they fall outside the domestic U.S. market that American's calendar is focused on. Since you still don't need a passport, these exotic locales can represent huge savings over other international destinations. Consider checking the calendar for flights to Honolulu or Anchorage alongside your cross-country U.S. searches. You may be delighted by what you uncover.
Target alternate airports. Be open-minded, especially in major metro areas. Perusing options to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale might reveal a smaller airport with surprisingly low fares like Sanford or West Palm Beach. Nearby secondary airports are often diamonds in the rough when it comes to scoring deals. At the very least, checking alternate airfields provides useful bargaining power to ask American to price match if you prefer flying into the main airport.
Embrace weird timings. Redeyes, crack of dawns and other unappealing flight times can offer massive discounts precisely because few travelers desire them. But if you can stomach a red-eye to save $200, why not? Bring comfy clothes, neck pillows and entertainment loaded on your devices to make the best of it. Those extra ZZZs from an overnight en route could even help combat jet lag on long hauls. Consider embracing odd timings as a badge of honor that you're saving money in clever ways.
Watch for sales trends. If you notice low fares to Florida in September, check other warm weather destinations like Arizona or coastal California which may also have deals. When American aggressively discounts one popular route, similar markets often follow suit. Piggyback off prevailing airfare sale patterns.
Same goes for special promos. Alerts for double miles or companion fares in one region may indicate opportunities across the board. Most offers aren't truly limited to specific dates or markets unless stated otherwise. Repurpose coupon codes and flash sales to maximize savings.
Bookmark tentative options but don't buy right away. When you find an enticing deal, bookmark it in your web browser so you can mull it over and continue researching. Comparing a few strong options side by side helps weigh factors like price vs. inconvenience. Don't pull the trigger until you've had a chance to thoroughly assess all angles beyond just the fare.
Sign up for alerts. American lets you save searches and get notified if low fares become available for specific markets and date ranges. Use this to stay on top of go-to routes you travel frequently. You'll be tipped off the moment prices drop into your target comfort zone.
What else is in this post?
- Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - When to Check American's Low Fare Calendar
- Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - Tips for Booking Low Fares You Find
- Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - Extra Savings Opportunities to Pair with Calendar Deals
- Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - Maximizing Miles Earnings on Low Fare Calendar Bookings
Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - Tips for Booking Low Fares You Find
While scoring a rock bottom fare on American's Low Fare Calendar feels fantastic, the elation can turn to frustration if you don't lock it in properly. Seemingly small booking missteps can end up costing you the deal of a lifetime. Avoid rookie mistakes with these proven tips for flawlessly finalizing your reservations.
Act fast once you find a good price. Tempting low fares vanish quickly as savvy travelers snatch them up. Don't overanalyze or wait for perfection - a good enough deal is better than no deal. If the price and timing work for you, make the purchase immediately. You can always cancel within 24 hours if you have second thoughts or find something better.
Double check dates and airports before confirming your booking. It's easy to flip day and month when hurriedly inputting travel dates under pressure. And your eager clicking may have selected ORD instead of the intended MDW departure. Verifying these key details takes 10 seconds now versus 10 hours later if you need to change flights. Saving a few dollars isn't worth the stress.
Familiarize yourself with American's fare classes. Special discounted rates like "Web Special" or "Super Off-Peak" look attractive but may carry restrictive ticket rules. Checked baggage fees or change penalties could negate initial savings. Make sure you understand exactly what's included before you hit "Purchase" so there are no surprises later.
Watch out for basic economy fares. American uses branding like "Blue Basic" or "Main Cabin Basic" to designate these restrictive budget class tickets. Expect extra charges for seat assignments, overhead carry-on bags and other amenities. The base price may be cheap but the extras add up. Make sure this tier meets your needs.
Comparison shop partner flights. If booking through Orbitz, Expedia or another Online Travel Agency (OTA), verify if the same fare is available directly through American. OTAs can charge their own additional fees. Booking directly with the airline can help avoid unpleasant hidden costs.
Check both roundtrip and one-way options. A roundtrip ticket is not always simply double the cost of two one-ways. Depending on American's sales strategy for a route, the math may work out differently. Crunch the numbers both ways when evaluating the overall price.
Think beyond nonstop routing. An affordable connecting flight can mean huge savings over expensive nonstop options. But connect wisely - long layovers or Complex itineraries with multiple stops often negate time and hassle benefits. Aim for short and straightforward connections through major hubs.
Accessorize your flight while booking. Prepaying for checked bags, upgrading seats, or selecting other amenities bundles the savings into your initial fare. Adding these later individually can incur substantially higher fees. Customize your flight now to maximize value.
Use incognito/private browsing when price shopping multiple times. Website cookies can detect repeat visitors and trigger fare increases. Open a new private browser to replicate first visit pricing on subsequent searches. This prevents cookies from tracking your ongoing research.
Use PTO time wisely. If your vacation calendar is wide open, last minute low fares present huge opportunities. But if you have fixed PTO already approved, give yourself booking flexibility. Have backup plans in case the perfect last minute fare pops up after your schedule is locked.
Follow airfare trends. Sign up for update alerts from deal sites like Scott's Cheap Flights. Understanding broader industry pricing patterns will help you recognize good and bad times to book certain routes. Buy when airlines get desperate to fill seats.
Avoid peak days if possible. Flying on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after Christmas will be exponentially pricier. But traveling on off-peak days around holidays can unlock major savings. Some flexibility pays off.
Watch for sales and coupons. Discount codes, companion fares and other promos provide additional layers of savings. Sites like Airfarewatchdog track and verify the latest deals. Stack these on top of low calendar fares to maximize value.
Book multiple travelers separately. Airlines price each passenger individually, so group bookings tally up exponentially. But booking two solo travelers yields the lowest two fares. You can always call later to link reservations for seat assignments.
Beware booking too early. A good fare 6 months out isn't necessarily still a good fare 2 months out. Unless it's a special event like the Super Bowl, you may find lower last minute fares as departure nears. Monitor prices before pulling the trigger.
Maintain an open mindset. Don't fixate on a single destination or date combination. Limiting your search prematurely prevents discovering deals you never anticipated. Let the calendar surprise you with possibilities beyond just your Plan A trip.
Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - Extra Savings Opportunities to Pair with Calendar Deals
Scoring a cheap flight through American’s Low Fare Calendar takes research, persistence and a bit of luck. But savvy travelers know the real hallmarks of a great airfare deal is the ability to stack on additional savings and perks. Understanding how to layer on extra incentives takes your bargain bin booking to the next level.
The most obvious way to enhance Calendar specials is by using coupons, promo codes and companion vouchers. American routinely offers discounts like 15% off flights to Mexico or $200 roundtrip to the Caribbean. When these align with existing low fares, you can double down on the deals.
Sites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin centralize and verify the latest promo codes for American and other airlines. Same goes for warehouse clubs - a Costco or AAA membership could include stackable travel perks.
American also provides discount codes to email subscribers and loyalty program members. So if you aren’t already signed up for email alerts and have an AAdvantage frequent flyer account, those are quick free ways to access additional exclusive offers.
Maximizing credit card rewards provides another prime opportunity to tack on savings. The best airline co-branded cards provide annual companion certificates, free checked bags, priority boarding and inflight discounts that complement low fares.
For example, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card gives cardholders a $125 American Airlines flight credit each year. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature similarly offers a yearly companion fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees). When redeeming these alongside a cheap Calendar deal, you essentially buy one ticket and get a second for only the taxes.
Even generic travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred can boost your redemption value. Points earned on the flight purchase can be redeemed through Chase’s travel portal at a 25% higher value to further offset costs.
Reward programs like eBags, Rakuten and AirportParking also contribute to the savings stack. These sites provide easy cash back bonuses and perks for purchases you’re already making. As the incentives accumulate across various partners, what started as a $200 roundtrip fare quickly becomes $100 or less out of pocket.
Calendar low fares funneling through an OTA like Orbitz or Expedia unlock bonuses there too. For example, TopCashback and Rakuten routinely offer double digit percentages back for Expedia purchases. These compound with any coupons from RetailMeNot on the same booking.
Savvy travelers also leverage airline shopping portals when clicking through to book. United, American and Delta all operate online malls awarding bonus miles for purchases. You’ll earn thousands of extra miles on a single flight transaction thanks to redirecting through the shopping portal first.
Some folks even triple dip, like directing through an airline mall on computer #1, then searching for the flight on computer #2 with Rakuten activated to earn its commission. Finally, purchasing the flight on mobile device #3 through a credit card’s high value travel rewards portal. This extracts every possible ounce of value by crossing shopping incentives.
Beyond loyalty programs, also consider memberships like Costco, Sam’s Club and AAA. These provide partner discounts, travel perks and savings opportunities above and beyond airfare. The Costco Executive Membership’s annual 2% reward (up to $1,000) effectively erases the $120 fee after just $6,000 of travel spending.
Piggyback off of targeted regional fare sales too, even if your intended destination isn’t directly promoted. For example, if American spotlights low fares to Florida, there’s a good chance similar discounts to other southeastern cities exist. Always check beyond just the headline deals.
Thinking creatively about nearby airports also opens up possibilities. An advertised DFW deal could mean similarly low fares out of smaller Love Field (DAL). And a smokin’ price to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) likely carries over to Midway (MDW) too. Checking surrounding airports protects against overlooking hidden gems.
For international itineraries, research "open jaw" ticketing scenarios where you fly into one city and out of another. Essentially combining two one-ways can cost the same or less than a roundtrip in some markets. And open jaws provide the flexibility to see more destinations on a single booking.
If nothing else, don’t forget to choose Your Extras! American lets you select seat assignments, carry-on bags, priority boarding and other ancillary perks when initially booking. Pre-purchasing these small upgrades bundles the savings into your original fare. Paying individually later results in significantly inflated a la carte pricing.
Mastering the art of “throwaway” bookings also works wonders. This technique involves making a placeholder reservation you can easily change or cancel to lock in a low fare. If additional discounts or promotions surface later, simply modify the existing booking to capitalize.
Come departure, you’ll end up on the same original flight. But thanks to the back and forth, it’s now in a cheaper fare class with added perks stacked on top. Of course, this only works when modifying an identical itinerary - no major changes allowed. But for a simple fare code or cabin switch, it’s an invaluable trick.
Other outfits like Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool or MakeMyTrip’s Best Fare Finder unlock deals not visible through American directly. And Scott’s Cheap Flights alerts notify members of mistake fares and massive discounts not advertised elsewhere.
Maximize Savings with American's Low Fare Calendar - The Ultimate Guide - Maximizing Miles Earnings on Low Fare Calendar Bookings
Scoring a rock bottom fare is only half the battle. Savvy travelers know the real art is maximizing miles earnings on top of the deals. American's Low Fare Calendar specifically spotlights budget friendly pricing, but you can stack serious rewards earnings through strategic points play.
First and foremost, make sure you're signed up for American's AAdvantage frequent flyer program before booking. It's free to join and immediately starts rewarding your loyalty. You'll earn redeemable miles based on the ticket price, your elite status tier and other factors. Typically expect between 5-10x miles per dollar spent.
Active enrollment also makes you eligible for bonus promotions. For example, American might be spotlighting a 30% bonus for flights to select cities or accelerated elite qualifying mile offers. You often have to register in advance, so keeping tabs on active promos ensures you're topping off earnings.
Next, consider routing your purchase through American's shopping portal at AAdvantageEshopping.com. Click through the portal before booking your flight and you'll earn additional miles on top of what the airline directly provides. Payouts vary by retailer, but expect to net hundreds or even thousands of extra miles simply by redirecting through the portal first.
You can take this one step further by shopping via both the airline and credit card portals simultaneously. The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card offers additional bonus miles for purchases made through its own Citi Bonus Miles Mall. Stack both the airline and credit card online shopping portals to double dip on miles.
Speaking of Citi cards, their lineup of American co-branded products multiplies mileage earnings on airfare purchases. The Platinum Select variant nets a tidy 5x miles per dollar spent with American directly. The AAdvantage Aviator Silver card doubles that to a whopping 10x. As you climb to the premium Aviator Red card, your rewards soar to an unbeatable 15x miles per dollar when booking flights.
Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like Sapphire Preferred and Reserve also boost airfare purchase rewards if you have a linked AAdvantage account. For example, the Sapphire Preferred's normal 2x travel earnings can be transferred to American at a 1:1 ratio. Effectively you're now earning 2x Chase and 5x AAdvantage miles for a total of 7x points on your flight with just one card.
Bring an AAdvantage Dining account into the mix too. Earn additional miles when dining out at participating restaurants. Registration is free and miles automatically post when you link a credit card. Suddenly that airport lunch before your flight nets extra rewards too.
The Mileage Multiplier browser extension works similarly. It overlays special offers and bonuses for online shopping you'd be doing anyway. Activate the plugin, enable American as your frequent flyer account, then shop online as normal. You'll now earn American miles on purchases at hundreds of retailers. Rack up rewards across everyday Amazon shopping, apparel purchases or office supplies for the small business.
Leverage transferable flexible point programs as well. Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and similar ecosystems allow pooling points earned across cards and spending categories. Hundreds of thousands of points can be transferred to American's Mileage Multiplier. Top tier cards in these programs offer signup bonuses worth 50,000 points or more to turbocharge your balance.
Redeem those same pooled points via each program's travel portal to book flights too. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve's high-yield 1.5x Pay With Points value nets you a 50% lift on redeeming accrued points for American flights. 100k points booked via Chase stretch like 150k when applied directly towards travel.
Never forget the tried and true tactic of opening a new rewards credit card strictly for a hefty signup bonus. Cards like the Citi Premier offer 80,000 ThankYou Points after meeting minimum spend. That's enough for a roundtrip domestic award flight without even needing to hit any calendar low fares.
Avoid mileage dilution by picking the right rewards currency for your goals. Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to United MileagePlus instead of American if you mainly fly United. Match the points program to your preferred airline. Signup bonuses and category spending bonuses earn you the most miles when kept in their native loyalty program.
Pay attention to monthly mileage accelerator promotions too. Meeting certain spending thresholds on a Citi card in July might lead to a 20% mileage rebate in August. These offers encourage using a specific card more heavily during a defined period. That said, don't overspend just to chase minor mileage bumps. Make sure you hit promo targets organically.
Similarly, keep an eye out for seasonal elite status accelerators. Off-peak promotions like requiring half the normal PQPs for status through year end aim to drive sales during slow periods. Book travel strategically during promoted windows and you may luck out with status fast tracks.
Avoid discount economy fares that don't qualify for full (or any!) miles earnings. American's "Basic Economy" tickets look cheap but often slash standard mileage earnings up to 75%. Read fare rules carefully before getting dazzled by low sticker pricing. It's cheaper overall to pay 10% more for a standard Main Cabin seat and earn exponentially more miles.