8+ Sites Offering Airfare Price Alerts

| November 19, 2012 | 3 Comments
Airplane at sunset By Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

By Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

Welcome to Money Saving Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend.

Here’s an easy tip that takes just a few minutes, but can save you money on travel for years to come. I’ve been using this one for years. In fact, earlier this year I was planning a trip with my family to go to Ohio to visit relatives. We needed to find a good deal on fares from Phoenix to Cleveland, and we needed a non-stop flight. When I initially began researching fares I was finding the lowest rates to be over $500 for round trip, even though we were trying to book a couple of months ahead. Fortunately, I already had “FareWatcher” alerts set up on Travelocity for this route, so I just kept an eye on my e-mailbox.

If you haven’t used a fare alert feature on a website, this is how it works on Travelocity.

1. “Travelocity FareWatcher PlusSM is a free, personalized subscription service that tracks pricing for up to 10 city pairs of your choice. When you subscribe, you decide which itineraries and destinations to track, for how long, and whether you want to be notified of price changes via email or simply watch your travel wish list online. Your FareWatcher Plus page is available 24 hours a day, tracking the trips that are most important to you.”

What I love is that I can set up alerts indefinitely for cities where we have family or friends so I can be alerted when the rates go down and try to jump on those fares when we’re free.  I can also set up alerts for destinations that we’re considering for vacations and other future travel for a limited time and change them as our plans change. In the case of our Ohio trip, within a few weeks of when we had settled on a range of dates I received an alert that the fares had gone down to $283 for a round trip fare on United Airlines, which was exactly what we were looking for! I forwarded the email to family members and we booked the flights right away.

I have most of my alerts set to email me when the price drops $25 or more, which has worked well so far.  The fields below show what options you’ll find on Travelocity when you set up your fare alert.

Save as my home airport in MyAccount

Receive notifications via email, or watch your trips online anytime. It’s your choice.

  • Email me when air fares:

2. MileWise.com – You may have heard about MileWise.com for tracking your rewards program points and miles. (more on that another day).  But did you know that you can search for flights and get search results that compare the best options for using your rewards points or paying cash?  Then if you want to keep that same search going, you can set up price drop alert emails for that set of cities and date range.

3. I recently discovered the site AirfareWatchDog.com.  As far as I know, this is the only site that provides alerts for Southwest Airlines, because they do things a bit differently.  Here’s how they describe it.

Airfarewatchdog lists low fares that are found and verified by humans. (Yes, real humans!) Our deal hounds check fares on all airlines, from the major carriers to the little guys. We even list promo codes and airline site-only fares you can’t find on other sites.”

That sounds promising since Southwest Airlines isn’t included on any of the other search sites.  I’m signed up now to receive watchdog alerts, so I’ll let you know if it’s helpful.

4. Yapta.com – allows you to search for flights in three ways:

  • specific date range – plus or minus 3 days
  • weekend flights within a particular month
  • a full month date range

You’ll need to conduct the initial search, then when you’ve found a flight (or multiple flights) that fit within your desired date and timeframe, just click the link that says “Track Price Drops” and the specific flight(s) will be added to your list of flights to watch.  You’ll be sent updates via email or Twitter (your choice) anytime the price goes down by $5, 10, 25 or 50 (also your choice). Yapta also has an iPhone app available for the same purpose.

5. FareCompare.com – offers price drop alerts via Email, Facebook or your iPhone with no restrictions on travel dates.  Simply choose the departure and destination cities and you’re all set to receive the notifications.

6. Kayak.com – hotel and airfare alerts are emailed to you, but the search is a bit more restrictive because you need to choose a specific departure date or hotel stay date. This is best for trips that are already clearly defined.  It can be a great help for those Friday and Sunday travel dates that tend to be higher priced.  Having specified dates prevents you from receiving low-price alerts that get your hopes up, only to find mid-week flights that aren’t what you want.

7. Expedia.com – offers software that needs to be downloaded to set up alerts.  I’m not as excited about this since it takes up space on my computer and would have to be reloaded if I get a new computer.

8. Most major airlines also offer fare alerts, but this isn’t quite as effective since they’re not comparing to other airlines. However, if you’re loyal to one carrier for travel miles or find that the best prices for your city come from a primary airline, it might be worthwhile to sign up for their alerts.

BONUS TIP: Always check directly on the website of the specific airline for the same flight, even after you find a great fare elsewhere.  You may save a few more dollars and cutting out the middle man can have other advantages as well.  We’ll talk more about pros and cons of booking direct on another day.

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Comments (3)

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