Farecompare.com used to have a really handy web page at farecompare.com/flyertalk, which would display the cheapest fares out of any city of your choosing.
It used to look something like this:
Now going to the page just gives you this:
I’m not sure whether this is just a temporary thing or they got rid of the page forever, but it was the first and last webpage I checked every day, since it was the easiest way to see if there were any fare sales out of my home airport.
Obviously I’m not the only person that loved Fare Compare’s city search tool, since over the past couple of days I’ve constantly been asked where to go to find low fares, especially in light of American’s double elite qualifying miles promotion.
While it’s by no means a replacement, I think the next best option is using ITA Matrix. It requires a bit more work, though it kind of sort of does the trick… kind of.
Go to matrix.itasoftware.com.
Enter your home airport in the “Departing From” field, and then in the “Destination” field enter every possible city that could have a cheap fare, separated by semicolons or commas. Typically you’ll want to look for transcon fares, so out of Tampa I might type in something like:
In the section immediately below the origin and destination field, select “see calendar of lowest fares.” Then select the first date you’re willing to travel, as it will show you a month-long calendar for dates after that. Lastly, select how long you’d like to stay at your destination for.
After selecting the dates, be sure to uncheck the box which says “allow airport changes.” If you don’t uncheck it, the search may return results where you’re flying into Las Vegas and out of Los Angeles, for example, which isn’t very helpful for mileage running. Once you’ve done that, at the bottom of the page, click “Search.”
You’ll now get a page with prices listed by date on a calendar. The dates with the cheapest fares will show up in orange.
You can then click on any date of your choosing and see the comparison of fares across various airlines.
But of course as you saw, the prices on the calendars were based on the cheapest fare of any airline. Lets say you wanted to fly a specific airline. To specify that you would go back to the home page and modify the code.
To specify you want to fly a certain number of segments on a certain airline, you type the airline’s two digit once for each segment you want. If I wanted to know the cheapest mileage run with two segments in each direction on American out of Tampa, I would type the following:
TPA:: aa aa
SFO, LAX, SEA, SAN, SNA, PDX, MRY, PSP, LAS, PHX, BUR, ONT:: aa aa
As you’ll see, this creates a new field where the airline codes display.
As displayed above, this is saying I want to fly from Tampa to any of those airports on American Airlines in two segments in each direction.
Once you click “Search” you’ll get a new calendar which will have narrowed down the options per your specifications.
Like I said, it’s not a perfect fix. ITA used to supplement Fare Compare very nicely. Though without Fare Compare, it’s the next best option, as far as I know.
Anyone else know of any tools for planning mileage runs?