Over the years the websites that I’ve used to search airfare have changed.
Back in the day, ITA Matrix was my go to site for looking up cheap airfare, constructing routings, etc. I still use ITA Matrix, though not nearly as much as I used to. That’s partly because I find it less user friendly than in the past, and partly because Google Flights has become so useful.
As you may have guessed, Google Flights is now usually my go to site for searching airfare. Google Flights easily lets you search availability and narrow down your options by airline, flight time preferences, etc. Best of all, unlike ITA Matrix, Google Flights actually takes you to a website (either the airline’s website, or an online travel agency) to book. That’s something that ITA matrix doesn’t allow.
However, Google Flights isn’t perfect. Sometimes their links don’t work, sometimes they don’t update available fast enough, and sometimes their fares are just plain wrong. So I do still use ITA Matrix to supplement Google Flights, especially when I’m trying to construct a particular routing, where Google Flights isn’t particularly useful.
However, there’s another site I’ve recently become obsessed with. I realize I’m probably just late to the game, but I’ve only started using it on a daily basis recently. Specifically, I’m talking about momondo.com, which pretty consistently has lower fares than you’ll find on Google Flights, especially for premium cabin tickets (full disclosure: I have no financial relationship with momondo.com).
Often when we see lower fares than airlines publish directly we assume there must be a catch, but the reality is that often certain websites have access to consolidator fares, pass on some of their commission, etc. I don’t know exactly how they get lower fares, but they do. And somehow momondo.com catches almost all of these.
You can use momondo.com to search airfare from start to finish and the site is pretty user friendly, though personally my strategy is to use Google Flights to find the flights that I want, and then once I’ve found them I see if momondo.com can find a cheaper fare. For premium cabin tickets, they often do.
Let me give an example. I want to try Qatar Airways’ new Qsuites between New York and Doha, and I found a fairly decent fare from New York to Yerevan, Armenia, for $3,016 roundtrip. That’s not cheap, but for a fare departing the US isn’t bad, especially as it’s not during one of Qatar’s global fare sales.
Out of curiosity I searched the same ticket on momondo.com.
They returned a fare of $2,661, using fareboom.com.
Sure enough, after being redirected there that was indeed the fare, offering savings of $350+.
As another example, LATAM has $1,940 business class tickets from Los Angeles to Lima, and they’re available on momondo.com for $1,854.
You should still earn miles as usual for these tickets. While hotels often only give you elite benefits and credit for stays booked directly with them, the same isn’t true for flights, where you’ll earn credit no matter how it’s booked.
The one potential downside is that if you need to make changes or cancel tickets, you have to work directly with the agency with which you booked (the one that’s linked to Momondo). That could get messy at times, since it’s much easier to work directly with the airline with which you booked, rather than with an online travel agency that you know little about.
Using momondo.com and their associated websites won’t always save you money. For example, in many cases there aren’t savings in economy or for more expensive premium cabin tickets. However, there seem to be pretty consistent savings for discounted first & business class tickets, which works for me, since that’s what I most enjoy booking.
Now I always take a few seconds to check momondo.com before ticketing any reservations, and I recommend you do the same, if you don’t already.
Lastly, I should mention that there are some other ways to score discounts on international premium cabin tickets, which may work out better than momondo.com. For example, if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express you can take advantage of the International Airline program, which consistently offers savings for first & business class tickets on select airlines departing the US. The exact savings will vary based on the itinerary.
There are more tools than ever before to help us save money on the cost of airfare, and to score the best deals you’ll want to use a combination of them. While I’ve been using Google Flights for years, I’ve only recently started using momondo.com to see if I can score an even better deal on airfare than what’s shown on Google Flights.
Do you use momondo.com, or have another site you like for finding cheap fares? What has your experience been with the savings?