Getting a cheap flight is the holy grail of traveling and when you get one, it feels like the ultimate win. For instance, I was able to book open-jaw flights to Europe for myself and my daughter for less than $700 roundtrip. I was so proud of this deal that I shared it on Facebook.
Scott’s Cheap Flights aims to do the same thing. It’s all about finding cheap domestic and international airfare and sharing deals with subscribers through email. Using both computers and people to research opportunities and evaluate the benefits of the deals it sends, this company is praised all over the internet for the value it provides. On average, subscribers save up to $550/ticket for flights abroad. If you’re a frequent traveler, that savings can add up big time.
Here is a closer look at Scott’s Cheap Flights and what you need to make your travel budget stretch further.
What is Scott’s Cheap Flights?
Scott’s Cheap Flights launched in 2015. Founder Scott Keyes developed the idea after researching flights. Each time he found a great deal on a flight, he’d share the news with friends. He was often asked how he did it and if he could teach them how to do it. Instead of helping them out by sending individual emails, he created a distribution list and started sending them information about deals he had found.
Five years later, Keyes has turned this initial idea into a company that has more than 2 million subscribers. People sign up for a free or premium membership and in return get emails alerting them to deeply discounted prices on flights from airports they select to destinations within and outside of the continental U.S.
The site doesn’t make commissions on these recommendations. It makes money through paid memberships. The links it provides to flight deals take you to other websites where you can search for and purchase tickets. You can’t search for flights on the Scott’s Cheap Flights site, but you can browse through an extensive library of articles and resources for making smart travel decisions.
How to use Scott's Cheap Flights
A lot of what goes on at Scott’s Cheap Flights takes place behind the scenes. The website itself is a portal for you to sign up for membership. This process includes selecting airports you want to receive alerts about and sharing some personal information so you can begin receiving emails with deals.
There is not much more to the website after you complete your registration. It has an extensive FAQ section and lots of articles about being a smart, savvy traveler. You can peruse recent deals, get some generalities about current deals, and get linked directly to Google Flights with search criteria already filled in. The site doesn’t offer flight search capabilities.
Once you create an account and designate your airports, Scott’s Cheap Flights starts looking for flights that could be good deals. So-called Flight Experts review this data against the company’s standards for what constitutes a cheap flight or a good deal. Criteria include how the price compares to regularly offered prices for that flight, convenience, how much time you’ll spend traveling, travel dates, airline experience, etc.
This human involvement in the deal-finding process is a key detail in providing quality recommendations to members. The emails you get have information about possible deals and links/instructions for booking. Scott’s Cheap Flights doesn’t handle any kind of booking. It sends you to partner sites, such as Google Flights and Momondo to search for the provided deal. There, you can complete your booking.
FAQs about using Scott’s Cheap Flights
Is Scott’s Cheap Flights free?
It has both free and premium subscription choices. The free subscription offers only basic deals and information, which makes getting the premium subscription more attractive if you’re looking for the most and best deals. Added perks of being a premium subscriber include alerts for mistake fares, rare deals, and peak and holiday fares.
How does Scott's Cheap Flights work?
The idea behind Scott’s Cheap Flights is pretty simple. You sign up, choose which airports you want to fly out of, and subscribe to receive emails with fare deals to destinations within and outside of the continental U.S. that depart from airports on your list. They use a combination of software and people to find and evaluate flight deals and choose the ones that are the best value for subscribers.
How can I find mistake fares?
Mistake fare notifications come with a premium Scott’s Cheap Flights subscription. This is a great perk because finding mistake fares on your own is time-consuming, as you’ll have to scour reservation websites such as Google Flights, Skyscanner, and other online travel agencies to find them. One option is to sign up for price alerts for specific destinations with your preferred travel search service. This will route mistake fares to your inbox.
Do airlines have to honor mistake fares?
Unfortunately, no, they don’t. Scott’s Cheap Flights estimates that around 10% of bookings for mistake fares are canceled, and the bigger the mistake, the more likely it is to get canceled. However, most airlines will refund your money and some may even give you some credit toward another flight.
How to sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights
Signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights is easy. Start by visiting the Scott’s Cheap Flights website. Click on the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner of the screen. You’ll have two options to choose from: sign up with your Google account or with your email address. If you sign up using your email, you’ll be sent a link to verify your account.
Next, you’ll be asked to choose your home airport. If you live close to an airport that doesn’t usually get a high number of deals, the software will suggest additional airports to add and create a list that the software will regularly search.
You’ll be asked to choose a membership plan after you select your home airport(s). It will continually nudge you toward the premium membership, even if you choose the basic one. There is a comparison list to consider, which shows what you get with each option.
As you can see from the image below, you get very little from the free option. Because the premium membership is only $49 and you get a 14-day free trial, it may well be worth the investment for the deals you get in return.
You’ll finish out your registration with a message from Keyes and the option to check out deals that were recently available. Then you just have to wait for the deals to hit your inbox. The rest of the site doesn’t offer searches for flights or much additional information other than travel guides.
How to get the most out of Scott’s Cheap Flights
Signing up for the premium membership will help you get the most value from Scott’s Cheap Flights. As a premium member, you’ll automatically receive every type of deal Scott’s Cheap Flights searches for. Being flexible with travel dates and destinations can also lead you to the best prices. The days you fly can impact fares, and you may well find that flying into a city that’s close to your main destination can result in significant savings.
For example, when I was planning my trip to Amsterdam, I looked at prices for flying into London, Paris, Brussels, and even a few cities in Germany. Even though London and Amsterdam aren’t all that far from each other, tickets to London were hundreds of dollars more expensive than flying direct to Amsterdam. I also found the best deal for flying home was to leave from Paris. This led to planning a multi-city trip and taking trains across Europe to get from one destination to another.
Another tip for making the most of Scott’s Cheap Flights is to act fast when you get a great price. These offers may be very short-lived. Once you see an offer, immediately investigate whether it’s a good buy for you. Even better, see if there is a way to book your cheap flight with points to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Finally, make sure you’re subscribed to get ongoing communications from Scott’s Cheap Flights. This will keep you up to date on promotions, educational information, contests, and more.
The bottom line on Scott’s Cheap Flights
Overall, Scott’s Cheap Flights is a great tool to check out if you’re planning to travel or are just interested in seeing what kind of airfare deals are out there. Sometimes a great deal can lead you to places you never thought you’d go. It costs less than $5 a month to get all the premium information. If you’re someone who loves a good deal, especially when it comes to travel, that is money well spent.
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