Today’s world is more connected than ever before, and almost everyone would like to be able to travel more.
Although the world has become more connected, the luxury of travel still isn’t necessarily accessible to everyone. Especially when flights are involved, travel can be downright expensive.
Luckily, travel hacking has become quite popular over the last decade and a host of experts are there at your Google fingertips to show you how to save money on travel with rewards credit cards, points and miles, and a plethora of other methods.
While travel hacking comes in a variety of forms, one of the most popular and easiest methods is to utilize credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards, but this method is not accessible or wise for everyone.
Many individuals are better off scouring the web for deals in order to make their vacation dreams more accessible.
While many services require you to dedicate your time to monitor deals, there’s one relatively new service that does all the work for you.
Scott’s Cheap Flights is a cheap flight monitoring service that sends you amazing deals on flights from your preferred airport straight to your inbox without you having to do a thing.
If you’re a travel enthusiast, then Scott’s Cheap Flights is a must for your travel hacking repertoire.
Let’s delve into exactly what Scott’s Cheap Flights is, the services they offer, and the exciting new reason that makes signing up a must.
What is Scott’s Cheap Flights?
Founder Scott Keyes first conceptualized of the idea of providing a cheap flights resource after finding a nonstop flight from New York City to Milan for $130 roundtrip in 2013. Even though he hadn’t planned on going to Milan, it was the best international flight deal he’d ever seen and he couldn’t pass it up.
When Scott returned home, he began an email list to let his family and friends know about other amazing deals he found. The idea evolved and in 2015 Scott’s Cheap Flights was born. Today, they serve over 2 million members with Scott and his team of over 30 travel experts.
Their mission is to help everyday people travel and experience the world by providing easy access to cheap flights, saving members an average of $550 a ticket on international flights.
How it Works
Scott’s Cheap Flights is extremely easy to use.
After signing up, simply choose your home airport and the Scott’s team will send you emails when they find deals for flights originating from that airport.
Each email contains all you need to know to make a decision about the deal and makes booking the deal extremely easy. Emails include:
- Price of the deal
- Travel dates
- How long they think the deal will last
- A link to book the deal
Most deals are in economy, however, there are times where the Scott’s team will find an amazing deal in business class as well.
While the majority of Scott’s Cheap Flights deals were international destinations (including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam), they’ve recently added domestic destinations to their service (more on that below).
The number of deals you’ll receive will depend on where you live and the size of the airports nearest you. If you live near a major airport (such as LAX or JFK) you can expect to receive several deals a week. If you live near a smaller airport, you can expect to see deals a few times a month.
If you happen to live near a smaller airport, the Scott’s team will recommend other airport options so you can receive more deals. While you may need to drive or take a connecting flight to access some of these deals, the savings are often worth it.
Scott’s Cheap Flights offers two tier classes for membership.
The first tier is the Limited membership, which is free. This membership will provide you access to a smaller sampling of international deals from your home airport, albeit with the same level of details about each deal.
The other tier is called Premium, which comes with an annual fee of $49 that can be cancelled at any time.
Although you need to pay for the Premium membership, if you’re an avid traveler it’s likely worth the small annual fee to have increased access to all the best flight deals.
The Premium membership includes access to all deals from your home airport(s), including deals to Alaska and Hawaii, peak summer and holiday deals, mistake fares, and the newly launched domestic deals.
Still not sure? You can try Premium for free for 14 days to see how you like it before committing.
Cheap Flight Criteria
Now that you know how Scott’s Cheap Flights works, you’re probably wondering how they determine what constitutes a great cheap flight deal.
According to Scott, his team uses something called “The Mom Test” to determine the best deals. In essence, if the flight isn’t one they’d put their mom on, then they’re not going to send it to you.
There are several components of their strict criteria for flight deals:
- Great price: they only consider deals that are cheap and a major discount off the typical fare
- Quality of airline: they only consider reputable airlines and not ones that charge a ton of fees
- Routing: they only consider non-stop or short layover flights, the exception being daytime layovers so you can explore the layover city
- Travel dates: they only consider deals with a decent number of travel dates
- Rare or not: they consider how common or rare the deal is
This strict set of criteria ensures that the flight deals they send are truly great deals and don’t come with a host of exceptions or hidden drawbacks.
Domestic Flights: The Newest Feature of Scott’s Cheap Flights
Scott’s Cheap Flights recently just became a whole lot better with their domestic flight deals launch, making the Premium membership even more valuable.
Scott and his team recently decided to add domestic fares to their services due to the pandemic and the increased desire to travel within the U.S. While the world is still largely closed to Americans, Scott’s Cheap Flights reminds us that we have a plethora of amazing destinations right here. More than ever people are looking to travel to see family and friends, National Parks, or to take a road trip.
With the desire for trips within the U.S. in mind, beginning July 1st, 2020 Premium members can begin saving up to 90% on domestic fares from 35 U.S. airports.
Like “The Mom Test” for international flights, domestic flights are vetted through the “Bestie Testie.” If they wouldn’t put their best friend on the flight then they won’t send it to you.
Domestic criteria includes:
- Routing: most are nonstop or one-stop
- Airlines: they only consider reputable airlines like Southwest, United, Delta, American, Alaska, and JetBlue
- No extra fees: airlines that charge a lot of extra fees are excluded (like Spirit and Frontier)
- Advanced dates: most deals are for flights 2-10 months in advance so you can plan your trip
- Pandemic-proof: an emphasis is put on deals that waive change and/or cancellation fees for increased flexibility
The domestic fares service is only a few weeks old, but Scott and his team have already found some amazing deals. Some of the deals found so far include:
- Los Angeles to Austin for $51
- Dallas to Miami for $51
- Chicago to San Diego for $75
- Portland to Philadelphia for $106
There are sure to be many more amazing deals as airlines incentivize travel in the coming months and with Scott’s Cheap Flights you won’t miss any of them.
How Do They Make Money?
This sounds like a great deal but what’s the catch?
Luckily, there really isn’t one, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to answer the question many of you are probably thinking.
How do they make money?
First, Scott states very clearly that they do not receive incentives or payouts through members booking the deals they send. This is important because it means that the deals are genuinely considered good and not sent because of a potential affiliate commission.
Instead, Scott’s Cheap Flights generates revenue through the Premium membership subscription as well as through advertising of partner brands. These advertisements are sent in member emails as well as newsletters.
While advertisements can be annoying, you can choose to ignore them or look further into them if it’s a product or service that interests you.
Either way, the only thing you’ll pay is the annual membership fee (if you choose the Premium membership) as well as whatever you choose to spend on deals you receive.
Moral of the Story
Most of us want to travel more, but the steep costs of travel can often get in the way.
Luckily, there are a plethora of experts out there ready to help you travel hack your way around the globe.
One such service is Scott’s Cheap Flights, which sends the best vetted flight deals from your home airport straight to your inbox.
There’s no work on your part. All you need to do is choose your membership, designate a home airport, and then check your emails to decide which deals are right for you.
It’s that easy.
And now, Scott’s Cheap Flights has added domestic deals to their lineup of Premium services, making it possible to have all the best deals in flight delivered to you for just $49 a year.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial and start planning your next vacation.
Where will your travels take you?
Talk about Money Saved.
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.
She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.
Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.