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- Right now is the best time to book travel for the holidays, according to data from flight-booking website CheapAir.com.
- While prices for the holiday period have dropped since the summer, fares are expected to start creeping steadily up from October onward.
- You can also save by declining to purchase travel insurance — if you book with certain credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll automatically be covered by those cards’ included policies. You’ll also get bonus rewards.
Have you started preparing for the holidays? If not, it might be time to figure out your plans.
The site analyzed data from past years, including pricing trends and historical prices, and fares published for upcoming dates to determine the best days to fly for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, as well as the best time to book.
While booking your holiday travel on April 8 would have landed you the cheapest fares, prices spiked in late August before trending downward throughout September.
Based on previous years, fares are expected to begin creeping up in early October, spiking in November for both the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years travel periods, before rising even higher in December for last-minute bookers.
Especially as other people start booking and flights begin to fill up, prices are expected to rise significantly. While prices around the holidays are higher than normal regardless of when you book — simply due to the nature of demand — it’s still possible to find attractive prices.
There are two keys to getting the best price:
First, be as flexible with your travel dates as you can. Maybe fly out for Thanksgiving on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, and take an extra day off from work, or work remotely. Avoid the weekend before Christmas, which is on a Tuesday this year, and fly out on Monday or in the middle of the previous week. Or take an early-morning flight on Christmas Day.
Second, be ready to book as soon as you find flights for a price that you’re willing to pay. While they may fluctuate up and down by a few dollars over the next few weeks, they’re expected to trend up overall — if you wait and miss out on a decent fare, chances are you won’t see that price again.
When booking holiday travel for you and family members, always remember to use the right travel rewards credit card. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer 2x points on travel (and dining) and features trip delay and baggage delay insurance, should you hit any major snags during your trip — the beefier Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x points on travel and dining, and features delay coverage that kicks in on shorter delays.
You may also want to open a new credit card to book your trip, since you can use the expense of tickets to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn a sign-up bonus. Take a look at the best sign-up bonuses available right now if you’re interested.
Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.
Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.
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