My 5 best deals of 2017 and not a single error fare.

2017 was a good year for me on the travel front racking up around 45,000 miles in the air. Nearly all of it paying cash and involving lots of deal hunting. I really enjoy researching fares and coming up with random routes to get the best value for money. I had quite a bit of success last year and wanted to share my top 5 deals of the year.


Every year I am lucky enough to go on a family holiday to the Algarve in Portugal, but since moving to the US the cost of flights has increased substantially. For the week in July I needed TAP via Lisbon was pricing at about $1,300 Return in economy. Other options included Aerlingus via Dublin but even it was coming in around $1,000.

Then along came Norwegian and their 737 MAX flights from Stewart Airport. I picked up SWF – EDI and DUB – SWF for $99 dollars each the day then went on sale and then used Ryanair flights for the flights in Europe which totaled about $150. All in all the flights came in at under $350 which for July was pretty awesome.

2.) BOS – EWR (LGA) in August

I guess this is more of a stroke of luck but I was booked on a 6am Monday morning United flight from Boston to Newark. This was a basic economy fare that cost just $59. I needed to get to work but when they ask for volunteers to change flights, you have to ask what’s on offer. In this case it was a $500 voucher and a seat with American twenty minutes later. I actually got to work earlier than I would have with United.

3.) EWR-SDQ-EWR-SFO in April

I needed to get to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for a wedding. Prices were steep at about $600 round trip which I felt was far too high. Playing around on the United website I discovered that by adding an extra leg to the reservation to price would come down.

Being close to Easter we decided to add a leg to San Francisco which in its own right was very high due to the holiday. When all was said and done the fare came to $480. In theory we could have not taken the SFO flight and still saved cash but went ahead and booked the return with American for 12.5K miles as $5.60. Job done.

4.) JFK-LAS-SFO-LAS-JFK in December

Christmas is far and away the most expensive time of the year to travel but this year wanted to be in San Francisco. I booked the return flight on Virgin America via Las Vegas for 12.5K Alaska and $5.60 on the 26th of December. I felt this was a great redemption, but still needed to get there.


Direct flights a few days before Christmas we’re pricing at between $450 and $500 again expensive for a route that is usually half that.

Meanwhile very few people go to Vegas the week before Christmas preferring the week after. Delta had a flight leaving at 8pm on Wednesday to LAS for $200 and a connection to SFO the following lunchtime was $59 with United. Hotels were empty so a king room at the Mandalay Bay was $90. Between the two of us it was a nice saving and a fun one. Who doesn’t enjoy the occasional night in Vegas.

5.) LGA -YUL June

A bachelor party bought me to Montreal in June. I decided to travel first thing on Saturday morning with Air Canada from LGA for $66. As per usual Sunday flights were steep so I started getting creative and decided on the train. A one way ticket on Sunday morning was $70 and it is a beautiful journey, sure it took a day, but the days after bachelor parties don’t tend to be too productive anyway, so why not stare out the window at things like Lake Champlain.

We’re now a week into 2018 and it’s almost time to get going again. My first trip will take me the whole way around the world in about 12 days. That kicks off next week and I am starting to get very excited.

Airbnb now allows you split payments among friends

Airbnb has for the last few years been to place where groups of friends go to book accommodation. Bigger properties allow groups stay together and often pay significantly less than booking a series of hotel rooms when traveling.

As of today they have added a feature which will make this whole process much easier as you can now split the cost between up to 16 different people. This is great as previously one person would need to cover the whole charge and then get it back from each member of the group.

One thing also worth remembering with Airbnb is that you can collect Delta miles for every dollar spent. It’s easy to link your SkyMiles number to you account and go from there. Of course this may mean you want to pay the whole lot and get the miles however at least now you have a choice.


Thousands of bonus Delta Skymiles 

It’s been a few weeks since one of the majors came out with a mileage promotion but low and behold an email just arrived from Delta with possibly the best one yet. 

They are offering a 1,000 SkyMile bonus for every new partner you use. There are 25 potential partners including everything from shopping, hotels, credit cards, car rentals and back again. So some very easy miles to pick up.

Delta don’t publish a mileage chart so redemption rates vary vastly compared to the likes of United and Alaska where you know that collecting 12.5k will get you to the other side of the country for $5.60. But occasionally you can get bargain redemptions on Delta for as little as 5,500 miles. These can include routes like NYC to Miami so are really good value. 

Some really easy bonuses come from Airbnb and Lyft. A simple purchase on via sky shopping can pick up a 1,000 for a couple of dollars. The Dining program is also available and is one of the few I have not already signed up to. So there are a further 3,000 in bonus skymiles there if you meet the spend. 

If you received a mail from Delta sign up straight away. Personally I hope to have enough to get to Miami by this time next week. Happy Collecting!!

Dublin – New York with United and Delta from €337 Round trip

Last month I wrote about my $200 round trip from Stewart airport to Edinburgh and back from Dublin with the new Norwegian Airlines service. While there are no fares that low in the coming months they have kept them pretty reasonable in the $300 – $400 range. I have been waiting for a reaction to these from the majors and it looks like today is the day.

United have just published fares for €337 ex. Dublin with Delta just a little bit more through the rest of the year and into 2018. When you take the time and cost of getting to Stewart into account these are great value as traditionally you were looking at €500+ who knows low long these will last but I wouldn’t be surprised to see AerLingus get involved and then we will have a nice little fare war on out hands. 


Don’t leave miles behind – Earn with Amazon, Groupon and Airbnb

Nowadays you can earn airmiles on pretty much everything you buy. All the major airlines have shopping portals, dining programs etc. along with the traditional affiliated hotel and car rentals programs which have been around for years. 

However consumer habits are changing as more and more shopping moves online and certain companies have not needed to advertise themselves up until recently by offering bonus airmiles. The companies I have listed below are ones you have probably used at some point or potentially on a regular basis and you may not know that you could be earning valuable miles with each purpose. 

JetBlue – Amazon 

By making your Amazon purchases through JetBlue you can earn 3 miles a dollar. Amazon is the go to place nowadays for many people to buy pretty much anything and the vast majority are not boosting their JetBlue balance with every dollar spent. 

Delta – Airbnb

Portugal Packages

When a trip is booked the first stop for many people is Airbnb to look for accommodation. Personally I believe the gap is closing between hotel prices and Airbnb but finally the ability to earn airmiles thanks to Delta (who look to have taken over Virgins partnership) may make it worthwhile to book with them.

Alaska – Groupon

Groupon is another hugely popular program which offers discounts on all sorts of things. This is a pretty sweet deal from Alaska offering a 1,000 mile bonus and 4 miles a dollar on spend. 

These are just three hugely popular websites where you can earn some extra miles. If you are planning a purchase don’t leave the miles on the table.