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How and When to Shop for Travel After Thanksgiving

Nov. 21, 2018
Travel, Travel Credit Cards, Travel Deals
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With the year’s biggest shopping weekend ahead of us, offers for the “best deals” will start bombarding shoppers from all sides. But are they the best available offers for travelers?

And, more importantly, should you plan your travel purchases around specific dates?

Over the course of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, now, “Travel Tuesday,” several airlines and travel agencies will offer discounts on their products and services. By having a little patience and an understanding of when bargains peak, it’s possible to get the best prices for your adventures in 2019.

Should I shop for travel deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Travel Tuesday?

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday offer deals on many different big-ticket items, from televisions and gaming systems to vacuum cleaners and stand mixers. Travel deals aren’t exempt from this big shopping spree — and smart travelers know there are deals out there over all four days.

But not everything immediately goes on sale. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, hotels and resort packages are the first things to go on sale; airfare often goes on sale between Black Friday and Travel Tuesday.

Airfare price-tracking research app Hopper suggests the post-Thanksgiving rush begins a slow period for airlines that can last throughout the winter. To encourage more travel, they use the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Travel Tuesday dates to discount airfare and ensure full flights throughout the long winter. In 2017, Hopper claims as many as 20% of both domestic and international airfares were discounted on Travel Tuesday, with savings ranging from $200 to $310.

But according to Skyscanner, the average price of an international ticket dropped to around $750 on Cyber Monday 2017 before shooting back up again to over $800. Prices dropped by as much as $357 on select routes from the U.S. to Europe and to Asia.

Before making any purchase, make sure that it fits within your budget and you’ve comparison-shopped across other websites. Through careful planning, shopping on all three travel days can result in big savings.

What should I shop for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

While there are some airfare sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two days are all about hotel and resort package deals. Some of the bigger deals available on Black Friday and Cyber Monday include:

Orbitz.com:

    • Between Nov. 23 and Nov. 27, 2018: Use the promotion code THANKFUL to save 15% on hotels.
    • On Nov. 23: Select hotels will be 50% off all day. Use the Orbitz smartphone app to shop for hotels and the code APPSAVINGS18 to save an additional 18% off hotel bookings.
    • On Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Select hotels will be 50% off. Use the promo code MONDAY17 to save an additional 17% off hotel bookings.
    • All bookings qualify for Orbitz Rewards, earning Orbucks that can be applied like cash toward future bookings. The rewards can be multiplied when using the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card.

Hotels.com:

  • Starting midnight on Friday, Nov. 23, through Monday, Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, anyone who visits Hotels.com will have the chance at 7%, 8%, 10% or 99% off hotel room bookings with their electronic scratch-off mystery coupon.
  • The mystery coupon is only valid between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26. If you get the 99% off coupon, your maximum spend is $1,000.

Other Black Friday and Cyber Monday travel deals include discounts at Intrepid Travel Tours, all-inclusive vacations to Mexico and the Caribbean through CheapCaribbean, and select hotels.

Airlines are already offering some flight deals, which will run at least through Cyber Monday. TravelPirates has posted three different airfare sales that are valid each day of the holiday weekend:

  • Aer Lingus: Save up to $50 off select East Coast flights and up to $100 off select West Coast flights. Flights must be booked by Nov. 28, 2018.
  • Cathay Pacific: Save up to $500 off select premium economy flights and up to $1,000 off business class flights when you use the code HOLIDAY. Flights must be booked by Nov. 27, 2018.
  • WOW Air: Fly for as low as $69 one-way to Iceland and as low as $99 one-way to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dublin or London. Flights must be booked by Nov. 25, 2018.

What should I shop for on Travel Tuesday?

While some airfare deals can be found throughout the weekend, many experts predict the best day for low-cost flights will be Travel Tuesday. If you don’t find a flight that works for you during the holiday weekend, it could pay off to book on Nov. 27, 2018.

Although we don’t know the exact deals that could come into play by then, indicators from airfare tracking companies suggest airfares will be at their best price. Combined with discounts offered by carriers, Travel Tuesday could offer the best chance at discounted travel deals.

Do points and miles play into Black Friday?

If you are searching for big-ticket items but want to earn points or miles for your purchases, there are ways you can get discounts and earn rewards.

All five major airline malls are offering bonus points when you shop through them during the holiday weekend. To add even more points during your shopping, consider using the corresponding airline credit card to add 1 point or more per $1 spent online.

If you are shopping for airfare or hotels, using the right travel credit card can get you rewarded with bonus points. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers two times the points on travel and dining, while the American Express® Gold Card offers three times the Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Best travel credit cards of 2018
The top websites for travel deals
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards

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