You aren’t imagining it: Prices for holiday air travel seem out of reach.
But Priceline might have a solution: Based off of data from last year’s holiday travel season, here are the best days to book flights and to fly for the holidays.
The big days
You may be able to save money by flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. These were the days with the lowest average fares across the country in 2017. Average fares for the 2018 holiday season (based on August and September of 2018) are $351 for Thanksgiving and $321 for Christmas.
» Learn more: 7 ways your credit card could save you money on holiday travel
Based on Priceline’s data, Thursday is the overall cheapest day of the week to book Thanksgiving Day travel, while Monday is the most expensive. For booking Christmas travel, Sunday is the overall cheapest day of the week to book, and Tuesday is the most expensive.
There’s still time to get low rates
Based on last year’s ticket sales on priceline.com, late October is the best time to find the greatest deals on Thanksgiving Day flights, and mid-November was the perfect time to book travel for Christmas Day.
Check your calendar
Use this data as a reminder to check nearby dates. Christmas Day may or may not be the cheapest day to travel to your hometown. Take five minutes to try several dates near your ideal one to find the cheapest round-trip tickets.
Don’t forget reward travel options
If prices get high, consider using mileage or rewards points from your favorite travel rewards credit card.
NerdWallet does not guarantee prices or dates. They are subject to change or expiration.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
- Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase).
- Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases).
- No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual fee).
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, plus get access to the Global Lounge Collection). Terms Apply.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Travel rewards bucket list: Showering on a plane
How I flew for free: Round trip NYC to India using Chase Ultimate Rewards
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards