Best tools to book cheap flights – The Points Guy

Inflation may be slowing down, but travelers may still feel the sting of high flight prices — finding cheap airfare to your desired destination at your preferred time can be a challenge. For people with flexible schedules looking for some great deals and inspiration, the array of available planning tools can be confusing and intimidating.

Fortunately, TPG is here to help by sharing some of our best tools, tips and tricks for finding the cheapest and best airfares. We’ve covered the topic of cheap airfare extensively, featuring many tried-and-true methods that our staff uses to book travel that can also work for you.

TPG also regularly posts deal alerts on some of the best airfares to make it even easier for you to find affordable flights.

Here are our favorite tools, tips and tricks for securing cheap airfare deals. Be sure to click on the related links for more details.

Google Flights

Google Flights is perhaps the most intuitive, straightforward and useful flight search tool on the internet. Its many features and functionalities help you identify the best flight prices and options for both specific flight times and flexible itineraries.

You can also search based on what TPG recommends as the best times of day to book flights.

When you’re exploring Google Flights, examine the map search feature. It can show you the least expensive fares to various destinations, which can be a great source of inspiration. You can also click on the date grid to see flight pricing for entire months at a time, and the price graph to see overall trends for pricing on your target itinerary.

Another useful feature is Google’s embedded price tracker. The tracker appears on the search results page, allowing you to track overall prices on the route you’re searching. When tracking prices, if you sign in to your Google account, you can receive notifications for price changes, new offers and expiration dates of an itinerary you have saved. You’ll then receive notifications of price changes directly to your inbox, preventing the need to manually search multiple times a day in the hopes of a price drop.

Note that while this tool includes nearly all airlines, it won’t show ticket prices on some carriers, like Southwest Airlines.

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Google Flights also recently added a Price Guarantee program where you might be eligible for a refund of the difference in the price if it drops. The way this works is if a “guarantee badge” is next to the itinerary, your flight is eligible for the program if the fare falls by more than $5 — as long as you purchase directly with Google. The difference is capped at $500, and you are eligible for up to three itineraries per year.

For more detailed information on how to use Google Flights, check out TPG’s how-to guides to some features and tips:

  • How to use Google Flights to maximize your next booking
  • 4 new Google Flights features and trip-planning tools
  • 9 awesome features you might not know about Google Flights
  • How to use Google Flights to plan your next award trip

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Additional flight-comparison sites

Google Flights is a great site to use. However, there are a few other comparable sites that work in a similar fashion with slightly different features. Just note that similar to Google Flights, Southwest fares will not be pulled.


As one of the original fare-comparison sites, Kayak serves as a one-stop shop for finding the best price. The site will pull in fares directly from the airlines, and you’ll also be able to compare against third-party booking websites, such as and

Kayak also offers many enhanced filter options, where you can search by a specific airline, an airline alliance, aircraft, layover airports and more.

If your dates are flexible, there’s also a calendar grid allowing you to see pricing up to three days before and after your desired dates, but you need to make sure to include that in your search. Kayak also goes one step further than some other sites and displays the pricing of a round-trip flight with two separate airlines — one for the departure and one for the return — if pricing is, in fact, cheaper.


Momondo is great for those who love a good visual. If your travel dates are flexible, it’s very easy to find the least expensive dates at a quick glance. The site also offers many filters and allows you to set up price alerts if the fare goes down. Momondo will also advise you whether now is a great time to purchase or if you should hold out, based on recent fare trends.

Unfortunately, though, if booking a round trip, the site will not display the cheapest airline for the departure and return and will only list fares from the same airline. This means you’ll want to search as two one-ways, which can be time-consuming.


If you are looking for a cheap flight to any destination, Skyscanner is the site for you. Just enter your departure city and select “Explore everywhere” in the “To” field, and the world is your oyster. You’ll then receive a list of destinations in order of price. The site is incredibly easy to use and can truly open your eyes to new parts of the world if you are destination-agnostic.

The Flight Deal alerts

If you want to receive real-time deal alerts without having to search for them yourself, following The Flight Deal on Twitter is a great option. This team constantly finds deals (from many destinations), and you might be lucky enough to find one from your home airport.

Go one step further and set up your Twitter account to receive push notifications specifically from The Flight Deal. This means anytime the team sends out a tweet, you’ll receive a notification right on your phone, so you don’t have to keep checking Twitter.

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