How to Score the Best Airfare Prices: Use a “Fake” Location
Scoring the best airfare prices is a challenge that many travelers face. Despite booking a year in advance, prices can still be expensive. However, there is a little-known trick that can potentially reduce the cost of airfare by changing the point-of-sale. In Erica Ho’s article, “Use A “Fake” Location to Get Cheaper Plane Tickets,” she shares this impressive airfare reduction strategy.
Using Point-of-Sale to Your Advantage
The same ticket that costs $300 if bought in New York can cost only $30 if purchased in Bangkok. The difference lies in the point-of-sale or location where the ticket is purchased. Erica Ho managed to pay only $371 for a flight from New York to Colombia, which was originally costing her more than $500. With this strategy, changing the point-of-sale can significantly reduce the cost of airfare.
Using the Trick for a Domestic Flight in Colombia
Ho used travel search engines like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Google ITA, to compare the prices of flights from large airlines like LAN Airlines and Avianca. All travel search engines take a US-centric approach and display the cheapest flights in American dollars. However, Ho changed her point-of-sale to Colombia, where she wanted to purchase her ticket in Colombian pesos. By changing the point-of-sale, she saved $74.41 on the Avianca flight and $22.04 on the LAN flight.
To change the point-of-sale using Google ITA’s “Matrix Airfare Search,” follow these steps:
1. Open Google ITA’s Matrix Airfare Search.
2. Click on the “Sales City” drop-down menu.
3. Select the location where you want to purchase your ticket.
4. Select your departure location and arrival location.
5. Search for flights and choose the best option.
Ho noted that changing the point-of-sale can only be done using Google ITA. The price comparison proved that buying a cheaper ticket from Colombia than from the US is possible. However, the ticket cannot be purchased directly from a travel search engine like Google ITA. It must be purchased from the airline’s website.
Tips and Things to Keep in Mind
1. The best point-of-sales are the country the airline is based in and the country of destination, especially in the case of international flights.
2. Sometimes airline websites may revert prices back to those of your original point-of-sale when you use your credit card. This differs from website to website.
3. Sometimes airline tickets purchased from your home country may charge you the required visa and entry/exit fees, which may not be included in the ticket you purchase as a “resident.”
4. Some airlines charge the same for local and foreign residents, so be on the lookout for those.
By changing the point-of-sale, travelers have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of airfare. This strategy not only saves money but also allows travelers to explore new locations at an affordable price. The most important thing to keep in mind is to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign currency conversion fees when purchasing your ticket. Trying this trick can save you as little as $7 to more than $100, making it worth a try for frugal travelers.