Is It A Good Deal To Buy The Cheapest Air Tickets?


How do you usually buy air tickets for travel? Usually, there are several ways to buy:

  • Online Travel Agency (OTA), such as Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak,…etc.
  • Airlines' Website
  • Travel Agency

People usually love to buy the cheapest tickets in order to save more money. However, is it really a good deal to buy the cheapest air tickets? Most of people only know 4 different cabins when it comes to air travel: economy class, premium economy class, business class, and first class. However, there is more information behind these 4 types of the cabins. For example, when we talk about economy class, there are actually different types of economy class, which are assigned by alphabet codes from airlines, such as Y, B, H, K, O,….etc. These codes usually reflect the price of these different economy tickets. When airlines sell economy tickets, it can be divided into different fare classes with different codes, which means it can be “full fare” (most expensive), “regular discounted fare”, or “most discounted fare” (cheapest). These codes also imply one of the most important information: how many miles you can earn from flying!

Highlighted part as the fare class codes (Photo Credit:

Let's take a look at the following air tickets for example to make you understand what I am talking about:

(1) The CHEAPEST Economy Class ticket for San Francisco ~ Taipei route, operated by EVA Air

This is the cheapest ticket you can search from OTA. However, when you see how many miles you can earn if buying this tickets for flying, you end up earning ZERO mile based on the rules from airlines because this is the most discounted economy class fare (V Class). Therefore, you get nothing back from this 12-hr flight since no miles can be earned after you finish your flights.

(2) Economy Class tickets for San Francisco ~ Taipei route, operated by EVA Air

This ticket cost just $19 dollars more than the previous one. However, you can earn 6,456 miles after flying round-trip based on the rule from airlines. If your goal is to redeem award ticket for Los Angeles ~ New York route, you will earn 1/4 of your required miles towards your goal when you credit your miles to United Airlines' program! So, if you buy this kind of ticket 4 times for flying, you are able to earn a FREE round-trip ticket for Los Angeles ~ New York, and it only costs you for less than $80 in total comparing to buying the cheapest ticket like Example (1) 4 times but earn ZERO miles!

As you can see from the above figure, this is the W Class economy class fare, which is eligible to earn miles by rules. The previous one is V Class economy class fare, which is NOT eligible to earn miles by rules. Since award miles could help you redeem for FREE tickets, it is important to earn more miles as hard as you can! Paying a little bit more can earn way more miles than the cheapest tickets, I would say this is a much better deal, isn't it?

Hopefully you guys understand that the cheapest tickets is not always the best. If taking earned miles into account, I will definitely be willing to pay a little bit more as long as I can earn miles from flying. That is the beauty of this points and miles game, which help you to earn more miles to fly for free! Welcome to the club!

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