Booking airline tickets can be stressful and frustrating. During a search for the best flight you begin to this the cheapest rate I can really get? Is this the date I want? Am I willing to have 2 connections to save $50? Do I want to pay a fee to check my bags? Decisions, decisions. Here are some tips to make your travel planning a little less stressful and hopefully cheaper!


First, try not to buy your tickets over the weekend. Airline companies know this is when you have the most time to buy, so the prices will be higher. The best time to buy tickets is on Tuesday afternoons (after 3pm Eastern). This is when the airlines lower their prices from the weekend, and match each others sale prices. When you search for a departure date, you will find that the cheapest day to fly is Wednesday (this is because most people do not prefer to travel in the middle of the week), the second two cheapest days are Tuesday and Saturday. The most expensive days to travel are Friday and Sunday. (For more detailed information on how airlines price their flights, go here)

If you have flexible travel dates and timing options, I like to use, which lets you add 1-3 days on arrival and departure dates to find the best price, and, which allows you to see all departing dates and times in a select time range in one screen with prices and "pain" of flight. (high pain = 8 hour travel day with 3 connections...)


If you have a set destination in mind (I put my hometown in these searches) sign up for price reduction notifications, so you can buy a ticket when they are cheap!


If you can be spontaneous and plan a last minute trip, or are just looking for a travel deal with no specific destination in mind, it is advantageous to follow your airline of choice on Twitter, or "Like" them on Facebook. Many will announce deals and short sales, and you can be the first to know!


Lastly, when you do manage to book your flight (and hopefully saved some money), sign up for the airline's rewards program. Earning miles is usually free and you may get your seat upgraded. Additionally, after you travel a few times you can use those points for a free or discounted ticket!


What are your tips and tricks to save on travel?

Frequent Visitor
Very good information....would that it were possible to navigate to get to a place where one could use their points to price tickets...what a snipe hunt.
New Member
I knew there were cheaper days to travel but not which ones. Did not know there were better times to make reservations. Very informative!
Occasional Visitor
Thanks for the info , wanting to join hubby for a ski weekend with the kiddos...will try looking again first of the week.
New Member
I'm finding it very difficult to find out how many reward points I have on your website. How do I do this and how do I apply them to air travel?
New Member
this was very helpful and i went and signed up right away for flight notification specials, etc. Also, i knew that there were cheaper days to buy/fly, but i, too, did not know which days, specifically. Thanks.
Occasional Visitor

Totally useless! I have scoured the USAA web site trying to find out how many points I have and how to use them online. Yes, I know I can call and I'm going to do that. Why, though, can't I easily find that information online?  

Frequent Visitor


New Member

I am a web developer and just spent 10 minutes, unsuccessfully, to try and find out how to book a flight using my rewards - and indeed, how many reward points I actually have. Seems to be a common theme on this site - good grief!

Left Coaster

All things change in time. That being said, today's way to check your points/cash amounts. From the main entry screen:

1.  Select "My USAA" at the top left of the screen.

2. In the "My Accounts Summary" box look for Cash Rewards or Points Rewards (if this is working correctly, you will see an example below).temppic.jpg

3. Click on either of them and follow the instructions.


There is no USAA Credit card that does airline miles, so basically you're dealing with money. If you use points, each point is worth $.01  Frankly I would go with the 1.5% cash back Visa as a starter. USAA was offering a bonus 1% back if you do direct deposit. Call 'em to see if this is still available.


And for airline tickets?  Check out pricing on, or or a new phone app, Hopper.  


Good luck!

Briana Hartzell USAA

@Left Coaster Thanks for the comment and tips!