In the ever-expanding world of travel, subscription services are on the rise. There’s a membership for virtually everything these days, from better hotel rates to airline “passes” guaranteeing subscribers cheaper fares. But as a frequent traveler who prides myself on finding economy deals and using credit card points to cover about a trip a year, I have always been wary of the idea of paying to make something cheaper. That was until I tried my hand at planning a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon complete with business-class flights–also my first trip out of the country in over two years–amid a pandemic.
Thanks to the coronavirus many people’s attitudes toward upgrades have changed: More fliers are choosing premium-economy and up for comfort over stress. For me, at least, I’m opting for quality-over-quantity upgrades when I can, plus my partner and I have always dreamed of flying business class together on our honeymoon. Setting out on the hunt for premium flight deals in the Greek islands’ high season summer, however, turned out to be a tall order. After signing up for a sea of stress-inducing Google alerts (and amid wedding planning turning them all off), I opted in favor of a paid service that streamlined those business-class fare alerts and contextualized them all for me. Here’s how I used Scott’s Cheap Flights Elite to score my very first business-class tickets abroad, and how other travelers can best use the $199 per year service.
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Editor’s note: For a limited time, Traveler readers can purchase Scott’s Cheap Flights Premium for 25 percent off with the code CNT; offer expires March 31.
How to decide if a paid flight-deals subscription is right for you
Paying $200 to get premium flight deals sent to your inbox of course isn’t for everyone. For me, after hunting on all the usual suspects–flight blogs, Google Flights, OTAs–for about a month and coming up with nothing except an inbox full of unimpressive fare alerts to delete, my bottom line was that honeymoon planning taking up way too much of my time, and time is money. Plus, the money a typical Scott’s Cheap Flights subscriber saves on a single flight deal (their average fares are typically several hundred dollars less than the standard ticket price) typically makes the service worth the up-front cost. And plenty of people agree: Scott’s Cheap Flights currently has more than 2 million paying subscribers. In general, compared to other services and automated alerts I have used in the past, Scott’s Cheap Flights alerts are more frequent, and seem to have overall better deals than many other options out there.
How? The company staffs a small team of full-time fare analysts who comb Google Flights for deals and mistake fares, and send them directly to your inbox along with contextual information about how good the deal is, what dates it’s bookable for, and a live link directly to Google Flights for you to compare other options yourself. For me, this was the most key part of the service: There is no detail too small when it comes to these emails, which define for you what the fare class includes depending on the airline, and if they have ever found a fare as low as what they’re alerting you to. Here’s one example I received for a first-class option to Athens during my search, although it was a bit too expensive for us: