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Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

Finding Cheap Flights with ITA Software Matrix

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, FareCompare is a useful tool when mileage running on cheap flights. But for simply finding a cheap flight from A to B, FareCompare is generally not the way to go.

I had a friend this past week ask me for some advice on finding cheap airfare, so I thought I would briefly touch on that topic.  One tool that is trusted across the board, by mileage experts and travel agents alike is ITA Matrix Software.

ITA Matrix Homepage

So let’s say hypothetically I want to go from Seattle to Miami in a few weeks.  I pick a Saturday, as this in general is a good day to find cheap flights, and pick February 11th.

And if I wanted to say, come back at the following Friday, I would enter in “6” to the length of stay field in order to return on the 17th.

Once you hit search, a calendar showing trips matching the length of your stay will come up, organized by date of departure.  I stick with my decision to leave on the 11th, as that has one of the lowest fares:

So select your days of departure, then hit “Show Flights”:

Seattle to Miami Flight Results

And I may stick with the $373 over the $371 (American) if I happen to be mileage running or focusing on retaining my elite status with a particular airline.

From here I would go directly to the airlines website or book with Expedia.  In this case I ended up searching American’s website:

American Airlines Outbound Results

American Airlines Return Results

Remember American pricing comes up one-way, not roundtrip.

American Airlines Return Results

Remember, ITA said the flights were $373 and the total comes out $417.20, which suggests ITA leaves out the tax.  This isn’t a great bargain, but it’s not bad for a cross-country trip either.

The Points Guy posted a while back on using ITA to look for mileage runs, which is also an excellent use of this tool.  I also searched the same route he posted about, JFK-SFO and found a roundtrip price of $232, before taxes.  In comparison, the fare The Points Guy found was $330.

New York (JFK) to San Francisco Search

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2 thoughts on “Finding Cheap Flights with ITA Software Matrix

  1. These are masterpieces, ITA is so useful but I always have trouble convincing non-hardcore travelers to try it. Just today I needed a Delta ticket, ITA came up with a one-connection options $50 less than delta.com or any other engine, I just needed to go to delta.com and force enter it is a same-day multi city and out it popped. I will same-day confirmed on the day of flight for free as a diamond to get the nonstop, which was over $100 more.

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