Airline Rates: Tips to Get the Best Price
There are a few adjustments you can take advantage of while flying that will help you save money and make things easier. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Always feel free to comment and share with us any we missed!
Flying on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday is your best bet. On United, you can see the prices in a calendar view. Just choose the ‘my dates are flexible' search. Also, Kayak has a calendar of the lowest fares found on their site.
Midweek Arrival Options
Ocean Breeze Hotels at both Nuevo Vallarta and Riviera Maya are on the resort (RM) or close by (NV at Sea Garden up the street) and the rates on their web sites are reasonable, enough so that if I find a good airfare which is not a check in day, I would go there. Then check in is just a short distance away and I can usually coordinate with the resort.
You could fly down a couple days early and stay in a hotel in the "old town" area of Puerto Vallarta or in Playa del Carmen. It is wonderful, as you experience the lively city atmosphere and fantastic restaurants for a couple days prior to the rest and relaxation of the resort. It's a nice bit of diversity. We just took a cab from the hotel to MP on check-in day. Keep in mind though, that Mayan resorts offer free transportation FROM the airport, not TO the airport, so you have to add that cost in also if you arrive mid week. You can arrive on a Fri, Sat, or Sun to take advantage of that, and add days on at the end of the trip to get the lower airfare.
Extend your vacation
You could rent Riviera Maya Grand Mayan from Fri to Fri , then rent a car and drive to Chitzen Itza, stay at a hotel one night, visit the ruins early the next day then drive back to stay two nights at a beach house rental and return the car to the Cancun airport and fly out Monday or Tuesday.
Those Rotten Overnight Flights
Consider a getaway or extra vacation at a connection, especially if overnight flights are the only option. Enjoy that area for a few days before going on to your destination. This might work well for trying to get to Cabo from the East coast!
Try Different Airlines
Frontier used to be the best out of Denver but they have been higher as of late. Of course it is best if you can check all the time and jump on tickets if you see a good deal . We got round trip from Denver direct to PV Saturday-Saturday for $500 per ticket through United three weeks later, the same flight is now $733. When you find a price you like you have to pull the trigger quick because if they go back up you will kick yourselves.
Jetblue to Cancun
Book on Jetblue right around when their schedules open so you are able to lock in the lowest fare. (Jet Blue opens fares around 6 months in advance). Currently they only fly to Cancun.
Start Six Months Ahead
Start searching Travelocity, Kayak or other sites about 6 months out, then wait. If the price drops they usually will email you. I only wait a couple of months, because if you buy too late you are gonna pay!
Last Minute Can Work
The price SOMETIMES drops 2 to 4 weeks before the date, but this is only helpful for those with totally flexible schedules or a last minute trip. Booking at the Mayan Resorts 2 or 3 weeks in advance is often possible with us if you all of a sudden find good airfare.
Track the Price Pattern
Kayak has a cool feature called "Fare history chart" (which is a link near the top left-hand corner of the search results). You can at least then make an educated guess as to whether it's a good time to book. You can also find this service with Yapta or Hotwire.
Educate yourself on airlines' credit policies so that if a price drops while you're tracking you know what you can do at certain airlines, whether that is trade your ticket, refund or what. Some airlines charge passengers a re-booking fee in order to claim a voucher or credit. In order to be eligible for a credit or voucher from these airlines, the price of your flight must drop to the point where it exceeds any re-booking fee. Yapta will automatically take any of these re-booking fees into account so you are only notified of the price drop once your flight becomes eligible for a voucher or credit. Jet Blue, however, gives a flight credit (not a refund) for ANY decrease in price. You just must use it within a year, but it's transferrable.
Flexible Date Search
Another useful tool is "flexible date search" (adds 1-3 days to the beginning and end dates) from different sites. AirFareWatchdog also has a "within 30 days" search. (They track fares, too.)
Getting to Puerto Penasco
Getting to Puerto Penasco Mayan Palace requires a bit more planning. If you don’t live in the area, you can fly into Phoenix, and stay overnight. Rent a car in the morning so you are doing the border crossing and the drive in the daytime. Also, try for a Monday check in so you are not crossing the border on Sunday night with all the weekend traffic. Plan on a 4 hour drive through the desert. Check with us, some times of the year they offer limo service from the Phoenix airport at a discount.