UPDATE 9/22/15 11:42 am: While I’ve successfully booked these multi-city discounted fares in the past, it no longer seems to be possible to book them. For example, the discounted fares show up on AA.com, but when you click through to book, the system generates an error.
In April, I published “Cheaper flights through multi-city search.” In that post I showed how changing a flight search from a simple one-way or round-trip search to a multi-city search can sometimes save you money. While this has been known to happen with United and Delta, it seems most prevalent with American Airlines. I ran across the same thing yesterday…
I recently decided to attend and present at TravelCon II in Vegas on November 7th (details here). So, I took a look at flight prices. Once I subtracted out Spirit Airlines, I found that prices were higher than usual. $461 on Delta, and $426 on Southwest.
American Airlines was looking especially expensive: $539.
The AA flight had a layover in Phoenix. What if I changed from a round-trip search to a multi-city search and explicitly added Phoenix as an intermediate destination? Much better! Only $366 round trip!
I tried out a few different intermediate cities and found that I could drop the price a tiny bit by swapping in Los Angeles for Phoenix on the outbound part of the trip:
This option would involve more flying and an additional stop on the outbound part of the trip. Most sane people would prefer the single stop option through Phoenix, but those working towards elite status may find value in adding additional elite qualifying miles for free with the LAX routing.
Booking the flight
It’s easy to find these multi-city prices within Google Flights and then to click through to American Airlines to book them. In my previous post (Cheaper flights through multi-city search) I mentioned that I was also able to replicate the multi-city prices within Orbitz. Unfortunately, I’ve still had no luck replicating this trick with the Citi ThankYou flight search engine. Nor could I get it to work with the US Bank FlexPerks flight search engine.