Online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Expedia and Orbitz, are useful for comparing flight prices (though some airlines, like Southwest, do not allow their flights to show up in the search results). Frugal consumers, however, should be aware that you’re going to be hit with a credit card fee if you book a low-cost carrier. This extra expense could change which flight is actually the cheapest, according to CreditCards.com.
For example, recreating the flight in the CreditCards.com article from Los Angeles to Guadalajara on Expedia, a ticket on low-cost carrier VivaAerobus will cost you $239 (for the sample dates I used), a “Best Value” flight, plus $23.98 if you pay by Visa or MasterCard (the only options), which you find outonce you go to the payment page.
While the fee is technically visible, it isn’t obvious right away that it will be charged in addition to your trip price, which says it includes taxes and fees already:
Note the absence of the $24 credit card fee in the stated price:
You may be able to avoid this by booking directly on the carrier’s site. On VivaAerobus’s website, for example, the $11.50 fee per flight (for the same flight as the one I searched on Expedia) for paying with your card is included in the price, making it cheaper to book there.
CreditCards.com notes that flights are not cheaper on the Expedias and Kayaks of the world like hotel prices are—you won’t miss out on any amazing deals by not booking through the search engines. And it will make it easier to deal with any problems with your flight, should one arise, or change your flight. So use the OTAs as a comparison tool, and then head to the airline’s website to see if you can get a better price, without added-on fees.
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