How to Get Cheap Plane Tickets on Short Notice

Finding cheap plane tickets on short notice

Need to get some cheap plane tickets right now? Check out these tips where to find them. Photo credits: © Ben Chams – Fotolia.com

One way how to get cheap plane tickets is to book them in advance. However, situations like a family emergency or a sudden change of assignment in the office may require us to book airline tickets on short notice. The problem is, the closer you  buy plane tickets to your travel date, the more expensive they become.

5 Ways to Get Cheap Plane Tickets

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot to make these sudden travel arrangements. Here are 5 things you can do to get those cheap plane tickets on short notice:

1. Inquire about special rate plane tickets with the airline.

Major airlines offer special plane tickets at discounted prices for emergencies. Among these include bereavement airline tickets for those that need to make a sudden trip because of a death in the family, and military fare plane tickets for those that have been told that they will be deployed to another country. These artiness will often require you to present some documents like a death certificate (for bereavement plane tickets) or notice of deployment (for military fare tickets) in order for you to qualify for the special rates.

2. Use your mileage points.

If you have a frequent traveler’s card, you can use the mileage points you’ve earned here towards a new plane ticket. The amount of mileage points required for a specific destination depends on the airline. If you don’t have enough mileage points to cover for the entire plane ticket, some airlines will allow you to still book this and just pay for the difference, minimizing the amount you need to shell out to book your ticket.

3. Convert your credit card reward points.

Another way to get cheap plane tickets is to use your use your credit card reward points.  Some credit card companies have tied up with different airlines that will allow you to convert your credit card reward points into mileage points which can then be used to book your plane ticket. This is a great way to add up the mileage points in your frequent traveler’s card if you don’t have enough to cover for the entire plane ticket.

4. Check for last minute deals online.

Travel websites like Expedia.com offer last minute flight deals to both local and international destinations. The websites have special arrangements with airlines, allowing them to offer discounts on a specific number of plane tickets for each destination.

5. Be flexible when booking your plane tickets.

When it comes to buying cheap plane tickets, it is important that you’re willing to adjust your schedule. More often than not, the cheapest plane tickets are those that either leave very early in the morning or very late at night. It may be a slight inconvenience on your part, but it is a small price to pay to be able to get a cheap plane ticket on short notice.

A Final Reminder…

While it’s easy to buy cheap plane tickets on short notice, it is also important to point out that these airline tickets have very strict rules and regulations attached to them. That being said, it is still important to take some time to read through the attached rules and restrictions before completing your purchase so that you won’t get any unwanted surprises.

Did you ever have a situation where you needed to find cheap plane tickets on short notice? How did it go for you? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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About Adeline Yuboco

A natural-born foodie with an eye for detail, I started Life and Leisure to be a place where I can share on how to travel and live in style within your means. At the same time, I cover various events for DigitalJournal.com where I'm a contributing journalist. If you got a great story idea or have an event you'd like me to cover, drop me an email at the Contact page, message me on Twitter, or Connect with me on


  1. Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time :-)
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  2. Thanks for sharing these tips Adeline. I always try to buy my plane tickets well in advance to avoid having to book one last minute. But, I will definitely keep these points in mind in case of an emergency. :)
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    • Yes, I always recommend to my friends to buy at least two months in advance. It’s far away enough to get a good deal on the price, yet close enough to make sure that you’re not going to make any sudden changes to your trips. Unless, of course, there is an emergency. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  3. Susan Cooper

    I’m like Freddy, I buy my tickets in advance and am able to get great rates on the dates I need. It takes advanced planning and a commitment to not be tempted to make any changes. However, there are times that a last minute purchase my be necessary and these tips will come in handy when that happens.
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    • Quite right, Susan! You really need to be sure that you’re committed on going because the expense is not a joke. Unless, of course, you find yourself facing a really important situation where you either need to make arrangements or cancel arrangements.

      PS. I saw your name in the list of Networking Superstars. Shame we’re not on the same team. Hopefully, next month! :)

  4. I actually use airmiles and earned miles from card to support my frequent travels. It does save me a lot in terms of flight expenses.

  5. This is a good piece of advice sis. I will take note of this on my next purchase. love this!
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  6. it’s a good thing we have accumulated mileage points, so whenever there’s an instant need to travel, we can redeem the points :)
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  7. Early bird discounts are really the way to go, at least for us. You get to book for less and choose “kulimpats” better. This reminds me of a recent trip via train though, when I forgot to bring my membership card and we paid full for the kids’ fare when they are usually free of charge. :( what a waste…
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  8. it is really cheap to fly these days. I can remember purchasing a round trip ticket for only 60 pesos. however, we have to be very vigilant with the terms and conditions…

  9. yeah either I always buy in advance to get those “early promo rates” or late promo deals.. thanks for the tips! very useful for a traveler like me.. ;)

  10. Mileage points sometimes come as great blessing. An FB friend was able to fly back to Pinas straightaway after only 1 or 2 weeks of getting back to the US, when his Dad died, using his friends mileage points, or was it some way in the fees they were able to save, but it was about mileage points that he was able to attend his Dad’s funeral when he couldn’t have.

  11. the best way to purchase ticket on a short notice is through online but the downside of it is that it has very high taxes. And most of the time, its always fully booked :(
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  12. I guess one most important thing to get special rates for flights is PATIENCE. And honestly, I don’t have that. Good thing I have friends who do and they get the best flights and they tale care of my airfares =) but your tips are great as well, in fact, they do those as well.

  13. Sometimes things happen, and we just have to fly at the last minute. It’s good that there are ways to get plane tickets cheap. These are really helpful tips. I\’ll share these with my Australian boss who frequently flies.
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  14. these are great tips… using all possible ways to lower your fare. planning really is vital in getting big discounts. thanks for these. Yahweh bless.
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  15. Great tips! I am a deal junkie. If I find a good deal , I sometimes buy our tickets 6 months before our planned trip.
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  16. I actually haven’t tried getting plane tickets in advance, we just go in a spur of the moment only because when we plan for a trip, something will always come up and it won’t push through :(
    But my sister is the one whose on the look-out for sale promos :)
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  17. Maybe it’s about time for me to avail of that mileage card so I can enjoy the privileges of constant traveling. :)

  18. If only I read this post before going on my vacation few months ago. Wasted a lot of money. Now I just look for deals before planning my vacation.

    One suggestion: Checking out deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social for travel deals will help save a lot! I am sticking to this plan as of now!

  19. I’m not much of a traveler so my usual experience with this is through my daughter who frequently flies in and out because of her work. She usually looks out for the promo flights so she can get to visit her family more often.

  20. I always convert my cc reward points for this :) And I always consider getting the “unlikely” flight schedule to get better rates. I usually get the earliest and the latest flight out. Works for me every time. :)

  21. real reason why I want those mileage points up high! lol! but first things first.. I need money to do traveling and then buying the tickets come sooo easy!

  22. I always travel when their is special offer from travelling agency. So at that time plane fare also cheap.

    Thanks for adding some valuable points :)
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  23. Normally, when I travel abroad, the agency does everything for me. Reading this makes me realize how things work whenever I make a call to me travel agent. Lmao.
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  24. I tried some of those when I was still working in Qatar. Now that I am in the US , the ticket back to Philippines is so expensive .Maybe discounted ticket from my brother in law who is an international pilot , would help us to get cheap ticket.

  25. In a somewhat distant past, a common, money saving strategy was to wait until the last minute to book a flight. Airlines, often enough, would be discounting tickets to fill, still empty, seats as departure time approached. Today, the last minute booking is at risk of being the more expensive flight ticket because all available fares and other discounts for that flight were purchased earlier.
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  26. I still make sure to book in advance, but, I think I will have to think about getting a credit card with mileage points or rewards points. That will definitely help!

  27. Personally, I always make it a point to book my plane tickets a few months early. Not only does it save me on extra expense, I also get to save up for the trip ahead of time. But there was one time when I had to buy tickets for me and my brother on such short notice. We got approved of a Korean Visa a week before our scheduled visit. The prices were too steep at the time but we’ve managed to get something that we could still afford.

  28. These are great tips especially if you cannot plan ahead your trip. A spur-of-the-moment decision to take a vacation can be very expensive but these tips will somehow help save money. Thanks for sharing them!

  29. The other day I was very tempted to book a flight next year to SG because of Cebu Pacific’s piso fare. I don’t have a credit card, just an unverified paypal account so most online bookings and points accumulation stuff won’t be available to me.

    This are great tips for those “i-need-to-get-away-asap” trips :)
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  30. I have a VISA mileage card but up to now I haven’t tried it . Thanks for sharing this sis.

  31. thank you for the tips… as this among my least favourite things to do, i always end up paying a little extra then regretting — thinking i could have bought something instead for the savings…

  32. those are indeed good tips. I ‘m not a frequent flyer but this will really help .
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  33. Mileage and credit card points are amongst the best option.Thanks for sharing your tips about getting cheap plane tickets Adeline. Very informative.
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  34. We are frequent flyers, we do get our tickets online and we get it during sale periods, but this would be of great help to us, thanks for sharing!

  35. All true! We always book months, months, months ahead to save a lot of bucks!

  36. these are great ways to have savings from your travels… thanks. Yahweh bless.

  37. It still pays to book way way ahead. These are some helpful tips.

  38. Wow! it is awesome post. now i get all the information about how to get cheap airticket on short notice. it is very useful specially for those who often travel or sometimes they need to travel on very short notice.

  39. Some good suggestions raised here. I remember hearing about the bereavement offers not too long ago.

    If people are using frequent flyer points for redemption then beware of charges for luggage etc. These soon add up although with a higher status frequent flyer card you can get free luggage allowance with many US carriers.

    Also beware of taxes and fuel surcharges. Redeeming points is not as cheap as it used to be in the good old days. I also heard that BA’s new scheme, Avios will also have taxes and charges with point redemptions.
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  40. Hey Adeline,

    Thanks for sharing these great tips…this is my first time to your blog and I love the content.

    Thankfully, I haven’t had the need to purchase ticket s on short notice, but these tips are great just to save money on your tickets. Like so many things in life, it is definitely important to be flexible and to understand that sometimes you will need to adhere to stricter than usual policies. So, always good to conduct your due diligence, just like with looking for a new business venture.

    Although I am not a natural foodie like you, I work with many who are and I will recommend them to your blog. I work in the Food Industry…my Company manufactures and distributes Housewares and KitchenWare for the retail and Food Service Industries.

    Keep up the great work,
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  41. It`s mainly useful in situations like a family emergency or a sudden change of assignment in the office may require to book airline tickets

  42. Thanks for the giving information based post on buy airline tickets. I think almost every vacationer search for cheap air tickets before going on any vacation. To help out such vacationers there are lots of online portals are providing online booking of air tickets in few clicks on discounted rates. Great post!!! :)

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  43. Easy to understand article, really like it:) There\’s a lot of good vacation deals waiting to be found if you wait til the last minute.

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