If It’s Too-Good-to-be-True: Book Now and Worry Later!

We all love traveling in luxury without breaking our wallet. That’s why firstofly is here to help! Why spend a fortune in the economy if you can sip bottomless Krug or Dom Pérignon at 35,000 feet for almost free?!

Over the years, I learned a lot. We win some, we lose some. That’s why this game is so fun if you play it right. In miles and points world, there are specific rules that you must follow. In this post, I’m going to share some tips that will help you get to your dream vacation on a comfortable ride.

Type of Deals

In general, there are two types of tickets. Mileage redemptions and paid tickets. These are both considered revenue tickets. From time to time, airlines have crazy deals to create a buzz on the internet. These are subject to availability, and usually, fare-class restricted. I don’t expect these deals to last.

Or sometimes you can find something cheap by looking at specific markets. Cities like Cairo (CAI), Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Colombo (CMB), Kathmandu (KTM), Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) are known for their cheap premium fares. This year, I purchased a round-trip business class ticket on Turkish Airlines to Bali for $1,200. Not to mention I got to fly their inaugural flight. Thanks to Cairo fare!

There is another type of deals that we don’t see often. There are insanely low fares that airlines do not intend to sell (we avoid calling it “mistake fare”). For example, when a first-class seat costs $20,000, somehow someone forgot a zero. As a result, you see the fare gets published for $2,000 instead. That said, technologies are getting better every day. There is a mechanism in place to prevent this type of error from happening. Though it still does happen. Rarely.

Book Now, Worry Later

There are countless opportunities for traveling in luxury. Contrary to what I wrote in the past – If you see something that’s too-good-to-pass, book now and worry later. I’m telling you, you won’t have time to call your spouse or confirm your vacation with your boss, just book! They don’t last long. Sometimes they continue for a day or two, sometimes they are gone within minutes!

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. and foreign carriers are required to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be canceled within 24 hours without penalty. You can see the details here. Most Online Travel Agency (OTA) usually have a similar policy. That said, please read the fare rule and restriction before booking. So if hours later you realize you really can’t make the trip, you can always cancel it. But don’t wait too long!

One instance when I was in India around on New Year’s Eve 2018. I got an alert about an insane fare on Cathay Pacific Business and First Class. I immediately called my friend, David, who is also firstofly author. He was able to snag a round trip business class ticket between Vietnam and The U.S. for $848. Score!

Where to Book

It depends on where the reservation is bookable. Sometimes directly from the airlines, other times, it’s only available through partners or OTA. If you can book it through the airline’s website directly, it will likely be honored (in case of mistake fare). If you book it through a third party website, the airlines can blame them for the error and cancel your ticket.

However, in some instances, these too-good-to-be-true deals are, in fact, real. Another example, a few years ago, Qatar Airways tweeted and told us to watch for a surprise. 

The very next day, a round-trip business class fare between Vietnam and the U.S. was on sale for $0 + $672 in taxes and carrier-imposed fees. Yes, read it right, the base fare was $0! I managed to snag two of these tickets back to back before the deal was dead within two hours. I had more Vietnamese Pho in 2018 than any other year in my life. Good stuff.

Hold! Don’t Make Further Travel Plan

After booking, I would recommend not to make any further non-refundable reservation around this trip because the airlines can decide not to honor these tickets. I would wait for a few days or weeks until you hear further updates. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe there is a law where airlines do not have to honor these error fares.

Important: Make sure your ticket has been issued, and you have the ticket number. You can have a confirmed reservation with a PNR (6 digit confirmation code), but without a valid ticket number, you won’t be able to travel.


You win some, you lose some. It’s part of the game. My philosophy is that when you see something too good to be true, just book and worry about it later! Otherwise you’ll miss out!

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