How to save money on domestic flights in India

Today we just saved almost the entire cost of a Delhi to Chennai flight ticket using Jet Airways Miles I had accumulated since 2012.  That was what prompted me to write this post.

Airline miles aka Frequent Flyer/Loyalty program:

Low-cost budget carriers don’t offer this  but full-service carriers like Jet Airways, Vistara do.  Even Air India has one.  

The way it works is the more you fly a particular airline the more miles you earn that you can redeem later for a free ticket! You need to sign up for their frequent flyer program and provide your frequent flyer number when you buy tickets so they can credit you with miles.  

Caveat 1:  If you don’t use airlines’ website and instead use cleartrip, makemytrip etc you may not be shown the option to enter your frequent flyer number while booking tickets. Then you will have to remember to tell the airline’s agent during check-in so they credit you the miles or you can even call the airlines customer support .

Caveat 2: After you rack up miles, the airlines can change up how many miles you need to fly to a destination. Call it “exchange-rate risk” 🙂

Link for Jet Airways JPMiles program

Link for Vistara KrisFlyer program

Link for Air India Flying Returns program

Travel Credit Cards

If you are big on travel then you should get a credit card that rewards you in travel miles for spending money on the card.

Here are some cards for you: (I’ll keep this section updated with the best value for money travel credit cards)

Amex + MakeMyTrip card

Citibank Premier Miles card

HSBC + MakeMyTrip card

All of HDFCs travel credit cards

Travel Website Promotions:

Download the apps of these websites to get notified of offers run by them or the airlines.

Cleartrip Offers

MakeMyTrip Offers

GoIbibo is running a referral offer where if you refer a friend you get Rs.200 credit and your friend gets Rs.1000 credit. Personally I found that it was implemented pretty poorly. They let me use only Rs.500 credit out towards each ticket while charging Rs.400/passenger as convenience fee and not allowing me to use the entire Rs.1000 credit I had earned. On top of that, my credit was reset to zero when I tried to check the final price without buying. Turns out the two times I checked the price reduced my credit by Rs.500 each time. Hey! if it works for you please use my referral code 🙂

GoIbibo app referral code: BB9CDCE

Travel Deals on FreeCharge.in

When you recharge your prepaid phone, FreeCharge gives you travel deals and coupons from travel websites.

https://www.freecharge.in/#!/coupons

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Miscellaneous tips:

+ Let out your own apartment on Airbnb and make some extra cash towards the travel budget

+ Use the Indian railways. Go IRCTC!

+ While traveling try to stay in an Airbnb apartment with a kitchen so you can cook meals and cut some eating-out costs from the trip

2 thoughts on “How to save money on domestic flights in India

  1. Some more tips which I have found helpful is:

    – Goibibo HDFC wonder wednesday offer (https://www.goibibo.com/offers/hdfc-bank-offer/) which gets you hefty cashbacks if you are planning for future travels

    – Always lookout for special offers on your card for travel like HDFC has its smartbuy utility (https://offers.smartbuy.hdfcbank.com/deals) where you can compare and go for the best offers.

    – Plan your big trips in advance so that you can be flexible with dates and can book for a cheap price.

    – Earn from your friends books. Goibibo has this unique feature of Gocash+ in which whenever one of your friends book a ticket,you get some Gocash+ in your wallet which can be used in your bookings. All you need to do is sync your contacts list in the app and you are good to go.

    My Goibibo referral code is : s586549.

    1. Thanks for the detailed comments Sahil. Our readers will find them very useful.

      I’ve written about Goibibo in this article. Hope they’ve fixed some of their redemption issues since I last used them.

      My upcoming article has some more ideas to hack travel by even getting a flight ticket for free! Stay tuned… 🙂

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