A friend passed along an article from Time.com that advocates doing something I’ve done a few times, but not described:
You can often get a cheaper price on a cash ticket if you book the ticket in foreign currency through airline’s website designed for use by people in another country.
For instance, you can save about 35% on a roundtrip from Santiago, Chile to Easter Island, Chile booking in Chilean pesos through the LAN Chile website instead of in dollars through the LAN USA website.
I’ve noticed similarly cheaper flights using Colombian websites intra-Colombia and, most notably, Argentine websites intra-Argentina.
It’s easy to search the foreign websites, easy to translate them to English, and easy to pay with a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, so this is a trick everyone should be using.
Searching Foreign Websites
I recommend starting at the ITA Matrix. There you can quickly search for flights while toggling the “Sales city.” I searched Santiago to Easter Island roundtrip in April twice.
The first time I left “Sales city” blank, which defaults to departure city.
The second time I put Washington DC for the “Sales city” to see what the price would be on American websites.
You can continue to select different sales cities and might find a cheaper price, but generally the cheapest price will be the foreign country where the flights are.
Change it to Chile. This will give you a Spanish-language site of course.
Getting the Foreign Website into English
Avoiding Foreign Transaction Fees
The last step would be to purchase the ticket with a card with no foreign transaction fees to avoid being dinged 3% on top of the $393.
If you want a free ticket, purchase the flights with your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® and then redeem Arrival miles to remove the $393 purchase from your statement. See how to redeem Arrival miles.
If you don’t have either, you can also get 2x ThankYou Points per dollar on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card or 2x Ultimate Rewards on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, both without foreign transaction fees.
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