I often use the ITA Software Matrix, which is one of the most useful tools to search for available flights and low fares.
First, go to matrix.itasoftware.com.
Type in your home airport and destination airport. You can use airport codes like JFK (New York-JFK) or even city codes like NYC (which includes JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark.)
For this example, let’s look at JFK to Honolulu.
ITA Matrix is awesome, in that you can type in all kinds of commands like which airline you want to fly. In the example above I wrote HA into the boxes, which means ITA Matrix will only return Hawaiian Airlines results. I did that because Hawaiian has a direct flight from JFK to Honolulu. If you leave that blank, all airlines will be returned.
After the cities, you can search the standard way by typing in departure and return dates or the way I prefer. I prefer to search certain length trips one month at a time for the lowest fares by selecting “See calendar of lowest fares.” I’ve asked the ITA Matrix to search for 3-8 night itineraries leaving in the month of January.
After you click “Search” you will be taken to a calendar displaying the lowest fare departing each day. You can ignore fares in light blue (though $447 is still a great price). You are targeting the cheapest days, which are in bold orange.
Clicking on a particular date will bring up the lowest prices departing on that date and returning 3-8 days later. Once you have found a comfortable length of time, click to display the flight.
Unfortunately the ITA Matrix is only for finding airfares. You don’t have the ability to book directly through this site. Write down the dates and flight numbers that work for you, and book directly through the airline site or online travel agency you prefer.
I use ITA Matrix because a quick one-minute search can show me a month at a time on a specific airline or all airlines. Then I can go the airline’s site, select seats, and purchase easily.
Best Card to Purchase Airfare?
Instead of using cash, you can use credit card points to book free flights. Buy the cheapest flights you find on ITA Matrix with credit card points you got for free for opening a card and meeting its minimum spending requirement.
The best one is the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which has a sign up bonus worth $625 in free flights on any airline with no blackouts.
Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year and free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, 3x points on travel and gas, and 2x points on dining out and entertainment. Here's why I love ThankYou Points!