I’ve recently revised the [Instructions on how to use this site]. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so, as it will give you an idea of why I’m posting this list. There are a number of routes out of Houston and Austin that seem to always price “low” from a CPM (cents per mile) perspective and I’m often asked why I don’t feature them. So I decided to list them all here, so I don’t have to explain the reasoning repeatedly.
- Manila – Not a deal over $850 on Korean Air due to only getting 70% mileage accrual on the route. This will all change next year due to Delta and United gutting their frequent flyer benefits. Korean Air has better seats, better service, better food and a better transit hub (Incheon) than the other routes, so I’m kind of torn about penalizing them here, but that’s how it is for now.
This route is also not a deal over $810 on Delta if the route has two layovers which it usually does. (Exception: Austin, because the routing usually requires a re-positioning flight).
ANA / United will sometimes have a sale that will get you there with 1-stop for about $850, which is a deal to me due to the better routing and full mileage accrual. This will change in 2015 when United guts their program and destroys most of the accrual value. I’ll deal with that when it happens.
Air China – Not a deal over $700. It has a crappy overnight layover in Beijing and no mileage accrual. Despite this, if I ever see it under $700 I’ll let you know.
- Singapore – Not a deal over $900. Flight prices tend to range from about $910 – $1110. If you’re trying to get here, just avoid buying tickets at the high-end of that spectrum and avoid obvious blackout dates like New Years and Christmas. Sales happen almost every two months and last almost as long… which means it’s almost always priced around $950 or lower. Update: Every now and then Cathay Pacific and Korean Air have this route in the $650’s, but the routing is pretty painful with double-layovers each way and 20 to 40 hours of transit time. I would love to see something more direct for that price, but $650 is great if you don’t mind the transit pain, so a notification should go out when it’s that price, despite the painful itinerary. It should be noted: Korean Air allows stopovers on the route for $100 each. If you wanted, you could stopover in Singapore or Hong Kong to break this trip up into several mini-vacations.
- Dubai – Not a deal above $850. You can almost always book a ticket in the $870 – $1000 range if you’re not booking a last minute flight for an obvious blackout date on a weekend.
- Cairo, Egypt – Not a deal over $650. I’ve tracked this one for half a year. It’s always priced at $700 – $850. I don’t consider that price range to be deal-worthy for the sole fact that it’s always within that price range.
- Tel Aviv, Israel – Not a deal over $750. Flights to this airport were recently suspended due to a missile attack. Deals on this route are usually $770 – $860 and they happen so often that the route is perpetually priced within that range. I generally don’t send out deal notifications if the price is trading within the status quo.
- Kuwait and Aman, Jordan – Here are more Middle East destinations that will always seem “cheap” from a pure CPM perspective. Not a deal over $750. These often price around $825 – $950.
- Doha, Qatar and Muscat Oman – Maybe I should have just titled the post “don’t bother me about deals to the Middle East just because they have a low CPM”. These two are not a deal over $800. They usually price at $850 – $950.
- Beijing – Not a deal over $850. It will hover a about $870 – $970 on any given day anyways.
- Most of Asia (except China) on Air China – Air China will often have the “cheapest” route to Japan and other destinations, but you can almost always find a better value on other carriers to Asia. Most of the routes on Air China have a very long stopover in Beijing and no mileage accrual.
- Johannesburg, South Africa – If it’s priced over $800 it’s not deal-worthy. It’s always priced in $880 – $950. So it’s nothing special when it prices at $870…
- Taipei, Taiwan – If it’s over $875 it’s not deal-worthy. This flight usually prices at $900 – $1000. It’s been featured here before, but only when it was $790.
- Thessaloniki, Greece – I’ve rarely seen this route price over $780, so don’t expect a notification if it prices at $740. This route is going to be perpetually cheap, so it’s pointless to keep sending out notifications over and over again for a $10 – $20 dollar discount against the regular price. Also, Turkish will get you here for $650 – $680 with better service, a more direct route, and less stops but without mileage accrual. Cash is more flexible than miles. For example, cash doesn’t have a blackout or capacity controls and can be used anywhere. Keep this in mind when you’re weighing the value of a mile vs the value of real money.
- India – Bombay, New Dehli, and most cities in India will always be priced in the $770 – $900 range. I won’t be sending a notification unless it prices under $750 for Mumbai or $775 for New Dehli.
Expect this list to change because the airline industry is fickle about everything.