How to Hack Dynamic Pricing to Get the Best Travel Deals

Disclosure: Well Traveled Mile has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Well Traveled Mile and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

We've all been there.

You go back to purchase the flight you’ve been comparing...and it’s higher.

Yes, it may be that you just missed the deal. But with airlines and hotel’s use of dynamic pricing the rate given to you may differ based on whether you have visited and searched for airfare or accommodation on the website.

Plus, the same rate you see may be higher than another person.

What Exactly is Dynamic Pricing?

The fact is that in today’s market airline prices and hotel rates are not the same for everyone. As airlines and hotels seek to maximize revenue and fill their seats they adjust rates to try to reflect the maximum price a customer is willing to pay.

This is accomplished when airlines use pricing bots that collect data from every user visiting their website.

Throw in some algorithms and a pricing strategy and voila! the price is adjusted to what they think you'll pay.

You can think of it as a supply and demand pricing scheme in a real-time market.

But Wait, How Does Dynamic Pricing Work?

Ultimately the price shown to you is a result of the company's pricing bots and algorithms. Not all airlines and travel sites use dynamic pricing (skyscanner.com for example), but it's more common than not.

Some factors that determine the rate include IP address, time of day, day of the week, customer demand and if you have visited the website before.

This information is collected for every traveler visiting the website, which is fed into an algorithm and instantly predicts a price that you are likely to pay, which is displayed to you.

Here are two examples of it at work:

  1. You’ve been checking the fare on the same flight multiple times all week. With the use of cookies stored in your browser the airline tracks your visits and may show you a higher price on your subsequent visit.
  2. A traveler searching for airfare from Los Angeles on 9 AM Monday morning may see a completely different fare than someone browsing from Anchorage, Alaska at Midnight on Sunday.

This can be incredibly annoying for the frequent traveler who is always in search of the best travel deals. The good news is that you can outsmart the system with a few strategies and avoid paying a higher fare.

How to Hack Dynamic Pricing

When searching for the best travel deals today, you have to outsmart the computers. One method is simple and can be used freely by anyone, while the other is better suited for diehard travel deal hunters.

Clear Your Cookies

A quick way to tell if you are being taken for a ride with the price you’re given is to clear your cookies or search for the same flight using private browsing (Firefox) or incognito mode (Chrome). You’ll be able to detect if dynamic pricing is being used if a different price is displayed.

Browsing in these modes prevents your browser history and cookies from being stored, which can be used against you when searching for travel deals. If you want to go the extra step to just to be sure, you can do all you're searching for flights and hotels using on one browser and make the purchase using another.

Use a VPN

Avoiding cookies is easiest enough for even the most beginner travel hackers, but it won’t allow you to avoid dynamic pricing completely. You may be seeing a higher (or lower) price based on your location and IP address.

To get around this you’ll need to trick the airlines’ website into thinking you are in a different location than where you are browsing from. This is done using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). You can read more about how they work here.

A VPN works by allowing you to browse a website with a IP address from a differnt location. This way you can compare fares for the same flight from different locations---whether it’s another city or different country. You can booked the cheapest fare you find and end up saving a lot of money.

If VPNs are new to you, there are tons of options available. One of my favorites is ExpressVPN, which not only one of the biggest VPN providers out there, but they also offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

Have other useful travel hacking tips? Share them below!

Want to find the best travel gear? Read our guides:

Extra tips on how to maximize your rewards

Getting the most out of your credit cards is a must. Compare the current best offers with our Card Maximizer tool or take a look at our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020. Here are the highlights:

Compare & Learn More About Credit Cards:
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, and recommendations on this site are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any bank, card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. You can read our advertiser disclosure here.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get engaged.

Join our Facebook group and connect with other Well Traveled Mile readers to learn new money-saving travel tips & tricks.
JOIN NOW

Disclaimer: WellTraveledMile.com publishes information on airline and hotel programs, credit cards, product reviews and travel. The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Although we use reasonable efforts to maintain accurate information on the site, we recommend all visitors to review full details of credit card products and offers, including but not limited to interest rates, annual fees and transaction fees to determine if a credit card is suitable for them.

Advertiser Disclosure: Well Traveled Mile has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Well Traveled Mile and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. You can read more about our advertising policy here.

Editorial Note: All opinions, reviews and analyses within the content of this site are the responsibility of the author’s alone, and have not been provided by, reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any Advertiser or credit card issuer.
Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that I may make a commission if you make purchases through links on my website.

giftplanetrophybriefcasemoneybuilding-o linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram