This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Kendal asked me about ways to save on flights to Europe this summer:

“Should I book a cheap flight to Europe this summer on WOW Air or Norwegian? Do you think it’s worth suffering through these airlines, or should I shell out the extra cash and fly United instead?”

I’m all about a good deal, and in my opinion, the more you save on the journey, the more you can spend at your destination. However, it’s important to look at the total picture. Low-cost carriers nickel and dime you for everything: checked bags, priority boarding, food, beverages, pillows, blankets, etc. Make sure you add it all together to see if you’re actually still getting a good deal.

Depending on the price difference, flying a low-cost carrier like WOW Air could be worthwhile.

Something else to consider is that these airlines often can’t re-book you on other routes, because they simply don’t have them. They may only offer these routes once daily or a few times a week. If your flight is canceled, you might miss a portion of your trip. On the other hand, an airline like United will have many options to reroute you, and can even book you on another airline in a dire situation. If you only have one week of vacation each year and your travel dates aren’t flexible, that safety net is worth taking into account.

If you fly United, you’ll earn miles and most likely have better customer service. However, I wouldn’t spend twice the amount for a better experience on board, because there’s no guarantee you’ll get one! If you’re flying in economy, the seat will basically be the same.

You need to decide what makes sense according to your own financial situation and your flexibility as far as travel dates go. Personally, if the price difference is huge, I would go with the low-cost carrier. If not, I’d opt for United.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.