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Review: Scott’s Cheap Flights — Flight Deal Subscription Service

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Do you know how something can become such a part of your everyday life that you forget that not everyone knows about it? Well, for us here at The Points Guy, Scott’s Cheap Flights has become one of those staples. Now that Scott’s Cheap Flights is nearing a quarter-million subscribers (247,971 as of yesterday) with at least $2.5 million saved, it’s about time that we did a full review of this up-and-comer of the flight deal world.

Here’s why we’re making sure to tell you about it now: Scott’s Cheap Flights is running a Black Friday special of 25% off the premium service for everyone who signs up by Monday November 28. So, if you like what you see, make sure to take advantage of the sale. Personally, I signed up for Scott’s Cheap Flights back in early May. I loved the free service so much that I signed on for a year of the premium service just a few weeks later. Spoiler alert: It’s been well worth the cost.

What Scott’s Cheap Flights Does

scotts-cheap-flights-how-it-works
It’s actually rather straightforward. Image courtesy of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

As Scott describes on his website, he’s made it his full-time job to search for flight deals. Unlike other sites that can water down your Twitter feed or email account with domestic flight deals, Scott focuses solely on international fares. Once he finds a cheap flight, he doesn’t stop there. Since he has subscribers all across the country, he checks the other 83 cities — from New York City to Durango, Dayton, Shreveport and Reno — that he covers to see if the deal is also available departing from other airports.

Once he’s confirmed the routes, he moves on to finding the cheapest way of booking the flight. Sometimes it’s only available with a promo code through an airline’s website, while other times it’s cheapest to go through an online travel agency (OTA). Since Scott makes his money from premium subscribers, that’s where his loyalty lies. Unlike other flight deal services, Scott won’t send you to a more-expensive website to book your flights so he can get commissions.

For this same reason, he’s only going to send out a flight deal when it’s really a deal. That’s why Scott can brag that subscribers save an average of $607 per ticket. As Scott explains in his FAQ:

Q: Are you going to spam my email with lame deals?

A: Nah, I hate those email subscriptions that implore you to buy a flight every time the price drops $20 because they get a commission. I don’t receive any commission, so my only interest is helping people find steals.

Once he has all of the details put together, he sends off an email to his subscribers. But, this is where there’s a difference between being a standard and premium subscriber.

Free Service

Anyone can sign up for Scott’s free email subscription list by entering your email address on Scott’s Cheap Flights website. Free subscribers will get about one-third of flight deals Scott deems worthy of sharing. And, these emails will go out 30 minutes after premium subscribers got the heads-up about the deal. However, you can’t beat free.

Subscribers choose which region they want to receive flight deals about.
Subscribers choose which region they want to receive flight deals about. Image courtesy of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Scott is far more savvy than just adding your email address to a BCC [blind carbon copy] email list. Each subscriber (free and premium) can personalize his/her preferences. Want Scott to address his emails to you by name? Feel free to add your name. But, the most useful tool is the ability to select which regions you’ll receive flight deals about.

If you live in Atlanta, you might not mind driving up to Charlotte (CLT) for a deal. But, it probably isn’t worth it to buy a separate flight to San Francisco (SFO) to save a couple hundred bucks. Whether you’d mind heading to the Northeast or Midwest is up to you to decide. Scott recommends keeping all regions selected at first to see what kind of deals he sends out, so you’ll have an idea what regions you might want to keep.

Premium Service

Sign up for the premium service to find out about all of the deals first.
Sign up for the premium service to find out about all of the deals first. Image courtesy of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

The all-inclusive service of Scott’s Cheap Flights is a premium email list. This email list receives all of Scott’s flight deals as soon as Scott has all of the details arranged. For many of the best cheap flights, time is of the essence. Plus, for 30 minutes, you’ll be competing with a smaller group of fellow deal hounds for flight availability.

The standard pricing for Scott’s Cheap Flights premium subscription. Image courtesy of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

There’s three price options for the premium subscription: quarterly ($15), semi-annual ($25) and annual ($39). But, with the Black Friday special, you can get 25% off the annual subscription. While Scott gave us an early heads-up about this promotion, we aren’t getting any benefit if you sign-up. But frankly, $29 for a year of the premium service is a great deal if you have any interest in cheap international flights.

Drawbacks

Scott is only going to alert you to international flight deals departing from the US and Canada.
Scott is only going to alert you to international flight deals departing from the US and Canada. Image courtesy of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Since Scott focuses solely on international flights, he’s not going to be emailing you with great domestic deals like transcontinental flights for just $216. So, you’re going to want to have your passport ready to go before you sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights. Or, make sure to book flights far enough ahead to wait out the potentially long passport processing periods.

If you’re not based in the US or Canada, you’re probably not going to get much use out of Scott’s Cheap Flights main service, which only covers flight deals departing from the US and Canada. However, Scott is expanding his cheap flights empire to now include separate services for flights departing from Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Scott is based in the US, so the timing of deals might be an issue. We haven’t looked into these services in detail, so we encourage you to test the free service first.

For better or worse, the service is dependent on Scott.
For better or worse, the service is dependent on Scott. Image courtesy of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

At least for now, Scott’s Cheap Flights seems to be a one-man show. So, when Scott goes on vacation, the flight deals don’t come as often — although Scott does continue to send deals while traveling. The other issue with a one-man operation is that something could happe to Scott. To be honest, one of my fears when signing up for the premium service in May was that Scott would lose interest or not be able to make enough money to continue running the service. This certainly didn’t happen. The possibility is still there, but I would have no hesitation about renewing my subscription today.

Many of the deals that Scott finds can also be found on other flight deal websites. Sometimes he’ll find the deal first, while other times Scott will alert readers about a deal after it may have already popped up on another website. One of Scott’s Cheap Flights’ main competitive advantages was email alerts, but All The Flight Deals now also provides this service. With that said, Scott’s email frequencies (only a few emails a day), quality of deals and consistency of covering deals even if they originated on another website justifies Scott’s Cheap Flights being your only source of international flight deals.

Bottom Line

Scott’s Cheap Flights is quickly establishing itself as the go-to flight deal email subscription service — and for a good reason. I’ve seen first hand that the flight deals have been consistent and high-quality since I signed up in May. If you’re looking to save money on international flights, it’s an obvious choice to sign-up for the free email service. At $39/year, I have found the premium subscription to be well worth the cost. At $29 during the Black Friday special, it’s even more of a steal.

Have you tried out Scott’s Cheap Flights?

Featured image courtesy of jpgfactory.

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