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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.
Primera Air turned heads when it announced service to Europe with $99 one-way fares. Today, the airline is offering tickets from just $63 one-way or $199 round-trip.
However, this is a bare-bones economy experience. While you’re able to carry-on a small personal item – emphasis on the small – for free, even a carry-on bag is going to cost you $11.99 each way. Checked bag fees start at $44.99 each way. No food and drinks are provided, but are available for purchase on-board for a reasonable price.
While you can pay by bank transfer for free, there’s a $12 fee to pay by credit card. And you’re going to want to pay with a credit card. Although it’s reliability has gotten better since it’s taken delivery of its new Airbus A321neo aircraft, Primera Air flights were plagued by operational issues when the airline first launched transatlantic flights.
Booking flights on any independent airline can be risky as the airline doesn’t have partners to fall back on if something goes wrong. So I’d definitely recommend using a card that offers trip delay protection, such as Citi Prestige ($500 per passenger for 6+ hour delay), the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($500 per ticket for 6+ hour or overnight delay), Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($500 per ticket for 12+ hour or overnight delay) and the Citi Premier Card (12+ hour delay).
With all of those caveats and extra fees stated, this is still a good deal for certain travelers. On the inaugural Primera Air flight, I met a family of five that were able to hop the Atlantic for cheap thanks to the incredibly low fares. The mom packed lunch for the whole crew and I didn’t see them buy one item on-board. Also flying: a soon-to-be-grandfather on his way to visit his pregnant daughter for three days and was able to just take a carry-on bag (which was included in the price at the time).
Not interested in Primera Air? There’s some more expensive options available too on better-service low-cost carriers like Norwegian, which allow a free carry-on rollerbag, provide in-flight entertainment and have in-seat power.
The good news is that there are no tricks to find these fares. Use Google Flights to search for your preferred departure and destination and then book directly with the airline or an OTA like Expedia or Priceline.
Airlines: Primera, Norwegian
Routes: BOS/EWR/FLL to CDG/ORY
Cost: $199+ round-trip nonstop in economy, not including a $12 credit card fee on Primera Air flights
Dates: September-October before Primera cancels the route on October 27
Booking Link: Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia or directly with the airline
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare), Citi Premier Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Boston (BOS) to Paris (CDG) for $199 round-trip nonstop in September:
Boston (BOS) to Paris (CDG) for $220 round-trip nonstop in October:
Boston (BOS) to Paris (CDG) for $63 one-way nonstop in October:
Boston (BOS) to Paris (CDG) for $334 round-trip nonstop in November:
Newark (EWR) to Paris Orly (ORY) for $334 round-trip nonstop in November:
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Paris (CDG) for $346 round-trip ($159 outbound + $187 return) nonstop in November:
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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