How You Can Use Momondo To Save Money On Flights

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Over the years the websites that I’ve used to search airfare have changed.

Back in the day, ITA Matrix was my go to site for looking up cheap airfare, constructing routings, etc. I still use ITA Matrix, though not nearly as much as I used to. That’s partly because I find it less user friendly than in the past, and partly because Google Flights has become so useful.

As you may have guessed, Google Flights is now usually my go to site for searching airfare. Google Flights easily lets you search availability and narrow down your options by airline, flight time preferences, etc. Best of all, unlike ITA Matrix, Google Flights actually takes you to a website (either the airline’s website, or an online travel agency) to book. That’s something that ITA matrix doesn’t allow.

However, Google Flights isn’t perfect. Sometimes their links don’t work, sometimes they don’t update available fast enough, and sometimes their fares are just plain wrong. So I do still use ITA Matrix to supplement Google Flights, especially when I’m trying to construct a particular routing, where Google Flights isn’t particularly useful.

However, there’s another site I’ve recently become obsessed with. I realize I’m probably just late to the game, but I’ve only started using it on a daily basis recently. Specifically, I’m talking about momondo.com, which pretty consistently has lower fares than you’ll find on Google Flights, especially for premium cabin tickets (full disclosure: I have no financial relationship with momondo.com).

Often when we see lower fares than airlines publish directly we assume there must be a catch, but the reality is that often certain websites have access to consolidator fares, pass on some of their commission, etc. I don’t know exactly how they get lower fares, but they do. And somehow momondo.com catches almost all of these.

You can use momondo.com to search airfare from start to finish and the site is pretty user friendly, though personally my strategy is to use Google Flights to find the flights that I want, and then once I’ve found them I see if momondo.com can find a cheaper fare. For premium cabin tickets, they often do.

Let me give an example. I want to try Qatar Airways’ new Qsuites between New York and Doha, and I found a fairly decent fare from New York to Yerevan, Armenia, for $3,016 roundtrip. That’s not cheap, but for a fare departing the US isn’t bad, especially as it’s not during one of Qatar’s global fare sales.


Out of curiosity I searched the same ticket on momondo.com.

They returned a fare of $2,661, using fareboom.com.

Sure enough, after being redirected there that was indeed the fare, offering savings of $350+.

As another example, LATAM has $1,940 business class tickets from Los Angeles to Lima, and they’re available on momondo.com for $1,854.

You should still earn miles as usual for these tickets. While hotels often only give you elite benefits and credit for stays booked directly with them, the same isn’t true for flights, where you’ll earn credit no matter how it’s booked.

The one potential downside is that if you need to make changes or cancel tickets, you have to work directly with the agency with which you booked (the one that’s linked to Momondo). That could get messy at times, since it’s much easier to work directly with the airline with which you booked, rather than with an online travel agency that you know little about.

Using momondo.com and their associated websites won’t always save you money. For example, in many cases there aren’t savings in economy or for more expensive premium cabin tickets. However, there seem to be pretty consistent savings for discounted first & business class tickets, which works for me, since that’s what I most enjoy booking.

Now I always take a few seconds to check momondo.com before ticketing any reservations, and I recommend you do the same, if you don’t already.

Lastly, I should mention that there are some other ways to score discounts on international premium cabin tickets, which may work out better than momondo.com. For example, if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN you can take advantage of the International Airline program, which consistently offers savings for first & business class tickets on select airlines departing the US. The exact savings will vary based on the itinerary.

Furthermore, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers 10% off British Airways tickets for travel originating in the US. This can even be stacked with the AARP discount of up $200 per ticket.

Bottom line

There are more tools than ever before to help us save money on the cost of airfare, and to score the best deals you’ll want to use a combination of them. While I’ve been using Google Flights for years, I’ve only recently started using momondo.com to see if I can score an even better deal on airfare than what’s shown on Google Flights.

Do you use momondo.com, or have another site you like for finding cheap fares? What has your experience been with the savings?

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Comments

  1. Momondo links to some VERY shady online travel agencies, and there needs to be many warnings for passengers who need to ever make changes/cancellations for bookings through them.

    The agency fees on top of airlines and extremely poor/unreachable service makes it very risky vs booking through more reputable OTAs or directly with airlines! If you thought Expedia service was poor, you haven’t seen ChinaTravelDepot, TravelUp, Egenio, etc…

    Buyer beware!

  2. This piece talks a lot about saving money through Momondo, but what about actually booking at one of those discount “agencies” and getting support from them when there is a schedule change or delay? I haven’t heard any positive stories… but please do share.

  3. Recently took advantage of a deal found for LAX-MAD during Summer 2018 holiday period. Google flights would price it for $468 but Momondo was able to link it to another OTA for $450. Ticket was able to be issued but thats when the headache begun.

    PNR issued cannot be linked to my AA account, only by logging out and doing a manual search can the trip be brought up. Attempts to save my KTN and US immigration details doesnt seem to work. Ended up having to call AA and the issue was because the OTA was from another country, they had an issue linking up different databases. It had to be a manual entry done by the agent.

    So to save the $18 vs booking it direct at AA.com or Iberia.com,,,,, I would just swallow the $18 and not have to spend 1hr on the phone while they sort it out.

  4. I’ve heard far too many horror stories about lesser known Online Travel Agencies to even think about using those links. From what I’ve read, if there are no flight changes then things will probably be okay, most of the time. But if you ever need to contact these 3rd tier OTA’s then prepare for a lot of frustration.

  5. Lucky: I am sure you are aware that Google purchased Matrix ITA Software some time ago.
    “ITA Software is a travel industry software division of Google, formerly an independent company, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
    Google flights simply has an added interface on top of the Matrix engine and many other sites (like Orbitz, Student Universe) are customers of Google ITA Software as well. They just add interface, filters etc.

  6. I’ve looked up prices on momondo but never booked with their linked OTA sites. As others suggested sine sites are pretty shady looking and online search of those sites only makes the outlook grimmer. Unless I’m saving HINDREDS of $$ it will be hard to book through those OTA sites, not to mention losing 5x points on Amex plat booking directly with airline.

  7. For the current (as of Dec 27) BA F sale, using Momondo would have saved me £150. However, the fare rules were very different. BA says refunds cost £150, while on Momondo the generic fare rules clearly stated the flight was 100% non refundable. The price was better but the better flexibility sent me back to BA.

    There was no way (that I could find) to see the ‘actual’ fare rules, just the generic ‘you can do nothing’ rules that Momondo (and the OTA they sent me to) showed.

    Be careful if you use these guys

  8. There is a long thread about Fareboom on Tripadvisor that has been running for many years.

    Problems include very slow customer service, change fees that are higher than what the airlines charge and finally prices that seems to go up during the booking process.

    And frankly a lot of OTA’s that sites like Momondo link to are even more shady.

  9. My only experience with Fareboom was positive. Saved hundreds $ on a fare from Yul to Mel with no discrepancies once booked. Updates are drectly from fareboom indicating any changes in itinerary. Do agree the change fee is higher but savings are ligit in our experience. Booking is linked to united website and seat selection is made through United website. This is a consolidator and a higher change fee is expected in exchange for the low fare received. Would use again

  10. dude.. stop hawking shady websites… one of the most honest and best place to find cheapest fares is http://www.skiplagged.com... it gives direct links.. book it with the airline itself… there are dime and dozen websites like momondo.. don`t know whether you get referral fee. but thats ur biz… infact skiplagged gives fares way lower than momondo… airlines are suing skiplagged to shut it down because they are not able to fleece customers any more

  11. momondo is good BTW, but everything depends what OTA is offering ticket. If there’s Opodo or eDreams, they are trusted agencyes. So everything depends of it.
    Booked many times thru momondo and kayak, but longhaul tickets allways directly.

  12. Guys. It’s YMMV. This is a game we play and obviously there are risks involved when you try to “travel hack”.

    Here are my experiences with momondo.

    1. It may pay to run the search several times changing your country each time. I found a last minute emergency one way fare from EZE-MAD for my sister for €1288.30 = $1525 on the Italian version of momondo as opposed to $1618 if booked directly from the airline. The US version of momondo priced out at $1560.

    2. It pays to know whether the travel agency you pick charges you directly, or routes your card information to the airline for them to charge you, if you’re using an American Express to make the purchase (category bonus!!). I got burnt once when I found a QR business class flight for $60 cheaper but lost out on Amex 5x airfare cuz the travel agency charged the card directly.

    I have some data points as to #2, but Lucky, I think it would be great if you could compile all these data points into a blog post.

  13. i forgot to mention that booking thru OTA makes sense only if you use Visa Credit card, otherwise it makes no sense..

  14. @sean:

    Skiplagged doesn’t work for everyone.

    1. It’s best used for segments of competitive routes (as airlines of different hubs compete on the same routes).

    2. You can NOT check bags.

    3. You should NOT enter your FF#, meaning you won’t earn miles for your flight.

    4. If the airline re-routes you through a different airport (happens 2-4% of the time), you may be out of luck.

  15. @aivar

    Some of the OTAs on momondo participate in a sneaky thing called dynamic currency conversion if you use visa/master. Something to be aware of.

  16. @sean
    Lucky explicitly states he uses momondo to find cheap premium fares, and your suggestion is to use skiplagged instead, which has no filters for premium fare? Talk about a lack of awareness for solving problems.

  17. Wow, thank you Lucky

    My best friend recommended Momondo to me last year
    I added it to my iPad favorites but never used it

    Today I found RT Lufthansa and Swiss Biz class from MSP to Prague next Sept for $2714

    It’s $3500 to $4000+ on Google flights

    Might be worth a try, even if there are restrictions
    Restrictions don’t bother me anyway as my job leaves me no room to make changes anyway

  18. What are folks’ experiences with earning mileage credit from airlines when booking through these Momondo OTAs? PQMs? PQDs? Base miles? Anything?

  19. Yeah I’d be concerned about those shady travel agencies myself. I rarely change my flights because I don’t like paying the (usually $100+) fee but I’d still be extremely wary of some OTA out of China, savings notwithstanding. Perhaps a database of the more reputable ota’s it links to would be useful.

  20. LOL at using some of those OTA. Even the big ones in Europe like edreams are suspect at best and bald face liars at worst.

  21. When searching for cheap airline tickets in any class of travel, my go to site is Skyscanner.net . Out of curiosity I compared prices for same dates on same routes in economy, business and first, and although the differences were small, Skyscanner almost always turned out slightly cheaper. I recommend skyscanner highly.

  22. @Evan

    When it comes to economy bookings, you’ll be lucky to get any miles. Most tickets are booked in classes that won’t allow you to earn miles. Just a few weeks ago I searched for a flight from Lisbon to Auckland, flights can’t get much longer than this one, and I would get exactly zero miles with the cheapest option available, since everything was booked in L class with Lufthansa. Of course, I’m not saying that this happens every single time.

  23. I have booked twice with lesser know otas and it was a bad experience both times. Both cheapoair and and lastiminute.com double charged my credit card and it was a pain to contest the charges and get refunded. Lastminute.com was extremely sneaky, one charge was from lastminute and one directly from the airlines. Beware (and avoid) !!

  24. I always use KAŸAK and you should do the same Lucky.

    KAYAK is where its at.

    But NEVER book through OTAs, always through airline directly. Always.

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