Whilst some of us enjoy the chase of hunting down a sale fare (or reward seat), signing up for fare alerts on a specific route or for all destinations is a good strategy. It’ll save you time and take some of the guesswork out of the equation.

There are a number of services that travellers in Australia can use to monitor price drops in airfares. It’ll let you know when the price matches or falls below your target. Alerts are free and you can stop them at any time.

Qantas Airways Logo How to set up Qantas Fare Watch

Unfortunately, at the time of writing Qantas has stopped offerings its fare alerts feature on desktop and mobile browsers. You can only set it up through the Qantas App, but unfortunately won’t let you select a specific price.

How to set up alerts in the Qantas app for cash fares

  1. From the home screen of the Qantas app, click on Fare Watch
  2. Input the departure and arrival cities
  3. Choose your travel dates — it can be a range of dates, a specific month or anytime
  4. That’s it. Select ‘Done’ to set up the price alert. You can manage your alerts from the bottom of the Qantas App home page.
Qantas’ ‘Fare Watch’ is accessible via the app.

How to set up Qantas Dream Planner alerts for Reward Seats

Qantas Dream Planner is a relatively new feature that enables you to activate reward seat alerts for when you want to use your Qantas Points for Classic Flight Rewards.

  1. Search for travel destinations on the Qantas website.
  2. In the top-left corner, tap the ‘heart’ icon to save that destination to your Dream Planner.
  3. Fill out your travel details, being as specific as possible. This includes dates, number of passengers and travel class.
  4. Tick ‘Dream Planner Email Notifications’ if you wish to receive email updates on Classic Flight Reward seats.
  5. Press the ‘Save to Dream Planner’ button to lock-in the request.
Entering Dream Planner details
The process of locking in a trip to the Dream Planner.

Virgin Australia Logo How to set up Virgin Australia fare alerts

Virgin Australia does not currently offer the ability to set fare alerts on specific routes, however, you are able to subscribe to the V-mail newsletter to receive sale alerts.

Alternatively, the Virgin Australia App allows you to browse and filter current sale fares, including setting price limits.

Virgin Australia’s specials are browsable via the app.
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Using fare alerts on other sites to track all flight prices

How to set up fare alerts on Google Flights

This is one of our favourite flight search tools as it’s easy-to-use and fast.

  1. Perform a search
  2. Click on Track prices on the left-hand side. If you’re logged into a Google account, you’ll start receiving email updates
Google Flights fare alert

How to set up fare alerts on KAYAK

Alerts on KAYAK can be set up for exact dates, flexible dates or the top 25 cities around the world or in a specific region. To create an alert, you have two options, for both of which you’ll need a (free) KAYAK account:

  1. Perform a search and toggle Track prices to On
  2. Go to Notifications in your account and click on Create a Price Alert
KAYAK fare alert

How to set up fare alerts on Skyscanner

It is simple to set up a fare alert on Skyscanner, but you are limited to exact dates and, again, you’ll need an account.

  1. Perform a search
  2. Click on the Get Price Alerts button in the left sidebar
Skyscanner fare alert

More ways to find cheap flights

Whilst there is no hard-and-fast rule for finding the cheapest flights, we might suggest the following:

  • Adjust your departure time: for business-heavy routes, trying flying during the middle of the day rather than the peak periods in the morning or evenings
  • Try a different day: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to be cheaper days to fly, with Sundays, Mondays and Fridays registering peak travel demand as people travel for work
  • Use alternative airports: smaller airports tend to charge lower fees to airlines, meaning lower fares for travellers, e.g. you could consider Melbourne’s Avalon instead of Tullamarine, the Gold Coast instead of Brisbane, Oakland instead of San Francisco, or Paris’ Orly instead of Charles de Gaulle
  • Break it up: for long-haul travel to Europe, consider starting your itinerary from a big Asian hub such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong and buying an AirAsia, Jetstar or Scoot ticket from Australia to Asia
Jetstar A321 exterior shot
Flying a low-cost airline to Asia and then buying a separate ticket to Europe can reduce your travel costs — but will probably increase your travel time and not be as convenient.

Summing up

Fare alerts are very useful in saving time and stress when searching for discounted tickets. It’s not just limited to Economy, you can often find great cash fares in Business and First Class too.

You can set them up for specific airlines, or for any airline through an Online Travel Agent (OTA) like Skyscanner. If you use an OTA, you will get more results, including multiple airlines and dates.

Remember that this is a free service and can be switched off anytime if you’ve found what you need.

How do you find cheap flights? Let us know in the comments below.

This article was originally written by Matt Moffitt.

How to use fare alerts to search for cheaper flights was last modified: January 22nd, 2021 by Brandon Loo