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The Craziest Flight Deals We Found in 2023

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

Attention Thrifty Traveler Premium members:

You’ve likely already received these deals. If not, log into your Premium deals hub to see every recent alert we've sent.

We spend all day, every day looking for flight deals for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members and 2023 has been a banner year of amazing deals.

In fact, narrowing down this list to just a handful of our best flight deals was a brutal exercise. In 2023, we sent about 1,200 deal alerts to tens of thousands of subscribers all over the U.S. and Canada. The ones on this list are the deals that caused alarm bells at Thrifty Traveler HQ and the ones that our members are still raving about.

There were unbelievable mistake fares on both economy and business class tickets over to Europe. There have been several amazing deals to get to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand this year or next using points – including in lie-flat business class. And much, much more.

Without further ado, here are the best Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deals of this year. More deals are on the way next year, too – don't miss alerts like these in 2024!


Mistake Fare: United Biz Class to Europe for $899

When the airlines miss a digit or place the wrong fare on the wrong flights, our team of flight deal experts goes into DEFCON 1. More importantly, our Thrifty Traveler Premium members win.

What's better than a mistake fare? Just one thing: A mistake fare on a lie-flat seat abroad, bringing the cost of flying United Polaris business class down to what most travelers expect to pay economy.

It doesn't get much better than this, so go figure it was one of our best flight deal alerts of the year.

United Polaris mistake fare 

This deal is long gone now – get the next unreal mistake fare with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

These tickets to London-Heathrow (LHR) normally cost $4,000 or more, but the airline mistakenly sold them for as low as $900 roundtrip! When an airline messes up like this, just book the deal ASAP and say “Thank you!”

United Polaris mistake fare 

Best of all, the airline honored this fare. We heard from tons of Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers who took a comfortable trip to Europe and back thanks to this sizzling deal.


Another Mistake Fare: Paris for Just $229

There were not one but two outstanding mistake fares this year, and this one was a doozy: Nonstop flights from New York (JFK) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) for just $229 roundtrip!

Don't believe me? Here's the proof.

Mistake Fare JFK-CDG 

This deal did not last long: It disappeared in just a matter of hours … but not before hundreds of our subscribers booked a trip to France this year or next for less than a weekend trip to Chicago.

You probably won't stumble upon a mistake fare searching for flights on your own, but that's what Thrifty Traveler Premium is for: We search every day for the best deals. When we find a mistake fare, we notify our subscribers so they can book it right away.


Fly Delta One Suites to Japan from 85K Points

It might not have been a mistake fare, but this recent award deal to Tokyo and South Korea was still stellar.

Consider this: Delta typically charges 400,000 SkyMiles or more for a one-way trip to Asia in Delta One Suites. So we don't need to tell you how good this deal was – we'll just show you.

Japan SkyMiles Delta One deal 

Delta is charging 400,000 SkyMiles for these suites now – don't miss the next deal with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

That's right: As low as 85,000 SkyMiles each way to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) in business class suites. This deal was so rare, we consider it a Unicorn Alert. So we sent it to tons of subscribers' inboxes along with a text alert, too.

Deals like this don't come around often. In fact, they almost never do.

Delta One flight deal 

If you used Delta's TakeOff 15 benefit to get 15% off your award ticket with your Delta card, it brought the cost down to just 85,000 SkyMiles!


Flying ANA First Class to Tokyo from 55K Points

Travelers are flocking to Japan this year and making plans for next year in record numbers. You won't find a comfier way to get there than this.

ANA First Class 

ANA's First Class is called “The Suite,” and it's as good as it gets. From a laughably large 4K screen to top-notch bubbly and cuisine, it's the pinnacle of first class. But maybe it's too good: It's practically impossible to book these suites using points.

But that's just what we found, sending another Unicorn Alert to our Thrifty Traveler Premium member to book these suites for a flight to Tokyo – and book them fast. Best of all, you could book for just 55,000 points each way using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Virgin Atlantic booking instructions 

Get this: These exact same first class flights to Tokyo typically cost $20,000 each way!


Santiago, Chile from $520 RT

Patagonia is a bucket list mainstay for so many North American travelers, but finding an inexpensive way to flip the globe and fly down to South America can be a tall task for 51 weeks a year. The key is finding that one week when fares fall.

We track flight prices to Santiago, Chile (SCL) every single day, so when the prices dropped below $600 roundtrip, we pounced, sending this sizzling flight deal to our tens of thousands of members.

Santiago, Chile flight deal 

American Airlines was mostly to thank for this sweet sale, which connected dozens of American Airlines cities with the Chilean capital.

Santiago Chile flight deal 

From there, a short connecting flight to Patagonia is all you need to knock the top item on your bucket list off once and for all!


Qantas Business Class to Australia for 80K Points

Lately, we've been finding more and more business class deals flying to Australia and New Zealand using points. That's typically impossible, so it's a trend that travelers should love.

It all started with one of our best deals of the year.

Melbourne Qantas business class deal 

The nonstop Qantas route from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Melbourne (MEL) is rarely bookable with points in business class – in fact, it hasn't been since we found this award space back in February. But that's the real value of Thrifty Traveler PremiumWe do all the legwork for you, letting you know when these ultra-rare deals are suddenly available so you can book before it disappears.

You could even book this one with 80,000 American AAdvantage miles apiece.

Qantas business class 

We know many of our subscribers got a crack at this deal, fueling the perfect vacation to Australia in 2023 or 2024.


United Polaris Business Class Worldwide from 60K Points

We have a team of eight full-time flight deal analysts who methodically scour the globe for the best points and miles availability every day. What usually comes of those painstaking searches are deals that include one or more departure cities to one or two destinations.

What we don't normally find is availability that is from everywhere, to everywhere…

United Polaris worldwide 

This United Polaris deal was special. It wasn't as much to a specific destination as it was for every single worldwide route featuring United Polaris seats.

Yeah, read that again. You could book a business class seat on almost every United route on the globe using miles. We've never seen anything like it and haven't again since.

United Polaris worldwide deal 

Not all of our deals are this widespread, but we heard from travelers who booked this availability on some routes that never have open seats.


Hawaii from $149 RT

When Southwest Airlines started flying to and between the Hawaiian Islands, it changed everything about Hawaii flight prices forever. Southwest now dictates the market flying to Hawaii, and when they run sales like this memorable one from 2023, it can lead to some remarkably low airfare.

Hawaii flight deal 

Besides having an insanely cheap $149 roundtrip fare as the lowest in the deal from San Diego (SAN), this sale reached dozens of U.S. cities with Southwest service with near record-low prices.

Hawaii flight deal info 

Travelers in Bozeman (BZN) or Oklahoma City (OKC) might only see Hawaii fares dip this low for a few hours a year. That's where we come in! Don't miss the next Hawaii sale by subscribing to Thrifty Traveler Premium.


Delta One to Europe for 50K Points

Everyone wants to fly Delta One business class. Here's the problem: Using SkyMiles, it'll typically cost you 300,000 miles or more each way.

But not always. Check this out.

Delta One flight deal 

That's right: You could book those exact same lie-flat business class seats over to Europe for a fraction of the points. Heck, these seats cost less than most Delta economy flights!

The trick is finding award availability to book these Delta business class seats via Virgin Atlantic for just 50,000 points, and that's tough to do: That availability disappeared for a year. But we found it again a few months back, instantly alerting our Thrifty Traveler Premium members.

Delta One flight deal information 

This deal was limited and didn't last long, but it's the absolute cheapest way to fly Delta One, period. And it's easily one of our best deals of the year.


Nationwide Flights to Europe Under $499 RT

After skyrocketing over the summer, flight prices to Europe dropped precipitously this fall.

How low could they go? How about this?

Europe flight deal 

This is one of many dirt-cheap flights to Europe this year – get the next one with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

I know what you're thinking: “These fares must be on ultra-low-cost carriers or crappy airlines.” Wrong.

Even for under $300, you'd be flying American, Delta, and United and their European partners on this deal. In fact, more than 90% of our deals feature the mainline carriers and their partners.

But at these prices, I can't blame you for wondering…

Europe flight deal 

From Bristol, Tennessee (TRI) to Akron, Ohio (CAK), this deal touched all corners of the country, too.

Plus, the European destinations featured on this deal and more than a dozen more we sent over the last two months weren't too shabby either! Whether you wanted a nonstop flight to London-Heathrow (LHR), a more far-flung excursion to Turkey or Greece, or a getaway to Spain or Portugal, the deals spanned far and wide.


Italy Under $499 RT

Everyone asks us about cheap flights to Italy…like, all the time.

Italy is one of the most sought-after destinations on earth. Travelers need to get there to experience the cuisine, and the culture, and to take in every corner of the magnificent country. But all that demand typically means high fares…typically.

Italy flight deal 

This year, during the price-friendly months of October and November that we call “Booking Season,” cheap flights to Italy roared back into our lives and helped hundreds of Thrifty Traveler Premium members book their dream trips.

Italy flight deal information 

From every corner of our continent to every corner of Italy, we dug up tons of sub-$500 fares to Italy. A few weeks later, we even found sub-$600 roundtrip fares to Sicily, too! All of Italy was suddenly wide open and we can't wait to see everyone's photos when they travel this year.


Europe from 27K Delta SkyMiles…Roundtrip!

If Europe is what you seek, you don't need a ton of points or miles to make it happen … if you wait for a Thrifty Traveler Premium alert.

And the deals don't get much better than Delta SkyMiles flash sales. While your SkyMiles are tough to use if you want to fly up front, they can get you far if you quickly jump on one of these short-lived sales.

Delta SkyMiles to Europe 

This deal featured nearly every Delta airport in the U.S., making one quick connection over to Europe for just 32,000 SkyMiles roundtrip! With a Delta Amex card and the TakeOff 15 benefit, it could be as low as 27,000 SkyMiles roundtrip!

SkyMiles Europe deal 

From Athens (ATH) to Madrid (MAD), this deal was your ticket abroad in 2024 if you want to fly Delta.


New Zealand for 37K Delta SkyMiles

Earlier this year, we called out Delta for the lack of solid ways to use SkyMiles.

Just a week or so later, this happened.

New Zealand SkyMiles flight deal 

You're not seeing things. That's just 37,000 SkyMiles to fly all the way to Auckland (AKL) and back. Yes, roundtrip.

It was easily among our most popular deals of the year, and it's not hard to see why. We heard from hundreds of our Thrifty Traveler Premium members who used this alert for an unbelievably cheap trip to New Zealand this year and early next.

New Zealand flight deal information


Tulum, Mexico under $399 RT

This deal didn't make the “craziest” list because the fares are especially crazy for Mexico, but for the fact that these fares exist at all.

If you had told me two years ago that we found cheap flights to Tulum, Mexico, I would have responded, “You mean, Cancún?”

The reason why this flight deal was so remarkable is that all of these fares are flying to a brand new airport that just opened in Tulum (TQO) in 2023.

Tulum, Mexico 

As soon as the airport announced it would open to U.S. airlines, they began flooding in. Starting in April, American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, and United will all begin flying to TQO, giving travelers a new option to fly straight to the Yucatan Peninsula and avoid the busy Cancún airport (CUN).

Tulum, Mexico flight deal 

With all of those new, empty planes flying to Tulum (TQO) this spring, prices have been low. Delta was the first airline to run a big sale to TQO, giving Delta lovers quick connections in Atlanta (ATL) for fantastic prices like these!


Bottom Line

Of the 1,200 Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal alerts we sent to subscribers in 2023, these were the deals we just can't stop thinking about.

Thanks to our alerts, Thrifty Traveler Premium members are going to Europe in United Polaris Business Class for $889 roundtrip, going to Tokyo in Delta One for 85,000 points, flying to Europe for $273 roundtrip (or 27,000 SkyMiles), and much, much more!


Lead photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines

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