How to Use Hopper to Predict Cheap Airfare
I frequently receive questions regarding which travel apps and flight-finding technology I recommend for fellow Thrifty Travelers. Recently, I’ve been getting questions about Hopper and whether or not it can be useful for finding cheap flights.
Whether you’ve never heard of the mobile app or you’re a frequent user, read on to learn about the flight-finding features it provides, and where it falls short.
What is Hopper?
Hopper is a mobile app that uses historical data to predict and analyze flight prices. Hopper provides information on typical flight prices over time, predicts increases and decreases in flight cost, recommends the best time to purchase, and notifies users when prices for their specific flights are at their predicted lowest points via push notifications on your smartphone.
How Can I Use It?
The best way to take advantage of Hopper’s services is to select a destination of interest and view the calendar to choose a travel period. Hopper uses data to map a schedule of the cheapest and most expensive times to fly to a particular destination.
For example, flying from Minneapolis to Sydney, Australia is very expensive in summer, but is predicted to be nearly $400 cheaper from August – November.
How Does it Compare to Other Services?
Typically, I’ve found that Hopper is a great app to use if you are looking for general information on the best time to purchase airfare and travel to your destination. As you can see below, the Price Prediction feature that Hopper offers provides insight into how flight prices generally fluctuate.
This feature gives users a timeline of when they should prepare to book their ticket. Of course, this makes Hopper most useful when the date of travel is 3-6 months away: users can watch prices fluctuate and set up push notifications to get notified when prices are low. Therefore, Hopper is not as effective for users looking to purchase flights and travel sooner.
In my experience, Hopper seems to analyze airfare data based on natural price increases and decreases and some fare wars, but not mistake fares and flash sales. Therefore, while the savings can be up to a few hundred dollars for international airfare by booking during a certain time, it does not offer the crazy half-off savings that a mistake fare, flash sale, or fare war can provide.
Services such as Thrifty Traveler Premium notifies users of flash sales and mistake fares that are unpredictable, and often hundreds of dollars lower than airfare prices Hopper predicts. Mistake fares and flash sales do not follow a calendar pattern, so there’s a bit more thrill in the hunt, with a reward of greater savings.
I would recommend doubling up: set a Price Watch on Hopper while waiting for a flash sale through Thrifty Traveler Premium. This will ensure sure you don’t miss the best price possible.
Hopper is a great way to watch a specific fare for a specific time period. Simply set a price watch, like you would on any other flight searching tool or mobile app. Hopper is also a great tool for learning when prices are likely to be lowest for certain destinations, based on the season.
However, if you’re looking to up your game and get notification of flash sales and mistake fares that are even cheaper than seasonal price fluctuation, check out Thrifty Traveler Premium to save even more on your next flight.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.