The Easier Way to Search for Mileage Runs

Google Flights is an easy way to plan non-complicated mileage runs.

A few years ago, Google acquired ITA Software–my go to search for travel.  I put the general places I’d like to go to in it, and I search by calendar.  This is great for finding fares to locations when you are flexible on when you go.  I check this pretty often for trips to see family.

But what if I have a set weekend, don’t really have a good idea of where I want to go to, and would like to see what my options are?

I was hoping Google’s acquisition would result in better tools, and my dreams came true.

Google updated its Flight Search product in a way that makes it extremely powerful.

Know what weekend you are free and want to know where you can go?  It can do that.

Want to limit your searches easily to an alliance or to a specific airline?  It can do that.

What I like about Google Flights is I feel like I can easily teach it to family members and be confident they’ll use it in the future.  Here’s how it goes.

Google Flights

Select your home airport, your available dates, and what airline or alliance you would like to fly.

Google Flights Map

It shows me the prices of different flights, and I spot one to San Francisco within my price range.

What’s great is I can grab the flight directly through Google Flights instead of having to build it separately on another website.

Google Flights Search

I can select my flight options directly there.

Google Flights Selection

And it gives me historical data about the flights, as well as baggage fees.

If I wanted to see if I chose the best weekend, I can search a range of prices.

Google Flights Bar Chart

When I click on the bar chart on the upper right hand side, I get a very easy to look at representation of the flight prices coming up.

It is also possible to set a price ceiling in this software.  So when looking at West Coast flights, I try looking for flights under $300.  Only San Francisco popped up on the West Cost for this search.

Google Flights Price

That’s also a good fare to Dallas, which makes me tempted to visit family there.  (But I’ll have just returned from there :P)

I haven’t had success in building a complicated itinerary on this, even though there’s a multi-city option.  I also really want to warn you that it can be glitchy.  Sometimes my date options reset.  Or rather, just one date does usually, so I have a random November 2nd in my multi-city search when I go to submit, even though I’ve been searching December.

This is not as powerful as ITA Software.  You can’t try to force as many connections as you can.  But it does allow you to easily see what options are out there.

A coworker asked me for help with a mileage run on a tight schedule.  First, I was trying multiple options in ITA Matrix.  Then I decided to see if I can best myself by finding something better on Google Flights.  Sure enough, I zoomed out a little and found a really affordable mileage run to Hawaii for him.  Something I hadn’t searched in ITA Matrix.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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