Let’s start with what this DOESN’T work for.

  1. Places you’ll only visit once.

And One Consideration Worth Noting.

  1. Airlines don’t like this.

Assuming You’re Cool With Both Of Those…

Nesting itineraries is an incredible trick of the trade utilized by frequent flyers to take advantage of the best deals. It’s basically OVERLAPPING two deals starting from different place, at once- to save. It works like a treat when you’re going between two destinations more than once. Basically, it doesn’t matter which of the two places the deal starts from- you’re going to maximize it either way using this method.

You Do This By Putting A Deal In Between Another Deal…

Most people in the U.S. would see a deal starting in Asia/Europe/Africa/Australia and immediately write it off. Nesting itineraries is where you find an amazing deal and use another deal to get to the amazing deal and then bounce between the two separate deals, “overlapping” them throughout the week, month, year, whatever.

Let’s Take An Example…

Business class tickets are far cheaper departing European than deals from the U.S. To take advantage of the pricing, knowing you’ll RETURN AGAIN to Europe, someone might book a ticket departing the U.S. in January and returning in March. Next, they’ll “nest” the deal- where they book a business class deal from Europe back to the U.S. in February, returning to Europe in April. See? it’s nested. SO: Deal A U.S. > Europe Deal B: Europe To U.S. Deal B: U.S. To Europe Deal A: Europe to U.S.

And Another Kind Of Example…

You could also do this to find better pricing into two cities you want to visit, rather than just visiting one and paying more. For example: it may be cheaper to fly from the U.S. to Brazil than to Argentina. You could book Deal A: U.S. to Brazil leaving the 1st returning the 20th. and Deal B: Brazil to Argentina leaving the 5th and returning the 16th. The price for the two separate tickets could very well be cheaper than just the one. You need to compare prices to different cities, and look at breaking up the ticket into a “nested” situation.

Why People Really Do This…

Simple: money. If business class tickets from Europe (anywhere) are almost the same price or less as booking two simple economy deals from the U.S., for two trips to Europe, why shouldn’t you be able to take advantage of both, adding comfort, earning more miles and saving money. If there’s a destination you’ll visit more than once. Do the math about nesting a deal (in any cabin) to save some dough.

Like We Said, Airlines Don’t Like This…

Though people love to bang the drum of fear, airlines are far too busy dealing with more important issues to really care about you overlapping deals. This is especially true if you mix airline partners or alliances to make it less obvious. With that said, some airlines technically “forbid” this practice, and therefore corporate travelers don’t really have this option, since travel agents “know better”. If you book your own travel, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just know that depending on the airline, you may technically be in the wrong. As long as you don’t do it constantly, it should be no big deal, but it’s important to consider potential risk. For what it’s worth, We’ve done it for years and years without issue.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I regularly nest tickets for my trips to Europe for peak season and holiday trips.

    October 2017 I purchased a round trip SAS ticket for around $500 and flew Stockholm to San Francisco on December 30 and returned to Stockholm in July 2018.

    January 2018 I purchased a United Airlines ticket flying San Francisco to London in February for $700 with a return date in August 2018 to get back to California from the SAS July flight. I applied a $400 United VDB voucher to the ticket price for a $300 round trip ticket. I flew Norwegian Airlines Stockholm back to Oakland in February for $148 one way.

    In April 2017 I purchased $150 one way tickets on Level Airlines San Francisco to Barcelona for mid-June travel and purchased another ticket with American Airlines for $557 round trip to fly Stockholm to San Francisco in late June with the return flights back to Stockholm for Christmas holidays December 2017.

    I have not purchased a ticket yet back to San Francisco, but recent price checks reveal tickets are available for Stockholm to San Francisco or San Jose during the first week of January for $430 to $550 round trip with return flight SFO-Stockholm in July 2018.

    This is my strategy for traveling to Europe on discount tickets during peak season and holiday peak pricing periods. Ticket prices are generally under $60 one way from Stockholm to places all over Europe.

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