Travel Tip: Sometimes it Pays to Book in Other Currencies

I’m riding the full length of the Trans-Siberian train from Moscow to Vladivostok in March with a couple of friends and I needed to book a flight home. We had already planned to visit Seoul for a few days before we go our separate ways, which was great because flights home from Seoul cost less (in both miles and dollars) than flying straight from Vladivostok. After checking flight prices, I realized that booking with miles didn’t make any sense. I was able to pick up a cash fare from ICN for only 495,200 South Korean Won.

South Korean Won, you say? Yup, that’s right. When checking flight prices via Google Flights, I was directed to American Airlines’ South Korean site. At the time I booked my flight in late January, 495,200 KRW was around $465. Before booking my flight on the South Korean site, I double checked the price for the same flights on American Airlines’ US site so that I could use a couple of American Airlines gift cards I have, only to find out that American Airlines wanted $56 more if I were to pay in USD instead of KRW! I wanted to use my gift cards, but not that much!

It can pay off to book in the local currency of your departure country, that’s for sure! A couple of years ago, Rapid Travel Chai wrote about a similar occurrence booking Vietnam Airlines flights. Lesson learned: when paying for an airline ticket, always check the airlines’ local site and compare that price to the same flight in your home currency (USD or otherwise). It can save you a Hamilton or two at the very least, and that adds up! Have you ever booked a flight in a different currency to save money?

5 thoughts on “Travel Tip: Sometimes it Pays to Book in Other Currencies

      1. Brenton

        I ran into the same problem when I tried to book with avios outbound to Cabo and use gift cards on the way back. It wouldn’t even allow gift cards as an option, and I found out why after calling in…

  1. GL

    Could run a momondo search on its various countries’ sites and in different currencies. I booked an Air Europa last minute flight from EZE-MAD for my sister which cost ~$1600 on Air Europa’s website, for just over €1200 through a European OTA which rang up about $1500. Saved $100.

    If you want to ensure you get your 5x/3x on the Platinum/PRG, don’t forget Amex travel may sometimes price lower in USD compared with booking direct with the airline. Paid under USD 1200 for an Emirates booking SIN-DXB-FCO/IAD-DXB-SIN. Direct would have been SGD 1650 (USD 1250).


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