Going Is Scaling Back What It Provides To Non-Paying Customers. Should I Find Another Travel Site?

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Money expert Clark Howard and other members of Team Clark use Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) to source the best travel deals.

Operating on a freemium model, Going has allowed free members to get some alerts on domestic and international flights out of specific airports. However, it jettisoned the international flight deals for free members earlier this year.

That decision caused at least one Clark listener to consider free alternatives. What does Clark think?

Should I Find a Free Alternative to Going Flight Deals Now That It Gives Less to Free Members?

Going no longer offers international flight alerts to free members. What are some other free travel deal websites I can consider?

That’s what a Clark Howard listener recently asked.

Asked Paul in Virginia: “Now that, formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights (lol), is moving to a more limited service for non-paying customers, are there any alternative free travel deals websites you would recommend?”

Clark, who loves helping people save money, views this as a flawed premise. At least if you want to score great deals on flights.

“If you love travel, pay Going. I’ve subscribed to several of these. I pay for all of them. None of them are as good as Scott’s Cheap Flights, formerly known as, now Going,” Clark says.

“They do a great, great job. And they’re trying to reduce the value of the free product so you’ll go ahead and pay.

“So like fish hook in mouth, I’m saying if you want the deals, pay their subscription price. They do a phenomenal job of giving you a head’s up on deals that you’re not at this point going to find anywhere else.”

Clark loves finding ways to spend less. He’ll sacrifice plenty to save $5.75 a month (or $69 a year, which is what Going charges for a Premium membership billed annually). But you can save enough on a single flight, if you’re responsive to the right deal, to more than pay for that membership fee.

And to Clark, who travels constantly, it’s a no-brainer. This isn’t an area where he goes for the cheapest (free) option.

Free and Paid Travel Deal Alternatives to

So you’ve heard Clark’s explanation and you still want free or nothing. What then?

Christa, Clark’s podcast producer, pointed to Facebook Groups. There are groups for people searching for deals on international flights. And groups for people wanting to use points. Joining a free community introduces a “wisdom of the crowds” dynamic.

Or you can meticulously scour the internet for deals yourself. Clark even gave a list of the websites he personally uses to find the best deals when he books travel.

There are other resources as well. Team Clark’s other travel expert provides her own recommendations for websites, email newsletters and other deal-finding resources. And Kiplinger recently wrote about the 24 best travel websites to find deals.

Those are not all free, but do give you a more inclusive, broader look at the available options.

“But there’s nothing like getting the alerts,” Clark says. “The whole idea is a deal pops up, you want to grab something that you would not have been able to do otherwise. That’s what they’re there for.

“And they have a lot of employees now. It’s an expensive operation to run. And if you love to travel and you especially love to travel at real bargains, pay them for the subscription.

“If you’re an armchair traveler and you know yourself and you’re going to see it and say, ‘Wow, isn’t that a great deal to Panama, but I’m never going to go to Panama,’ then don’t spend the money and just use the bare-bones free alert service. But otherwise, if you really want to take the deals, pay the subscription.”

Final Thoughts

Going reduced the benefits it gives to free members. But Clark, notorious for spending as little as possible, remains adamant.

If you want the best deals on flights, and you want real-time alerts plopped into your lap, pay the $69 a year for Going’s Premium membership.

This post was last modified on February 27, 2024 4:28 pm

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