Whenever airlines announce promos on their Facebook fan pages, they are bombarded with all sorts of complaints from users. While some of them have a point, some users just accuse the airlines of being deceptive, claiming that the sale is just some empty promise or a misleading marketing strategy. Some even go as far as saying that the SALE is not real.

Well, I can say that these promos are real. Just because you can’t find promo seats doesn’t mean they are not. I have availed of it a number of times already. But the Poor Traveler understands where the negativity is coming from and so I have compiled some tips on how to successfully book a promo flight.

This applies to local airlines such as Cebu Pacific Air, AirAsia, PAL Express, Seair/Tiger Airways, and Zest Air since all airlines today offer Piso (and sometimes, even free) seats and users encounter the same problems. Here we go.


1. Follow airlines’ social media accounts.

Stalk them on Twitter and Facebook. They usually announce either at 12 midnight or 12 noon. They also have special sales during holidays and important occasions. For example, to celebrate their anniversaries, airlines usually launch massive promos as a treat and a marketing stunt. They also usually have promos on Easter, Valor Day, Independence Day, and New Year’s Day among others. I’m referring to booking periods, not travel periods.

2. Book by small batches.

This is one thing I have proven so many times. When you book for so many people at once, the site displays “SOLD OUT.” But when you book for just one or two people, you can have that same flight (same plane, same day, same time).

For example, two weeks ago, during their PISO FARE promo, my friends and I were booking tickets to Cagayan de Oro. There were 5 of us. Every date we chose, we would get a SOLD OUT display. But when we tried just booking for two people, suddenly some slots became available. So what we did were book two flights and then my friend booked the same flight for three people using a different computer. In March, all 5 of us will fly to Cagayan de Oro.

3. Be quick and early. Book on the first day of SALE.

Perhaps the reason I always grab sale seats is because I book early. If the announced sale period is November 3-6, book on November 3. There’s a big chance there won’t be anything left in the following days. The number of seats in a plane is finite and they can only put a few of them on sale but the demand is so big that they tend to get sold out easily.

If you found Piso Fares and you like the dates, book them fast. You have no idea how many users are eyeing those same seats at that moment and you will lose them soon.

4. Book in the wee hours.

I know it sounds ridiculous but if you really want to grab a cheap seat, book in the wee hours of announced date of sale. Sometimes, they announce promos at midnight (via Facebook and Twitter) and you will have more chances if you’re searching within the first hour after the announcement.

Also, whenever there’s a sale going on, the airline websites seem to be dragging their feet — it’s just too slow and you may also be getting error messages. This is what you can avoid when you book while the rest of the world is in slumber.

5. Consider other dates.

If there are no more seats on your chosen dates, pick another. Obviously, weekends tend to get sold-out faster than other days of the week. Be flexible when it comes to dates and timings.

Be patient. I know it can get tiring clicking the Next Day/Previous Day button but if you really want a P1 ticket, you shouldn’t mind going through all dates if necessary. If you have very specific dates that can’t be changed, then good luck to you.

6. Choose a not-so-popular destination.

Davao, Cebu, Bohol and Palawan seem to be the most loved destinations — they go “sold out” even before you consider booking. So come up with alternative places to visit that are also worth your time. For example, Dumaguete offers a heritage-rich experience as well as great beaches. Iloilo is your gateway to Guimaras where beaches are as stunning as in many provinces in the country. Laoag opens your doors to Pagudpud and the best of the Ilocos region.

Also, try using other gateways to the destination you wish to visit. Want to fly to Dumaguete but no more P1 seats? Try Cebu and just take a ferry to Dumaguete. This way, you’ll also get to explore Cebu. No more Caticlan seats? Kalibo is just two hours away. Going to Samar but no more Catarman or Calbayog seats? Try Tacloban. Be open to other possibilities.

Additional Notes

Remember that the “piso” or most published rates are usually the base fares only. What are base fares? In a nutshell, that’s the cost of the seat, your slot inside the plane. It does not include the taxes, booking fees, and fuel surcharges. Thus, you might still end up paying considerably higher than the published rates.

No, these are NOT hidden charges. They are published on the poster, the website, everywhere. And no, the airlines are NOT tricking you. Even if these are just base fares, these are still significantly lower than the regular rates. On a regular day, the base fare alone can amount to up to P5000 for domestic and over P10,000 for international destinations. Yet, with these promos you get them for P1, P20 or whatever the promo rate is. That is cheap, with or without the additional fees.

There you go. Again, don’t forget to subscribe to the airline’s Twitter or Facebook alerts so you’re the first to know. 🙂

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Yoshke Dimen

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
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  • marichu pagurigan

    everything that you have mentioned are true.. we’ve been very lucky to book ourselves everytime there’s a promo (though i was late to know of this 15Php thing!)
    there will be seat which are reserved at daytime and at 12am sharp, if they are left unpaid, they will be open for reservations..its just that you have to pay first business hour..

    the number of people also is a big factor, that’s why we limit our every reservation to 2, and then book another seat if needed..voila! we are reserved!

  • Hi! CEB usually starts the promo upon posting the advertisement at FACEBOOK OR TWITTER for the benefit of FB and TWITTER FANS!!! That’s what CEB told me when I asked the same question before. Now, if you are not a fan of the company, then sorry if you couldn’t avail the promo. For me, facebook is very useful when they are having a promo, it keeps u updated for you to book, choose and avail the very low fares without web traffic.

  • Travel Agencies

    My friend and I were thinking that these promos were purchased by travel agencies already and will sell it in a regular rate or use in their packages.

  • reda

    you may also want to add that there is a higher chance of getting the promo fares on weekdays, specifically, tuesday to thursday. 🙂

  • Eric de Leon

    This promotions by Cebu Pacific is very disappointing…. To the tips on how to book the “Piso Fare”, here’s my experience…
    Tip #1: Choose a not so popular destination
    DVDO-MNL-DVO route. I guess this is the other way from the usual. (fully booked)
    Tip #3: Book before the announced sale date
    So who get’s to know about the promotion before it’s announced to the public? Maybe
    this is an employee and employee friends benefit. What’s the applied mechanics in DTI?
    Tip #4: Book by small batches
    I tried to book for only 1 person. (fully booked)
    In summary, I was booking for 1 person from DVO-MNL-DVO at any date from 01 Oct. – 30 Nov. for any flight of the day – RESPOSE—FULLY BOOKED

  • nice blog. i love cebu pacific. i enjoyed & availed their promo every time i book..hahaha!

    • jelline

      papano k nakakuha ng ticket pls. inform m nmn aq

  • VR

    pwede po bang malaman how about po pag just within mindanao at mag by lang lang an then chek-in sa hotel n connected kau? like gensan to davao? what will be the accomodations and also the rate same p rin ba?

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  • Emher

    everything you mentioned are true! it is also true that most travel agencies have designated number of seats that are on sale since i have a tito who owns a travel agency and they are really given designation whenever a certain airline would a offer such. try to book on a tuesday and wednesday flight and you’ll get better change of getting the flight you want.

  • May mga kaibigan akong nagtatrabaho sa travel agency at ganito yung style nila para makakuha ng mga cheap na tickets. Bibilhin nila yung mga ganitong promo tapos bebenta nila sa regular price.

    • judy

      when you book and buy promo tickets, more often than not, it’s NON TRANSFERABLE, NON-REBOOKABLE, NON-REFUNDABLE. so even if they sell the promo ticket to regular rate, they have to pay more.

  • jelline

    paano po ba maka avail ng piso fare meron p po b para po makauwi n ung kpatid ko wala po kc sya pamasahe nsa davao po sya

  • These seat sales are legit. I can attest to that. Whenever there’s seat sale, I book in the wee hours and so far, effective din ang strategy na ‘to. hehe 🙂

    • The Poor Traveler

      I knoooow. Haha. Thanks for sharing Joann! 🙂

  • Badit

    My advice? Book one way tickets first, worry about the returning flight later!

    I recently booked for round-trip to Osaka via CebPac. The MNL-KIX tickets were P1.00 but the returning ticket was a whooping 10,499!!!

    I panicked that I won’t be able to get the piso fare so I immediately bought round-trip tickets!

    After about a month, the returning flight fare price dropped to just about 6,500 🙁 (from 10,499!!!)

    Lesson learned? More often than not, airlines will pad up the prices of the returning flight in order to compensate for the piso fare. So if your flight won’t be happening anytime soon, it’s better to just book for the promo seats first then book for the returning flight on another day 🙂

    • The Poor Traveler

      Nice observation, Badit! And you’re right!

    • ramil

      technique: book one way on separate bookings

  • Thanks for these tips. Will definitely share them with friends and other contacts! 🙂

    • The Poor Traveler

      No problem, Adelle! Please do share these tips!

  • Thanks for the tips! Nag try din ako mag magbook whenever there’s a seat sale, kaso most of them sold out na. But with your useful tips, baka maka-avail na ako. Hihi! Kadalasan naman online pa ako pag madaling araw, so, I’ll try to check the airlines site if meron.

    • The Poor Traveler

      Yep! Good luck! Sana makarami ka next time hehe

  • Henry

    Thank you soooo much PT….I’m a Believix…lol…follow/obey your tips.

  • judy

    i have done all of the above tips, and i must say have become an expert in booking promo fares. i have booked several flights this year and one destination costs no more than P1300 ROUNDTRIP. is that not a good deal?

    • eko

      Can you tell me the steps? I don’t know how to book piso fare. thank you 🙂

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  • Louis

    Good day! I am a fan of yours! Indeed i am amazed on how you travel into so many places and wil not cost you alot. I’ve been to some places but my girlfriend is the one who organized our travel and im just giving her money for our trip. (nakakahiya man po aminin pero wala ako ginagawa pag nagttravel kame) so I’m planning to organized a trip for me and my girlfriend. This blog helped mo alot since i dont know where to start and thinking to book a flight even its base fare is on their regular rate. Thank you and i hope i can contact you if i have any questions. :p Indeed i am thankful for this blog! Can you email me for tips? since im a newbie when it comes to booking and searching for places to go and top places to eat. Thank you sir. Godbless! louis.broncano@yahoo.com

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