Choosing the Best Flights Affiliate Program
July 5, 2017Comments (8)
Flight affiliate programs allow you to earn money each time someone books a flight or even simply clicks on an ad you have placed somewhere on the web. These programs are a great way to get additional income for travel-related website and forum owners, SEO and SMM specialists, and bloggers. If you or your friends travel a lot, you can also use cheap flights affiliate programs to save money each time you travel to a foreign country or even to a city nearby.
Generally, flight affiliate programs offer a number of other services as well, such as hotel booking or car rental. Here we focus mainly on airline tickets so we will refer to them as flight affiliate programs in this post. There are a number of travel affiliate programs and networks online nowadays, so it is vitally important to choose the proper one to work with. We have selected four reliable brands that offer a number of advantages, provide a high revenue share and are equally good for newcomers and experienced webmasters and advertisers. Travelpayouts, Wego, Skyscanner and Momondo are the major players on the modern flights affiliate programs market.
These affiliate programs use meta-search technology to provide users with the most affordable ticket prices. After a user sends a search query, they forward it to several online travel agencies (OTAs) at once, collecting all the results on a single search results page. They are flight tickets search engines and no bookings are made on their travel sites, so adding your own markup is not possible. Therefore, the user saves a lot of time without having to look for the lowest price among all the ticket sellers on the web — the meta-search engine does it by itself. This is one of the major reasons why such meta-search engines are so popular nowadays (and why your conversion rate will probably be much higher than if you were to simply drive your traffic to the particular ticket seller).
Selecting the affiliate program to work with is not only about theory. It is a good idea to try more than one and get some practical experience: compare the conversion rates, test various marketing tools and ad formats, use different strategies and see what works best. Be sure to review the conditions offered by the various affiliate programs below to understand all the pros and cons.
Table of Contents
Travelpayouts is an affiliate network that includes a number of offers from several affiliate programs. It specializes mainly in flight tickets sales but that is not the only direction it develops. Travelpayouts can also compare hotel prices and book hotels around the world.
If you plan to drive traffic not to your White Label but directly to the Travelpayouts flights search website, check out Jetradar.com. This is what your visitors see after following your affiliate link. Jetradar.com has several versions for different countries and is offered in 45 languages, allowing you to work with traffic from almost anywhere in the world to maximize your revenue.
Travelpayouts is proud of its quick and friendly support that helps solve any issue a partner may have. Answers to the most popular and frequently asked questions are collected in the knowledge base, where affiliates can find the solution to a problem within seconds.
How much can I earn in the flight affiliate program?
The revenue share is flexible, which means the more you sell, the higher your income per ticket sold. As a partner, you receive up to 70% of the Travelpayouts income, which is about 2.2% of the ticket price. Therefore, your average income is up to 1.6% for each ticket sold. For example, for a ticket worth $500 the Travelpayouts average income is $11, of which you receive about $7. While these numbers may vary insignificantly, you can get the detailed information in your member area as well as see statistics and your earnings and payouts history.
Who can participate?
Travelpayouts welcomes anyone who wants to start earning in this niche. As an affiliate network, it essentially does not have any restrictions on getting started. The only major restriction is that no spam is allowed in any form.
Registration takes only a few moments and your account is instantly active. Unlike a number of other flight affiliate programs, Travelpayouts does not make you wait for an approval. You can start working with the affiliate program at once.
- If you have your own website, you can add a search form, a widget, a banner, a pop-up ad or a text link for your visitors and get money as soon as they start purchasing tickets and booking hotels.
- If you have a travel blog, you can do the same to each travel post you publish and get relevant traffic this way, or write a separate post describing the advantages of such a way to book tickets and hotels.
- If your website or blog is powered by WordPress, you can install the Travelpayouts WordPress plugin and connect your website to the affiliate network within minutes.
- If you are on social networks, you can advertise the Travelpayouts offers in public travel groups — either your own or someone else’s.
- If you do PPC arbitrage, you can forward your traffic directly, either to some of the Travelpayouts domains or to your own website or a landing page.
- If you are good at black hat SEO, you can use doorways to get relevant traffic (no cookie stuffing allowed).
- If you have subscribers to a newsletter, you can promote the offers to them.
- If you have no website, you can buy ads on travel-related forums, communities or other websites as well as share your affiliate link on social networks.
- If you travel a lot, you can purchase flight tickets and book hotels via your personal affiliate link, saving money in the process. Also, you can share your affiliate link with your friends who travel. To make it even easier, simply install the mobile app and you will be able to get cash back all around the world.
Also, you can run your own online travel agency using the White Label. This is recommended for websites with relatively high traffic and brand awareness. The ticket search is fully integrated into your website design so that it looks like you are the one who is offering the cheapest tickets search directly.
Which tools does Travelpayouts offer?
Travelpayouts offers a complete set of affiliate tools for you to maximize your revenue.
- Search forms allow your visitors to specify the departure and arrival points as well as desired dates and number of passengers and to get search results with the best ticket prices and hotel offers within seconds. Fully responsive.
- Travel White Label (Flights and Hotels) allows you to integrate the search form into your website design and display all the search results directly on your domain without forwarding your visitors to Travelpayouts.
- Travel WordPress plugin is available for those who run their blogs on this CMS. The installation is very simple and requires only a couple of clicks.
- Mobile SDK (iOS and Android) — a framework that allows you to integrate the flight search directly into your mobile app.
- Text links can lead either to the search form itself or directly to the destination you specify.
- Responsive widgets:
- Low fares calendar offers the cheapest departure dates.
- Map widget displays the search results after the user chooses a place on the map.
- Hotel widget and Hotels selection widget allow for the booking of a hotel in a couple of clicks.
- Free API is also available if you plan to develop something more sophisticated. The Data API is available instantly after registration, and the search API is available per your request if your project meets strict requirements.
- Banners may be used if you do not want to use a search form. A number of banners are ready to use and are located in the Tools section of your members area.
- The form builder allows you to create a fully customized search form with any layout and output settings using a jQuery project that Travelpayouts provides to its affiliates (HTML and CSS knowledge required).
How do I get paid?
Travelpayouts sends you the commission using the payment method of your choice: PayPal, ePayments or a bank transfer in US dollars or euro. You get paid between the 11th and the 20th of each month as long as the minimum amount has been earned in the previous month. For example, the money you earned in June will be paid to you between the 11th and the 20th of July.
The minimum payout amount is $50 or €40 for PayPal and ePayments, and $500 or €400 for bank transfer.
Affiliate sign up
Proceed to www.travelpayouts.com to sign up.
Wego Affiliate Network (WAN)
Wego is an affiliate network that offers both flight tickets and hotel booking. However, you do not get paid for every ticket sold or hotel booked — Wego works only with the PPC model. Although anyone is welcome to join this affiliate network, you will normally require a website to start earning.
How much can I earn?
Your earnings depend directly on the amount and quality of the traffic you send to the affiliate program. Wego does not pay you a commission for actual bookings, but pays you for so-called exit clicks. An exit click is considered valid when a visitor who follows your affiliate link has not only opened the Wego search results, but has also clicked one of them and gone further to one of the partner sites, such as Booking.com. Most affiliates earn $0.05 to $0.40 per flight click and $0.20 to $0.80 per hotel click. Each affiliate’s conversion history is tracked, so the more visitors you get paid for who actually make a purchase, the higher your commission.
The benefit of such a model is that you get paid even for those visitors who fail to book a hotel or buy a flight ticket. Yet you must realize that if your traffic is good enough, you may earn more by getting paid a significantly higher commission for each actual transaction rather than receiving several cents for each single click. At the same time, if the quality of your traffic is poor, your commission rate will decrease and eventually your account may be banned for bad traffic.
Who can participate?
Wego welcomes anyone to join. You may use your own website or drive traffic directly to the affiliate network via direct links. Blogs and forums are also welcome. The main criterion is that the website should have relevant traffic, people who are currently looking for a place to visit and who are ready to book a hotel or purchase a flight ticket. They show the best click-through and conversion rates.
PPC arbitrage will earn you hardly anything in this model, as the price per click in the travel niche is rather high, while the percentage of people who open your ad, go to the Wego search results and choose one of them seems to be minimal. (However, if you are a PPC guru, this method may still be worth giving a try.)
No spam or fraud is allowed — you may not click on your own ads.
Which tools does Wego offer?
Wego offers several affiliate tools so that you can determine what converts best and gives higher revenue.
- Search forms
- Text links
- White Label
- Fee-based API ($1000 annual fee)
How do I get paid?
Wego pays either via PayPal or by a bank transfer. The payments are made between the 15th and the 20th of every month. You get paid for the earnings you have made two months beforehand, which means that money credited to your account in June will be paid in August. The minimum amount required to proceed with the payout is $100 for PayPal and $500 for bank transfer.
Skyscanner Flight Affiliate Program
Skyscanner specializes in flight tickets. In addition, it offers a car hire affiliate program, but not a hotel one. This affiliate network works on the PPC model and also pays for exit clicks.
How much can I earn?
Most Skyscanner affiliates earn $0.15 to $0.25 per exit click. The default exit click price is multiplied by the traffic quality score, which ranges between 0 and 1 and is based on several factors. Its aim is to control the quality of your traffic: the more clicks that result in actual transactions and purchases, the higher quality the traffic is. Poor-quality or spammy traffic may result in your commission being significantly decreased; for example, with a traffic quality score of 0.10, you will get only $0.01 to $0.03 per exit click.
One of the disadvantages of this affiliate network is that, if Skyscanner believes your traffic is of poor quality, your account may be blocked without your having received the money you’ve earned, even if the money is already credited to your account. With that in mind, you need to have really targeted and relevant traffic if you want to succeed.
Who can participate?
Skyscanner welcomes webmasters who have sites with a lot of traffic. Smaller websites may install their search form or an ad and even drive some traffic to the affiliate program, but the account will not be credited if they work with Skyscanner directly. Yet there is a solution even for smaller websites. If your website earns less than £1000 per month, you will have to use Commission Junction or Tradedoubler affiliate programs to connect to Skyscanner and receive your money. Generally speaking, it may be difficult to connect to this affiliate network and start earning, although large travel-related sites with many visitors may still want to give it a try.
Which tools does Skyscanner offer?
Skyscanner offers several standard affiliate marketing tools.
- Travel widgets
- Text links
- White Label
How do I get paid?
As Skyscanner works closely with a number of affiliate programs and has thousands of offers, the payment dates and minimal amounts depend on the precise offer you choose. Also, the conditions — including the commission rates — vary from country to country. Skyscanner pays via PayPal and bank transfer. You can find more detailed information in the member area.
Momondo Affiliate Program
Last but not least is Momondo, a “free, independent and inspirational global travel search site”, as it calls itself. Momondo is somewhat picky when it comes to the websites it accepts, but you can work with them — and succeed — even if you do not have your own website. Momondo works only with flight tickets (no hotel booking available), so it is a purely flights affiliate program.
How much can I earn?
Momondo works on a revenue share model, as Travelpayouts does, and pays you up to 75% of its income for U.S. visitors and up to 65% for the rest of the world. From time to time, it arranges campaigns with even higher commission rates, which is, of course, a great benefit to affiliates. You get paid a commission for the actual transactions your visitors make when booking flight tickets.
Who can participate?
Momondo welcomes any type of websites, but states that travel, destination-specific or holiday websites usually perform best. Also, it won’t accept forum traffic, nor will it accept blogs that are not being updated on a regular basis. At the same time, even small but live blogs are welcome. Under-construction sites (even partially complete ones) are also not accepted.
PPC arbitrage and e-mail newsletters can be used to drive traffic to Momondo, but they must be approved by the moderators first.
You may not use pop-under or click-under ads.
Which tools does Momondo offer?
Momondo has a rather poor set of affiliate marketing tools, although they may still work well on a number of sites.
- Text links
- Deep links
- HTML links
Statistics are displayed on a seven-day delay, which may also be considered a disadvantage.
How do I get paid?
The minimum payout amount is as low as $20 and the payments are made twice a month — after the 1st and 15th days of each month. For example, the money credited to your account between the 1st and the 15th of April will be paid to you after the 1st of May.
So, what do I choose?
Once again, it is better to try several flights affiliate programs to see which one performs best with your traffic and skills. Wego and Skyscanner pay per exit clicks. Wego has a two-month delay before you receive your money, while Skyscanner may block your account if it deems that you are not good enough, so you must provide it with really good traffic to keep going. Travelpayouts and Momondo work on the revenue share model and pay you for actual transactions. Both provide a good commission rate on the market, but Travelpayouts accepts more types of traffic and has a significantly wider set of affiliate marketing tools.
Flights Affiliate programs short comparasion
|Affiliate program||Flight bookings||Hotel bookings||Tools available||Real-time statistics||White Label||API||Referral program|
Are the airline affiliate programs the best option for travel sites?
First of all, it’s very hard to join such programs as only a few carriers have their own airline affiliate programs, for example:
- Austrian Airlines;
- Brussel Airlines;
- Etihad Airways;
- Qatar Airways;
- And some others.
They usually demand high requirements of a new partner, and also high limits for the first payout. All of this is limiting your possibilities, but, as we have already said, you should always try new ways of finding the best affiliate programs for your travel blog.
The airline option could be really good if you have traffic that is related to their brands, or visitors who are focused on the main destinations offered by those companies. For example, for Austrian Airlines, you would want your traffic to be related to flying from Vienna.
All of the individual airline affiliate programs have their own rules, and usually offer a maximum of 2% of the net revenue for parnters. For example, Austrian and Brussel Airlines offer 1.5%. Those two carriers could be a good option for European traffic, as they fly to around 40 popular destinations.
Such programs with narrow margins can hardly be regarded as the best affiliate programs for travel sites, but you might want to consider them if your site attracts suitable traffic. And they have one more potential advantage – people may have developed loyalty to a brand and, hence, more trust in the official website. All of this could make your job of selling easier.
And don’t confuse such offers with simple loyalty programs which might be offered to customers and affiliated carriers with some alliance, like OneWorld or SkyTeam. Loyalty programs come under separate terms and are not related to the affiliate market.
What is the best flight affiliate program?
As well as flight programs, there are many others – hotels, rental cars, and so on. All of them provide a pool of the best affiliate programs for travel sites. But be warned – an affiliate program flight one or other, that is good for someone else doesn’t mean, that option, or scheme, is the best one for you. You must be diligent in your search to find the right, and most profitable, one for you. This choice will be the best one for you.
We at Travelpayouts aim to provide you with the best affiliate experience ever. We realize that nobody is perfect and that there is always something that can be improved. Answers to the most frequently asked questions are available at our Knowledgebase, where you can also drop us a line, ask a question if something is unclear or suggest an improvement. We value our partners; maybe that is one of the main reasons why they choose us.