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Buy a cheaper airline ticket by paying in local currency

Interesting tip to pay cheaper airfares: put the price in local currency and see if the fare becomescheaper.

What you need to know is that a plane ticket is charged in the currency of the country of departure

Thus, a Paris – Istanbul will be invoiced in Euro and an Istanbul – Paris will be invoiced in Turkish lira.

Usually you don’t see it because the company’s website will use your language and/or geolocation to convert the price into your own currency.

This is where it becomes interesting since the company can convert :

  • Using the real exchange rate (called the interbank exchange rate)
  • By applying a small margin on the exchange rate (which isn’t necessarily outrageous, the company hedges against exchange rate fluctuations)
  • By applying a high margin (to earn more money).

According to my research, the big airlines are rather in the first two cases, there isn’t much hope to save. On the other hand, low cost airlines will tend to be in the third case and there are savings to be made.

Illustration with two concrete cases.

Warsaw – Paris with the company Wizz Air

If we look at the price in Euro, we get a rate of 101,51 €.

Using the currency of the country of departure, the Zloty (PLN), we get a rate of 392 PLN.

By doing a quick conversion through Google, we find that 392 PLN is worth 92.59 € at the current interbank exchange rate.

That’s a differential close to 9 € which still represents a difference of 8.7%!

Hanoi – Phnom Penh with the Air Asia Company

Same fiscal year, the basic posted price will be in euro: €141.82

The currency of the country of departure is the Vietnamese dông (VND), if we look at the price in this currency we get: 3 487 072 VND.

Looking at the interbank exchange rate, this is equivalent to €135.66.

By paying in VND, you can save 6 € on the plane ticket, that is to say a little more than 4%.

How to use this technique?

To use this technique, remember to systematically compare the price of the plane ticket in euros and in the currency of the country of departure of the flight. This is usually possible either by changing the currency directly when this option is available, or by changing the language of the site.

If you see that the price is better in the local currency, you can keep it until you pay by credit card.

WARNING: for this technique to be interesting, you must pay with a card that does not take exchange rate commission. This is the case of N26, Revolut or Boursorama Ultim for example. If you pay with a traditional bank card that charges you fees, this trick loses all its interest.

Have a good trip!

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