Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

Google ITA Matrix – The Ultimate Guide to Using This Tool

Brian Graham's image
Brian Graham

Brian Graham

Former Content Contributor

Countries Visited: U.S. States Visited:

After leveraging employee travel benefits from a previous corporate job, Brian set sail with his buddy around the world and has become a seasoned traveler who maximizes points and miles wherever possi...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt

Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 4U.S. States Visited: 23

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

Many of you are probably wondering what is really the best way to search for low-priced airline tickets. Perhaps you’ve been burned in the past by finding a lower fare on another site AFTER you already booked your own, and you’re just looking for a reliable deal.

In this case, it’s safe to say that the Google ITA Matrix software search tool is the best search tool out there.

Actually, most other flight search engines are based on its technology. This article will tell you more about what the Matrix is (not the Neo one!) and how to use it.


The ITA Software Matrix is a powerful tool built by MIT scientists in the 1990s to solve the problem of cheap flight tickets. Before this, no search engine could consistently return the lowest fares for travel. This original software was called QPX.

Orbitz became the first customer to use the software. Then in 2011, Google acquired the software and integrated it into its existing search engine to create Google Flight Search.

A much more detailed history exists, but essentially the software is now in use by most travel companies, including airlines, meta-search engines (such as Kayak and Orbitz), and others.

Currently, the company is in version 3.0 of the software as it has now integrated with Google. Details of the updates and the software can be found on the website.

Unfortunately for devoted users, the OnTheFly mobile app has been discontinued. Mobile users now must use a mobile browser to search ITA. There is no Google Flights mobile app, either.

Earn Maximum Points When Booking Travel

You’ll want to make sure you’re earning valuable rewards points when you’re making a booking on this platform.

Hot Tip: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns you 2 points for every $1 you spend, and these points are very valuable. Don’t miss out on these points by using a card that has few or no reward earning opportunities!

There are of course other travel rewards credit cards that can earn you a bonus when you spend money on travel purchases with them. These cards collect flexible points, which means you can transfer them to many different airline and hotel partners, making them very lucrative and valuable.

We’ve written articles on the Chase transfer partners as well as the American Express transfer partners if you want more information.

How ITA Matrix Works & How to Use It

In a nutshell: It’s magic, guys.

Ok not really, but just know there’s some serious engineering behind the software that you don’t want to worry about. The MIT scientists developed an algorithm that gives great results for plane tickets, and that’s what matters.

From a user standpoint, it’s a simple form where you input your desired flight details and get flight options in return. The details you input are:

  • Round-trip, One-way, or Multi-city
  • Departing from city
  • Destination city
  • Advanced routing codes (optional)
  • Dates (exact or calendar)
  • Outbound/Departure Date exact or flexible date options and preferred times)
  • Return/Arrival Date (exact or flexible date options and preferred times)
  • Number of adults (children or seniors optional)
  • Cabin type
  • Number of desired stops
  • Extra stops allowed
  • Other (airport changes, only flights with available seats)
  • Currency (optional, defaulted to currency of departure city)
  • Sales city (optional, defaulted to departure city)

(If you’re already familiar with the basic tool, you may want to see our advanced guide.)

Now, we’ll go over all the sections and describe the various data you put into all the fields to find your cheap plane tickets.

Default Look with Advanced Routing Codes Showing. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

Round Trip, One-way, or Multi-city

First, select your type of trip. The difference between round-trip or one-way is that you won’t be allowed to select return dates for the latter.

If you want more than just a “there-and-back” trip, selecting multi-city allows you to choose multiple different departure and destination cities.

Departing From City/Destination City

Type in the airport code (ORD, JFK, etc.) or city name and the Matrix will find the appropriate airport. You can also have it select all airports within an area if there are multiple.

Advanced Routing Codes (Optional)

Use these to choose or exclude specific airlines as well as many other options. These are discussed in detail in the advanced section.

Dates (Exact or Calendar)

This option allows you to choose by exact or flexible dates, or elect to see a calendar. If you stick with “exact dates” you’ll get the next two options.

(The calendar option is also discussed in more detail in the advanced section.)

Outbound and Return Dates (Exact or Flexible Date Options and Preferred Times)

Put in the dates you need if your trip days are inflexible. Otherwise, use the options to make your departure and arrival time flexible up to +/- 2 days. You can also select preferred flight times if you want to restrict the search to a certain time of day.

Number of Adults (Children or Seniors Optional)

You’re likely searching for flights for yourself or another adult as well, but you can also add children and seniors as needed.

Cabin Type (Class of Service)

Keep default selections to stay in economy (‘cheapest available), or change to premium economy, business, or first.

Number of Desired Stops/Extra Stops Allowed

In this section, you can choose to look at only non-stop, one-stop, or two-stop flights. Then, you can also have the program search a range, such as 0-1 stop, 0-2 stops, etc.

Other (Airport Changes, Only Flights With Available Seats)

These two options can be used to ensure you make it back to the same airport you left from and don’t have to swap between airports on multi-stop trips.

You can also search for airline tickets even if they don’t have seats, in case you want to compare.

Currency and Sales City

These two advanced options will be discussed in the second part of this article.

A Search Example

In February, I took a flight from Austin to Seattle (ski season!). I knew I wanted to travel around February 23-29, but I was flexible up to a couple of days.

Here is what I input (note that we’ll skip the advanced features for now):

Example of the form inputs for my flight to Seattle for my ski trip. The tool helped me find the best fares so I could spend more on having fun! Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

I put in the information for the departing and arrival city, my preferred dates, my cabin, and the number of stops I wanted.

On this trip my schedule was flexible, so I allowed the dates to be “+/- 2 days.” However, I didn’t really care what time of day I left or returned, so I didn’t use the Preferred Times.

I also hate multiple stopovers on trips like this, so I selected “nonstop” with up to one extra stop as my options there. I left everything else defaulted. Here are the results I got:

Flight results for my chosen flight from the example. I made sure to ask for no stopovers and had flexible dates to ensure I found the best price. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

Bada bing, bada boom. You have results for plane tickets in mere seconds, arranged in a nice, easy to use table.

Now that you have your results, in the next section, we’ll go over how to use and interpret them.

How to Use the ITA Software Matrix Results

First, it might be useful to prove that these are good prices. After all, the consumer’s biggest fear about booking a ticket is not getting the best price.

To verify the Matrix results, I used the search features of a few different sites that all use the Matrix software, and I also checked prices on the individual airlines’ websites.

Results of the Price Check Exercise

All the websites returned the same results, as expected (see results collage below). However, finding the same results on the airline websites isn’t always as easy…we’ll get to that in the Booking the Flight section.

Search result comparison for ITA Software Matrix, Kayak, Hipmunk, and Google Flight Search. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

On the results screen I received from the Matrix, I thought the first flight sounded like a good deal. When I clicked on it, I got the following page of details about the chosen flights:

Flight details for my chosen flight from the example. This page includes lots of details you can use to find the flights on other sites. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

Checking Different Flight Options

Let’s say that before booking, I wanted to check a few different flights. Sometimes it’s good to have options!

To get back to the main results, we simply click the URL on the word “Flights” in the top right. From there, we can click on any other results.

Check out some other cool features of the program shown in the tan box on the right-hand side.

You can see total miles (for loyalty program members!), CO2 Emissions (for green-minded folk), and the airport information. Clicking on the airport name brings it up in Google Maps.

Get back to the results page by clicking “flights” in the upper right. Some interesting information about your chosen flight appears in the tan box on the right. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

Some general results page information:

Now you understand the basic Results Page information. In our advanced section, you’ll find some additional information on using the filters. Next, you need to book your flight!

Booking Flights

Of course, finding the flight is only half the battle. You do actually have to book it to travel (preferably using a miles card!).

Previously, you weren’t able to do this directly through the ITA Matrix. However, a new site is now available that makes it as easy as can be: These guys saw an opportunity and created a simple tool to book your flights. Now ITA Matrix is as good an online travel agency as any other!

Just copy and paste the itinerary from your results page on ITA into their tool, and they will give you options to book your flight with a number of online booking agents.

If you just want to do it yourself, there are a few different options for booking the flight (note that the site includes the first two):

What are the advantages of each? Well for the first one, you’d have the advantage of using your favorite credit card to earn points on your airline!

If you decide to book through a site or through a travel agent, there are multiple benefits including saved time, extra assistance, and even travel insurance.

The important thing is to ensure you have your loyalty account information and hopefully, a credit card that will offer you points to book it.

Remember that some credit cards only offer the extra points if you book directly with the airline, which can be a very good reason to choose that option. These include cards like the American Express® Gold Card.

Using the Matrix Results to Find the Best-Priced Ticket

Whichever method you prefer, you should be able to navigate there and take care of business. Your first step is to take a look at your flight details again and gather all the necessary information:

The information circled will be important to book the tickets. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

You may notice the highlighted “rules” button next to the fares in the middle of the screen. Those links have details about the rules behind the fares, which are typically used by travel agents and the airlines themselves.

Feel free to read them; they’re long, but give the exact rules for booking that fare. These are the details you need if you can’t find the same price when searching for your flight elsewhere.

Booking Directly With the Airline

First, I’ll first show you how to book with the airline directly. Remember that in my example, I wanted this $196.20 fare from Alaska Airlines.

After searching the Alaska website, I found the same flights as in the example above (Flight 671 and 670 with the same departure times)…

The same flights found in ITA Matrix from the above search: Alaska flights 671 and 670. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix

…and the total price that came up was indeed the lowest fare available at this time for those dates on the Alaska site!

The final fare on the Alaska website matches the ITA Matrix result! Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix


Hot Tip: I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to book the flight for 2x points, and used The Platinum Card® from American Express to get a $200 airline credit (which paid for a few drinks on the flights as well as my upgraded seat). I also used the Alaska lounge in Seattle on the way home using Priority Pass, which I got with the AMEX card.

Booking With Other Travel Agents

If you want to book the flight through one of the online booking agents, simply go perform the search on their site and make sure you find the same flight details.

You can book directly through these sites, and potentially get other bundled deals if you’re interested in doing so.

Finally, if booking through a travel agent, you will want to provide them with all the flight details and Fare Construction information (as seen in the photo above) to help them book the fare.

With this method, it’s important to note that some credit cards won’t award you bonus points; on others, it will depend whether the business is categorized properly for the credit card processor.

Can’t Find the Lowest Fare?

If you can’t find the lowest fare, try searching around on different travel sites to see if it shows up. Eventually, you should be able to figure out where the fare is being pulled from.

You should also make sure all the fare information is exactly the same on the sites you’re viewing as on the Matrix; remember to check the fare class and other details if necessary.

It’s also possible that the fare you are looking for may no longer available, and in this case, you should just look for your next best option.

If you think you have an idea of a trip for the future, just start checking prices regularly. This way, you can track the changes and make sure you find the best flight tickets available over a period of time.

Bonus: Get Your Flight on

We also want to show you the quick process of booking using the new site This tool is seamless! Check out their home page for a great, easy way to use their tool.

The first step is to simply find the flight you want, so use all the instructions above to get to the final results page with the desired flight. For a new example, I created a fake itinerary from Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan (DCA) to London Heathrow (LHR).

On the results page, I simply pressed CTRL + A on my PC (CMD + A on Mac) to select all:

Your text will turn blue (or whatever color you have customized) when you select all, and then you can hit [CTRL + C] or [CMD + C] to copy it. Image Credit: Google ITA Matrix
Once copied, go to the BookWithMatrix page and copy it into the line at the top to find your itinerary:

Select the bar at the top before you paste your itinerary. Image Credit: Book With Matrix

Then, paste your itinerary to have the tool spit out the options for booking:

The final output of BookWithMatrix. You can currently book with three different travel agents, as well as the appropriate airline from the itinerary! Image Credit: Book With Matrix

Final Thoughts and Part Two: The Advanced Guide

With that, you now know how to use all the basic features of the ITA Matrix! Hopefully, you learned something new and will be on your way to consistently find cheap plane tickets in the future.

Since we all know fares change frequently, you should still check back often and shop around to find the best prices. Eventually, you’ll get a more intuitive feel for what a good price is on different flights.

As always, make sure to maximize the fares you pay by utilizing the appropriate cards to gain miles and points for your purchases. If you can’t find your preferred airline, you should book on airlines that have loyalty program partnerships.

If you’re still interested in learning more, move on to the Advanced Features section, coming up next.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

The software is a search tool that is able to pull results from most airlines to help you find the lowest fare. It does this by allowing you to search a multitude of parameters including desired cities, connections, flexible dates, and more.

Until recently, making a booking on the platform was not possible. To book flights and fares, you previously had to:

  • Use your flight number, time of departure, and fare class codes to find the equivalent fare on the airline website
  • Use the same information and find the same codes on an online booking agent like Priceline or Expedia
  • Take your ITA Matrix Booking Code to a travel agent if you couldn’t find the lowest fare any other way

Recently, a site called came up to help you to quickly book your ITA flights! Be sure to book your flight with a points and miles credit card.

Put in the flight details for your departure and arrival cities, your desired dates (exact or flexible), and whatever other search parameters are important to you.

The program offers a variety of parameters to help you find the cheapest flight or whatever matches your desires most specifically.

The platform is a great way to find cheap flights for last minute tickets if you want to do a mileage run. The best way to do this would be to search for a flight leaving from your nearest airport to any number of destinations.

It may take multiple different searches, and you are more than welcome to use multiple destinations in the advanced routing codes (see our advanced guide) to help widen the search, since you’ll just be looking for the cheapest airfare.

ITA has discontinued their OnTheFly app. You’ll need to use a mobile browser to search ITA on the go.

Right here! Check out our standard guide above or our advanced guide here. You can also find information about the product on Google’s ITA Page.

Unfortunately, the software is only good for searching out flights, and it cannot search hotels at this time. Try a site like or

Actually, both run on the same software. Google Flight Search may be a quicker way to get to the simple searches, but ITA Matrix will have all the advanced features you need if you’re trying to find something specific.

Nope! The software is free to use and doesn’t require you to sign up or create a profile. Just check out their site and get searching!

QPX is simply the name the developers gave to their creation when they first used it. It is now more widely known as the ITA Matrix, Matrix ITA, or ITA Software Matrix, and is owned by Google.

About Brian Graham

Brian’s first ever airplane ride was in a private turbo-prop jet. He was merely an intern boy trying to make a good impression, but it turns out the plane made an impression on him.

It wasn’t until Brian relocated to Dallas, TX, and moved in with an American Airlines employee that he truly discovered how incredible travel could be.


Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...

Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.

We respect your privacy. Please view our privacy policy here.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.



March 24, 2018

Why are some airlines excluded from Matrix ITA? There are two airlines on the routes I fly, but only one is featured by IT A. Therefore other comparison sites like Skyscanner that work better for me.

Alex Miller

March 24, 2018

It’s based on which airlines have an API or not (i.e. access to their data). For example – Southwest do not allow API access.


August 29, 2018

Do you happen to know why some AA routes cannot be found in ITA matrix but they are shown in AA website.

Michael McHugh

August 29, 2018

Hi Jen

Do you have an example of a route? My assumption is that ITA Matrix has not updated its schedule to the latest AA schedule on the route you are looking at.


October 12, 2018

Do you know why most of the Indian airlines not listed on the ITA website.
I searched for a flight from kochi,IN to Male, Maldives and the first option I get is Sri Lankan Airlines bypassing the Indigo and Spice jet which give me a lower cost on a travel website.
Is there a link or way to check which airlines are listed in ITA?


Stephen Au

October 13, 2018

Hey Sarwar,

Google ITA doesn’t show prices for low-cost carriers (LCC’s). Try a website like Momondo or Google Flights!


October 12, 2018

Is there a way to see which airlines are listed on the ITA website?


Stephen Au

October 13, 2018

Hey Sarwar, all airlines except low-cost carriers should be in the ITA database.


November 19, 2018

Hi guys, I’m trying to book a multi-city flight and when I select my options I see a price of $3200, however when I go through the Bookwithmatrix site, it shows me a total cost of about $4600. Any reason why?

Christine Krzyszton

November 19, 2018

Hi Michelle. It is possible that one of the fare classes priced in your original search sold out and the new pricing is in a higher fare class. Each segment must price out in the exact same fare class to receive the same pricing. I would try other booking options such as directly on the airline’s website, Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, etc. or through a travel agent. Thank you for the question.


May 06, 2019

Is there a way to know Carriers Cargo rate like Passengers price on ITA Matrix?


Hello Estibel. Air cargo rates are not something we deal with here on Upgraded Points. The only site I am aware of that compares air cargo rates is Good luck with your search.


August 05, 2019

Hi Estibel, for carriers cargo rate, you can search the price from Freightos or searates, tryfleet,etc international logistics marketplace platform.

For instant price, you can also visit :


September 24, 2019

Using this software you still need to be cautious about the stated price. Two years ago a travel agent quoted $800AUD for a single flight from Budapest to Heathrow. The software also quoted the same price. This didn’t seem right to me for a flight of just under 3 hours. Checked on British Airway website and ended up paying less than $300AUD. I didn’t book at last minute but many months in advance.


January 20, 2020

I’m getting an error “invalid paste” on bookwithmatrix, any idea what the issue can be? Thanks!

Jarrod West

January 21, 2020

Hi Bernie,

Are you copying anything after the fare construction message? You don’t want to include anything after that. In my experience that is what causes that error.

Thanks for reading!

Marty Brown

February 01, 2020

I was running into the same error message. I thought that all I had to do was copy the full results page (the one you first get after entering all your initial information for flight possibilities. What worked for me was to select just ONE of those resulting flights by clicking on its price on the left side of the screen. Copy that resulting page and it worked for me.


January 24, 2020


Is there a way to specify that you want any legs longer than x hours to be a certain class? For example, short domestic legs can be cheapest fare class, but anything 8+ hours would need to be business class?

I’ve looked everwhere and can’t seem to figure this out.


May 26, 2021

Looks like Bookwithmatrix may be out of commission now. Tried multiple times to access over the last few days and keep getting 504 errors. Too bad, it was a good site!


November 27, 2021

You missed the most valuable part of the seach engine for flights – the “timebar” button. These really simplifies understanding all your options. No other search site does this that I am aware of . It it brilliant and very intuitive when you try it!



August 09, 2022

Any way to still access the old 3.0 version of matrix? Was so easy to use.

Jarrod West

August 15, 2022

Hi Myi,

Yes, you can use this link

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Protection Status