Mileage running, status running and frequent travel rely greatly on finding the best deals for your flights. Any time that I mention how much I paid for my flight to China, (~$500), people always are taken back and want help finding deals for their flights. Really the resources are out there, you just need to know how to do it, and where to look.
First thing is that you need to be flexible. Many people plan their travel based on a destination in mind and want to set a certain date to fly within. Not only does this make finding deals quite difficult, it also makes award flights very difficult to find as well. Rarely does the airline industry hand out deals for the dates that most people fly, and to destinations everyone wants to visit. Popularity often means that deals aren't needed to fill the plane, so none are offered.
Flexibility in dates is probably the most important thing to remember. Rarely do big deals come up for flying on the weekend, once again, most people take vacations over 1 -2 weeks and fly out and return on the weekends. Planes don't need special effort to fill up on weekends in most cases, just the way things are. Deals tend to straddle the weekend. Often I can fly out on a Thursday, and then return on a weekend, or fly on a Friday and return on a Monday or Tuesday. Having this flexibility will give you lots of choices.
Destination flexibility is less important since deals tend to come around for most destinations at one point or another. If you are flexible on destination, then your ability to find deals becomes much easier. One thing to keep in mind here is once again popularity is your enemy here. Europe is a big destination for Americans, since that is the case, you don't see nearly as many deals for flights to Europe as we see to Asia. Just the way of life at the moment. Also, if you see a deal to Europe, and it isn't your desired location, a train or connecting flight may get you where you want to be and still save a significant amount of money.
Where to look though? I use two main resources, first and probably easiest to follow is a website called The Flight Deal. This website highlights low cost destinations from major airports in the US. Keeping an eye on this site is very valuable if you want to find cheap fares. Secondly is the Flyertalk Forums, keeping in mind that these are focused toward mileage runs. Since they focus on mileage runs, the routing can be convoluted, making many stops on the way to a destination in an effort to gain miles, not really focusing on a destination. These forums often refer to booking class codes, airport identification codes and more of the technical side of mileage runs, just beware of that going in.
Lastly, be ready to act fast. If you see a deal it often doesn't last more than 2-3 days and sometimes can be gone in only a few hours. You need to be ready to book quickly, grab those fares as fast as you can and remember point one again here. If someone else acts faster than you and the date you want no longer has cheap tickets left, move to the next week and try again, this often works charms when grabbing a deal.
Happy hunting, find some excellent fares out there everyone!
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8