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Airline low price guarantee policies explained

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Airline low price guarantee policies explained

 

It happens less frequently than in the past, but once in a while you'll find a lower fare (same dates, same airline, same flight, same class of service) on a third-party website such as Travelocity than on the airline's own website. And when that happens, most airlines will do something for you. Here's a rundown of a sampling of airline low price guarantee policies.

 

 

 

Do they have it?

What you get

How to get it

Read between the lines

Alaska

Yes. The Price Guarantee, for when you find fares more than $10 lower than those booked at alaskaair.com.

If you find a lower fare on another site within 24 hours, you'll get $100 toward your next flight. Find a lower fare on alaskaair.com any time before your travel date, and you'll get a travel credit for the difference.

Both offers have their own regulations, but both claims can be initiated via simple online forms at alaskaair.com.

A fairly easy-to-use (and rather generous) policy.  Note that if you are claiming on a refundable ticket, you get money back, while those traveling on cheaper / nonrefundable fares get travel credits.

Allegiant

No. Allegiant sells its fares only on its own website.

 

Allegiant has a very clear policy about staying out of this whole process – a policy too many of its customers fail to read before booking, unfortunately. 

If you purchase the airline's TripFlex, you can switch to lower-priced itineraries as you wish; there are no rewards, however.

Allegiant's fares do sometimes drop closer to travel dates, if you're flexible and can wait to book.

Air France

Yes. The Best Price Guarantee, for when you find a fare over $10 lower elsewhere, after booking at airfrance.com.

The airline will issue a voucher for the difference, plus $50 bonus, both good only for future purchases on Air France

You'll need to take a screenshot of the exact same itinerary with a lower fare and email it in before midnight on the day of booking.

Not a terribly slick or easy policy (happy cutting and pasting / emailing!) but worth a shot.

American

Yes. The Lowest Price Guarantee, for when you find a fare over $5 lower elsewhere, after booking at aa.com.

The airline issues a voucher for the difference, plus a $50 promotional code for a future purchase.

An easy online claim form is available. They'll request a screenshot if they cannot confirm your claim. 

American is doing its darndest to control its fares these days (though they did recently rejoin Orbitz after that nice judge ordered them to). Either way, don't get too excited about catching them with their pants down.

British Airways

The airline's Price Promise, which assures that the best fares will be found at BA.com.

The airline will issue a check within 28 days for the difference in cost between the fare you bought and the one you found and brought to their attention.

You must fill out a rather extensive online claim form – same day of purchase, before midnight, like many other airlines.

Pretty standard stuff – prove it in the time allotted, and they'll play ball. We like the idea of getting money back, vs. just vouchers for future travel.

Continental

Yes. Their Low Fare Guarantee, which is fundamentally the same as the other legacy carrier policies.

They'll refund the difference to your credit card and will also give you an electronic voucher for $100, good for future travel.

Unlike other airlines, you have to call reservations to make your claim. The agent then has to be able to verify the existence of the fare you're calling about.

While it lasts (and when you can actually take advantage of it), this is one of the more attractive guarantees out there.

Delta

Yes – check out their Best Fare Guarantee, good for fares booked on delta.com.

They'll refund the difference and give you a $100 voucher for future travel. You can also just cancel the ticket and start all over again within 24 hours of booking (at delta.com).

Claims must be initiated before midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on the day of purchase of a ticket at delta.com. All claims must be made online only and the airline will not consider screenshots as proof.

This policy is essentially a copy of Continental's, albeit with online claim capability (no phone calls, please). Like most things Delta does, it will always sound better on paper. (The fact that they don't even want to see screenshots is really weasel-y, to be honest.)

Frontier

Their Best Fare Guarantee is good for fares found at frontierairlines.com.

The difference gets refunded to you, plus you get a $100 electronic voucher for travel at a later date.

Make claim by 11:59 p.m. (Mountain Time); the airline will have to verify that the fare in question was available when you booked with Frontier. The airline specifies that you should have a screenshot handy as proof.

The best way to approach this one (and actually most of these guarantees) would be to find the lower fare, screenshot it, then book with Frontier and make the claim immediately. 

JetBlue

Yes. Their Best Fare Guarantee, which works pretty much like most others – rewards you if you find lower fares than those you booked on jetblue.com.

No refunds, but you will receive a $100 credit for future travel on JetBlue.

You have to call in by 11:59 (Eastern Standard Time) on the day of purchase and be able to prove the existence of the lower fare while on the phone with an agent.

 

A fairly straightforward policy, except for the phonecall part – luckily, dealing with JetBlue agents is often rather quick and painless.

Southwest

Yes. But they don't make a big deal about it. Like Allegiant, Southwest does not sell its fares on third-party websites.

Receive the fare difference as credit for future travel if you find a lower fare on swa.com after you book.

If you see a lower fare on their site, go into your account on swa.com and rebook your flight; any difference will go into your account for future travel. 

Southwest was an early leader on this front and continues to please the majority of its customers with this simple policy.

Spirit

No. (You had to ask?) It's actually the case that Spirit's fares are always higher on third party websites than on Spiritair.com

N/A

N/A

 

United

Yes. Their Low Fare Guarantee, good for fares purchased on United.com only.

For fares more than $10 lower found on other sites on the same day, you get the difference refunded and 20 percent off your next flight (in voucher form). Find a lower fare on united.com any time before your travel date, and you'll get a travel credit for the difference.

Claims for fares found elsewhere must be filed online (make sure to keep a screenshot for proof.) Claims for fares found on United.com can be made online or over the phone; (However, claiming on non-refundable tickets means "administrative" fees of $150 or more.)

United's policy looks good, until you start reading the fine print. There's no harm in playing the game, but with this one, it always seems like you're less likely to win than on other airlines.

US Airways

Yes. The fairly weak Lower Fare Guarantee.

You'll receive a domestic travel voucher for the difference, minus a $150 domestic and $250 international change fee.

Must call reservations and prove your case over the phone; the typical terms and conditions apply.

This isn't really a policy.

 

 

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