a white cell phone with a screen showing flight information

With summer quickly drawing to a close it’s time to start thinking about your next great getaway. But with every travel booking, there’s always one moment of great pause. That moment is that crucial step where you commit to booking a flight, even though you’re pretty sure someone will pay less, and there won’t be anything you can do about it.

Some companies have offered the opportunity to pay a fee to help out if the price drops, but no one has ever offered it “for free”. Well, Google has now done what no other has – offering a refund of the price difference if you don’t get the best deal on select itineraries originating the USA, for now. That’s extremely exciting…

Sunset aerial view through airplane window over wings. Flying at sunset and looking out of the window and enjoying the panoramic view. Travel and transportation conceptsHow Flight Price Guarantees Work

We’re living in an age of outstandingly low airfares to all the places you want to go, like New York to Barcelona for $250 round trip, Los Angeles to Hawaii from $199 round trip and London to Bali for £350. We keep pretty good track of those, in case you’re looking for inspiration.

a screenshot of a phoneThat’s exciting in itself, but what if you never had to worry about the price dropping further, making you regret the moment you booked knowing that someone paid less. Wouldn’t that be better? Google Flights is trialling a feature that brings just that. Yep, if your flight drops $50 bucks cheaper after you book, even if it’s not a refundable ticket, Google will come to your rescue.

a screenshot of a phoneFor a limited time, when you search on Google.com/Flights, you may see a new icon, in the shape of a Google coloured shield with the words “price guarantee” inside. If you do, booking that flight means the search giant is giving you completely free price protection, refunding the difference in price to you if and when the price drops.

Trial Period Only, For Now

This is Google Travel making their first foray into the price guarantee world, and as such the trial will only run from August 13th – September 2nd for flights originating in the USA but on both domestic and international itineraries. With all likelihood, this initial test would bring future Google trials for flights originating in Europe, Asia and beyond, as well as wider roll out.

Even if your flight price drops after the trial is over, but it was booked during the trial period, it still counts. Booking is the only key here, even if you’re flying much later in the year, or next!

a screenshot of a phoneSo which flights are eligible? You’ll just have to search and hope you get the Google colour schemed “price guarantee” badge. All flights booked with this badge during the two week trial will enjoy totally free price guarantees, meaning if your flight drops in price, Google Flights will email you and tell you to submit your details at which time they’ll bring you your refund for the difference in price.

Expedia is currently one of the most competitive online travel agencies in the price guarantee world, but unlike this initial Google Travel offering, theirs has a fee attached to each guarantee. It’s more like an insurance policy in that regard. Depending on the ticket you buy, each price drop guarantee can fetch between $8-$100 per ticket, depending on cabin, seasonality and other factors.

a tower with trees in front of itOne would assume that Google would eventually charge something for this peace of mind privilege, but perhaps a lot less given its data crunch prowess. Whatever happens, this is extra juicy incentive to search and book with Google Travel over the next few weeks. As to finding the best deals in the first place, here’s a few tips to become a Google Flights deal finding wizard. Every bit helps, right?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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