How much is your travel sanity worthy? Apparently, there’s a number.
Online travel booking websites are constantly looking for ways to “one up” the competition and Expedia has a relatively unique new(ish) approach. Since we are constantly in a state of panic as to whether we’re getting the best flight deal, and realistically – sure that a better deal will come along as soon as we’ve booked, Expedia has a solution to put the mind at ease.
For a nominal fee, Expedia is offering “best price guarantees” which means if your flights drop in price after you’ve booked, you’ll get the difference back. So – is the Expedia Best Price Guarantee worth it?
The Expedia Price Match Guarantee is offered for a nominal fee at the booking page. You pay somewhere between $5-30 per ticket, and if your exact same itinerary goes down in price on Expedia, you’ll get a refund for the difference in price.
Do note: The guarantee is only offered on flights within 120 days of travel and it works up to 6 hours before your flight actually leaves! Again, it must be the exact same itinerary on the same airline, on the same flights.
Potential For Serious Upside
Many travelers hold off booking tickets because they’re convinced a lower price will pop up at a later date. Sometimes, that doesn’t work out and prices never go down at all, and instead head the other way, thus ruining a great trip.
This gives any traveler a massive upper hand in that fight, allowing them to book at a price they feel comfortable, with the assurance that if their flights go down, they’ll essentially lock in the best ever price – minus the fee paid to Expedia for the privilege.
The Only Way To Know
The ONLY way to know if this could be worthwhile, or if any ticket purchase should be made is to know what prices usually are for a given route and season. If you know that prices are almost always $500, you know $300 is a good deal. If you know you’ve never seen less than $300, it makes little sense to pay for a price guarantee when you’ve already scored an incredible deal.
This is where setting price trackers and doing your homework beforehand is essential. The more you know about prices for the flights you seek, the better your decisions will be. And don’t forget to think about seasonality either. Prices in summer can be 4x those in November.
We conducted multiple tests on domestic and international flights, and it appears Expedia is running some sort of “smart” risk engine to determine the fee. We found a fantastic round trip flight deal between the U.S. and Europe which equals the lowest prices we ever see. For this itinerary the fee was $7 per ticket.
Conversely, we found a domestic U.S. itinerary where prices were extremely high, and in our semi educated opinion, almost sure to go down considerably. For this itinerary the price match guarantee fee was $30 per ticket. We found many examples at the $10 mark, where a significant price drop would not be unexpected.
For business travelers, there were some guarantee options for international business class tickets starting at $80 and up per ticket. Given the cost of the ticket, it’s not totally insane…
Is The Per Ticket Fee Really Worth It?
It totally depends on the itinerary. Let’s take an international business class ticket, like London to Los Angeles. Expedia offered a price guarantee fee of $80 per ticket. Flash business class sales are increasingly frequent, and the ticket which is currently $2500 per person could very easily become $1000 per person before departure. When and if it did, each passenger would receive a refund of $1500, minus the $80 per person fee.
With that logic, someone with means who was comfortable at the $2500 price has absolutely nothing to lose, and tons to gain by utilizing the program. In short: the guarantee is most useful when prices are higher than you’d like, but you must travel.