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?
What The Expedia Price Match Guarantee Offers
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.
Weighing The Expedia Price Match Guarantee Fees
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.
Just ran across your site while attempting to see how Expedia pays for this, if they have a deal with the airlines or if they’re in it alone. My recent experience (this week) was that on a lark I paid the $12 fee, never thinking that the price would drop as my trip is from a few days before to a few days after Christmas. My RT ticket was around $550 and to my amazement the next day I rec’d a notice that the price dropped $54! But it gets better, way better. Two days after that another notice that I’ve now saved $214! And I must say the program they use is fun as well, they have a chart that shows the daily changes plus the traveler has the ability to check prices on their own once every 30 minutes (Expedia checks daily).
Anyway, I’m glad I bumped into your site and will check it out further once I have more time.
I don’t find this option. on all flights on Expedia.com even thought it may be a very popular route on a major carrier (EWR/SFO on United).
I love the option and want to always use it having had it be very successful in the recent past… Any way to know which flights routes /carriers this is available for with going to the payment page for *each* offering free from the search?
The downside is they won’t let you cancel and rebook if you don’t buy this and you discover the price drop on your own. If you bought directly thru the airline you would often be able to do this. I’m never using expedia again. They had all sorts of bogus reasons why I couldn’t cancel my higher priced ticket and rebook the same flight again at the lower price ($300 savings) 3 weeks after I bought it. Even though the flight was the same exact one they said the class and rules were different (they weren’t).
I just ran into this as well. To be honest, I didn’t see the price change option when I booked! I don’t think booking thru Expedia makes sense but I continue to do it! I showed about $154 change. Not huge but enough to make a difference. The airline even changed the time on my inbound on me and my outbound on me. However, won’t give me a price change! Frustrating!
NEVER book a flight on Expedia. You can’t use points on International flights even though the agent after a long phone time could not find in writing in the disclosures anywhere they state that. The whole experience took a lot of time and was a complete waste.
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