How to Get a Credit if Your Airfare Price Drops

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You know the routine, you want to fly somewhere so you search for airfare prices. Then you search again. You check a different site. A different day. You set an alert. You conduct more searches. If you are the average traveler, you have searched roughly 48 times for flights before you actually book something. Because we are deal hunters, some of us even take a peek at prices after we pressed purchase just to see if we pressed the button at the right time.

 

Inevitably, sometimes the price of airfare will drop even after you have done all those searches and finally booked your ticket. It is no fun to know that you paid more for your ticket than you had to if you would have waited a bit longer to book, but unfortunately with most airlines there is no feasible way to cancel or change your ticket to get that new lower price outside of the first 24 hours after booking. While it varies, if you book the cheapest fares, then often you are looking at a minimum of a $200 fee in order to rebook your ticket at the new lower price, which frequently washes out the savings.

However, there are a few US airlines that allow you to get a credit in the event that the fare drops after you book, even if you are booked on the most restrictive lowest fares. These airlines aren’t just going to hand you your cash back, but they will give you a credit you can use towards a future flight, which is pretty great. Usually you have to use the credit within a year of when you booked your original ticket.

If Your Southwest Airlines Price Drops

With Southwest, if you purchase an Anytime or Business Select Fare, you can receive a cash refund of the difference if the fare drops. With the less expensive Wanna Get Away fares, you can receive a travel credit for the price difference if you spot a lower Southwest fare. You can do this on the Southwest website by going into your specific reservation, selecting to “change it”, searching for your same flights, and if the new price is lower then you can rebook and get a credit. Be careful not to hit a final submit button until you are sure the price has dropped so you don’t owe more! Deals We Like has a good step by step process of this here.

The fare difference will remain attached to the original confirmation number for the passenger to use on a future flight up to one year from the original date of purchase. Keep in mind that all travel must be completed in that year, not just a new flight booked within that time frame. If you booked the flight on Southwest points you can essentially do the same process if the award price drops, and put some points right back into your Rapid Rewards account with no fees.

If Your JetBlue Price Drops

JetBlue provides a free 14 day window from the time of booking for you to be able to get a credit to use towards a future flight if the price drops. If the price drops outside that first two weeks and you want to take advantage there is a $75 fee for those on the Blue or Blue Plus fares. There is no fee for those on the more flexible Blue Flex fares. There are no change or cancellation fees for Mosaic elite members.

If Your Alaska Airlines Price Drops

With Alaska Airlines, if you purchase your flight on AlaskaAir.com and the find the same itinerary on the Alaska website then you can use their online process to claim an airfare credit for the price difference. They do a really great job outlining the full terms and conditions online for their fare guarantees, including that you will lose your original upgrade position and you can use the price guarantee even when using the Bank of America Companion Certificate.

Have you ever taken advantage of one of these policies when the price has dropped for the flights that you booked?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. I followed the directions you showed for Southwest and I do not see any on screen steps for rebooking the flight at a lower fare. What am I doing wrong? Does that only show up if there is a lower fare? Do I have to figure out the lower fare?

  2. Yes – With Alaska. A couple of days after booking 2 seats round trip from San Diego to Santa Rosa the fare went down about $60 each. I believe I received a credit applicable to future travel for the difference. What a nice surprise and a reason why we remain very loyal to AS!

  3. I didn’t realize Alaska issued credits without change fees. Great to know – thanks!! (I change my Southwest tickets so often that once, when Southwest had to issue me a refund due to the “Great Blizzard of 2016”, it turned out I had used 4 different forms of payment for a single $100 ticket. But their customer service rep and their system handled it fine. I hate to think what would have happened with the legacies….)

  4. This is why I always try to book Southwest with points (usually transferred from my Chase account). Getting your points back puts them directly into your account. Having to deal with remembering a confirmation number can be a hassle. It’s the easiest thing ever! I make it a habit to check any flights that I have booked on SW about every other day. Typically, I “redo” a SW flight AT LEAST once, and usually more than that! Now that I have a companion attached, I usually call to make sure that my husband’s reservation remains intact, but I have never had an agent be anything but kind and helpful. Southwest is an awesome airline!!

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