Should I buy my plane ticket now or wait? Is this a good deal? What if the price drops after I buy my ticket?
You’re right for asking these questions. Nobody wants to buy something only to find out they could have saved if they waited. This is especially true for airfare, and it’s a topic Google has decided to address.
According to a recent announcement, Google Flights is making it even easier to plan your travel, with greater insight into ticket prices. And they’re so confident about their service that they’re offering a price guarantee on flights they predict won’t get any lower.
The Google Flights price guarantee is only available for a select time — starting today — but it will be a good test of how accurate their algorithms are for identifying the lowest available ticket price. As in, if we can believe them when they say, “[Y]ou can rest assured that you got the best price with Google Flights.”
What is Google Flights?
Google Flights is a popular and powerful online tool for searching, tracking, and booking flights. The service facilitates the purchase of airline tickets through more than 300 airlines and online travel agency partners.
Finding airfare on Google Flights is straight-forward. After you enter your travel details — number of passengers, where you’re going, etc. — you tap a calendar to select your flight dates. From there, you’ll see the lowest total price to fly for each day. If you want to search without a particular destination in mind, Google Flights will display a map tool that allows you to see the least expensive fares to a variety of destinations.
When you’re ready to book, you’ll either be taken to the airline’s website or online travel agency to complete the booking or, for some flights, you can complete the booking without leaving Google at all. Once your ticket is purchased, you’ll work directly with the airline or travel agency if any changes need to be made.
Google’s special price drop refund offer
One of the features provided by Google Flights has been the ability to see whether prices for a given flight are high, low, or typical, but the company’s new features are meant to offer even more insight. For some flights, Google will show users how the price has changed over the past few months, and they’ll notify you when they predict the price may go up soon or won’t get any lower.
Google has also included a price guarantee for select flights. For certain itineraries booked between August 13 and September 2, 2019, Google is guaranteeing the price won’t drop, and if it does, they’ll refund you the difference.
Here’s how it works:
- Look for the Google-colored price guarantee badge when you’re picking your departing and returning flights. The badge means that specific flight is eligible for the price guarantee.
- Purchase your flight on Google.
- If the price drops after you book and before you fly, you’ll receive an email with a link to claim the difference.
Additionally, the price difference must be greater than $5 to receive the reimbursement, and you can receive up to $500 back total for all flights booked using their price guarantee. You’re allowed up to three bookings total under the guarantee, regardless if you receive a payout or not.
Google’s price guarantee is only available for one-way and round-trip tickets and, as of now, itineraries must originate in the United States. Eligible travel must be completed by November 24, 2019.
Other ways you can save money on flights
As insightful as Google Flights is, having multiple tools working for you might be the best strategy for snagging the perfect deal. Here are some other ways you can save money on airfare:
Utilize multiple airfare tracking and alert tools
- Hopper: Receive price predictions on airfare up to one year in advance, allowing you to book your flight then and there or monitor prices over time. Hopper is free to download and use, but you can choose to tip them $5 for their service if you decide to book.
- Dollar Flight Club: Choose between free and premium services ($69/year), with the latter providing more deals, more price-tracking capabilities, and no ads. Either way, subscribers receive alerts about cheap flight deals leaving their home airports.
- Going: Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights, this flight alert service focuses solely on international flights. It’s free to sign up, but premium users can pay $49 per year to receive all of their best flight deals. The site doesn’t receive any commission when you book a flight, so they only send along deals that are really worth it — usually between 40-90% off normal prices.
Read FinanceBuzz’s 2019 airfare study
In our 2019 U.S. airport cost rankings, we looked at average domestic airfares from the 45 busiest airports in the U.S. to learn which airports frugal travelers will want to frequent and which to avoid. Of course, costs can vary widely at any single airport, but knowing which airports tend to be more expensive might help you in your search for the best deal.
Credit card rewards
Credit cards can go a long way in helping you save money on flights. Aside from earning you rewards for free airfare, many travel credit cards come with a slew of benefits. Free baggage, free upgrades, and reimbursements for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees are just a handful of the many perks offered by some of the best travel credit cards out there.
The bottom line of finding the best airfares
It remains to be seen who will actually benefit from Google’s special offer, but covering your bases can’t hurt. A multi-pronged approach is likely the best way to save money on airfare.
And even if you book your airfare with Google Flights and the price doesn’t drop, they’re confident you can rest assured that you still got the best price.
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