6 years ago

CheapAir debuts Price Drop Payback but not all paybacks created equally

Travelers are always wondering if they really landed the best airfare deal so CheapAir.com has introduced a refund program to give its customers some compensation and stress-relief if airline ticket prices fall.

The California-based online travel agency’s new Price Drop Payback provides customers with up to $100 per ticket in vouchers toward future travel if the price of their nonrefundable airline ticket drops before they depart. See the precise terms and conditions.

But, there is some heavy lifting involved to get the CheapAir payback.

The vouchers aren’t sent automatically — the customer must check back periodically by accessing the website’s My Trips section and then select the Price Drop Payback button to reprice the itinerary to see if the airfare has dropped.

It’s better than having no sort of airfare price drop guarantee, but CheapAir’s Price Drop Payback doesn’t nearly measure up to the Orbitz Price Assurance guarantee, for example.

Under Price Assurance, Orbitz automatically tracks airfare and hotel rate price drops and sends refund checks — not vouchers — to qualifying customers.

Orbitz offers refunds of up to $250 on airline tickets and a maximum of $500 for each hotel booking.

Through last summer, Orbitz has sent more than $10 million in refunds to customers in the three years since launching Price Assurance.

Orbitz, of course, is a much larger company than CheapAir and presumably in a better position to hand out the refund payola.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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  1. AutoSlash.com

    AutoSlash.com has the most customer friendly model when it comes to car rentals. You don’t need to click buttons or wait around for another customer to make the exact same booking as you. We proactively check rental prices multiple times a day, and if rates drop, we reduce your rate automatically. You don’t have to lay out the money and wait for a refund. You simply end up paying less at the rental counter.

  2. Tony A.

    Re: To receive a travel credit, you must re-price your itinerary using the “Price Drop Payback” button that will appear with your itinerary when you retrieve your booking through the “My Trips” section on CheapAir.com.

    ok so who is going to audit this? how does the customer know he is not getting screwed?

  3. Jeff Klee

    Dennis, thanks for the write-up. We actually think our program stacks up quite well against Orbitz’ and offers a better value proposition for the consumer. The catch with Orbitz that you didn’t mention is that they will only pay a refund on a price drop if another Orbitz customer purchases the exact same trip (every single flight must be identical) at the time when the fare is lower. That means that if a customer knows the fare has dropped, with Orbitz all they can do is wait around and hope someone else buys an identical itinerary — otherwise no refund. A CheapAir customer in that situation could simply go onto our site and claim a credit for the difference, with just a couple of clicks. Your points about the different maximums and the cash vs. credit are fair, but we believe you are much more likely to be able to take advantage of our program than theirs.


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