One of the most frustrating things when booking flights is wondering if you are actually booking at the lowest possible price. It is like playing the lottery, but you always want to win. Well, if you book a flight and the price goes down, there are three airlines that will actually help you out! These three airlines include: Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines. While all other airlines will require you to cancel the flight and rebook at the lower price (thus requiring you to pay a hefty cancelation fee), these airlines have some pretty flexible rules where you can feel more confident that you are paying the lowest price possible!
Keep in mind though, with all three airlines, you’ll have to monitor the price yourself. The airlines will not automatically find you a lower price and adjust it for you. The car rental site Autoslash recently wrote a great blog post on how to set up alerts to monitor decreased airline prices. More on Autoslash in a future blog post, but ultimately, they will monitor car rental prices for you and can typically find you a better price!
Southwest is the most flexible of the three airlines. Up until 10 minutes prior to the flights departure, if the price of the flight goes down, you’ll receive a credit! Here are the three scenarios on how you will get a refund for your reservation:
- Purchasing a paid ticket with a credit card: If cancelled, you will receive a credit back in the full amount you paid valid for one year from when the ticket was purchased. So if you purchased a flight on October 1, 2017 for a flight taking place on December 1, 2017, and cancel the flight on November 1, 2017, the credits will expire October 1, 2018. Unfortunately, these credits are not transferable and you must travel by the expiration date, not just book by this date. You can actually request a credit multiple times if the flight continues to decrease.
- Purchasing a paid ticket with Southwest credit or a voucher: If cancelled, you will receive a credit back in the full amount you paid, but the expiration date will stick with the original voucher expiration date. This will not extend the date. Again, these credits/vouchers are not transferable.
- Purchasing a ticket using points: If cancelled, you will receive the full amount of points used back into your account. The points will go back into the account from which they were pulled from even if they were used on another passenger. Keep in mind though, once you “change” a flight, the flight will become non-refundable and if you then go ahead and cancel a non-refundable flight, the taxes/fees paid will also become non-refundable and will be returned as a credit to be used 1 year from the date the flight was originally booked. To avoid having your ticket become non-refundable, you can just cancel the flight and re-book (again this is free). You can learn more about this here.
You can learn more about Changing and Canceling a Southwest Ticket here. Or specifically Canceling a Southwest Reservation Booked on Points here.
Alaska Airlines also allows you to claim a difference in fare up until the departure date! They also make it extremely easy to receive the fare difference back! Go to this Alaska Airlines site, enter your last name and confirmation number. You’ll then receive the difference back in a credit which you have 12 months to use. The credit can then be found in the “My Wallet” section of your account which allows you to easily keep track of any credits to use for a future flight.
With this form, you do not actually need to keep track of your flight, but can enter your information in the form and it will tell you if your price has in fact decreased or not.
There are only two stipulations to receiving a credit back:
- You must have booked your original flight directly through Alaska Airlines, not a third-party, i.e., Expedia.
- All flights must be operated by Alaska Airlines. If you booked through Alaska Airlines but your itinerary involves a parter airline, the price guarantee does not qualify.
You can learn more about getting the difference back if your Alaska Airlines flight has dropped in price here.
JetBlue isn’t nearly as flexible as the other two airlines, but will still allow you to get a credit back if the price decreases within 14 days of when you booked the flight. So while this isn’t nearly as long as a timeframe as the other two, it is more then the 24 hours allowed with the rest of the larger domestic airlines.
You can get a price adjustment regardless if you booked with points or a paid fare. Although, you’ll need to call JetBlue to get it processed, it cannot be done online. If it is a paid faire, the voucher is valid for an entire year from the date the credit is issued. The credit will sit in your credit bank and can be used to book a flight for you or someone else – so it is much more flexible then the Southwest credit. If you booked with points, you’ll just receive the difference in points back (although I believe they’ll have to cancel the flight and then re-book at the lower fare – no fee).
You can learn more about getting a credit back if a paid JetBlue flight went down in price here and getting your points back on a JetBlue award reservation here.
If you have an upcoming flight with any of these three airlines, it is important to monitor your flight. It takes just a few minutes to “price adjust” if a lower fare becomes available and this is a huge advantage compared to the other airlines. Because of these flexible policies, I’ll typically pick a Southwest or JetBlue flight over another airline any day (Alaska Airlines is not convenient for me.
Have you ever received a credit or points back due to a flight decreasing in price?