Paying too much: Get money back on internet travel purchases

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January 23, 2009

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Jan. 23, 2010/ Troy Media/ — Have you ever wondered if you’re paying too much when you click “buy now” on those internet search engines for travel? Wouldn’t you like to get money back on those tickets or that hotel room if you do? Well, now it just might be possible.

There are search engines out there that are supposed to alert you when airfares or hotel prices drop. There are other sites that try to tell you whether they think the price will go up or down further. Hopefully they’re programmed to guess better than you can if it’s the right time to hit that buy button. But what if you and the search engine get it wrong?

Getting the best deal

The fact is that prices swing several times a day… let alone from day to day. It’s hard to know what to do. Should you book far ahead? On Tuesdays? At midnight? Maybe getting a last minute deal is the best way to go. How can you tell?

Have you ever gotten into a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the plane and just not wanted to tell them how much you paid for that ticket? There always seems to be someone who wants to brag how cheap he got that ticket but you’re always afraid it isn’t you.

Seems like some of those websites have been listening. More of them are adding a kind of “insurance” to make it easier to click on through to a ticket or hotel room.

There are new sites that will track the amount you paid for your airline ticket or your hotel room, and they’ll email you if the fare goes down. Many airlines will refund the difference if the fare goes down after you book with them, but you need to know about it first of all, then apply for it.

These new tracking sites give you the information so you can do that. Hotels can be trickier. You might have to cancel and rebook. Make sure there aren’t late cancellation fees that would cancel out any savings.

Some sites offering guarantees

Some of the big travel-booking sites have started offering guarantees that you won’t be paying too much. Some will automatically give you a credit refund if another customer books the same itinerary or flight for less. You don’t even have to track it yourself or apply for the refund.

Other sites have refunds for package deals if someone else gets the same package for less. There are limits on the amount of money you can get back per ticket but at least it’s something.

The bottom line is: you don’t want to be wondering if you’re paying too much, so when you’re booking online, sign up for a free tracking service or check to see what the website’s policy is for a refund if you pay more than someone else.

Channels: The Calgary Beacon, January 26, 2010

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