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How to Get Money Back If Your Ticket Price Goes Down

Gilbert Ott

September 11, 2017

Alaska Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest each have transparent price guarantees that will give you a credit or refund for the difference in any fare drop. But pay attention to the specifics, as they vary: Alaska and Southwest will refund or credit you if a lower fare is found on their sites any time up to departure, for example, while Delta only honors price drops that occur in a 24-hour window. Meanwhile, JetBlue offers a 14-day price guarantee from the time of booking, where customers receive the amount of the difference in the fare in the form of future travel credit if a lower fare is found. Delta also offers a voucher and credit for the difference in fare if a lower price for the same ticket is found at least $10 cheaper on their website. The other two of the "big three" carriers—American and United—have [less transparent policies], but will issue a refund and future travel credit if a lower fare is found within 24 hours on their respective booking sites.

With Alaska and Southwest, you can score a refund or future travel credit directly online by logging into your booking. For JetBlue, you'll need to call the customer service line to receive a travel voucher, while Delta has an online form you have to complete to receive your voucher and fare difference. Make sure to keep track of any credits you get, too; in all cases, they expire a year from issue, so make sure to plan your next adventure accordingly.

Other airlines will offer refunds and credit, but the process is slightly more convoluted. If there's a significant drop in airfare after purchasing a ticket, with virtually any airline, there's potential to get a partial refund. In certain instances the fare savings may be larger than the change fee—resulting in money going back into your pocket. You'll just need to crunch the numbers to see if there are savings to be had. Before going about this, it's important to confirm the exact change fee for the given airline and availability of the newer, cheaper ticket. As a best practice, call the airline and discuss cancellation and rebooking options. The agent will be able to give you a detailed accounting of all fees and fares available, and if the original ticket price can be partially refunded.

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