Delta quietly cuts its Best Fare Guarantee program

Sep 27, 2021

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Comparison shoppers might not like Delta’s latest move.

Over the weekend, the Atlanta-based carrier discreetly cut its Best Fare Guarantee program, which was originally introduced more than 13 years ago in March 2008.

The program assured customers that they’d always receive the lowest possible fare on a Delta flight when booking on the airline’s website. If you found a lower fare on another travel site within a day of booking, you could either collect a full refund for your flight or receive the fare difference back to your credit card along with a $100 electronic travel voucher to use on a future flight.

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There were some additional terms included with the program, but it was effectively a strategy to get travelers to make their purchases on Delta.com. “We always offer our best available fares on delta.com. That’s our commitment to Delta’s loyal customers, and we’re willing to back it up,” said Tim Mapes, then Delta’s vice president of marketing, when the program was unveiled.

At the time, online travel agencies and other websites would sometimes offer lower fares than you’d find when searching directly with an airline, either intentionally by waiving booking and administrative fees or unintentionally due to technological lapses in inventory and pricing systems.

Nowadays, it’s rare to find cheaper flights through major online travel agencies like Orbitz or Expedia. And even on the off-chance that you do, you can always request a full refund within 24 hours of purchase on Delta.com through the carrier’s risk-free cancellation policy. (All airlines now offer a day-long grace period due to the Department of Transportation’s “24-hour reservation requirement.”)

Additionally, thanks to the pandemic, most airline tickets include more flexibility than ever before. Last year, all major U.S. airlines, including Delta, permanently eliminated change fees for all fares, excluding basic economy.

Related: Airlines that offer you a credit if the price of airfare drops

So, say you booked a $200 flight from New York to Atlanta, and you found a lower fare two weeks later, you can now cancel your ticket, rebook the flight and receive the fare difference as a future travel credit — but you wouldn’t receive any additional bonus as you would’ve under Delta’s Best Fare Guarantee program.

For those who’ve taken advantage of this offer, Delta’s move will definitely sting. In confirming the cut to TPG, a carrier spokesperson offered:

Delta is committed to making the shopping experience easy and seamless. Price-conscious customers can always use delta.com or the Fly Delta app to find the lowest published fares on Delta flights, and our 24-hour risk-free cancellation policy means they can cancel up to 24 hours after booking for any reason and receive a full refund.

Most other big U.S. airline have ended any similar best-fare guarantee programs they may have offered in the past, though Alaska Airlines remains a notable example. Even without the guarantees, however, you can still cancel and rebook your ticket if you find a lower fare through most carriers’ new no-change-fee policies.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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