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Delta quietly cuts its Best Fare Guarantee program

Sept. 27, 2021
3 min read
Delta quietly cuts its Best Fare Guarantee program
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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

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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 image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees