Google Flights Offering Price Guarantee

Filed Under: Flight Deals, Great Deals

Google Flights is one of the most useful tools out there for researching airfare. They make it really easy to compare airfare across airlines, and also offer useful features like price tracking, and they’ll even tell you if they forecast that the fare will go up or down.

As of now they’re primarily an airfare aggregator. That’s to say that they often even give you the option of booking through an airline after they display a fare for you, so they’re not a full-on online travel agency.

I would imagine their long term goal is to better monetize the service, though for now they seem focused on exploring options and gaining market share.

Well, Google Flights is about to get even cooler, at least for a limited period, as they’re putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to predicting airfare.

For a limited period, Google will be offering a price guarantee for flights. As they describe this:

Price guarantee is part of Book on Google within Google Flights. For some flight prices, Google’s algorithms are confident that the price you’re seeing is the lowest available before the flight departs. After you book on Google, we’ll keep monitoring the price until take-off, and if it drops, you’ll automatically get the difference back.

This will be valid for flights booked between August 13 and September 2, 2019, and is valid for travel through November 24, 2019. Here’s how this will work:

  • Only fares that show the price guarantee badge will be eligible for this, as these are cases where Google is confident that the fare won’t drop
  • In the event that the price drops for your flight, you’ll receive an email letting you know, and you’ll be able to claim the difference back, which will be deposited in your bank account
  • To receive money back the price difference has to be at least $5, and you can receive up to $500 back across as many itineraries as that allows

Back in the day airlines would offer their own price match guarantees as a way to make consumers confident in booking. Over the years they’ve eliminated that one-by-one, especially as they get more aggressive with last minute pricing. The exception is Southwest, which doesn’t have change or cancelation fees.

I’ll be very curious to see what Google’s long term play is here. I imagine that will depend on how much this costs them, and also how much of an increase of bookings and searches they see through their service.

  1. This is the first time Google has given a reason to book through their platform. Previously, at least from my knowledge, there was absolutely zero reason to book with them over directly booking with the airline.

  2. I hope some of their deals turn into real flights.

    So many times in the past I’ve had it price something up and after clicking through to the airline or calling them up the answer is ‘nope not available’ Or ‘yes but it costs more’.

    But that was before they started offering their own ‘book with us’ feature so maybe it’s different now.

  3. I’ve never seen a “book with google” option on google flights, but I fly mainly with Oneworld. Which airlines does it work for?

  4. It is worth saying that British Airways still offer a price guarantee which has been helpful in the past!!

  5. I don’t like when I get a really great fare, and the only links are to some questionable booking agents. I much prefer when the link is directly to a real airline. I just don’t have the time to research those questionable booking agents.

  6. Good thing I have a lot of flights coming up this fall. This could actually be super useful!

  7. Agree with Matt, very rarely it goes down.

    Cheapskates with time on their hand book early at the lowest rate, people who cares and need to travel books through the airline to make sure there is no problem with changes etc.

    But, they get people to book on the google platform, which gives them traffic, and what does google sell?
    Ads and your personal data.

  8. Chris, that’s only half right: Google shows you ads to make money, but it doesn’t sell your data. It acts as an exchange, where they tell advertisers they have a pool of hundreds of millions of customers segmented in every which way, and offer advertisers the ability to target them, matching people to segments and segments to advertisers.

  9. I’ve never seen a “book on Google” option. I have only seen a link to the airline’s website although I have also seen a “book with travel agent”.

    This is pretty daring of Google? Although I have been witness to it getting pretty close to predicting when a price might go (or down) and what it will go up (or down) to…. (although, come to think of it, I have not seen that feature in a couple of months)….

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