When you’re looking for a hotel, travel discount sites like Kayak, Expedia and Hotels.com are good places to start, but you won’t always find the best prices there. There’s one more step to take that’ll help you undercut even the lowest price you find online. Here’s what you need to do.
All right, you know where you want to stay, but now you’ve got to figure out how you’re getting there. And once again, there’s a way to get better prices and even some money back if you skip the popular travel sights.
New to Google Flights?
Think of it as Google Search, but for flights. You’ll find cheap domestic and international flights to narrow down by an abundance of filters including price, time, stops, distance, baggage fee and even emissions.
You’ll mostly be able to book directly through the airline, which is a safer bet than doing it through a third-party site like Expedia, Trip Advisor or Kayak.
Has this happened to you? You book a flight only to find that the price has plummeted, but it’s too close to your departure to cancel your flight and book another one. Flight prices fluctuate daily and this is always a possibility.
Google recently announced a new way to avoid buyer’s remorse and you’ll want to check this out.
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Certain flights will be eligible for a price guarantee. After you book your trip, Google monitors the price until the first flight in your itinerary departs. If the price drops, the company will make up the difference.
Here’s how it works:
- Select a badged flight from Departing flights (the badge is a colorful shield surrounding a dollar sign).
- Select the badged itinerary through checkout.
- Click Book on Google.
- Check the box next to Price Guarantee to accept the TOS.
Seems easy enough, but there are some caveats.
The fine print
Google is clear about one thing: Price guarantee is only available for flights for which it’s “confident” that the price won’t drop. Google uses algorithm to be all but certain that the price you find is the lowest available before the flight departs. So don’t think that you’ll always find a way to get some money back.
Here are some more factors to keep in mind:
- To get money back, the price difference must be greater than $5.
- You can only be reimbursed up to $500 per year for up to three price-guaranteed bookings.
- You’ll need a Google Pay account to get paid. If you don’t have one, you must download the app within 90 days of the departure of the first flight in your itinerary to claim the difference back.
- Your country/region must be set to the U.S. and your currency must be in USD to see guaranteed flights.
- Price guarantee only applies to one-way and round-trip flights that depart from the U.S.
- Nearly every major domestic airline is available through Google Flights, with the exception of Southwest.
Is it worth it?
If you have a Google account, the company already knows so much about you. Using Flights means handing over your travel plans as well.
But with all the search filters and this new price guarantee, you can get a good deal on the exact flights you want. We’re all for anything that will save you money.
It’s up to you if it’s worth it.
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How to save money with Google Flights
There are a few ways to find cheap airfare on Google Flights. Start by going to google.com/travel/flights. You’ll get a simple interface to plug in your departure and arrival city information as well as your desired travel dates.
Use filters to save
- Enter your departure and arrival cities and hit Search.
- Beneath the search fields are filters for everything from Stops to Duration. Open the Price filter and use the slider to set your maximum price.
- Use the Sort by option to sort the results by price.
- Use the Price graph and View price history data to see if you’re getting a good deal.
Save by being flexible
- After entering your departure and destination, click on the dates near the top of the page
- The calendar view shows the prices of flights around the dates you chose. The lowest prices are in green.
- Just shifting your dates by a few days could save you hundreds of dollars.
Save by being adventurous
- On the main Flights page, enter your starting city but leave the destination blank
- Select Explore to get a map showing the price of airfare from your departure city to several cities across the U.S.
- Use your cursor to zoom out and you’ll see airfares for destinations all over the world.
Here’s a tip: Want to see a certain city on the way to your destination? You may find it cheaper to add the stop to your itinerary rather than booking two separate flights.
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