The popular airfare search site recently announced some improvements to the popular airfare search website, including price guarantees for select flights.
Google Flights Debuts Price Guarantees
“On Google Flights, you can already see whether current prices are low, typical, or high compared to historical averages. Now, we’re going a step further with a new pilot program for price guarantees in the U.S. If you see a flight with the price guarantee badge, it means we’re confident that the price you see today won’t get any lower before takeoff,” Google says in a blog post.
The good news is that Google Flights will keep track of the fares each day and if the price goes down, you’ll be given the difference via Google Pay.
“If Google’s predictive analysis is wrong and they get no commission from the airlines from you booking through their portal, they will eat the fare difference and give you the money back,”says money expert Clark Howard.
Here are some things to know about price guarantees on Google Flights:
- To see guaranteed flights, make sure you’re signed into your Google account and that your country/region is set to the U.S. and your currency is in USD.
- The price guarantee only applies to one-way and round-trip flights that depart from the United States.
- You must book the flight with Google. You’ll see a “Book with Google” button below the itinerary. If you don’t see that option, along with a colorful price badge, it won’t be a guaranteed flight.
- To get money back, the price difference between what you paid for the fare and what the price drop is must be greater than $5.
“You can receive up to $500 back per calendar year for up to three open price guaranteed bookings at any one time,” it says on Google Travel’s help page.
Even though this is only a pilot program, airfare price guarantees are a money-saving feature you’ll want to take advantage of.
More Ways To Save on a Flight
In addition to taking advantage of Google Flights, Clark wants you to utilize other strategies to save on airfare.
Don’t Wait Until the Last-Minute To Book
Clark says in the current travel environment, booking anytime closer than 21 days out is considered last minute. The prices increase exponentially if you book too close to your departure date.
“The airlines generally are using a 21-day rule,” he says. “You’ll see this over and over again that someone who buys less than 21 days before departure gets their wallet eaten up, blown apart.”
Citing Google as well as Going.com (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), Clark says booking flights around 60 days out seems to be a sweet spot for affordable fares.
Travel on the Right Day
The day you choose to travel can have a large bearing on how much money you’ll spend.
“Early in the week, particularly Tuesday or Wednesday is extremely favorable for the days to travel,” Clark says. “Friday to Sunday is much more expensive than Saturday afternoon to Monday.” If you’re Friday-Sunday, “just turn your wallet over to the airlines. Just open it up and let them grab whatever they want,” Clark says.
By offering price guarantees, Google is upping the ante when it comes to searching for cheap fares — and that means money back in your pocket.
“If you see a deal,” Clark says, “and they tell you to buy it and then later that fare goes down, Google automatically is going to say, ‘Here’s the difference. We messed up. Our predictive analysis was wrong.’”
Google Flights is one of our favorite travel tools at Clark.com. Read our in-depth guide on how to save with Google Flights.