It’s no secret that I am big on scoring the best travel deals and finding ways to make family travel more affordable for everyone! One of the best ways to bring down the cost of a vacation is to price match hotels and to get a fare difference on airlines! This quick post is going to show you how to price match hotels and airfare. It will also go over some tips on how to save you time and money when you are booking! Let’s dive in!
How to Price Match Hotels and Airfare
The process for each hotel brand and airline is different. To save you energy and time when trying to price match, we have created the Price Match Master List. This list has all of the major US Airlines, the major International Hotel Brands, and the most important travel portals (Hello, Amex Travel, and Capital One!) broken down on how to price match or request a fare adjustment. You can download it for free until April 21st, 2022. After that, it will be available through our Reward Travel Crash Course (coming soon!).
Free download for the Price Match List is now closed.
Differences Between Price Matching Hotels and Airlines
Before you begin price matching it is important to know that hotels “price match” while airlines “offer price adjustments”. If you call an airline and ask for a “price match” you’ll be told that they don’t do it!
Price Matching Hotels
When price matching hotels, you need to book your hotel stay directly with the hotel brand (for example, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, etc..) and then search sites like Booking.com, Google Hotel Search, Skyscanner, etc. When doing this, you are looking for a cheaper deal on that same room, on the same nights, on a different site.
If/when you find a lower price within 24 hours of booking on the same room category for the same night then you can start the price match process!
Price Match Process
And the process is super easy! You’ll submit a price match request, usually a form found on the hotel brand’s website. (The links to the forms are all on the Price Match Master List.) Then you will get a response back within 24-48 hours if the rate will be refunded or repriced. The best thing is that MOST hotel brands not only will price match but also give a pretty major incentive for doing so. Marriott’s incentive is up to 25% off or 5k Marriott Points (if it is a more expensive or longer stay, take the 25% off as it is a much better deal). IHG hotels will offer you 5k additional points per night that you price match up to 40k points. That’s huge!
Tips for Price Matching Hotels
- Make sure the cancellation policy on the original fare versus the new fare is the same. Hotel brands are really strict about this and won’t usually honor a price match if the cancellation policies are different.
- Vacation clubs or timeshare properties are not usually price matched. I have tried many times and usually get rejected when I do.
- The rule is that you have to match the price within 24 hours of booking. I cover an easy way to get around this below.
- To ensure that your price match request is accepted, take screenshots and have as much data as you can like specific site URLs, etc.. to show the lower price found.
- Some hotels require that the lower fare has to be public. So if you get a special rate through your employment, this usually won’t be matched. However, I have had it matched a few times when using my work rate and then got the additional 25% off so it doesn’t hurt to ask!
- Most hotel prices go down about 14 days before your stay. ALWAYS double-check to see if your rooms are cheaper about two weeks before your trip if they are, price match!
How to Price Match a Hotel When It’s More Than 24 Hours Post Booking
If you find a lower rate and it’s after 24 hours of your original booking don’t stress! All you need to do is keep your original booking (for now) and then make a new one. When you make your new booking, follow it up with a form submission for the lower rate that you found. If/when the hotel brand honors it… yay! Then you cancel that original first booking and keep the second one that has been price-matched.
If they don’t honor the price match request you just cancel the second booking and no harm no foul! You have your original first booking to fall back on.
This is the process I use all of the time. Just make sure if you do this that you keep track of your bookings and cancel one of them within the cancelation period.
Request Airfare Price Adjustments
While you are price-matching hotel brands against their competitors’ websites like Booking.com or Expedia, you are NOT doing that with airfare. When you request a fare adjustment on airfare, you are price matching the airline against itself and its own site. Airlines will not match a lower price if it is found on Google Flights etc.. However, because airfare fluctuates so much it is easy to price match an airline against itself.
How to Request an Airfare Adjustment
Most airlines require that if you want to request a price difference you either call or chat with a representative on their website. (All of the numbers and site information are found on the Price Match Master List). When the fare adjustment is accepted, you will receive a travel credit with that airline. Most of these credits will go directly to your account and are available to book within 12 months from the credit issued date. This means if you have $150.00 fare adjustment credit deposited into your account for a flight taking place on June 5th, you have until June 5th of the next year to BOOK travel with that credit.
Requesting an Airfare Price Adjustment Script
This is the basic gist of what I say when I call to get a price adjustment.
“Hi, I have noticed that the fare has gone down on my flight (give flight number) from (departure airport) to (destination airport). My ticket number is (give ticket number). I would like to get a fare adjustment, please. Can you help me with this?”
Most agents are really good and will help reprice or rebook the flight at a lower rate! However, some are not. If you get a grumpy agent or someone that you feel like doesn’t know what they are talking about we have had great success just trying again a little bit later.
Tips for Requesting Price Adjustments on Airfare
- Most major airlines will give you a price adjustment but NOT on their cheapest of the cheap fares. So don’t expect a price adjustment if you are booking basic with Delta or super saver on Jet Blue. Stick with economy or main cabin fare and above and you’ll be fine. A good rule of thumb is if you CAN’T pick your seat before the flight or check a bag you probably won’t be able to price match that fare (the exception to this rule is Southwest, and again this is covered on the form.)
- Even after you book a flight, KEEP YOUR PRICE TRACKERS ON! I can’t tell you how many times that I have thought I have got the cheapest airfare and booked it only to find that a few days later it goes down $100.00 or 5k points or more. If you keep your price trackers on then you’ll know if/when your airfare goes down and you can call to have it changed.
- When you call, be very specific and have your ticket numbers and confirmation numbers in handy. Be polite and nice. It will go a long way with the agent.
- Make sure the fare you are requesting an adjustment on is for the same flight, same day, and same class. (For example, you can’t get a price adjustment for a first-class ticket against a main cabin ticket.)
- Keep track of your ticket numbers and the credits associated with them! If your credit doesn’t post, call the airline a.s.a.p. and have your ticket number that it is associated with available.
A Quick Note About Hotel Price Matching and Airfare Price Adjustments
When you are booking your travel, don’t bank on being able to get a lower price in the future. While this is something that happens often, it doesn’t happen all of the time. Sometimes the airfare you book will be the cheapest it is going to be. And the hotel nightly rate is going to stay put. Don’t bank your budget on being able to price match.
I like to think of price matching like I think of my taxes. I don’t want to overpay on my taxes, to begin with. But if I do, I want to make sure that I am taking advantage of every tax break or tax return opportunity that I have. The same goes with booking hotels or flights. Ideally, I get the cheapest rate or fare right at first. But if I don’t, I want to make sure that I can get that money or those points back!
If you have any questions don’t forget that you can shoot me a DM on Instagram at @ourfamilypassport or drop a comment below.