What has changed with the British Airways Best Price Guarantee?

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Not many people are aware that British Airways operates a ‘best price guarantee‘.  The airline has recently made a change to how it pays you out if you make a claim so I thought we would take another look today.

British Airways claims that, if you find the identical flight cheaper on a competing website to ba.com, they will refund you difference.

Whilst I have never made a claim myself, the general feedback we see is that British Airways does pay up without much difficulty.  There was one exception we saw this week, where a reader had bought a World Traveller Plus ticket which he had then upgraded to Club World using Avios.  British Airways is telling him that, because he has upgraded his ticket, he has given up all his rights under the ‘best price guarantee’.

It is worth noting that the big hotel chains offer similar guarantees.  In general, with exceptions, these are worthless.  They are marketing gimmicks which ignore the fact that many franchised hotels are quietly selling spare rooms behind the back of the chain and hoping that no-one will notice.

The hotel chains want you to do their work for them by sniffing out these hotels.  They are desperately keen not to pay you for your trouble, however, and will do everything they can to avoid paying out.  If cheapobeds.com is selling a room for £95 with a 3pm check-in and chainwebsite.com is £125 with a 3.30pm check-in, you can be 90% certain your claim will be rejected as the deals are not ‘comparable’.

In theory, airline price promises are different.  A flight is a flight is a flight and, as long as you bought the cheapest non-refundable ticket available, it is very clear if another website is selling the same ticket for less.

British Airways Best Price Guarantee

Following the recent change, the BA guarantee – which you can see here – says:

“If you book flights directly with us, you deserve the very best deal. Which is exactly what you’ll get with our Best Price Guarantee.

If you book with us, but find a qualifying British Airways flight for less elsewhere and let us know on the same day as you book, we’ll give you a voucher for the difference. Even better: if you’re a member of our Executive Club, we’ll give you double the difference.”

Note the last sentence:

You no longer get the actual cash back but rather a voucher for ba.com which will be valid for one year. This has been changed recently.

However, if you are an Executive Club member, you will receive double the difference.  On paper I reckon this is good enough to make up for the switch from cash to a voucher.

There is a catch to ‘double the difference’ though.  Looking at the T&Cs, Executive Club members will only get a maximum of £100 as the ‘double’ element.  Say the price difference is £100 you will get £200 – but if the price difference is £150 you will also get £200.  If the price difference is £240 you will get £240 with no bonus.

How do I claim a refund under BA’s best guarantee?

BA will need you to send a screenshot showing

• Date and time the screenshot was taken;
• Full itinerary (including all flight numbers);
• A full breakdown of the individual fare for each passenger including credit/debit card charges and booking fees; and
• Website name/logo

You can only make your claim online and not over the phone.

You can find full details, and a claim form, on this page of ba.com.  The price guarantee is only valid on BA operated flights, including CityFlyer and Comair in South Africa, and not on any flights operated by partner airlines.

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  1. Wetboy1uk says:

    Whilst you say many hotel price guarantees are worthless i have had about 5 free nights at ihg properties in the last 2 years.

    • Likewise I’ve had some success with the recently deceased SPG Best Price Guarantee – which was 25% off the lower price advertised elsewhere.

    • Likewise… best case was a Hilton BRG… I spent only $90 per night (+taxes) (3 of us sleeping in one room) in a HGI in Manhattan.

      Sadly the IHG BRG T&C’s have changed, so no more free nights.

      The only but is that BRG are a little bit time consuming…

      • IHG was great. I got a junior suite for free at LeGrand in Paris, I got a free night at the Carlton in Cannes (and I got a mate to make an identical claim so he came too) ….

        There were some people doing it to extremes but that was only because IHG had been very lax and all the hotels were ripping them off. Le Grand actually refused to settle the guarantee so IHG told me to stay, pay and they would refund me – which they did. And I got a fat pile of points too, as the room as paid.

      • swhostring says:

        Feather – cap

    • I’ve had about 100 in 5 years. Wednesday nights in London for 2 straight years and a road trip around Florida for a week were the highlights. The last year or so was hard. I was gutted when they ditched the free night free this year. Mostly just use Hilton’s guarantee now when I pay for stays.

  2. John Ensor says:

    All of the agency sites sell BA tickets at a discounted rate to the airline (EBookers, Expedia etc). Does this mean that you can book BA direct but through reclaiming the difference always get the discount rate BUT with the benefit of direct upgrades etc?

    • In theory you can upgrade travel agent-issued tickets now, yes. Note, however, that in the event of any issues with your flight – pre or post departure – BA will not speak to you and will send you off to your agent.

  3. O/T: sorry to put this in here as there is no bits so please bear with me and as I have apologised, no need to slate me further on. I want to pay off a ‘buy now pay later’ to Barclays Financial services. They will not accept AmEx so I am thinking Billhop – would I be able to use them or would it be refused? Any other suggestions as to how to make the £3,000 payment and earn miles towards my 2-4-1 voucher? All suggestions gratefully accepted.

    • swhostring says:

      Manufactured spend – that’s a hot potato but there are plenty of ways. Check out O2 events and Viagogo – people here don’t like that suggestion but it’s perfectly legal & easy to hit your spend target on day 1.

      Otherwise go down the bills route – Amex @Paypoint to pay council tax, utilities etc. Many can be overpaid then will pay you back your overpayment on request, my council pays it back with a cheque, my gas/ elec co with a bank transfer.

    • I’ve never used Billhop myself but I had the impression this was just the sort of thing they were set up for! Obviously you’ll pay a fee, but as you say it’ll get you closer to your voucher.

      • Thanks Rob and Alan, wasn’t too sure as it said on the HFP article that it couldn’t be used for financial services, so I wondered if Barclays financial services would be included even though it’s not a loan, mortgage etc

        • It sounds like a loan to me. What do you think it is?

        • But that’s just it, is it technically a loan or just a deferred payment? ‘Buy now, pay later’ One could argue that a loan incurs interest, this payment has no interest attached,ergo my asking for thoughts. Now I am even more confused so may have to contact Billhop and enquire

        • 🙂 on paper vs reality

        • Lady London says:

          Personally @Nicky I wouldn’t contact anyone. I would just give Billhop a try if it sounds right for you. You will soon know if it works. Anytime you ask a question you risk a “No” answer. Often for things that practically, regardless of what is being said, would otherwise have a “Yes” answer.

  4. OT. Am new to points game. Am not a big spender so want to make sure I do it right and get the bonus.

    I got approved for AMEX PR Gold Card a few days ago subject to proof of income, which I will provide to them over the next couple of days. Does the 90 days for £2000 start from the date they approved subject to checks, or the date they approve unconditionally?

    Also, I assume my credit limit will be £1200. My annual travelcard is roughly £1600 which I typically renew in late December (hence the anxiety about exacly when 90 days are measured from). This will form the largest part of the spend. Can I prepay £400 or so to AMEX to ensure it goes through as a single transaction?

    • swhostring says:

      You’ll see the dates online.

      Not sure about your cashflow personal details: assuming you are a bit of a povo or a student, can you not bring forward certain bills such as council tax, utilities, TV licensing etc & pay them on the Amex? You could always get another credit card – a ‘Purchases Credit Card’ – giving you about 30 months free credit headroom, which would improve your cashflow situation.

    • you cannot pre-pay on a credit card unfortunately; I have tried many times.

  5. wilson-nunn says:

    I accidentally used the Price Guarantee form on the en-de version of the BA website and promptly got a rather curt email saying “We have reviewed your claim and have found that it is not eligible as the competitive fare you submitted was not quoted in the same currency as your original booking.”

    This is interesting as it doesn’t say anywhere on the form which currency the price I found was in (and hence I assumed it was GBP because I hadn’t even realised I was on the en-de website) and they didn’t even ask for the screenshot in which case they would have seen it was in GBP…

  6. BA does not say that the flight must be operated by BA, if it is a BA flight but operated by different airlines they are not accepting the claim of price guarantee.
    I experienced just last week with a London-Miami flight, one way was operated by AA and I found the same combination cheaper of 40£ so i claimed it back but they reply was:
    We have reviewed your claim and have found that it is not eligible. Our Best Price Guarantee is only valid on flights purchased on ba.com where the flight is operated by British Airways.

    We realise this may come as a disappointment to you and hope this explanation helps you to understand why we cannot refund the difference on this occasion. We value your business and trust this will not deter you from choosing British Airways in the future.

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