What has changed with BA’s 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. “British Airways is telling him that, because he has upgraded his ticket, he has given up all his rights under the ‘best price guarantee’.”

    I was also given this response a few weeks ago, and referred to T&Cs – I didn’t see any mention of this clause, and I had mentioned on the phone when upgrading with avios that I had a claim pending. I sent a rather angry response, and was paid out (double, via voucher) this week.

  2. Mark Collins says:

    Anyone else click on the cheapobeds link in the email??

    Not sure what they are selling but are they a affiliate to HFP?! Nice interesting sideline……

  3. Very clever. They amend the terms to seem better and then in a couple of years they will remove the bonus. Then after that they will make back all that bonus (and more) when most people forget to use the voucher within the year…

    • Well, in fairness for BA (though I still think – for the record – that BA is a travesty of an airline) they can’t be held responsible for prople’s forgetfulness…

  4. Could you not argue that if the max double element is £100, then with a price difference of £240 you’d be entitled to £340?

    • The t&c’s are very specific that this is not the case if you read them on BA.com so arguing wouldn’t help:
      “For example, if all the conditions are met, where a Member submits a valid claim for £100, a voucher for £200 would be issued. Where a Member submits a valid claim for £120, a voucher for £200 would be issued. However where a Member submits a valid claim for £240, this would not be eligible for any bonus amount and a voucher for £240 would be issued.”

      • Lady London says:

        British Airways is not really putting their money where their mouth is, are they? £100 is a pretty low amount to limit it to if they genuinely wish to compensate customers.

  5. “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. ”

    A bit early for me, but if the “Double Element” is LIMITED to £100, wouldn’t you get £250 in the above example: the £150 difference plus the £100 maximum top up?

  6. I assume it’s £100 per ticket and not per booking? So if I book 4 tickets for the family (all of us BAEC members in a household account) and find it £100 cheaper, they’d pay me £800 in vouchers?

  7. “British Airways is telling him that, because he has upgraded his ticket, he has given up all his rights under the ‘best price guarantee’.”

    My experience was the opposite – I booked a WTP ticket and immediately upgraded one of the legs to CW using Avios. Then submitted a claim vs. Travelup for a £55 price difference and was sent a voucher for £110 the following morning (took screenshot but was not asked to send it)

  8. Does this work for one way flights, or is there some catch (e.g. ticket T&C)? I bought a Y seat from a third party recently for $500 – for exactly the same flight BA’s website wanted $3000!

    • For it to work you would have to buy the $3000 ticket and then ask (fight) BA to give you a $2500 voucher with a limited validity. Is that really worth the risk of it not working? What would be the benefit over just buying the ticket cheaper directly? Could be worth it to help hit the sign-up bonus on the BAPP I guess. But still very risky and you would be hit with FX fees.

  9. For me, the key phrase in the Ts&Cs is “let us know on the same day as you book“. For an extreme example, if you book a flight on ba.com at 23:30 London local time, and an hour later you find the same flight cheaper on AirBurgess.com, then I don’t think BA will even entertain your claim.

  10. Thomas Howard says:

    The problem with vouchers is that if booking on BA is always more expensive then the voucher won’t be worth its face value as you’ll be redeeming against a higher fare the second time around.

    • Lady London says:

      Well… If you think about it and if you have time on your hands, it could be the gift that keeps on giving….

  11. I just been on the phone with British Airways to see if I can upgrade my flight using avios (because the website is giving an error) and I want to end my life after speaking to their call centre in India and then the UK one which was only slightly better. I would prefer if they had no call centre at all than having this kind of call centre. People there have an IQ less of than 50. Brain dead is an understatement.

    In all cases, does anybody know if taxes apply for an upgrade to business class using avios? Would it just be the difference of £50-£35 = £15 or no taxes apply?

    • You would need to pay the relevant fees for the higher class of travel.

      I had a similar feeling after calling Marriott to use a 7 night voucher. I’ve had more productive conversations with my cat.

    • Lady London says:

      + 1. British Airways’s Indian call centre and the way they treated me previously has been the major reason I now give only 8-12 of my 100 flights per year to British Airways. They are competitive on price but I can well understand you lose the will to live after dealing with that so-called service team BA has in India @dimitri.

      • +1, my heart sinks just contemplating trying to deal with the overseas call centre. Though I don’t agree that the English call centres are similar; I find it like having a conversation with a Nobel prize winner by contrast!

    • If it is short haul you’d pay the extra £15,yes.

      Why not just cancel the original redemption and rebook? You pay the £35 fee anyway.

    • the_real_a says:

      The folk in Newcastle are usually very good, and if they cannot answer there is usually a supervisor or senior staff member who does know.

    • Hey; at least you didnt end up in the “Iberia” call centre … now thats a fun phonecall!

      • Oh….and they have not outsourced to Crapita (yet)…….that would make it even worse!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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