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How does the British Airways Best Price Guarantee work?

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Not many people are aware that British Airways operates a ‘best price guarantee‘.  

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

Whilst I have never made a claim myself, the general feedback we see is that British Airways does pay up without much difficulty.

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 fairly 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

The British Airways Best Price 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:

Following a change a couple of years ago, you no longer get the price difference in cash.  You receive a voucher for ba.com which will be valid for one year.

However, if you are an Executive Club member, you will receive double the difference as long as your claim (including the bonus) is for no more than £200.  This isn’t a bad deal.

The £200 limit means that you only get ‘double the difference’ if the difference is £100 or less.  Claims of £100 to £200 will hit the £200 cap.  Claims above £200 are not doubled.

When won’t British Airways pay up?

On top of the restrictions in the official rules, which we cover below, reader feedback suggests that you will struggle to get a refund in the following situations:

when you bought a ticket and immediately upgraded it using Avios

when the cheaper seat is being sold by a codeshare partner under a different flight number

when the cheaper flight is priced in a different currency to the currency you used to purchase your ticket

when you used a discount code or any other BA voucher to reduce the cost of your original purchase

How do I claim a refund under the British Airways price promise?

British Airways needs 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 any booking fees
  • The fare rules and conditions; and
  • Website name/logo

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

British Airways promises to respond to your email within two business days.  Claims under £100 will be paid immediately whilst large claims may take up to 28 days as additional verification checks are done.

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, but not on any flights operated by partner airlines.  You cannot claim if you used Avios to reduce the cost of your ticket, or if you have a fully flexible ticket.  With the latter, you are expected to cancel and rebook and get the lower price that way!

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Comments (21)

  • Adrian says:

    Would this also apply if it is a connecting flight with another airline?

    • Jonathan says:

      No.

      All flights must be BA operated, even if a same fraction of the journey is operated by Iberia, American Airlines, Qantas or Qatar Airways etc. the claim will be rejected.

      Which is very cheeky of them since although it’s clearly mentioned in their t&cs, BA will more than happily sell you tickets for other Oneworld Airlines on their website

  • Jonathan says:

    Who remembers BA’s stunt at cancelling tickets that they defined as too cheap?

    A couple of years ago now I think, they cancelled a load of bookings for flights to I think it Dubai and Tel Aviv, after there was a pricing mistake on their end selling tickets via a third party ticket selling agent.

    From what I heard that the affected consumers only got a £100 voucher for their bookings being cancelled which wouldn’t cover the additional costs of a replacement flight booking.

    • Mawalt says:

      What they don’t realise is that it hurts their reputation when they do this much more than the cost of absorbing those “extra low” prices. To be honest, they are not the only one. I think it was AA that ended up cancelling thousands of flights after lots of transatlantic flights were sold for £50 or so about 10 years ago.

      Some more progressive airlines (Qantas? Emirates?) stand by their erroneous prices and that makes them stand out. That’s what good attitude towards customers looks like.

  • Stephen says:

    I have claimed three times on this, values ranging from £50 credit up to £200. Two were approved within 24 hours. One was rejected because I actually used the credit code from the previous claim to part pay. You cannot use any form of voucher or Avios points…

  • Petr Velky says:

    Lets say a flight LHR-MAN costs £100 on BA and £90 on XYZ website, so if we buy two of them on XYZ we pay £180 total. On BA, going through claim process first flight costs us £100, we get £20 voucher, then buy another £100 using voucher (won’t be able to claim again as we used voucher) – total £180.
    Moneywise equal. More hassle using BA website. Although there are cons of buying flights on third party websites especially when it comes down to cancellations.. but in this example I wouldnt bother with BA.

    • Mawalt says:

      There is another issue where buying from BA is actually better. Buying on sites such as Opodo and TravelUp will sometimes result in a “travel agent fare” which cannot be upgraded, either using cash or Avios. Booking under the BA Price Promise allows to take advantage of the price, while retaining upgrade-ability. Obviously the trade off is when it comes to using the voucher, you cannot use Price Promise, but it’s usually fine if the difference is, say, £45, netting you £90.

  • Dubious says:

    RE:
    Screenshot of “fare rules and conditions”

    Can anyone confirm – is it the summary of the fare rules or the full rule text?? The later can be substantially long and difficult to screenshot but the former is a bit woolly to define.

    • Mawalt says:

      I always took it to refer to fare terms and conditions, for instance booking class and any additional restrictions.