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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.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

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.

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 you don’t 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 Executive Club members will 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.

British Airways BA A380 flying

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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (39)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • AndyS says:

    Am I missing something? The price match is only valid on the day you make the booking? That’s not much use is it?

    • Paul Pogba says:

      Ticket prices change minute by minute based on demand, I think the point is you have to find the cheaper price the same day. It’s to incentivise you to book direct with BA rather than the cheapest online travel agent you find on Momondo or Google flights – I usually pdf “print” the final booking page of the online travel agent which usually has the date in the header or footer – I think you can probably file the claim a day or two after.

      • AndyS says:

        If I saw a cheaper price before booking I’d go for that. Why would anyone go for the more expensive option and then have the hassle of claiming a refund (as a voucher)!

        • Paul Pogba says:

          If you’re a BAEC member you get double the difference back (capped as above) and they’re generally very good about paying out. Right now you get double back (long term if you’re intending to fly with BA again) and the benefit of Book with Confidence which most online travel agents don’t offer.

        • Ben says:

          2 reasons
          -If the price difference is up to £100 then you double your money as explained above.
          -If you have a BA premium amex card, you get 3 Avios per £ vs. 1.5 elsewhere (and you get 3/£ on the higher fare so even better!).

          I’ve used it several times, made 100s out of it over time and not had an issue in them paying out.

          • Rob says:

            …. and anyone booking a flight via an OTA at the moment needs their head examining.

        • John says:

          During the pandemic booking with a dodgy travel agent is risky

        • Worksop Dave says:

          Because it’s not unlikely that the company offering the cheaper option will go bust by the time it comes to your flight

  • Paul Pogba says:

    This has saved me a small fortune over the last few months (Thanks Rob and team!).

    I did have a few claims paid out where I’d used a voucher to part pay for the ticket but I think multiple claims as I lined up my next six months of travel caused them to look a little closer at their own terms. I might save the vouchers in future for non-contestable uses, I think they could end up effectively halving the taxes and charges on a Avios redemption.

  • Mirp says:

    I’ve used it successfully. And I think it is the same day as although you send a screenshot they may have someone check the other website to make sure the price is lower.

  • Asim says:

    I’ve been successful a few times. But also been caught out by their Ts & Cs a couple of times too, as Rob says:

    1) if you part pay the total with an e-voucher, the claim is ineligible

    2) if you buy a normal fare, and then upgrade with Avios before they’ve got back to you on the guarantee claim of the “normal fare”, you become ineligible.

    Also, if you part pay with Avios, you’re not eligible.

    Finally it can be quite difficult meeting the “fare rules and conditions” part of their Ts and Cs as most websites don’t clearly show cancellation terms or fare class on their website, and where they do, the wording never matches the wording of BAs fare rules.

  • MKB says:

    The uselessness of Hilton’s “guarantee” was demonstrated to me again this week. The Hilton Gatwick was £139 on hilton.com and £83 on hotels.com, same room, same cancellation terms, same check-in/out times, publicly available. It was rejected because hotels.com only shows the lower rate after creating and signing into an account, although it is available to anyone who does that.

    • MKB says:

      In my experience, the only hotel price-guarantee scheme that wasn’t a scam was the old Starwood one.

    • Jonathon says:

      What an idiotic reason for rejection.

      • Qrfan says:

        On paper it’s a rule to make sure you aren’t using corporate or subscription only rates for a price match. In practice as Rob says, they never pay out and will use any old nonsense. I had an agent just quote a different booking.com price to me that “they could see” and rejected my claim outright. I wasn’t even logged in.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I’ve had good experiences with the Hilton guarantee – perhaps four successes from five claims. I particularly like that you can get your claim approved before you book.

      • YC says:

        Agree but CS are normally extremely painful to deal with on this matter. Typically a good hour on the phone where you have to step them through everything thing and all the T&Cs

    • r* says:

      Its typical that prices that require signing in will be rejected, but for other rejections slways post to twitter about it, you have a much higher chance of it being accepted there than the actual contact point which seems to be a con.

    • LDTx says:

      To be fair Hilton’s T&Cs state that they will only match rates that are being offered without logging into a user account. Occasionally you get slightly lower rates on hotels.com (5% lower at best) if you’re logged in as a user, so it’s essential to submit the rate which shows without a log-in, and which an agent can immediately verify without having a user account. I’ve done that at least a dozen times without any problems. A couple of times that I had the claims rejected, I replied to them by email with further details in order to make my case and they accepted it immediately. I always found their agents very reasonable in that respect, but never contact them by phone for a guarantee, it’s a waste of time. Booking only refundable rates is key BTW.

  • Jonathan says:

    Years ago I was told (via customer services) that a flight booking consisting of a BA-AA-IB-IB combination would qualify for price guarantee, I made the booking, submitted the claim and early the next morning it was rejected since the price guarantee only covers BA operated flights.
    Lucky for me, the booking has to be completed via the call centre, meaning I could claim a refund within 24 hours of booking, so them rejecting the claim as quickly as possible essentially shot themselves in the foot !

  • Pete M says:

    I’ve found this works and is pretty painless – certainly a million times better than the IHG “guarantee”!

  • Stephen O says:

    I have claimed successfully on multiple occassions and once got rejected becuase I part paid using a voucher I had received from a previous claim. It is a simple process and they deal with it quickly. I just got £200 and am very happy with that. Another bonus is that if you need to make changes etc., it is a lot easier dealing with BA than a very very cheap travel agent. I am not saying it is easy to deal with BA, recent experience was that each call took an hour. But, it is easier than dealing with bucket shop travel agents.

    • Qrfan says:

      I agree with all this, and I too have been rejected because I used a previous price match voucher on my new booking, which I also intended to price match. I think this condition is harsh – excluding % discount codes is fine but excluding vouchers with a fixed cash value is unfair, especially at the moment when there are so many in circulation due to no fault of anyone.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        Save the vouchers up for the taxes and fees on your Avios redemptions has to be the way to go. You get the value eventually.

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