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Google Flights will pay you the difference if a ticket gets cheaper after you book — here's how to use the new tool

Hannah Towey   

Google Flights will pay you the difference if a ticket gets cheaper after you book — here's how to use the new tool
  • Google Flights launched a "price guarantee" program for some flights departing from the US.
  • If you buy an eligible ticket and the price drops afterward, Google will pay you the difference.

There's a million things to be anxious about while flying — but Google wants overpaying for your ticket to be scratched off the list.

Through its new "price guarantee" pilot program launched in April, Google Flights promises to pay travelers the difference if their ticket price drops anytime after booking. Here's how the program works.

The airfare rebate feature only applies to round trip and one-way flights (not multi-city flights) departing from the US that are marked with a colorful price badge. This signals that Google's algorithm is "confident" that the price won't get any lower.

In order to be eligible for the rebate, tickets must be purchased through "Book on Google" via Google Flights with a US billing address and phone number.

If your ticket price drops anytime between booking and take-0ff, you'll receive a notification after your first flight. Within 48 hours, the difference should be deposited in your Google Pay account — just make sure to use the same email for Google Pay and Google Flights and download the Google Pay app.

The payout still applies if the price drops and then goes back up, with rebates capped at $500 per person per year. If the flight is canceled or rescheduled, you won't get any money back.

But flights actually protected by Google's new price guarantee appear to be far and few between. After searching through hundreds of flights departing from New York to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, and Cancun over a period of six months, Insider did not find one eligible ticket.

A Google spokesperson did not respond to Insider's request for comment on the percentage of US flights eligible for the rebate, how often the company anticipates sending payouts to customers, and how the program will function going forward with "Book on Google" potentially being discontinued.

As we head into the busy Spring and Summer travel season, airfare is poised to get even more expensive due to rising fuel costs, inflation, and strong consumer demand, according to Hopper's most recent consumer travel index.

With airlines legally required to do very little when it comes to compensating passengers in the case of cancellations and delays, any type of financial protection is something of a rarity in the industry. Last year, airline refund complaints submitted to the Department of Transportation were up 603% compared to pre-pandemic levels, Sen. Maria Cantwell said at a committee meeting in March.


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