Whether you're a bargain hunter or a big spender, nothing feels better than knowing you've secured the best deal for an upcoming trip. Delta Air Lines is making that a bit tougher after it recently shut down its Best Fare Guarantee program.
The now defunct program was originally introduced in March 2008 with the intention of enticing travelers to book directly with the airline. It assured passengers who purchased a flight through the Delta website that they'd always get the lowest price. And if travelers found the same Delta flight with a cheaper fare within a day of booking, they could receive a full refund or the difference in price would be returned to their credit card. These passengers would also be gifted a $100 voucher to be used toward a future flight.
There were other rules and regulations, of course, but the idea was to keep travelers coming to Delta's official website. "We always offer our best available fares on Delta.com. That's our commitment to Delta's loyal customers, and we're willing to back it up," said Tim Mapes, then vice president of marketing for Delta, when the program launched.
Courtesy of Delta Air Lines
Back then, it was common to find online travel agencies offering lower fares by eliminating booking and administrative fees or via an unintentional glitch in updating inventory and pricing systems, The Points Guy reports. This is far less likely to happen nowadays.
But eliminating the Best Fare Guarantee program isn't all bad news. Thanks to the Department of Transportation's 24-hour reservation requirement, all airlines, including Delta, offer a 24-hour grace period during which travelers can cancel a flight and receive a full refund.
So, if you book on Delta's website, then find a cheaper fare elsewhere within 24 hours, you can always purchase the more cost-effective option and cancel the Delta reservation.
During the pandemic, Delta — like many other airlines — decided to permanently eliminate change fees on all fares with the exception of basic economy. With this policy in place, those who find a cheaper fare after the 24-hour window is up are able to cancel their ticket, rebook their flight, and receive the fare difference as a future travel credit.
"Delta is committed to making the shopping experience easy and seamless," a spokesperson for the carrier told The Points Guy. "Price-conscious customers can always use Delta.com or the Fly Delta app to find the lowest published fares on Delta flights."
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.