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Sometimes I think I’m the only person in the world who used MasterCard Price Assure, which is probably exactly why they are discontinuing it as of May 15. The premise was simple: register your MasterCard, use it to buy a flight directly through the airline, and wait for them to notify you if the price dropped, at which point you could call the airline and request a credit (minus any change fees) or pay Price Assure to get the credit for you. I have actually saved money using their service, finding it easy to claim my price credits in a single phone call.
Unfortunately, this service is disappearing, but you can still track prices much the same way using Yapta. I use Yapta for two reasons:
- To track prices and set “target alerts” for flights I haven’t yet booked. If you’re waiting to book flights to the Chicago Seminars in October once the price drops below $250, you can simply be notified and won’t have to search every day.
- To track prices after I buy a ticket in case I am eligible for a price drop. There is limited usefulness in this piece since many airlines charge a significant change fee which will be deducted from your refund credit. If that trip to Honolulu drops by $225 and United charges a $200 change fee, you’ll only be up by $25. Some airlines – like AirTran, Southwest, and JetBlue – don’t charge a change fee so the full amount of the price drop is yours to use on future travel.
Tracking prices is quite easy. Look for the flight you’re interested in on Yapta’s search page, which is powered by Kayak and uses a very similar interface. Find the specific flight(s) you’re interested in and click the button to “track price drops”. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Kayak login information (or create a free account) and then you’re done!
I like this better than simply tracking the price on a given route because I’m often quite particular in the flights I book, wanting a specific time of day while others may care about the airline, connection points, or even aircraft. At this point, you’re all set for Yapta to send an email anytime the price on that flight drops. You can also go into your trips to set it to only email you if it drops below a certain price if you prefer.
If you’ve already booked a flight, you can manually enter your flight details here and wait for Yapta to email you if you are eligible for a credit voucher. They will take into account any applicable change fees and only email you if there are still refunds available after the airline fee. In this case, AirTran doesn’t charge any change fees, so a $35 drop will truly mean $35 in your pocket for the next flight.
You are responsible for obtaining any credits you’re eligible for, but I have a handy list of helpful phone numbers:
Virgin America: 1-877-359-8474
I won’t bother inputting my flight information with Yapta on most flights, but I’ll take the extra step when I’ve booked with an airline offering no change fees. I also use it for price tracking, especially for events when I have a specific destination and date in mind. Just keep in mind that even if you do obtain a voucher toward future travel, it will likely come with expiration dates and other restrictions such as being non-transferable so make sure you get the details and don’t let your time end up going to waste.
Hope you get some great savings!