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PayPal Price Matching on flights means you can collect twice on some fare drops

Nov 03, 2012 7:26 am

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PayPal Price Matching requires some heavy lifting, but it will be good for collecting some fare drops, and you can approach some airlines for travel credits, too. Double the fun.

— Dennis Schaal

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Paypal initiated a Price Matching refund program for fare drops on flights purchased using PayPal, which opens the possibility of collecting twice on such rebates — once from PayPal and once from the airline.

Consider this: Airlines such as JetBlue and AirTran grant credits for future travel when there’s a fare drop of any amount on a ticket purchased through the airline. And, American Airlines, United and US Airways grant credits or vouchers when fares drop greater than the $150 change-fee amount.

And, all of the above airlines allow you to purchase flights using PayPal.

Airline tickets purchased through December 31

With PayPal’s new Price Matching for airline tickets, revealed in a blog post yesterday, you can submit a form and apply for a reimbursement if you find a lower price advertised on the airline website for the same exact flight within seven days of the ticket purchase. Terms and conditions apply, of course.

Price Matching is a promotional offer for holders of U.S.-issued PayPal accounts, and it ends December 31.

With PayPal Price Matching, you have to track the fare drops yourself. But, if you submit your flight details to fare-tracking site Yapta, you will receive an alert when the fare drops, and Yapta will walk you through how to get the credit or voucher from the airline.

So you can apply to get your reimbursement for a fare drop from PayPal, and then go to the airline to collect, as well, if you purchased the ticket on the airline website using PayPal.

Asked to comment about the dual track for airfare refunds/credits, a spokesperson for PayPal didn’t directly address the issue, but merely pointed to the terms of the promotion.

Asked how PayPal finances the refunds, the spokesperson said “PayPal will be funding the difference for Price Matching.”

A PayPal customer service representative said PayPal is independent of the airlines, and nothing would seem to bar an account holder from seeking a credit from the airline, as well.

Jeff Pecor, a spokesperson for Yapta, sees some attractions in the twin approach.

“According to Paypal, the onus is still on the traveler/consumer to track the price of their flight — and then alert Paypal,” Pecor says “The very reason people use Yapta is so they don’t need to track the price themselves. Yapta does it for them, and alerts them when the price drops.”

“Whether the consumer/traveler chooses to call Paypal or the airline to be reimbursed is irrelevant because they win either way,” Pecor adds. “Perhaps consumers should do both and try to double their savings on the same price drop.”

Up to $250 per ticket

PayPal limits its reimbursements to $250 per ticket, or $1,000 annually, and notifies you if your application is approved within five days of submitting the form and lower-fare advertisement.

Purchases of multiple tickets for passengers and their immediate families are considered one item so the $250 limit applies.

If you bought a JetBlue ticket from Boston to Orlando on JetBlue.com using PayPal today for $504, and the fare dropped $50 within a week, you could apply to PayPal to have it put $50 back into your account, and then you could get a travel credit from JetBlue, as well.

PayPal’s Price Matching for airline refunds is set up to limit its payouts because many airfares won’t decrease within the relatively short, seven-day period. And, its redemption process, requiring you to track the fare drops on your own and to submit the advertisement and form, also requires some heavy lifting.

But, tracking the fare drops through Yapta will help that part of the process.

Orbitz Price Assurance

Independent of PayPal and Yapta, the Orbitz Price Assurance program automatically tracks fare drops on identical flights purchased on Orbitz up until the day of departure, and hands out Orbucks travel credits, ranging from $5 to $275, for 110% of the fare drop.

Orbitz customers receive the travel credits automatically, and don’t need to track them or apply for the credits.

Orbitz doesn’t accept PayPal so you can’t use PayPal Price Matching and Orbitz in tandem.

The PayPal Price Matching program is not limited to airline tickets, and includes retail merchandise, as well, albeit with somewhat different rules.

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