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We can spend hours agonizing over when is the best time to purchase airfares. Buy too early and you risk not letting the price dip to its lowest rate, leave it too late, and you risk missing the best fare.
So, when is the best time to purchase your ticket? With Yapta, that question becomes less of a priority. Yapta tracks your airfare after you buy your ticket, and alerts you when the ticket price drops to the point you're entitled to a refund.
The current state of affairs when trying to score the best deal on flights is a delicate balancing act. Tracking airfare prices for the near universal dip in price that occurs between 6 and 12 weeks out, while employing everything short of voodoo to ensure we buy before the ticket price starts its inevitable climb back to the top.
We join Facebook groups and share deals with family and friends, trawl blogs and Twitter feeds looking for elusive deals, and set price alerts and thresholds tracking airfare prices on websites such as Google and Hipmunk.
Yapta takes this process one step further, allowing you to track prices on airfares after you have purchased tickets, and notifying you if fare prices drop far enough below your purchase price that you may be eligible to claim a refund.
How Does Yapta Work?
Yapta (Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant) shares a lot of design and functionality with KAYAK, which supplies the search engine powering Yapta's backend. But Yapta's three primary functions set it apart as a unique tool in the fight for cheaper flights.
- Pre-purchase airfare price tracking
- Post-purchase airfare price tracking for refunds after you buy tickets
- Yapta FareIQ™ – An end-to-end airfare tracking solution for corporate travel. FareIQ ties in with your current travel provider or agency for discounts on flights (and hotels through sister service RoomIQ™) even after they are booked and paid for.
Pre-Purchase Airfare Price Tracking
With KAYAK powering the flight search behind Yapta, pre-purchase flight tracking works in a similar fashion to KAYAK.
Head over to kayak.yapta.com and enter your destination and dates, in this example we've used the flexible dates option.
Select your dates and select Track price drops on any of the options displayed
Tracked flights are displayed in the My Trips tab at the top of the screen. You can edit the details for tracked flights including price thresholds and alert frequency from the options on the page.
Post-Purchase Airfare Price Tracking
The ability to track the price of airfares after you purchase tickets is what sets Yapta apart from other tracking services.
NOTE: Yapta cannot offer price tracking on carriers that don't have a “Guaranteed Airfare Policy.” Additionally, some airlines don't allow Yapta to track ticket prices such as Southwest. For a full list of participating airlines, see the tracked Airlines page on Yapta's website.
The first step is to head over to the Airline Refunds page via the tab at the top of the page and click the start saving now button.
Add your flight details.
The next screen asks you to confirm that the flight was purchased direct from the airline and that the tickets are paid in full.
NOTE: Tickets purchased from third party vendors are not eligible for refunds. Additionally, tickets must be paid in full to qualify for a refund.
If the tracking is successful, you'll be redirected to a ‘Success' page and the flight will show up in your Tracked Flights.
Yapta will alert you to any drop in price that may qualify for a refund.
Receiving Discounts on Purchased Tickets with Yapta FareIQ™
Yapta FareIQ™ is the corporate version of Yapta's post-purchase airfare price tracking service.
From the moment you purchase tickets, to the day of departure, FareIQ monitors your booking, searching for price fluctuations and sending alerts when prices drop on an identical itinerary.
FareIQ works even if you use a ticketing agent or corporate travel agency, pairing seamlessly with travel management software. While FareIQ isn't really the focus here with the AwardWallet blog aimed at points and miles enthusiasts, if you're interested in an enterprise level solution, it's worth checking FareIQ out.
Does Yapta's Flight Tracking Service Deliver Real Discounts?
Absolutely. Yapta has identified millions of dollars in savings through both its corporate and personal services. Pulling some numbers directly from Yapta's website, they have identified:
- Total savings identified for Yapta members (since May '07): $250,621,489
- Average annual savings per Yapta member: $334.16
Those are some awesome savings by anyone's standards.
It's important to note too that most airlines charge a re-booking fee to change a flight (yes, even getting a refund is considered re-booking!). Yapta takes these booking fees into consideration before alerting you to price drops to ensure you're only notified when the price drop exceeds that fee. Check out the table below for a list of re-booking charges on major US carriers.
|Airline||Domestic Flights||International Flights|
|Alaska||No Fee||No Fee|
|American||$200 ||$200 for Canada, Mexico, Central America Flights
$250+ for Asia and European Flights
|Delta||$200||$200 for Canada, Mexico, Central America Flights
$250+ for Asia and Europrean Flights
|Virgin America|| $75 (online only)|
| $75 (online only)
There's also a few other points worth noting before your book your flights:
- Refunds are typically offered in the form of a discount code or travel voucher for future travel on the same airline. The exception is refundable tickets where (most of the time) the difference is refunded via the purchase method
- Discount codes and vouchers are typically valid for 12 months
- Tickets must be purchased directly through the airline
- There can be no changes to the origin/destination/stopover points/flights/dates
- Refunds typically won't be issued if the lower fare is a special promotional fare, only standard published fares
- Policies for each airline differ, so it pays to check the refund policy for your carrier. For example, United's refunds are transferable, American's are not
While there are times it can feel like technology has just increased the options without making life easier, services like Yapta are a game changer that can perform the heavy lifting when it comes to getting cheaper fares and better bang for your buck.
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