I’ll Drink to That

19 Apr

Photo by Kendal Rae

Happy hour is good for more than half-price drinks and discount appetizers: it can also yield great savings tips on travel. Of course, you have to meet up with my good friend to yield these benefits, so I’ll spare you the awkwardness of drinks with a complete stranger and relay her savvy strategies in this post.

My friend and former boss is an avid traveler with a particular affinity for cruising. She and her husband cruise annually to the Caribbean and sometimes hop on an additional cruise during the year, so I consider her an authority on this popular vacation mode. Over a glass of the house red, she shared with me how she’s able to book a cruise one year in advance and pay the same price as the last-minute deal seekers. And trust me, her strategy is groundbreaking.

She simply asks.

My friend books her trip through a travel agent and then watches the price of her chosen package — or “class” in cruise-speak — during the months leading up to her trip. When the price drops, she contacts her agent and requests a refund, which she receives as a credit on her charge card. At one point, she was refunded over $2,600 — now that’s savings!

Getting back over 20 Benjamins is more the exception than the rule, but even the smallest return counts. My same friend has $123 in credit from Southwest Airlines as the result of price reductions on booked airfare. Most airlines don’t offer this option but it’s no surprise the customer-friendly Southwest Airlines does. Once you book your itinerary, continue to check the price of the ticket leading up to your trip and contact the airline if the price drops. It’s that easy.

Ultimately, when you feel you’re eligible for a refund or price adjustment, just ask. Doing so could yield some serious savings without sacrificing the quality of your initial investment.


3 Responses to “I’ll Drink to That”

  1. Kaitlin Riggio April 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Such great advice! I travel all the time for work and this is such an easy way to pass along some savings to my company.

    Southwest is my airline of choice when I fly in the West coast and I have always loved their flexibility with changing flights without a change fee. I never thought about checking back for fare drops and requesting a credit.

    Another great tip!!!

  2. Careful Cents May 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Oh my gosh! How did I not know about this?! I’m an avid traveler and have been on several cruises, but I never realized I could use this strategy. I mean, it never hurts to ask. Thanks for passing on this awesome tip, Kendal! I can’t wait to book my next set of travel plans and put this into action.

    • Kendal May 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Isn’t it amazing? I’m really interested to hear what you’re experience is since I’ve never cruised. My mom just booked a cruise on the east coast for next year and I told her to keep a lookout for the same opportunity. It would be really nice if most cruise lines offered refunds for price reductions — they’re such a big investment and you shouldn’t be punished for planning! Good luck to you and please let me know how it goes!