International ticket pricing is a myth for most. Fares are constantly filed, refiled and have no one direction. That is why, it is never a good idea to ask your neighbour on the plane about the price he/she paid for his ticket. While I don’t want to be sounding like a PR pro telling you this, but I’m just glad that someone did do the honest thing to do and come out with a feature like this.
Cue to Pricewatch, the proposition that Cleartrip is making is very simple. Since international tickets are repricing all the time, it is possible that a ticket may cost lower than what you booked it for. Cleartrip will keep the itinerary price on a watch, and automatically rebook you on to a lower fare, if the ticket price falls, as per the following formula:
The refund amount is calculated as the net fare difference, after deducting the airline amendment fee:
-> New fare – old fare – airline amendment fee = Net fare difference
-> If the net fare difference is less than zero (i.e. the fare drop is less than the airline amendment fee), you will not get any refund.
-> If the net fare difference is less than Rs 500, you’ll get a flat refund of Rs 500.
-> If the net fare difference is greater than Rs 500, you’ll get the amount as per the above formula.
There are more details on their blog.
Now, the limitation at this moment is that Cleartrip does not ask you if you want to act on this alert, it just goes ahead and rebooks you, which in some cases, may mean, that you may be booked into a lower fare class (which may be less miles for you!), and the second limitation is that this process can be done only once. Which means, only one refund is applicable per booking. However, at this moment I am trying to understand from Cleartrip what happens if the first time there is a rebooking and no refund is due, but another time the fare drops low enough to trigger a refund event. Does the algorithm stop after the first rebooking or does it refund you some money the second time around?
What is in it for Cleartrip? Most international airlines anyways have withdrawn commissions to travel agents or reduced them to minimal levels from the earlier highs. They get to charge a fee to the customer on these rebooking and cancellation events, so this ways, they can churn the customer for more fees without the customer doubting their good intentions.
What is in it for you? Heck, if there is a massive price drop, you stand to gain some money back on your ticket, yeah. I’ve frequently seen different prices on the same ticket when I try booking my tickets to the USA, and they vary by 100s of dollars sometimes. So, I assume some money back will happen to you in this event if you get a price trigger downwards.
Overall, a smart marketing tactic yet again from Cleartrip!