The following is a guest post from Lance at Money Life and More. Please feel free to check out his site!
Last month I booked my first real vacation since graduating college in 2009. YAY! My girlfriend and I, along with my parents, will be going on a 5 night Carnival cruise (EXCITED!) and did a lot of research to ensure we got the best price possible. I ended up booking their Early Saver fare which has some restrictions regarding cancellations but I don’t anticipate that being a problem for us. The Early Saver fare is guaranteed to be their lowest price and if I ever find a lower price until 48 hours before the cruise departs I just have to submit it and they will adjust my rate accordingly.
Finding the Fare
The key is that I have to find the prices after you book. My guess is that Carnival knows few people will probably check prices for cruises after they book so they figure they can offer this perk without losing too much money. I am not normal though. I probably check the fare once every other week to make sure they haven’t gone down and when I checked this past week I was pleasantly surprised because they did.
So what did I do? I called Carnival to see what I had to do to get the new lower price. The representative was very nice but said she could not help me on the phone. I had to go to their website, fill out a form with the details of where I found the fare, how much it was, submit it and wait. This was irritating but was yet another step Carnival uses to deter people for filing for a lower price. I filled the form out and got an email saying that my file would be reviewed and it could take up to 7 to 10 days to hear back.
I was happy when I opened my email the next morning and an email from Carnival was sitting in my inbox. It was an updated bill with the lower price applied to my fare. Overall, I was very happy with Carnival and how they handle their price protection for Early Saver fares. I understand why they have their process the way it is. It gives people like me the ability to claim the lower fares while others who don’t think it is worth their time can pay more.
The main lesson to learn is you have to be proactive to get the best prices. Many products offer price protection but few will contact you as soon as fares go down. Be proactive and check prices up until the price protection is no longer available. Once you find a lower price make sure you follow the company’s steps and you will save some hard earned money! While we only saved $40 it didn’t take longer than 15 minutes which comes out to about $160 an hr for my time. In my opinion, that is well worth it. I plan to continue checking their website and hopefully I get some more money back before I depart for my first cruise ever.
Have you ever filed a price protection claim? Were you satisfied with the process? Any tips for going on our cruise?
Crystal’s Comments: We have taken two Carnival cruises so far and used Price Protection the second time. It gave us a $50 onboard credit overall, which was a nice plus. Yay for using offered perks!