Comparable Bestfare Sites.

Old Nov 8th, 2003, 03:58 PM
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Comparable Bestfare Sites.

Having researched the archives and found mixed reviews about Bestfares.com I would like to know from those that gave negative responses where comparable fares can be found.I cannot find any site that comes close to offering similar prices except mavbe some of the auction sites. Want to share your special site with us?
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Old Nov 8th, 2003, 04:30 PM
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Here's a ticket I recently bought to London, as it would be expressed on Bestfares:

LONDON for ONLY $292!!!!!!

Here's how it looks when I actually buy it directly from the airline:

Base fare: 292
Tax: 94.16
U.S. Customs Fee: 5.00
Immigration Fee: 7.00

Total: $398.16

In short, what you think you're seeing is not necessarily what you're going to be getting. In addition, there may be restrictions that keep you from getting that low, low rate. (Ever notice how the big sale price in the tire insert in your Sunday newspaper is never for the size that fits your car and doesn't include excise taxes, etc.?! It's kind of like THAT.)
Bestfares also involves membership fee and a transaction fees.

My suggestion is that you monitor fares for itineraries and carriers that you are interested in. You will find that you can almost always get comparable fares to what you are seeing on Bestfares and that there are more things to consider than ONLY price, including carriers, routing, FF miles, etc. Travelocity's Farewatcher and Dream Maps are great tools, but you should also sign up for e-mail alerts from specific carriers that you are interested in, etc. My view is that Bestfares tends to cater to people who look at travel on a single-trip basis (i.e. "What will it cost me to get to London in April?&quot vs. people who think of travel as a program in which they are trying to get the most for their money in the greatest comfort over the course of years and many trips. I was a member of Bestfares for several years and I learned a lot, but now I know what I need to know and what to look for without that kind of help. If I have a special site, it is that of my preferred carrier. My second special site is www.flyertalk.com and I would venture to say that very few of those extremely savvy travelers are members of Bestfares.
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Old Nov 8th, 2003, 04:54 PM
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Thanks Flyboy for your input. I do have Travelocity Fare Watch and Smarter Living as well as other sites but even with the additional $165 in surcharges at Bestfare none come close in matching their price and according to them they use schedule carriers.When you were a member was this the case?
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Old Nov 8th, 2003, 05:45 PM
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Smarter Living is a good site and I visit it regularly. It was a few years ago when I was in Bestfares. At that time, they didn't offer online booking and a person could sit on hold forever. If they offer online booking now, then that would be a huge improvement. When I left, they were doing a LOT with TWA (which was just before that airline left the picture). Some people swear by Bestfares and I think they have some kind of money-back thing now, don't they? If you can get a great deal that is going to more than cover the cost of membership then maybe you should give it a shot.

But that trip to London above? I'll pick up about 20,000 FF miles with all of the bonuses, etc. thrown in. If another carrier that I wouldn't likely use again sold me the same trip for $200, I'd be money behind. (Moral: Be sure to net out your true cost.)
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 02:28 AM
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I am one of those people who became a member for two years in a row of bestfares.com and to this day think that was the worst spent travel $$$ ever. In those two years I traveled quite a bit and called bestfares.com numerous times. The worst phone service, the "deals" were never available, alternatives weren't deals whatsoever, I always could get a better deal by calling the airline directly. Never again.

I found that keeping an eye on the airlines websites, cheaptickets.com, travelocity, and priceline (when there is some flexibility), have offered consistently good value paired with great service.
 
Old Nov 9th, 2003, 04:29 AM
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As always appreciate the insight of those who have experienced being a member and sharing their views.
As 5 family members are traveling the annual fee is irrelevant.
A fare presenly on Bestfare $199 with free stopover in London is, to my mind,a real bargain one that I have not come across on other sites.
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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I'm with Maira. I was a member this past year but soon discovered that the great rates of $199 etc. was BEFORE any taxes were added on. So you don't know the true rate until you join and make it thru to their customer service.
Once you get customer service to pull up the special, hold on to your seat! My 299 fare becames $478 with taxes and fees.

I was looking at a trip to London and the carrier was Luthansa. Bestfares wanted to take us from DFW to Munich to London (no extra days in Munich) for that price. I got a non-stop from DFW to Gatick for less than Bestfares price, and better arrival/departures times.

Beware if you join...my membership was due to expire this month. I was planning on letting it do just that. Bestfares will automatically renew without ever contacting you and charge your credit card. Luckily, my card had expired that they couldn't. HA, HA!

Corky - save your money and use other search avenues!
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 07:28 AM
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Most websites quote prices before taxes are added on--all that I have ever seen, including Bestfares, show you the full price before you buy.

Last year I had spent weeks plowing through a list of air travel sites daily to try to catch a good deal on tickets--always there were catches, or they were sold out etc. Bestfares had so many more deals than any of the other sites--we had our tickets within a day at a great price.

So we got a good deal on Bestfares last year for our trip to Germany in June. The deals are great, but keep in mind that the seats are limited--they sell out very quickly. But it's the same on other broker sites.

We didn't sign up again this year as they made one big change for the worse--last year when we signed up, we got a 30 day trial, so if you hadn't found a trip with them within 30 days you could cancel and get your full membership fee back. When I called this year they said it had been reduced to 24 hours. Didn't want to mess with that.

Like any other web site, some people get there before the good deals sell out, some don't.
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 08:23 AM
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I joined Best Fares ahead of a trip to Paris two years ago. Best Fares does not have negotiated fares or seats, rather (last I heard), they simply compile all the fares available.

I shopped fares myself (awaiting my delayed Best Fares membership kit, which didn't arrive for two weeks). I found a great fare at Best Fares and set about phoning to book. I called several times a day for several days and was on hold for more than 30 minutes. Finally, I stuck it out until I got someone on the phone - 55 minutes. The girl clearly was inexperienced. It took her forever to "call up" the fare number. Then, she insisted we had to connect in St. Louis (Boston to Paris?). She finally found seats on flights through NY, at inconvenient times, going over with too short a connection, coming home with a six hour connection (after leaving Paris at 7AM!). Then, by the time she added all the taxes and fees, the final fare was only about $10 less than direct flights on American (with the more leg room seats) at our preferred times.
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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What a wealth of info.that we have on this forum. Thanks again to all for taking time to enlighten me.
Since there is such a problem it seems with contacting Bestfares by phone,why is it that they do not make it possible to book your trip completely on-line?
From what I gather it would solve the greatest 'beef'against them and would encourage members to remain committed.
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 10:04 AM
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Maira
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djkbooks--- my experience exactly NUMEROUS times with bestfares.com. I would agree that not getting any deals was due to bad timing if it wasn't that I did tried so many times and NEVER, EVER got a deal with bestfares that an airline could not best. Like I said, NEVER again. I rather do my own research.
 
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