With airline ticket prices what they are today, saving money on flights can be a difference of hundreds of dollars. But who has the time to sit at the computer for 45 days straight constantly checking for the lowest prices?

Yapta.com has developed a service providing constant surveillance over your trip. They teamed up with MasterCard to save you money on all elements of your trip by essentially staring at the prices as they rise and drop (not literally).

Great benefits…

Prices fluctuate all the time, so Yapta’s price drop alerts will let you know when to book your flights to get the best value. The program is called MasterCard PriceAssure, and it works like this: First, enroll your MasterCard directly onto the website. Then, use your card to buy your ticket directly from an airline, not a travel agent or a third-party website, and have PriceAssure track your itinerary. If a price drop is found they will send you an email alerting you.

Once alerted you can call the airline’s customer service and demand a credit, or for a fee of $19.95 per itinerary, regardless of the number of travelers, you can have MasterCard’s PriceAssure retrieve it for you and then email you.

As the official sponsor, so to speak, of the MasterCard PriceAssure program, all MasterCard holders can enroll their card with PriceAssure and will be automatically enrolled in the service to watch their flight itinerary for price drops and potential savings whenever they use that card to book a flight through an airline.

With possible drawbacks

The few things to look out for are how much the price difference needs to be in order to obtain a refund. Airtran and Virgin America only offer refunds if the price drops $75 or more, while American and Continental among others require a price drop of $150 or more because of change fees, even if your actual itinerary remains the same.

In the terms and conditions of MasterCard PriceAssure explicitly states that “You understand and acknowledge that only a small portion of airline tickets entered into the Program are likely to result in qualifying airline credits. Therefore, in most cases, the flight that you purchase from an eligible airline and monitor through the Program will not result in your receiving an airline credit from the airline.”

Tell us in the comments section below what is your experience with PriceAssure? Have you encountered any price drops that resulted in savings?

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