Refundable Tickets Cheaper Than Non-Refundable Ones

I’ve been perusing the US Airways website more lately since I have a $400 voucher to use with them, and out of curiosity (though, I know flights are always very expensive here), I decided to play around with a DCA-PHL flight. These flights are almost always in the several hundred of dollars, and it would be much more advantageous to use 4,500 British Airways Avios one-way, however I figured I’d check the search out of curiosity to see if anything was cheaper. If it was only $150 like many DCA-JFK runs are, I’d consider just paying the cash outright and saving the Avios for something pricing in more expensive.

Interestingly, I discovered refundable tickets cheaper than non-refundable ones.

  • Coach non-refundable is $450, while First refundable is only $471…$21 more to sit up front, and have a refundable option.
  • Coach refundable is $365 while coach non-refundable is $450. So, you’ll pay $85 to have a non-refundable ticket? Yikes.
  • First non-refundable is $556, while First refundable is $471. So, by paying $85 more, you get a non-refundable ticket in the same First Class seat. Again, quite odd.

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I’m not sure if this is a glitch in the US Airways system, though I would presume it isn’t since non of these flights are codeshares operated on American, and I’ve tested out several other city pairs with similar pricing results. All in all, it’s showing upgrades into First Class for mere dollars more, and refundable tickets almost hundreds of dollars less than the non-refundable ones.

Have you seen this anomaly before when booking?

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  1. kerry says

    Just to add another data point… I found the same thing out of DCA to CAK for Thanksgiving weekend. Save $75 each way. Purchased yesterday and looked back today to see that the refundable fare had increased by $300. I had never seen anything like it before either.

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