SmartFares Reviews | SmartFares.com

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Rating: 1.9/5 (173 votes cast)


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  • SmartFares negotiates cheap airfares with airlines and airline ticket wholesalers (A.K.A. airfare consolidators), which are at times cheaper than the published airfares you will find elsewhere online
  • Offers one of the largest selections of cheap and discounted flights available online
  • SmartFares search results are pulled from multiple Global Distribution System (GDS) systems, which gives you more travel options
  • Lowest Price Guarantee – within 24 hours of booking
  • Customer service center located in the United States
Our Editor’s Review

SmartFares claims they take great pride in the customer service that they offer. That being said, it appears that SmartFares.com is part of the Travelation brand, which has several complaints, especially with the Better Business Bureau in California.  If they are part of the Travelation brand, it is not obvious, as the only reference we found for them was at the bottom of their “terms of use” page.  So, we are unsure on this aspect.  

The airfare pricing we found on SmartFares.com was good, but pretty much identical to what we found on Kayak.com, and other airfare consolidator websites.  We compared SmartFares prices with Orbitz, Hotwire, Travelocity (among others), and often found the cheapest flights on Orbitz.com (in one instance, as much as $26 cheaper than any of the competition, albeit it departed from a suburb).  We took it one step further and found an identical flight on the airline’s own website (AlaskaAir.com), and found that if we booked on SmartFares.com we would pay exactly 19 cents more.  So, we found no special negotiated rate there.  Although SmartFares claims they have “negotiated” pricing with airline ticket wholesalers, we didn’t find them. Perhaps if SmartFares.com advertised the exact flights or airlines that are discounted, we would be happier with this service.

SmartFares automatically adds “trip protection” insurance to every flight booked (we saw upwards of $29 per ticket), which you may remove on the booking screen.  Although we recommend travel insurance, we don’t like when it is automatically added.

I recommend purchasing travel insurance on SquareMouth.com as soon as you book any flight on SmartFares. This may protect you from fees or problems down the road.  Before even calling SmartFares, visit SquareMouth.com for a super quick travel cancellation plan quote to see if they can help you.

SmartFares charges a service fee, which we assume is just another word for “booking fee” on every flight that they sell. We realize this is how they make money, but the least they could do is make it super easy to see how much this fee is. We had a difficult time finding the amount of their fees.

SmartFares Fees
  • Cancellations:  Most airlines will allow SmartFares.com to void an airline ticket within 24 hours of purchase.  A “void fee” will apply to each ticket, and the amount of the void fee is not specified and varies per airline.  After 24 hours, many flights are non-voidable, but if the fare rules allow for it you may be able to hold your ticket for future credit on the airline.  In addition to any penalties imposed by the airline, SmartFares will charge a “processing fee” of up to $100 per ticket.
  • Purchase insurance from SquareMouth.com, which may help you to avoid cancellation fees
  • Service fees to SmartFares.com are non-refundable (this is including in the “taxes and fees” portion of your ticket purchase.  The amount of their service fee is not specified.

*Based solely on research done by TravelSiteCritic.com, these figures may be inaccurate and are subject to change.Verify policies with the website before you book. Please be aware of airfare taxes & fees, applicable to any booking that includes airfare.

Chose Your Exact Flight & Time!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Read our review disclosure for more information.

Please be aware of airfare taxes & fees.

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Click Star to Rate This Site:
Rating: 1.9/5 (173 votes cast)
SmartFares Reviews | SmartFares.com, 1.9 out of 5 based on 173 ratings

Comments

  1. Mandie Garrett says:
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    First off, let me say that I wished that I had found these reviews before I booked this flight.
    I booked with Smartfares a month ago and now the possibility has come up that I will not be able to make that flight. I called Smartfares last night to discuss changing the flight time and date to another destination. What was originally a $300 flight would cost me another $700+ and turned into a $1000 flight. I also asked if the money that I paid for the ticket would be held as a credit towards the next flight. The representative that I spoke with flatly said no, then insisted that I go ahead with the change. I clearly replied with, "Absolutely not!" He scoffed and hung up on me! Wow…
    Even when I worked in a call center and dealt with customers who swore at and threatened me I never even dreamed of handling a call as poorly as this representative did.
    I have tried to go directly to the airline to resolve this issue. But, they have stated that because I booked with a travel agency they had no control over changing the ticket. Frankly, after all of the terrible reviews I've read posted over several years, I don't know how the airlines would even consider selling their tickets to such an disreputable company.
    Is there anyone who can offer me advice on how to handle this since I cannot put the amount towards another ticket? Should I just dispute the charge? Please help!

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  2. jetsetubet says:
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    I have used smartfares in the past with no memorable glitches. I am however having a terrible experience with them currently. I booked a multi-city flight over a month ago and as the trip was nearing I double checked my itinerary as I had a connection in NYC. Upon closer inspection I noticed that they had me connecting in NYC, flying into LGA and OUT of JFK in 2 hours! Not to mention in traffic. The first person I spoke to kept offering me ‘advice’ telling me not to book tickets like this – WHEN THEY”RE THE ONES WHO ARRANGED THE CONNECTIONS/THE WHOLE ITINERARY!!! He also told me to call one of the airlines, which made no sense to me as Smartfares were the ones who generated the itin, when I asked what exactly I should be asking the airline, the ‘agent’ did not respond, I asked if he was still there, again silence, then he scoffed and repeated that I just call the airline. When I asked to speak to a supervisor – easily 2 hours before they close – he told me their lines would be closing, when I pointed out that that was not congruent with their hours, he then said that there were no supervisors and that I should call back in the morning. Which I have and the first question Neil asked me was ‘what is wrong with you’? and, guess what – no supervisors for 2 more hours! No accountability, mockery, bullsh*t info, TERRIBLE customer service. BOOK ELSEWHERE.

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  3. VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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    Ouch! SmartFares.com is topping our Worst Travel Sites list. Check out the customer comments on this page to see why and don't forget to book your next trip on one of our Top 10 Travel Sites to save yourself the headache next time! http://travelsitecritic.com/reviews/top-ten-travel-sites/

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  4. VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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    I booked a flight ticket from Smartfares and basically went through the same difficulty that others have expressed online. A search through Skyscanner showed the Smartfares offering the cheapest deal. I went ahead with booking. For 24 hours, I did not get any confirmation so I phoned them up and was told that the price has increased. I resisted and fought really hard and called them more than five times arguing, insisting that I did not authorize payment for more than what I was quoted. After long arguments with several different people, Smartfares agreed that I pay only the amount I was initially quoted. So in the end, I got the ticket for a very low price. However, having to deal with the fear of paying much more than the original quote, having to speak with surly people at Smartfares, and all that time, I do NOT recommend you going through the hassle and book with more established agents or directly with airlines.

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  5. David Brown says:
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    Smartfares.com is a complete rip off. They lure unsuspecting consumer with teaser rates that they can’t come close to filling. They will send you a nice confirmation letter summarizing everything but you will eventually find that they don’t actually book your tickets and will just cancel your reservation. Stay away from Smartfares and their fraudulent business practices!

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  6. VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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    Have been on the phone dealing with SmartFares.com for the past 2 hours. They have directed me to four different websites, and told me different rules and regulations depending on which person I talked to. They also charged me more than the stated price of the ticket. DO NOT use this SmartFares.com.

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  7. VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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    I have had the same horrible experience with SmartFares as some of the other travelers. Bought a ticket through them (directed by Mobissimo.com) and my ticket was cancelled 2 days before my trip. I am going from Brussels to Miami and calling SmartFares Customer service the very unhelpful agent told me that since my trip was booked from outside the US they could not issue my ticket unless I faxed them front and back of my credit card and an authorization form. What authorization form, it’s nowhere on their site? Oh, yes I will receive once my booking is made. Well I made a booking and didn’t receive it. Too bad, make a new one and email customer support asking for it. (What???). I have never heard of this before. Now obviously tickets are much more expensive… NEVER USE SMARTFARES. I am also cancelling purchase on cc just to be sure.

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  8. Marlisa McLaughlin says:
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    I purchased a ticket to Iceland with Smartfares and found they charged my credit card TWICE and I still have NOT received the money back! I have had all the same negative experiences with the service that I have read about and wonder if there is any way to get Smartfares to become accountable for their behavior?!!!

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  9. Ronen Krasner says:
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    Smartfares has worst service ever. Their agent said he wouldn’t charge my card without my permission but he did! Then asked for ridiculous cancellation fees!! Smartfares price was $200 more expensive than others. Do yourself a favor, book your flight with different company.

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  10. Rita Dunnagan says:
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    Smart fares is terrible! Received confirmation number but later the reservation cancelled just before flight. Charged a $75.00 “agent fee”. Tried calling the help desk at smart fares. Forget about it, just get a run around if you EVER get to speak to someone.

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  11. Denise Rodgers says:
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    I would never recommend Smartfares.com to anyone! They totally mishandled our flight reservations through American Airlines to Dallas, Texas, this past weekend (Labor Day 2012). I ordered and paid for the ticket with a credit card on July 24, 2012, and received an immediate confirmation email from Smartfares with a Flight Confirmation number. So far, so good.

    But on the Friday before our flight, when I went to check in and get our boarding passes, the confirmation # did not work. So I called American Airlines and was told that while they had record of the reservation, they had never been paid, and therefore I had no tickets!!!

    I checked with the Smartfares.com web site, and my confirmation number indicated that our reservation had been cancelled! I then called, and the operator suggested that I purchase new tickets at twice the price!!! I refused. Obviously.

    The upshot is that in the course of trying to get them to correct the problem THEY created, I was disconnected twice! The second time was enough to convince me that I was being blown off. So I called American Airlines and ordered the tickets (at twice the original cost — which wasn’t cheap) from them.

    I intend to contact the Better Business Bureau and lodge a complaint against Smartfares.com.

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  12. VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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    I have used plenty of Travel Agencies and Websites, and have had lots of good experiences. Normally I don’t write to complain, but SmartFares actions caused me to miss my planned travel date by 2 days and ended up costing me more money than had I simply booked through the airline. More than that, once they made the mistake they did not offer to help resolve the issue.

    This is the issue:

    After booking a flight with SmartFares I received an email from them confirming the “reservation”… but the fine print said it could take 24 hours to purchase the ticket. I immediately emailed them for clarification. They specifically told me not to worry, that they simply needed to call the airline.

    Unfortunately, 24 hours later they did cancel the ticket and offered to sell me another one (on the same flight) for $500 more. In the end I had to book another flight on my own but by that time, the previously booked ticket on the day of preferred travel was gone and I was required to pay $200 more and fly 2 days later.

    People make mistakes, that is understandable. It is how they respond when they make a mistake that defines them. Smartfares issue was that once they made the mistake, they did not attempt to “make it right”.

    Their logic of not seeking to help me and feeling that upcharging me $500 was acceptable was because their original email indicated they needed 24 hours to confirm the ticket. What they failed to acknowledge was that: 1) they waited until AFTER I booked the ticket to tell me they needed 24 hours to actually issue a ticket, 2) they did not offer to allow me to cancel the reservation without a penalty once they told me they needed 24 hours, and 3) one of their representatives specifically told me not to worry about the 24 hour statement in their original email.

    SmartFares needs to better disclose the fact that they simply take your order and then try to buy a ticket after you place your order. There are other websites that offer similar fares, better customer service, and immediate ticketing. Buyer beware of SmartFares.

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  13. Yang Yang says:
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    The worst service I’ve ever had with Smartfares.
    I booked a ticket to China for $1175. But I found out 2 hours before the flight that my visa is expired, so I called them and tried the change the ticket to a week later so I will have the visa ready. I called the Smartfares office before my flight, no one answered the phone until after 10am mountain time. My nightmare started. Their staff was so slow to respond, and every time I called them, it will take 15-30 minute to get someone to answer the phone, and they would say “you need to check your e-mail”. Smartfares always reply to me in several hours, so 3 days were gone and the problem has not been solved. They said would charge me $375 changing fee, and $404 of the fare difference, but I checked the airline’s own website, and Smartfare’s website, the fare difference is only $285. I asked them if I have other option of canceling the ticket and rebook (since it will be cheaper than their option), or leave the credit in my account for future booking, and am getting no response from them. MY big lesson, NEVER work with Smartfares. The best choice is going through the airline directly.

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  14. VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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    Unfortunately I found out the hard way that smartfares rips you off. I paid $150 for a ticket that I had to cancel. I purchased and paid $10.95 for the travelers insurance that is making me JUMP thru hoops in order to get a refund. I had to cancel due to a death in the family and I have to send a copy of the death certificate and copy of my invoice that the ticket was paid for for consideration of refund. WTH!! The value of the ticket is $120 which if I want to rebook it will cost me $150 because according to smartfares that is US Airways rebooking fee.

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    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)

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