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I get emails from a lot of different sites and apps, most of which (but not all!) are travel-related. Most of these I ignore, but a few catch my eye. One of these was from a new site called FareFetch.
Farefetch puts an interesting spin on traditional award booking. With traditional award booking, you typically pay $150 or so per person and the award booker uses your OWN miles to book flights. Because of the cost of the award booking, it’s typically done for international and/or premium cabin travel, since on domestic flights, there isn’t a ton of overhead for the award booker to get paid.
How Farefetch works
Farefetch is scheduled to go live in mid-June 2017 and people will primarily submit fare requests through their mobile apps (iPhone and Android apps scheduled). Someone looking for a fare will put in their parameters (origin, destination, class of service, number of passengers and how much they’re willing to pay) and submit it to Farefetch
Farefetch will send it out to their list of farefetchers (bookers) who then accept the fare, first come, first served. You book the flight and the fare fetcher keeps the difference.
For example, someone requests a flight from JFK-LAX on a certain date and says they’re willing to pay $500. You as a fare fetcher find the flight for $350. You keep $150
In theory, FareFetch told me you would also be able to book the flight with either points like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points or Barclaycard Arrival miles and keep the cash.
What happens if (when?) things go wrong?
My first question when I heard about Farefetch is what happens when things go wrong. As a fare fetcher, I don’t want to be on the hook for IRROPS, schedule changes or other problems for random people. Perhaps I’m jaded by the fact that as I write this post, I’m literally in the middle of a 4+ hour delay!
According to FareFetch, they will work with travelers impacted by delays and schedule changes, but in all cases, the fare fetcher will keep their fee.
Is Farefetch too good to be true?
This seems to me to be a pretty sweet deal to be a fare fetcher, depending on how easy it is to “reserve” fares. In talking with some of the folks that are running FareFetch, they will penalize people that quickly “reserve” fares and then can’t deliver within a few hours, but it remains to be seen how exactly that will work. This could be an amazing opportunity if you really can use miles to book flights that have really high cash fares. I think the general public doesn’t realize how prevalent it is that a short-haul close-in flight that has a really high cash cost can be had for a relatively small amount of miles.
I wonder too if airlines themselves might crack down on fare fetchers using their miles to book tickets for 3rd party “strangers” and then getting compensated by FareFetch.
All in all, I have a healthy skepticism that this (at least the part where you can use your miles to book flights through FareFetch) is a sustainable model. But I’m willing to be proven wrong!
Signing up to be a fare booker
Currently anyone can sign up to be a farefetcher at http://www.farefetch.com/farefetchers
There are no fees to be a fare fetcher, and they are planning on having at least 1000 fare fetchers by the time the site goes live in mid-June 2017. For disclosure purposes, as far as I know I currently do not receive any bonus for anyone signing up through the above link.