We compare two of Australia's biggest online travel agencies to see which can work better for you.
Flight Centre or Expedia? Both online travel agencies dominate the market, allowing you to browse, compare and book everything from flights and hotels to car hire and travel insurance.
But there must be a difference between the two, right? We peg these two agencies against each other to see which can work better for you and your travel needs. Here we go!
TL;DR: Our verdict
Expedia stole the gold from Flight Centre - but only just. It came up cheaper for the same flight, has a larger price-match incentive, doesn't charge any fees, has a 24-hour cancellation policy for flights and features fares from a larger pool of airlines.
Flight Centre vs Expedia
|What can I book?||
|Can I price match?||Yes. Flight Centre will beat competitor flight prices by $1.||Yes. Flights and packages can be price matched. If successful, you'll receive a $50 Expedia voucher.||Expedia|
|Can I use lay-by or a payment plan?||Yes. Interest-free finance is available for holidays of $999 or more. A $99 annual fee applies and finance is subject to approval.||Yes, for hotels only.||Flight Centre|
|Are there any booking fees?||Yes. Online bookings incur a $9.99 fee for domestic flights and a $39.95 fee for international flights. These are waived on flights booked over the phone.||No. Expedia doesn't charge fees, however, the airline you book with may.||Expedia|
|Is there an online chat function?||Yes.||No.||Flight Centre|
|Is there a loyalty scheme?||No.||Yes, for hotels only. Earn points per stay and benefit from hotel extras.||Expedia|
|What are my payment options?||
|Can I book round-the-world flights?||Yes, the full list can be found here.||No.||Flight Centre|
|Can I book a multi-city trip?||Yes, but you can't do it yourself. You must speak to an agent for a quote.||Yes.||Both|
|Any features for finding the best price?||Some destination pages include a comparison of the cheapest, quickest and most popular flight options.||The flight finder search will show you a calendar of dates with low fares closest to your nominated dates. It also shows any flight and hotel deals for your dates.||Expedia|
|Book||Book with Flight Centre||Book with Expedia|
Flight Centre and Expedia both offer price-match guarantees with incentives of $1 off (Flight Centre) or a $50 voucher to use on future bookings (Expedia). You could play these against each other to get the very best price.
For the purposes of providing an answer, we pegged the two against each other searching each for a flight on the same route, on the same dates and for similar, if not the same, time.
We checked these prices on 14 September 2017. See below for the quotes that came out.
In a true like-for-like price comparison where both online travel agencies brought back the same flights, Expedia came out cheaper by $25.
Bear in mind that payment fees, such as credit card fees, were not considered in this search however we doubt this would tip the scales in Flight Centres' favour. What could however is its price-match guarantee which could see you book with Flight Centre for $1 less than Expedia's quoted price.
Who offers prices from a wider range of airlines?
Both online travel agencies work with a wide range of airlines in Australia and around the world.
Flight Centre features fares from 67 airlines worldwide. Domestically it offers flights on Airnorth, Jetstar, Qantas, Rex, Tigerair and Virgin Australia. International airlines include American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Fiji Airways, Qatar, Royal Brunei and Thai Airways.
Expedia features fares from 130 airlines worldwide. Domestically it offers flights on Jetstar, Qantas, Rex, Tigerair and Virgin Australia but not Airnorth. International airlines include Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Emirates, American Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern.
The winner:Expedia offers flights with double the number of airlines that Flight Centre does. It offers flights with several airlines that Flight Centre does not, including Flybe, Alitalia and Air Europa.
Latest deals from Flight Centre and Expedia
Flight Centre offers deals across all kinds of travel products including flights, cruises and holiday packages. It doesn't offer deals on hotels, tours or car hire. It updates its best deals page daily. Prominent deals that Flight Centre has featured in the past include $799 return fares from Australia to London and $1 return fares on domestic routes.
Expedia offers deals across flights, cruises, holiday packages and car hire. It has a dedicated last-minute deals page as well as a daily deals page. Prominent deals that Expedia has featured in the past include Bali holidays from $699 and 30% off hotels.
Popular Flight Centre - International coupon codes
|Last checked||Code description||Code|
|16 Nov 2018||Asia flights from $569 return with Singapore Airlines||********|
|9 Nov 2018||Europe flights from $999 return with Singapore Airlines||********|
|6 Feb 2018||Up to 30% off Hawaii holidays||********|
|2 May 2017||Cheap five-day holiday packages starting from $562pp||********|
|6 Apr 2017||Stay in Jindabyne near Charlotte Pass from $79 per night||********|
Any other differences worth noting?
- Cancellation policies: Expedia offers a 24-hour cancellation window on flights. To cancel your flight, log in to your account and click "cancel flight" on your itinerary page. Flight Centre's cancellation policy differs depending on what you're booking. It's advised that you read the fine print or query your cancellation options before committing.
- Sign up: To book with Expedia you'll need to sign up for an account. This is free to do but is an extra step. Flight Centre bookings don't require you to have an account. In fact, there aren't any account sign up or login options available.
Flight Centre vs Expedia: Who won?Expedia took this one out with better price-based incentives, including cheaper fares in a like-for-like comparison, fee-free bookings, a bigger price-match return and and a loyalty scheme on hotel bookings.
Here's a list of both of their winning points:
- Larger variety of bookable and purchasable items including rail passes, global SIMs and foreign currency
- Interest-free finance available for holidays $999+
- Online chat
- Accepts more payment options
- Offers round-the-world fares
- Doesn't require you to sign-up to make a purchase
- Cheaper fare for the same flights (taken from a sample flight search)
- Better price matching incentive; $50 voucher
- Loyalty scheme for hotel bookings, allowing you to earn free stays
- Fee-free bookings (however you may be charged by the booking site it forwards you to)
- Has a flight finder search calendar where you can see the lowest fares near your nominated dates
- Features fares from more airlines worldwide
- Allows for flight cancellations within 24-hours of booking