Flight Centre vs STA Travel
We compared two of Australia’s top booking sites to find out which one can save you more.
We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .
STA Travel has gone into administration, but here's how they did compare when STA was operating in Australia.
Flight Centre and STA Travel are two major players in the Australian travel market. We compare them side by side so you can make an informed choice before booking a major holiday or any travel.
Both offer very similar services but with a few differences. Flight Centre has the option to book more luxurious trips while STA Travel focuses on extra discounts for youths, students and teachers who travel.
Flight Centre vs STA Travel
Flight Centre offers a wide range of travel products with top deals around the globe and is one of Australia’s most trusted travel agencies.
STA Travel specialises in travel products for a younger crowd but still has options available for all travellers and is also one of Australia’s most popular travel agencies.
|Feature||Flight Centre||STA Travel||Verdict|
|What can I book?||STA Travel offers a wider variety of travel options.|
|Can I price match?||No. However Flight Centre has a Price Drop Protection which can be added with Captain's Packages from $19.||STA Travel will beat any retail travel agent, airline direct, or call centre travel agent or they give you $1,000 credit. STA Travel will also match online travel agents prices prices up to a difference of $50. This is given as a credit to use toward land products.||STA Travel offers a better incentive.|
|Is there lay-by or a payment plan?||Interest-free finance is available for holidays of $999 or more.|
A $99 annual fee applies and finance is subject to approval.
|For flights, a $99 deposit is required. A $39 fee is paid when the remainder of the amount is due.Tours require a $100 deposit and packages a $149 deposit.||STA Travel offers finance on more products for a lower cost.|
|Are there booking fees?||Online bookings incur a $9.99 fee for domestic flights and a $21.95 fee for international flights per person, per booking.||Flights originating from Australia don't incur booking fees.||STA Travel is fee-free.|
|Is there online chat?||Yes.||Yes, on select pages.||Both offer online chat.|
|Is there a loyalty plan?||No.||No.||Neither offer loyalty plan incentives.|
|What are my payment options online?||Flight Centre has more online payment options.|
|Can I book round the world fares?||Yes, the full list can be found here.||Yes, however you must speak to a round the world expert to book. Some are available to students/youths only.||Flight Centre’s round the world flight options are available to every traveller.|
|Can I book multi-city fares?||Yes, but you can't do it yourself.|
You must speak to an agent for a quote.
|Yes, but you must speak to a round the world expert to book.||STA Travel offers some prices online and you are able to create your own route.|
|Any features to find the best price?||Some destination pages include a comparison of the cheapest, quickest and most popular flight options.||A list of cheap flights, the most popular flights and top deals is available.||Flight Centre offers a comparison feature for specific destinations.|
Who offers the best price?
STA Travel gives you $1,000 travel credit if it can't match retail agents, airlines direct or call centre travel agents' prices. It will also price match online prices but only to a difference of $50. Flight Centre only guarantees against price drops but you have to pay a fee for this.
Looking at it from an online purchase point of view, we went direct to each site and made the same search to see which could come out on top. We looked at a domestic flight from Sydney to melbourne.
The verdict: Flight Centre came up more than $50 cheaper than STA Travel making it the winner in this instance.
Interestingly we took this one a step further to look at international flights instead and found that STA Travel won that war on a fare from Melbourne to London. This just goes to prove it's worth checking both if price is your driver to see which can come out cheaper.
Which offers a wider range of airlines?
Both sites offer a wide range of airlines to choose from for domestic and international travel.
Flight Centre offers fares from 65+ airlines around the world. Domestic flights booked through Flight Centre include airlines such as Airnorth, Jetstar, Qantas, Rex, Tigerair and Virgin Australia. International flights include airlines that are well known and reputable such as American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines and Thai Airways.
STA Travel offers fares from over 18 airlines worldwide. Domestic airlines include Qantas and Virgin Australia. International airlines include Delta, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Emirates Airline, Thai Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, Fiji Airways and more.
The verdict?: Between the two, Flight Centre offers more airline choices. However, STA Travel has exclusive BlueTicket prices for students and those under 30 which could mean more savings for you.
Any other important differences?
Cancellation policies differ depending on what you are booking through Flight Centre.
STA Travel has an online cancellation fee of $200 plus other fees depending on the type of travel booked. Before committing to either it is best to read the fine print.
What are deals like?
Flight Centre offers deals on flights, holiday packages and cruises that you can find on its deals page which is updated daily. Flight Centre deals can include domestic flights from as little as $55, return flights to Europe for $1,099 and up to 50% off luxury cruises.
STA Travel offers deals on flights, tours and sales on accommodation (including hotels and hostels) which can be found on their deals page. Markdowns can include 30% off last-minute tours with Contiki or an early-bird discount of 15% off of tours with a selection of companies to destinations around the globe. Deals on flights include the Price Beat Guarantee which offers you a refund of the difference if the price of your flight lowers.
The verdict?: Flight Centre offers bigger discounts but STA Travel has deals on accommodation.
Current deals with Flight Centre and STA Travel
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