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.
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.
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.
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
Asia flights from $213 return
Available for flights on select dates from February - 31 August 2020 with AirAsia. Sample fare is Perth-Lombok. Destinations include Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Phuket, Maldives, Delhi, Tokyo, Bangkok and more.
Available for travel until November 2020. Includes Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo Chitose flights with Japan Airlines, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Tokyo with Philippine Airlines. T&Cs apply.
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for Travel Weekly, Escape, Thomas Cook Magazine, Showpo, The Nibbler and Hostelworld. She was also the editor of kids magazine DMAG. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping readers stretch their dollars while on holiday.
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