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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Cracking the Bulk Fare Code! How to Tell When a Flight is a Bulk Fare

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But what the heck are we looking for?

“OK, great,” you’re saying. “But I don’t speak gobbledygook. So how do I read this to find out if it’s a bulk fare?”

Well, there are actually quite a few clues in the fare rules, but fortunately at least for American flights on the Chase and Citi portals, we can boil it down to one word…


Open up the fare rules and then just do a CTRL-F “Find” search for the word “wholesale.” If it comes up… bingo! That’s a bulk fare.

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If you look a little closer at the fare rules, you’ll also likely see some other bulk fare indications. For instance, bulk fares are often sold as part of tours or vacation packages, so the language governing that may be listed as well.

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Or you might see warnings that the ticket’s airfare cannot be applied to a published fare.

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Now, for American Express, things appear to be a little different. To be frank, unlike the above examples, I have not yet confirmed this Amex portion with data points, so this is an educated guess and I may turn out to be mistaken. However, it seems that on the Amex portal, instead of seeing the word “wholesale” in the fare rules, if it’s a bulk fare you simply won’t find the fare rules at all. Instead, you’ll get a message that the fare rules are unavailable.

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Based on how other portals are selling these identical flights and airfare, I believe the first flight in this Amex routing is a bulk fare. But I can’t prove it… yet.

If your fare rules are there and you do not find the word “wholesale” or language about vacation packages or the like, you likely have a normal published fare. It won’t say “published fare” but it should have basic language about it being an economy fare and which areas it can be booked for. If you want to be certain, you can compare the fare rules to the identical itinerary on aa.com — if it matches, it’s a published fare.

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Here are the fare rules for LAX-YVR on Ultimate Rewards.

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And here they are on aa.com. Published fare on both.

This article was originally published on Frequentmiler

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