Budget airline Easyjet has quietly scrapped its free refund trick, which meant passengers whose flights fell in price after booking could get the difference back in vouchers, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal. Yet if you booked a flight before Monday or are a member of one of its loyalty clubs you may still be able to use the trick – here's how to check if you're affected.

Easyjet's price promise guarantees that if you do find the same flight for less after booking, you'll get the difference back as a credit voucher, which you have to use within six months. To do this you'll need to have booked direct though, and you won't get the difference back if the lower price you've found is a sale price.

Until recently this refund trick was open to all, and it's been a favourite of MoneySavers over the past couple of years, featuring prominently in our 18 Easyjet tricks guide and weekly email. Following our tips, some have used it to claim vouchers worth up to £800, which they have then been able to use for future flights.

But while the trick was previously open to all passengers, on Monday Easyjet updated its terms and conditions to scrap the promise in its current form. Here's what's changing:

  • Booked before 21 Feb 2017? Check the price now. If you haven't yet flown, you ARE still covered by the free refund trick, up until you fly. See below for how to check if the price has dropped and make a claim.
  • Booked on or after 21 Feb 2017? Most now can't use it. You're only eligible if you're a member of – or join – Easyjet Plus or Flight Club. Easyjet says you now AREN'T covered by the refund trick unless you're a member of one of these schemes (see below for what happens with multi-person bookings).

    Easyjet Plus membership costs £170/year per person and gives you allocated seating, speedy boarding, an additional small cabin bag and dedicated bag-drop desks, as well as the price promise. Easyjet's Flight Club is an invite-only scheme aimed at frequent flyers who take about 20 flights a year – members get fee-free flight changes and free name changes.

The airline told MoneySavingExpert.com it was making the changes to "further reward its loyal customers" who are Easyjet Plus members. It also said "hundreds of thousands of Easyjet passengers qualify for Flight Club".

I booked before 21 Feb – how do I check if I'm due a refund?

Providing you booked before Tuesday 21 February and you haven't flown yet, you're still covered by Easyjet's price promise until the date of your flight. Here's how to check if you're due a refund.

  • Step 1. Check if the price has dropped. Compare the price Easyjet's website lists with what you paid. If it's cheaper, and there isn't a sale on, you should be able to claim the difference. Don't forget the final price you paid may include extras such as baggage, seat selection and a card fee, so factor that in.

  • Step 2. Call to claim your voucher. Have your booking reference and flight details to hand, then call Easyjet customer service on 0330 365 5000 (as it's an 03 number, the call will be part of your minutes allowance or cost no more than a standard number). You have to call – you can't claim by email or letter.

  • Step 3. Use your credit voucher within six months, by phone only. The difference in price will be emailed to you as an Easyjet credit voucher, usually immediately. If you don't get it, check your spam folder. You'll then have six months to use it on any Easyjet flight – you'll have to call when booking but Easyjet says you'll always pay the price it quotes online.

I booked on or after 21 Feb – how can I get the price promise?

If you booked on or after Tuesday 21 February, or make a future booking, you'll only be eligible if you're an Easyjet Plus cardholder or Flight Club member.

You can pay £170/year to join Easyjet Plus – see full details here. As well as the price promise, it gives benefits such as free allocated seating, dedicated bag-drop desks and fast-track security checks.

Invite-only Flight Club is for those who fly more than 20 times a year or meet other criteria, so you can't apply and will be approached by Easyjet if you're eligible. Invitations are being rolled out gradually, so if you're eligible you might not get one straightaway, but once you do you'll get the benefits, which also include free flight and name changes, automatically.

Easyjet says those booking on or after 21 February can use the refund trick even if they become an Easyjet Plus or Flight Club member AFTER booking their flight. This means if the price of your flight plummets after booking, in theory it could be worth joining Easyjet Plus and then claiming a refund – though you'd have to weigh up the hefty fee and the fact your refund would come as a voucher with a six-month expiry.

Will the refund trick apply to future multi-person bookings?

Confusingly, this depends on which scheme you're a member of:

  • If you're a Flight Club member and you make the booking, everyone on your booking is covered by the price promise.
  • With Easyjet Plus, only individual members of the scheme are eligible, not everyone on the booking. So if a family of four is travelling and the price drops, but only one person is an Easyjet Plus member, only that person gets the refund.

Additional reporting by Faye Lipson.