Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Marketers of flight and other travel promotions should comply with the Promotional Marketing rules of the CAP Code (Section 8). Broadly speaking, promoters should avoid unnecessarily disappointing consumers and ensure that they have enough resources to administer promotions effectively (Rules 8.2 and 8.14), that they have made a reasonable estimate of the likely response to their promotions and can fulfil this or make the limitations clear (rules 8.19 – 8.13), that any pricing and savings claims are accurate (3.19 – 3.22), and that the ad includes all significant conditions which are likely to influence a consumer’s understanding of the offer (8.17).

Significant Conditions
Savings Claims
Family Holidays


Promotors are responsible for all aspects and stages of their promotions and must ensure that they have the resources in place to administer the entire promotion effectively (rules 8.1, 8.14 and 8.15). This includes advertising the promotion, accepting entries, selecting winners and awarding prizes. Advertisers must deal fairly with potential participants and must not cause unnecessary disappointment (8.2). The ASA has upheld multiple travel promotion investigations which were administered poorly or where participants had not been dealt with fairly and honourably.

A twitter ad for a competition to win a £5000 voucher with Thompson holidays was upheld because the ad did not include a closing date, did not have an operational link to the full terms and conditions and did not make it clear that there were multiple entry routes. As such the ASA considered that the advertised promotion had not dealt fairly and honourably with participants (Thomas Cook Retail Ltd, 18 October 2017).

Prizes must be awarded as described, or if this is not possible due to circumstances outside of the advertiser’s control a reasonable equivalent must be awarded. The ASA investigated an ad for a competition held by a rail company which was cancelled after the entries had been received, and the prize of £5,000 was therefore not awarded. The ASA considered that by cancelling the competition and not awarding the prize, the marketer had not dealt fairly with participants and had caused unnecessary disappointment. (Abellio East Midlands Ltd, 22 September 2021).

In 2022 the ASA also ruled against advertising for a competition to win travel tickets worth £2,000. The complainant had been informed they had won a prize but had never received it. The ASA concluded the promotion had not been administrated fairly. (Ten Percent Music Elite Group Ltd, 15 June 2022).

In another case, the ASA received a complaint from the winner of a competition, which advertised the prize of a seven night stay in a large luxury cottage in Cornwall, because they had been told that the prize could not be awarded and instead were offered a four night stay in a hotel for two. In this case the ASA did not consider this alternative prize reasonable and the ad breached the Code. (Engine House Media Ltd t/a Cornwall Living, 16 September 2015).


Code rules 8.9 to 8.13 cover availability in promotional marketing. Promoters must make a reasonable estimate of the likely response and be able to demonstrate they have done so. In addition, promoters must show they were either capable of meeting that response, or, if they know that they cannot supply demand, that consumers were given appropriate information regarding availability to decide whether participate. Simply stating "subject to availability" is unlikely to be sufficient.

A complaint against an ad for a promotional offer on hotel rooms which stated “Enjoy Black Friday one week early with our exclusive offer…£119 for all our London hotels” was upheld. The advertiser could not demonstrate that they had made a reasonable estimate of demand and the ad included no details regarding any limits on the availability of rooms at this price. (Park Plaza Hotels Europe BV, 19 April 2017).

If, having a made a reasonable estimate of demand, promoters know they will not be able to meet it, the Code requires that sufficient information, presented clearly and in a timely fashion, is provided to so that consumers can make an informed decision whether or not to participate.

The ASA ruled against a a promotion for Friday night hotel and dinner packages on a hotel website, which featured a drop-down list of participating hotels. The ad featured some hotels which no longer had any availability but remained on the selection list. As there was no information indicating there was limited or no availability at some hotels, the ad was deemed misleading. (VUR Village Trading No 1 Ltd, 27 April 2016).

See Travel Marketing: Availability and Promotional Marketing: Availability.

Significant Conditions

Rule 8.17 of the CAP Code lists some of the significant conditions which should be included in the initial marketing communication, for example in the small print. Marketing communications referring to promotions must communicate all applicable significant conditions or information, where the omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead. What the significant conditions are for a particular promotion will vary case by case, but advertisements that do not include the significant conditions relevant to that offer, such as a closing date, how to participate, the entry route or any restrictions on entry, are likely to breach the Code.

In 2022 the ASA ruled against an ad which stated, “Trailfinders Offers – 3rd night free – free room upgrade” because it did not make clear that the offers were subject to restrictions, and the complainant was informed the offers were not available on their holiday dates. The ads did not include significant information about the restrictions, such as that the offers would only ever be available for certain holiday dates, that they were limited in number, and that the two offers listed were not available together. (Trailfinders Ltd, 15 June 2022).

Promotions with travel prizes such as holidays or flights must communicate all significant conditions for both participating in the promotion itself, and for any restrictions or conditions on booking or the use of the prize, such as the travel period.

A complaint against ads for a competition for a £15,000 holiday to Dubai was upheld because the initial ads did not communicate the significant conditions of the promotion. Those conditions included the closing date, how the winner would be selected, limitations on availability of the holiday, or any conditions attached to use of the prize such as the travel period. Additionally, the closing date of the competition was extended due to a high volume of entries, which also breached the Code as the change disadvantaged those who sought to participate within the original terms of the competition. (Inside Lifestyle, 19 February 2020).

A complaint about an ad for a competition to win an all-inclusive holiday which appeared in a disability lifestyle magazine was also upheld because it did not make sufficiently clear that consumers who used a wheelchair may be unable to access the accommodation. The ASA considered that, in the context of a disability lifestyle magazine, accessibility was a significant condition which was likely to influence a consumer’s decision about entering the promotion and therefore should have been included in the ad (Go Provence Supported Holidays Ltd, 04 October 2017).

The ASA has also previously investigated ads which omitted details regarding weekend supplements or other charges (BAI (UK) Ltd, 31 July 2013 and Mark Warner Ltd, 1 May 2013).

See Promotional Marketing: Terms and Conditions.

Savings claims

Marketers should hold evidence to demonstrate that a savings claim or discount is genuine. If using a reference price, such as a ‘was’ price, marketers must be able to demonstrate that the saving advertised is meaningful, by having evidence to show that this is the price that the consumer would have genuinely had to pay before the saving was made. Recency, pricing history, sales data, sales and distribution channels will all affect whether a higher price is sufficiently established as a usual selling price.  

In 2020 a ruling was upheld against the savings claim “Regular price £1,129…Your saving -£1,000” for a holiday. The ASA had not been provided with any evidence demonstrating that the savings claim was achievable at the time and understood the ‘regular’ price was not the genuine usual selling price for the advertised tour. (RSD Travel Ltd, 11 March 2020).

An ad featuring the claim “2-for-1 travel with a Companion voucher” was also found to be misleading as the claim related only to the fare cost of two flights for the price of one, and any taxes, fees and carrier charges were payable for both passengers. (British Airways plc, 1 April 2020).

Additionally, the ASA upheld a ruling against in 2017 because they did not provide the evidence to demonstrate that the full price or the promotional prices in two ads were achievable, and could not demonstrate that the savings claim was accurate. (, 30 August 2017).

Marketers should also make clear if a promotional price will apply to only some flights on certain routes.

See Promotional Savings Claims for further guidance.


Marketers wanting to offer ‘free’ flights or seats can do so only if there are genuinely no costs to the consumer, such as taxes or charges (Aer Lingus Ltd, 21 January 2009). This will be the case if the words or phrases used in the ad are synonymous with the word free, even if marketers do not directly state “free”. Words which are likely to be interpreted by consumers as meaning free are “giveaway”, “gift”, “pay nothing”, and similar.

Rule 8.21.1 sets out that promoters must not falsely claim or imply that the consumer has already won, will win or will on doing a particular act win a prize (or other equivalent benefit) if the consumer must incur a cost to claim the prize or if the prize does not exist.

The ASA investigated a website with a prize promotion for “7 nights free holiday accommodation” in 2023. The complainant was informed they had won a ‘runners up’ prize, a week of free accommodation, but a £59 administration fee was required to claim it. The promotion breached the Code Because there was a cost involved in claiming the prize. (Easy Consulting SL, 11 January 2023).

See Use of "Free"

Family holidays

Marketers should be careful not to state or imply that a holiday is suitable for a family, unless that holiday is available during the school holidays.

The ASA investigated an ad for “midweek breaks” at Butlin's “from £49” which stated “Staying at home for 4 days of fun could cost at least 4 times as much money* as a family break at Butlin’s”. The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the ad that they could book a family break for school-aged children from £49, however because there were no midweek breaks available at that price during school holidays they concluded the ad was misleading. (Butlins Skyline Ltd, 08 March 2023).

One marketer also informed a consumer who had won a “family holiday” that they were not eligible for the prize because they wanted to take their sister's children on the holiday. The ASA considered that readers were likely to understand that the promotion was for a family holiday which would mean that adults could also take children over whom they might not have parental responsibility, and that the relevant exclusion should have been stated in the initial communication (News Group Newspapers Ltd, 12 June 2013).

See also:

Travel Marketing: Pricing
Travel Marketing: Availability
Promotional Marketing: General 
Promotional Marketing: Prize draws
Promotional Marketing: Competitions
Promotional Marketing: Terms and conditions and significant conditions


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