Sep302008

Great Travel Deals Come Every Season

The Leading Hotels of the World $19.28 Promotion post is the most popular post ever on Loyalty Traveler.  Thankfully I hit a chord with readers.

This luxury hotel deal makes me think of a few words of advice about great travel deals.

 

Great deals come along every travel season. 

Don’t blow all your cash to take advantage of a two day trip when three months from now an even better vacation plan comes along. 

 

Purchase good travel value when the opportunity strikes, like a $19.28 luxury hotel room, however, maintain perspective on the overall cost of travel.   If you get a great hotel in Venice and then realize the cost of airfare, the cost of additional nights at the LHW hotel or some other hotel, the cost of several days or a week living, sightseeing, and traveling in Europe is going to break the bank for the next year, then let the deal go.  Remember it is only $38.56 you have at stake if you are lucky enough to secure a two-night reservation at a great LHW luxury hotel.

 

I say this as someone who blew off a Venice $270 flight because the weather was too hot in Italy (summer 2003), skipped a Business Class award flight to Argentina to help my wife edit a graduate school paper, and passed up on $50 pre-paid timeshare luxury villas in Palm Springs and the Caribbean because I couldn’t find good priced flights. 

 

Sometimes life and finances get in the way of a good deal. 

I’ll revise that to say that life and finances usually get in the way of a good deal.

 

I feel like telling a story today.

 

Last month my parents had a garage sale. My mother who has always been a social talker somehow turned her conversation with a neighborly couple my parents did not know into a transfer offer for a one-week timeshare in Vermont for the cost of a name change. 

 

The garage sale neighbors transferred an RCI timeshare to my parents for $50.  They received a great deal on a place that normally goes for $1,000 plus per week.  My mom took time to research the timeshare prior to settling the transfer.  The property looked nice and a bargain even though the reviews were not all raving about the resort.

 

My parents are there now in a two bedroom ski resort condo. 

Mom said the colors of the trees were beautiful right now in northwestern Vermont.

 

The problem for my parents in traveling to Vermont was they had already booked frequent flyer tickets with Delta SkyMiles for a trip to New York.  Talking about her trip to New York is what led to the generous gift offer for the timeshare in Vermont.  My parents were scheduled to fly back the day after the timeshare rental week started.  My mom decided she wanted to pay $50 for the timeshare and vacation in Vermont. 

 

So, I asked her, “Have you checked about trying to change the frequent flyer awards and if you can change the dates and what that will cost?”

 

“No,” she replied,  “Your dad will go pay the neighbor tonight and I will deal with the airline tomorrow.”

and I knew trouble was on the horizon.

 

The next day my mom called and was frustrated that she couldn’t get a date change and the only option was to cancel the awards and pay a $100 miles reinstatement fee for each award ticket and then spend 50,000 miles per ticket for new Delta awards.  She was considering doing that and wiping out her Delta Skymiles account.  I reasoned with her.

 

I looked up the cost to buy two new tickets and they were $400 each to fly to Rochester, New York, fly to Burlington, Vermont, and then return home.   So now it would cost them $800 for new tickets and $200 in fees for reinstatement of her 50,000 Delta miles.  Or she could spend 100,000 miles and $200 for ticket change fees.

 

I worked out some other  itinerary options and mom finally decided they would not use the timeshare. She offered the Vermont timeshare to me.  I could have flown roundtrip between San Francisco and Vermont for $307 for the vacation timeshare week.  

 

A couple of weeks passed and I told her I didn’t think it would work out for me to head to Vermont for a week at the end of September.  In truth, it would have worked for me, but leaving Ms. LT at home working while I vacationed and hiked alone in the Green Mountains did not seem like the wisest choice to make at the time.

 

A few days after turning down the timeshare I learned my mom  purchased new one-way airline tickets from New York to Vermont and Vermont to home for about $325 each and planned to throw away the return trip of the Delta award tickets.

 

So, their great $50 bargain timeshare vacation week ultimately cost them an extra $650 to actually arrange the travel flights to and from Vermont.  Still a good deal, if not a great bargain. 

And I roll my eyes when thinking how she used 50,000 miles for two domestic one-way awards.

 

At least the colors are vibrant for their vacation in the Green (yellow, red, and orange) Mountains of Vermont.

 

 Ric Garrido, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ric Garrido, Bay of Islands, New Zealand (2005)

$19.65 for First Class Award ticket LAX-AKL

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »