TravelPony has been lighting up BoardingArea blog posts this week. I decided to check the site out for myself. I am dubiously natured when it comes to reading about an offer on a blog when the blogger is getting an affiliate kickback from a new tech startup travel site.
I don’t have any affiliate relationship with TravelPony.com.
[Update: Monday, Feb 10 - Affiliate link notice.]
I analyzed 5 hotels in San Francisco and there were good deals with TravelPony.com rates due to limited time promotional offers like Kate50 for $50 off a $200 booking.
I added an affiliate link for new members who want to sign up for TravelPony.com. You have to enroll through Facebook access or by email to see advertised rates making TravelPony.com a member-only site. My post here and the San Francisco rate analysis shows TravelPony.com offers hard-to-beat deals using the discount codes and travel credits members can earn.
$35 credit for you
$25 credit for me
Signing up as a TravelPony.com member using my affiliate link gives you a $35 credit as a new member enrolling through the sharing and caring link. The referrer (me) gets $25 hotel credit per new member booking.
There are good hotel deals now with the promotional discounts. Unlikely these discounts are sustainable in the long run. Look for and grab discount rates while they last. This post shows how a limited number of 10% discount rate codes were issued on Friday and the San Francisco analysis shows the value of Kate50 $50 discount code.
I am interested to see how the affiliate credit program works out since that looks like their social media campaign strategy for the online travel agency growth.]
My initial survey this morning shows there are definitely good deals to be found on TravelPony.com. The hotel booking site states openly on its website that it is building the brand based on social media posting about the deals. Sounds like a reasonable way to promote the business. Obviously, I am helping promote them here too, however, I plan to bit a bit more critical than shouting HEY, GREAT TravelPony HOTEL DEALS TODAY.
There are some real savings to be found at the present time using TravelPony.com due to promotional discounts being offered through the website to reduce the hotel rate even more.
My survey today found some good deals.
My background on TravelPony.com
I read and copied an article on A Luxury Travel Blog: 4 simple steps to cheaper hotel rates with TravelPony, a couple months ago about TravelPony.com. The article read like it could be a sponsored advertisement for the company. I never investigated TravelPony.com.
Yesterday, I was keeping it real in a 1st grade classroom working with students. I was busted by a kid who tattled on me to the teacher, my wife, that I was on my cell phone in class. I was reading BoardingArea.com blog posts on big hotel rate savings on TravelPony.com.
Mommy Points – Save Big on a Hotel Reservation with Travel Pony! (Feb 6, 2014)
Just Another Points Traveler – Hotel Steals: $85 off a Hotel Booking with TravelPony (Feb 5)
Points & Pixie Dust – 40% off Kimpton, 50% off Four Seasons with TravelPony…they are my kind of site! (Feb 4, 2014)
Loyalty Traveler TravelPony.com rate analysis for Park Hyatt Chicago
Friday, February 7 at 9:00am Pacific time, 10% discount code FLASHPONY for 500 takers.
I could have received $35 hotel credit by signing up using one of the other BoardingArea blogger affiliate links. My loss.
Chicago, Illinois hotel rate search for a 3-night stay April 1-4, 2014.
Chicago returned a total 32 hotels including Hilton, Marriott, Choice and Hyatt brands. Radisson ORD airport hotel included, however, not Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago. For comparison, Kayak shows 198 hotels within 10 miles of downtown Chicago.
Park Hyatt Chicago rate on TravelPony.com was examined closely.
Park Hyatt Chicago $247 per night April 1-4 on TravelPony.com.
Hyatt Website rate for Park Hyatt Chicago = $250.50 per night.
A quick check at Kayak.com revealed an even lower rate of $230 at olotels.com.
$230 rate for Double with olotels.com priced at $804 after tax. This was lowest rate found for the hotel, but room description Double Room not even mentioned on Hyatt website.
Seems like there could be a Best Rate Guarantee claim somewhere. My Best Rate Guarantee claim was denied by Hyatt.com who stated olotels.com is a membership-only booking site.
TravelPony.com is a membership only website. You must register for the site or sign in with Facebook to search hotel rates on TravelPony.com.
Unpublished, negotiated rates with corporations, travel agencies, groups, associations or other rates that are specifically agreed upon by Hyatt and a specified and limited group, and are not publicly available.
The website olotels.com issues vouchers.
Membership groups and vouchers issued for hotel rooms tend to invalidate BRG claims with Hyatt.com.
The Best Rate Guarantee claim for olotels.com was denied by Hyatt Gold Passport claiming it was a membership only site. I disagree with that assessment of olotels.com since I could have booked the room without entering any password protected membership area of the website as a requirement to book the room.
TravelPony.com rate = $864 for Park Hyatt Chicago April 1-4. 2014.
Hyatt Hotels website rate = $874.75
TravelPony.com website rate $10.75 cents less than Hyatt Hotels room rate.
Too bad this deal does not qualify for a Best Rate Guarantee claim.
I would not be willing to give up Hyatt Gold Passport benefits for $11 in savings.
But, TravelPony.com offered an even better discount on the Park Hyatt Chicago today.
The first 500 people to book using discount code FLASHPONY received another 10% off the rate.
Pony Promise check box “I pledge to tell my friends about this amazing deal.”
TravelPony.com beat the Hyatt.com rate by $85 for Park Hyatt Chicago.
Two points to end this analysis.
1. I think the great savings available now are around to help the company grow through social media positive feedback. Without the promotional discounts, the savings still beats the Hyatt.com rates, but are not sufficient to bypass earning points and Hyatt Gold Passport promotion credit for this specific stay at Park Hyatt Chiacgo.
2. The rates shown for the other hotel companies in the TravelPony.com display at $315 for Expedia and $315 for ReserveTravel were not accurate.
Expedia was $0.08 higher than price on Hyatt.com and $10.83 higher than TravelPony.com before the discount.
Booking this stay through TravelPony.com using a $35 referral credit would have lowered the rate by $120 less than rate shown on Hyatt.com.
There are some real hotel deals to be found on TravelPony.com. Just be sure to locate some of the discount coupon codes and referral credits to make the savings truly worth your time.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.