Best Places to Find Last Minute Vacation Airline and Hotels Deals?

Discussion in 'Deal Page | Air/Hotel' started by Lighthouse, Feb 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Lighthouse
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    Lighthouse Gold Member

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    There are those days when the weather is exceptionally bad when my wife and I would like to drop everything at a moment's notice pack our bags and escape on a trip. But often in these situations even if the planes and hotels look relatively empty---- fares and rates can be ridiculously high.

    So where are the very best places to find last second airline and hotel deals? An example from the west coast has been Pleasant Holidays which has had extraordinarily inexpensive last second fares on air, hotel and car to Hawaii at unbelievably low prices (e.g. $300 - $400 RT). Rumor has it they may be stopping their bulk purchases and last second fares later this spring.

    For those of you spontaneous members, whether paying cash or using mileage, what have you found to be the shrewdest way to take last minute vacation trips?
     
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  2. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    Travelocity often has well-priced last minute packages (either air+hotel or air+rental car), generally for departures in the next 3 weeks or so. The airfares are frequently low enough that it's actually cheaper to buy one of those packages and throw away the hotel or rental car if I don't want them. The Last Minute Packages section on Travelocity is permanently linked at the bottom center of the home page.

    If you have American Airlines miles and are looking for last-minute redemptions, there is a page dedicated to destinations with good availability for the next 3 months: http://www.aa.com/i18n/AAdvantage/hotSpots/main.jsp

    United Airlines has a "Saver Awards" page that allows you to find redemption deals for the current month and the following 3 months: http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,51324,00.html

    For Amex cardholders, there is a last minute deals page: http://americanexpress-travel.lmdeals.com/?us_nu=dd&inav=travel_lastminutedeals

    Virtually all of the deals on TravelZoo are last-minute.

    Then there are the various membership travel sites, like Jetsetter, Rue La La, Vacationist and Voyage Prive, all of which feature last minute travel deals. It's easy enough to get a membership invitation to any of those. You can either opt to get regular emails from them (which can really clog your inbox) or just go around and check the sites when you're hankering for a last-minute trip.
     
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  3. Lighthouse
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    Lighthouse Gold Member

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    Thanks free101girl--
    A rather comprehensive and thoughtful list.

    Would appreciate yours as well as others evaluations on which of these sites (and any others that we may be able to add to it) seem to consistently provide the highest quality deals for the buck. In addition which sites permit one to accrue and use one's airline and hotel premier status to maximize the benefits of any deal.
     
  4. If you have a Citi AA card, I like to keep the 'Citi Reduced Mileage Award' list in the back of my mind, it's especially useful when a weekend trip turns out to be on the reduced mileage list.
     
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  5. free101girl
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    free101girl Silver Member

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    The membership travel sites (Jetsetter, et al) tend to focus on non-chain properties, though there are exceptions. So their deals -- while often excellent in terms of value, especially if you like higher-end hotels -- are not great for using or building status. There are exceptions, however. I just saw a Kimpton deal on one of those sites, and the offer specifically recommended joining Kimpton's "In Touch" loyalty program to get free Internet.

    I have taken advantage of some Starwood deals on TravelZoo that were booked right on the Starwood web site, and the bookings earned Starpoints. Pretty sure that's been true for most TZ deals I've seen at Marriott brands as well.

    Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders who book last-minute deals through the FHR (Fine Hotels & Resorts) program normally earn points when booking any chain hotels that participate. I've earned Starwood points on FHR bookings, for example. You get so many goodies from FHR (upgrade if available, free breakfast, late check-out, plus a nice benefit such as a dining or spa credit) that any status benefits are kind of beside the point.

    As I mentioned, Travelocity last-minute packages can be a great deal, but you usually don't get any recognition of status and you may not earn points at hotels. This is the big problem with Travelocity and Expedia in general: hotels rank guests who book through those sites only slightly higher than those who book through Priceline. They aren't going to do anything special for you, so don't expect an upgrade even if you have status with the hotel. That said, you do earn miles on flights booked with Travelocity.
     
  6. savydog
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    savydog Gold Member

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    I booked my China domestic travel with elong ( http://www.elong.net/ ) they had some quite big discounts as long as you avoided the business peak hour fly times.
     
  7. savydog
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    savydog Gold Member

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    Australia - I have had good success with this site. http://www.lastminute.com.au/hotels.html

    Also last year I used Travelocity to book a room at the Sebel in Brisbane as they beat the Hotels going rate.
     
  8. edog22
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    edog22 Silver Member

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    We've used http://www.cheapcaribbean.com/ in the past - it worked well for a quick getaway to Puerto Rico last winter. AA and US Air seem to be the most common airlines for the advertised price, but you can use others as well.
     
  9. jkvidt
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    jkvidt Active Member

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    I agree about Cheap Caribbean--I always seem to find great deals on their website. I just booked a trip to Curacao through them for a great price, although the price can vary quite a bit depending on your departure city. (www.cheapcaribbean.com)

    I also love TravelZoo; they are one of my favorite websites to check for great last minute deals, and I have booked a ton through them. (www.travelzoo.com)

    Another one I have been interested in lately is Air Fare Watchdog. Their deals are more limited and vary based on city, but if you are flexible and can book right away, you can score some really cheap tickets! (www.airfarewatchdog.com)

    Living Social Escapes and TripAlertz are sort of like a "Groupon for travel"--I have never actually booked anything from either of these, but have found numerous trips that I have wanted to book. You have to register to become a member of both, but they are both free. (www.livingsocial.com, www.tripalertz.com)

    I have always seemed to have luck with hotels.com and bookit.com as well
     
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  10. swisshera
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    swisshera Silver Member

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    I found good deals from http://www.skyauction.com/ from time to time, you could even find deals on dining.

    Gilt and Ruelala have some interesting hotel/ resorts deal but they are not cheap enough for me to bite.

    For flights, you just need to keep looking at these threads, and travelzoo has some amazing deal there. I booked this JKF-MAD trip for $260 all in. With that said, you need to be browsing like an addict..lol!

    http://www.travelzoo.com/

    Not too into Groupons and livingsocial for travelling yet, but I did got this $10 for $20 amazon gift card on livingsocial and I bought many of them.

    Good luck and do share if you have more finds.
     
  11. A great way to find last minute hotel booking is explained in this article
    where you can search LastMinuteRoom.com, booking.com and 30 other hotel booking sites with 1 click

    http://dasheen.hubpages.com/_bestdealsforme/hub/Search-30-Top-Hotel-Booking-Sites-With-1-Click

     
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  12. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Re the post above from dasheentytia: This is a spammer, the user has two post both pointing to affiliate pages permitting some travel search site.
     
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  13. peterjohnston

    peterjohnston New Member

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    Try Reservation Scanner.com. My wife and I have been using them recently as we frequently need to travel to Europe from Troy here in the USA. They provide hotel deal search results quickly and as I understand it they scour all of the top companies like Travelocity, E-bookers etc. Last few times we travelled to Paris and Belgium we checked other sites to see if their discounts were real and yes sir, we'd saved some serious dollars. Good luck, I hope that you find the perfect destination!
     
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  14. peterjohnston

    peterjohnston New Member

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    Does anyone actually enjoy flying with American Airlines? Maybe a different subject alltogether...
     

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