There’s another scummy-looking travel deal on Tippr today, offering two round trip plane tickets to over 50 destinations for only $98. Of course, there’s gotta be a catch.
In this case, OneStop Travel, the company offering the deal, requires you to book a hotel reservation with them in order to redeem the flight coupon. And that reservation comes with several conditions.
Every destination has its own minimum required stay. You have to pay rack rate (the legal maximum, a price few people ever pay). And the hotels generally aren’t cheap to begin with. Here’s one example if you wanted to use this coupon for a trip from Seattle to Cancun.
The minimum stay I was quoted was 7 nights, and I had four hotel options. Of these, the cheapest was the J.W. Marriott for $300 a night. Doing a random search in August, I found that I could book the same hotel on Priceline for $196. So OneStop Travel is making at least $700. Don’t you think you could just as easily put that $700 toward the cost of your flights and decide for yourself where you want to stay?
Other locations seem similar. Flying from San Francisco to Maui required transit via Honolulu despite several nonstop flights to Kahului Airport from the Bay Area. I still found a seven-night requirement, and I was quoted $410 for the Hyatt Regency, a price I have never paid even for ocean-front rooms.
My general conclusion is that OneStop Travel is charging about $100 more than necessary, and its minimum stay requirements on top of that are designed to recoup the loss on the air travel. Even something low-key like Detroit to St. Louis required five nights at a minimum rate of $235. I don’t mind long vacations, but I prefer the flexibility to fit in multiple destinations. I don’t mind luxury hotels, either, but I prefer the flexibility of choosing my own property, getting stay credit toward elite status, and choosing my own flights. There’s nothing here to suggest that people are getting a good deal.
One final warning: Although OneStop Travel’s website says you have two years to redeem your voucher, the Tippr offer says it expires in three months. My guess is after that initial period you can only use the face value ($98) as credit toward full price airfare and still have to pay rack rates for the hotels.
The last time I did one of these it was for Bill Brown’s Plaza Travel when they were offering discounted rooms at Hyatt. Apparently enough people are skeptical of Bill Brown that they still come across my blog when looking for more information (it’s one of my top search terms). I’m not the only person who warned against dealing with them, nor am I the only one warning against dealing with OneStop Travel. Whenever you see a deal that looks too good to be true, I encourage you to do some research on your own to see what others are saying.