Is That Getaway Flash Sale Really A Good Deal?

With the advent of Groupon Getaways, Living Social Escapes and Jetsetter offering deeply discounted vacations one has to wonder if they’re really a good value and good quality trip.

Jetsetter offers invitation-only (though it’s simple to become a member, and free) vacations discounted as much as 40%. Since April 2013, Jetsetter has been a part of TripAdvisor and offers the Jetsetter Verified stamp of approval which means that the hotel has been reviewed by a human being and meets Jetsetter standards.  According to Jetsetters website,  “They test the things we all care about when we book hotels: the bed, the shower pressure, the concierge’s local knowledge, the cocktails (it’s a hard job, etc). Jetsetter correspondents know their stuff and they don’t mince their words: if breakfast’s better down the road or the WiFi’s spotty, they’ll tell you. And if a hotel isn’t up to scratch you won’t find it on our Jetsetter Verified list.”

I looked at a hotel which I have stayed in before to do a comparison of the Jetsetter rates. The Town Hall London is currently avaibale on Jetsetter for $170+ per night with prices up to $236+ per night.  For this example I selected the night of November 25th for comparison.


I selected the Executive Suite and with taxes the room came to $217 USD per night. That’s a great rate for that part of London.  The rate however, does not allow cancellations, refunds or modifications, and payment is charged at the time of purchase. No-shows will be charged in full.  If you’re not 100% sure, you may not want to book.

Townhall-price Jetsetter

Looking at the Town Hall’s Website, I found the best rate for the same room was $384.72 per night including tax.  That’s a $167 savings!

TownHall-price TH website

Now, how do you know if the hotel is nice?  Since the hotel is Jetsetter verified, you have some level of assurance, however, if you read the fine print you’ll see that “Jetsetter does not warrant that the descriptions are accurate, complete, reliable, current or error-free.”  You can also do some research on your own by looking at TripAdvisor reviews, blog reviews and asking friends/family, etc…

Groupon Getaways also offer flash sales on hotels and vacations.  Groupon offers The Groupon Promise “If your Groupon experience ever lets you down, they’ll refund your purchase. Period.” Groupon partnered with Expedia to offer discount travel opportunities.

I looked at an 11 day getaway to London, Paris and Rome.  The deal includes Round-Trip Airfare, Accommodations, and Train Transportation for $1,999 per person based on double occupancy – – sorry singles you’ll have to pay an additional $800 for the trip!

I picked a departure of January 16 for comparisons. The departure gateways are LA, New York and Washington DC.  I compared a JFK to London Heathrow flight.  According to Kayak, the least expensive flight was $1908 with 1 stop on British Airways and Iceland Air in coach.  I compared the airfare on Priceline and British Airways website and both showed the lowest fare at $2300 via British Airways or American.

Now, prices may drop, but Kayak recommended buying the fare with 61% confidence that prices would rise in the next 7 days.  If the flight prices hold true for that period, then the Groupon prices would seem to be a great deal.  It’s also important to note that most group airfare rates are not upgradable and do not count toward status or earn mileage.  Carefully check the terms of your trip.

Looking at the trip itinerary and hotel selections, you can then determine if the trip is right for you (keep in mind that prices will vary based on what departure date you select, they offer 23 choices.)  In London, the hotel is either the Holiday Inn London Kensington or the Grange Strathmore or Grange Rochester Hotel.  The location of the hotels are good, but you do not know which hotel you will be assigned when making the purchase.

The Holiday Inn had prices of $143 per night which would make a three night stay $429.  The reviews on the hotel’s website and TripAdvisor were similar and overall positive.  The Grange Kensington had rooms for $171  per night or $513 for three nights while the Rochester had rates of $160 per night or $480.

The Grange hotels had very limited reviews and of the 6 posted reviews on the Grange Kensington website, all 6 were glowing reviews with perfect scores.  When I see that, I tend to believe that either they only publish positive reviews or they’re fake.  TripAdvisor had 111 reviews of the Grange Kensington and they ranged between 3-5 stars with mixed reviews.  Many reviewers called the hotel a “good budget hotel.”

The trip does not include any tours or attraction admissions, so you’ll have to factor that into your trip budget. They do make recommendations for your 3 days in London however.

London Skyline

The Paris hotel is the Hotel Villa Eugenia and the link from the Groupon deal was a dead link.  I found the hotel’s website and no matter how many times I selected the English option, the site only displayed in French.  The hotel was priced similarly to those in London with rates of $147 per night or $441.  I have no idea if the reviews on the site were good or bad, they were in French and Google didn’t translate.  On TripAdvisor the hotel had ratings between 3 and 4 stars with mixed feedback about location and service.

Finally, in Rome you stay at the Holiday Express Rome – San Giovanni which is very centrally located but only gets 3 stars in reviews.  The hotel had rooms for $90 per night or $270 per stay, which is very low compared to other hotels in Rome.

In total, hotel rooms would cost you about $1100 on your own and airfare would cost about $1900 for a total of $3000.  The double occupancy rate for the tour was $1900 and $2700 for a single.  As a single person you save around $300 on the tour while double occupancy saves you about $550 (approximate savings based on average rates.)

I compared several deals and they all seemed to save somewhere between $250-$500 compared to booking the same itinerary without the deal.   So keep your eyes open, you might just find a good deal on one of those flash sale sites!

What has your experience been?


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