7 On Your Side: How to get luxury trips at budget prices

What if you could get first class perks without the cost? 7 On Your Side finds out how it can be done.
May 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Pinching pennies while on a trip can take away from what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation. But what if you could get first class perks without the cost? It can be done. 7 On Your Side looks at ways to get luxury travel at budget prices.

Fancy hotels are out of most people's travel budgets, but I know some websites that offer great deals on five star hotels.

Jason Miller of San Francisco and his wife like luxurious, four star hotels but aren't willing to pay top rate prices.

"We are looking at going to the Mauna Kea on the big island in Hawaii in July," said Miller.

They bought a week's stay at the Mauna Kea using Luxury Link's auction site. They saved 30 percent off the published rate.

The Millers find great deals on membership sites like Luxury Link, Vacationist and Jetsetter. The memberships fees are free, they just require an email.

"It's a little nerve racking when you're spending that money so quickly, but again, our past experiences have been great," said Miller.

The deals on these sites only last a few days. To snag a deal shoppers have to act fast, but they can expect to save up to 60 percent off the lowest rates

Getaroom.com offers another unique way to get a great deal. You log on and then find the room where you want to stay. After that, it's simple.

"We have about 10,000 luxury hotels in this program all over the world," said Bob Diener, the CEO of Getaroom.com. "Find your very best rate and then call the number we have on our website, it says call for lower rate. When you call ask for the unpublished rate."

Auction sites are another place to look to for deals on luxury travel. BiddingForGood is the largest online fundraising auction site for non-profits. It has a travel category where you can find high-end vacation homes as well as four star hotels. When we looked we found a deal to Bermuda that included a $500 spa credit.

If you are still looking to book a trip this summer Diener says August is the best time to go to France, especially Paris.

"Europeans don't travel as much to France during the month of August. So it's a great time for Americans to go," said Diener.

Italy has some good deals right now too.

"Spain and Italy, economically are really on the uptick right now and they want people coming and they're doing a lot of promotions," said Diener.

Jeff Klee is the CEO of CheapAir.com, he says to get the best airfare deal to Europe this summer it's necessary to buy very early.

"The best time to buy is actually the day flights went on sale which is 330 days in advance of your flight," said Klee.

Remember if you buy a deal through an auction site or a flash sale site you generally can't cancel. But that's something Miller is OK with.

"The most important thing that we found out is that you have to call them and make sure that the dates are available you have planned that will fit in with that deal. That's something you have to read the fine print to find out," said Miller.

I have one more tip -- if you plan to travel to Italy this summer, airfare to Venice and Rome will be very expensive, but you can save a few hundred dollars by flying into Milan.

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