PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Want to get away? What if we told you there’s a way to travel in luxury at a low price that will have you flying high? As 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan reports, members only shopping sites have long been popular, but those offering VIP travel packages are the latest to launch.
Erin Pajak loves to travel but doesn’t get to do it as often as she’d like.
“Having kids, it’s a lot harder. We do try to create family vacations, but it’s definitely slowed down,” said Pajak.
So when Erin received an invitation to a “members only” travel web site, she flew to the computer.
An invitation opens the door to sites like Jetsetter, Rue La La, SniqueAway, Voyage Prive and Vacationist, where travel packages are offered at steep discounts.
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Travel expert John Discala, also known as “Johnny Jet”, says these sites have grown as vacation budgets have shrunk.
“The economy tanked a couple of years ago and everyone’s looking for ways how to save money, and unique ways,” said Discala.
It’s also a unique and discreet way for hotels to unload rooms at low rates.
Here’s how the sites work, members get an email announcing a travel sale. Deals are posted for up to a week, or until they’re sold out. Think of it as a “flash sale,” and you can snag a steal for around 30% to 70% off.
“Most of these are hotels, or villas, or even luxury yachts. Some are cruises, and it’s all four or five stars,” said Discala.
Domestic, international, even island getaways are available.
On sites like SniqueAway, you can also pick the type of room you want.
“From a garden view, to a double, to a king, suites. Each hotel has a great variety that they provide to our members,” said David Krauter with SniqueAway.
But the travel windows for these sites are limited and there may be blackout dates.
“Paying attention to the date is everything for these sites because there’s no cancellations, no refunds, you can rarely change the date,” said Discala.
So check hotel reviews and read the fine print.
“When members make a purchase, whether on SniqueAway or any travel web site, they should make sure that they’re aware of any limited restrictions that may apply. On SniqueAway we clearly outline what the policies are,” said Krauter.
There is no fee to join these sites, but you must be invited or sponsored by another member. You can also log on and place your name on a waiting list.