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On Sept. 25, 2019, Groupon announced a partnership with DerbySoft, a tech company that connects travel suppliers and distributors through its proprietary software. This new partnership helps DerbySoft access Groupon's 29 million customers in North America. The partnership benefits Groupon because it will provide the company with access to many large hotel brands, including access to available hotel rooms, the ability to view nightly prices and book rooms directly from the system. Through the partnership, Groupon will be able to offer a more robust booking platform and access to many more properties.
What does this mean for travelers, and does booking travel with Groupon Getaways provide meaningful savings? We’ll cover that and more.
Groupon Getaways is Groupon’s collaboration with Expedia. Groupon Getaways offers travel experiences and hotel deals at discounted rates. Similar to the way Groupon sells discounted vouchers for different products and services, Groupon Getaways sells vouchers related to travel experiences. The vouchers must be used within a specific timeframe and may include some restrictions in the fine print that limit their flexibility.
» Learn more: Plan my trip: Top websites for travel deals
Is Groupon Getaways worth It?
We looked at some Groupon Getaways promos to see how much savings are possible.
Wyndham Garden Niagara Falls
A voucher for two-night stay from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10, 2019, at the Wyndham Garden Niagara Falls costs $186. This includes around $100 of daily dining credits, admission to a haunted house, a Chocolate FX factory tour and several other entertainment options.
Comparatively, on the Wyndham website, a two-night stay over the same weekend in the same room type costs $270 in Canadian dollars, or roughly $204 in U.S. dollars (including a 20% advance rate discount). There are no other perks included.
In this instance, the Groupon provides $18 of savings on the room, but the primary value is in the dining and entertainment vouchers.
It's important to note that the voucher includes a lot of restrictions in the fine print. So if you don’t value the dining vouchers or tour passes, the $18 in savings may not be worth the risk of buying a voucher with so many restrictions.
It's also possible you won't earn reward points on a Groupon Getaways stay, given that for extremely discounted stays (e.g., Priceline), reward points generally are not earned.
Where Groupon's value really seems to shine is on vacation packages.
Xinalani Retreat, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
A seven-night stay for two at Xinalani Retreat, an eco-friendly yoga retreat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, costs $1,390 through Groupon Getaways. The voucher also includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as two yoga classes per day. The fine print states that travel must be completed by Dec. 21, 2019, and that the price excludes a 19% tax.
A quick check of the hotel’s website shows ample availability in October and November. If booked directly with the hotel, a seven-night stay in mid-October costs $2,646.
Continuing to the checkout page, the price for two adults jumps to $4,032.
In this case, Groupon Getaways has the much better offer, at $1,654 (if you add in the 19% tax) vs. over $4,000 when booked directly on the hotel website.
The Groupon voucher not only includes three meals and two free yoga classes per day, but it also provides a 59% discount.
So what’s the catch? Given that the Groupon Getaways voucher expires in less than three months, you really need to be flexible if you want to jump on this deal.
The bottom line
Groupon Getaways provides good opportunities to save money if your plans can align with a voucher’s offer terms. It will be interesting to see how the partnership with DerbySoft will affect current travel deals. Given DerbySoft’s large portfolio of big brand name hotels, we'll most likely start to see more hotel brands that we are familiar with and more destinations to choose from. It remains to be seen how Groupon Getaways’ prices will be affected and if the offering of the additional properties will provide opportunities to earn travel rewards.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Your money-saving guide to holiday vacations (or staycations) Beat your travel budget: Find cheap activities in any city