Save Big With Online Travel Deals and Auctions

Alka Mehta
By Alka Mehta 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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You can buy pretty much anything online, and in many cases name your price ... or find a different seller. With travel auction sites, travelers have the ultimate platform to name their prices on airfare, cruises, hotels, restaurants, show tickets and even complete vacation packages.

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

Luxury Link is a well-known vacation auction site with a user-friendly app. It's best known for its vacation auctions and also offers numerous discounted luxury hotel vacations to buy right away, not bid.

As the name indicates, they specialize in luxury accommodations: 3,000+ hotels, resorts, inns, villas and even castles. Hotels are four- or five-star and located all over the world.

Its prices are at least as good as a hotel's own website. Sometimes it’s slightly discounted and other times it can be 60% or more off published rates. It not only saves money, but also saves time and the stress of planning a vacation from scratch.

How does it work?

Luxury Link works mostly like any other auction site. You search for the hotel or resort. Hotel/resort stays are sold in two ways, like on eBay: in auctions and as "buy it now" purchases. In Luxury Link auctions, the hotel is set, and the dates may or may not be. Customers can bid on set packages or specify dates and room category.

There's no fee to join or use Luxury Link. You can browse without even providing your e-mail address. There is no credit card required for the initial bids. To successfully pay for your auction a credit card is required for purchase once the bid you submit is accepted.

» Learn more: How to score luxury travel for less

Apple Vacations, Square Deals

Apple Vacations, Square Deals is not exactly an auction. It sells vacation package where you do not know the name of the property until just prior to departure.

How does it work?

Apple Vacations offer great value with the lowest prices you'll find for the promised hotel Apple rating. You choose the destination, departure date and the hotel rating. Apple informs you of your hotel just prior to departure and in return for being flexible, you'll save hundreds.

Square Deal apple ratings:

  • 6 Golden Apples: Exceptional Luxury

  • 6 Apples: Luxury

  • 5 Apples: Deluxe

  • 4 Apples: First Class

These deals are kind of last-minute with available date choices in next one week to next one month. If you are flexible with dates and OK with not knowing the name of the hotel you can save about 30% on Apples normal rate.

Be familiar with Apple’s Square Deal rating and decide what is acceptable for you. Start with its deals tab, enter your departure city and look at all the deals (including Square Deals). If you are flexible with dates, Apple can offer some good discounts.

» Learn more: Use one of the best travel credit cards to get rewarded for enjoying your vacation

Tips on saving big with online travel deals and auctions

  • Read the fine print: Lookout for catches like blackout dates, commissions, fees, surcharges and taxes.

  • Compare the deal with what you could get directly from the airline or hotel website or through other travel websites such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity.

  • Explore your options using Google Flights. Once you enter your departure city, Google Flights’ Explore Map will show you flight prices on the map for destinations around you, as well as around the world.

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