Saturday, March 10, 2007 tips

This website can be very enticing with its glossy pictures and promises of amazing travel deals. I actually booked a package through LL a few years ago, and was fairly pleased with the whole experience.

However, there are a few things to be aware of before you book through luxurylink...

A few tips to make the process as smooth as possible:

*Do your research before making any bids or purchases. Verify that the price you are getting from the site is actually a deal by checking rates on the hotel's proprietary website. Keep in mind that many of the packages on LuxuryLink are also available for the same price through the hotel directly or through travel agents, and booking through these channels will allow you to verify availability of the dates you want before you are obligated to make any payments.

*Make sure that the dates you want do not fall in noted "blackout" periods for the package in which you're interested. Most major holiday periods tend to not qualify for the prices shown.

*Wait to bid (if you are doing an auction package) until shortly before the auction closes. Otherwise, you are likely just bidding the price up unnecessarily.

*Right before bidding, call the property directly to make sure that they have availability for the dates you want. Once you win, keep on top of things to make sure you get booked quickly (if you are not flexible with dates).

*The "buy it now" packages don't seem to be a particularly great deal . Most of those I've ever looked at are only slightly lower than the cost to book directly (and the savings may not be worth it if your dates are not very flexible), and sometimes are actually higher than you may find going through a travel agent or the hotel directly.

*The "a la carte" rates are sometimes a little lower than those you may find through the hotel or a travel website. They also give you a bit more security, as you book for the dates you want, rather than having to agree to pay for the package before you can confirm your dates, as with the auction and "buy it now" packages.

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