Likely you already know that I have a love affair with Groupon. The travel deals can really be a steal at times and there are several ways I’ve learned from all my travel with Groupon on how to get just a little bit more out of these trips. If you’re reluctant to travel with Groupon, I don’t blame you! Discount sites can always be a little bit scary when spending a few hundred or in some cases a few thousand on a trip.
We’re conditioned to believe the tried-and-true “you get what you pay for” and that sometimes prevents us from going out of our comfort zone. I’d like you to consider replacing “you get what you pay for” with “you get what you research”. If you take the time to research all that is included in the deal you’re considering, surely you will feel more at ease with your choice. None of the places listed on Groupon are some seedy hole in the wall unknown location, at least not in my experience.
Often times, they are actually quite sought after locations who might be looking to expand their audience with deep discounts or they happen to be in down season. Each Groupon getaway should clearly list the accommodations included in the deal. Go read reviews, look at photos and find out what attractions are nearby. Once you’re armed with that information, try a few of these hacks to save even more!
Groupon Bucks – You receive $10 cash back every time you refer a friend to Groupon AND they make their first purchase. This being the case, there are people who are adding fake e-mail addresses and then using that account to buy their Groupon, therefore earning $10 virtually every time they redeem. Ethical? Not really. Does it work? Seems so, but it also seems like a lot of work for $10.
Discover Card – If you have a discover card, you can receive up to 5% cash back from Groupon! Their rules and regulations claim there might be a cap as to how much you can receive back. However, I’ve redeem up to $300 at once and I haven’t hit a cap yet. Meaning, I’ve bought deals on Groupon for up to 6K (this is for 2 people and by far the most expensive I’ve had, but this was still a great deal considering the trip length and inclusions), resulting in $300 cash back. Also, their regulations state “cannot be combined with any other offers”. I thought this would include gift cards, but in my experience I’ve been able to combine gift cards and use my Discover card for the remaining amount and still redeem the 5% on the amount that went on my card. The trips are duel occupancy, so pay for yourself AND your friend on your credit card for maximum money back.
Flash Sales – Groupon will have flash sales often and offer anywhere from 5% off to 20% off. Make sure you sign up for their mailing list or better yet, download the AP you’ll receive a notice on your phone when they are having a sale. Save up those Groupon bucks and redeem them during a sale! One caveat I want to make here, if you are using a Discover card, you cannot combine with this. However, more often than not Groupon only allows you to save up to $50 per Groupon purchased. Making Discover deals the best option if you can go that way.
Work Incentives – Many companies offer gift cards as incentives for sales or a job well done. My current company gives these out often and you’re able to choose from a list of gift cards. The vendor that we use has lots of clothing stores, which when you’re a wanderlust are not all that appealing. So, why not redeem for a Groupon card? I’ve saved these up and gotten $300 – $1,000 off my trips in addition to the Groupon discount. This sometimes can make a “bad” Groupon deal a “good” deal depending on the savings. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference, just do a quick google search to compare flights, hotels and any inclusions.
Hotels – Groupon has partnerships with many hotels, some are discounted deeply while others are only priced to compete with other local deals. Those hotels which are only slightly discounted will offer 5% Groupon Bucks back. Check out comparable hotels on your favorite comparison site. If you find the hotel on Groupon agreeable and a decent price, you might as well redeem through Groupon to get your 5% back. Then you can apply it to your next all-inclusive Groupon trip.
Gift Cards – The holidays are coming up! Does your family ever ask you what you want for Christmas? Groupon makes a great gift and it can be sent through E-mail easily, saving you time and your family money. I like to save them up until I have a decent amount that will help when I splurge on my next trip or travel activity.
Travel Activities – Every time I travel to a different state, I refresh my Groupon ap upon arrival. This way I’ll receive local deals and maybe even find out about something I’ve never heard of before. In Hawaii, I redeem a Groupon for swimming with sharks, snorkeling with turtles and more! In San Diego, I was able to find discount zoo entry tickets, this made me feel a little better for splurging on the safari caravan, where I got to feed rhinos and giraffes!!
Call Direct – Did you know that vendors are only getting something like 50% of what you’re paying for the Groupon? If you call the company to book directly (instead of paying through Groupon), they will sometimes give you a few extra upgrades on hotels. I’m not saying that you’re going to get the honeymoon suite, but you might get a better view or book a little closer to the pool. Also, if a deal expires, you can sometimes call and inquire if they are still offering the deal. They will likely give you the same or a comparable price given they stand to earn a bit more on your sale vs a sale through Groupon.
Travel Agencies – I was speaking to a travel agent recently for an upcoming trip to Italy and I asked if it would possible call them with an amount of money and see where it could take me and for how long. She let me know that they don’t really do that per say, but if you called wanting to go to France for X amount of dollars, they could help you put an itinerary together. I’d never thought about doing it that way before. If you find a deal on Groupon that you really like, but the dates do not work or certain aspects of the trip are not appealing, call the agency running the deal! Tell them you’d like to go (wherever the deal is to) and for a comparable about, but with these dates if possible OR with these changes if possible. Most of the time they can accommodate you one way or another.
Extensions – Often times you can extend your trip or add a leg for very little extra, even nothing at all. For example, on my way home from Italy, I have to fly through France. Instead of just having a few hours during a layover, I asked the agency to extend the lay over for 2 days. Since there was no difference in flight fair for them to do so, they did it at no charge! Meaning, I got a free flight from Italy to France and 2 extra days on my trip. As far as the hotel in France, I was able to redeem Hilton points at a location within walking distance to the Eifel Tower. Basically, I’m getting 2 days in France free!
I hope that my Groupon Getaway expertise has been helpful to you and maybe even inspired you to give it a try!
If you have any other burning questions or want something clarified comment below: