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Flipphone

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Hi,

Just talked to a buddy who is looking at getting a hotel through SkyAuctions.com ... wants 7 nights in Orlando Florida and Extended Stay America has an auction (2 days left) starting and still at $1 (US) a night. I told him I would ask the experts ... so here is the question.

If anyone has heard about / used this site I would appreicate hearing your thoughts / comments.

Thanks.

Flipphone

ON, Canada

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They're legit, but you need to be aware and know the total cost before bidding. An example that i was told about was a cheap cruise which did not include port charges... factor them in and it wasn't a deal at all.

As with any other auction bidding sites, expect a flury of bids to enter during the last few minutes, and i'm doubtful this hotel will go for anywhere near $1/nite.

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I've used them in the distant past with a fair degree of success. As thereuare has stated, you must pay attention to the added fees and service charges. A winning $1 bid for a 7 day stay in a condo or hotel is never $1, but $1 + $195 (the usual fees/taxes for a 1 week stay) + $15 (processing fee to US addresses or $25 for some Canadian cities to over $50 for Central America and Europe). When you do the math, the $1 seven day stay, for a US resident will actually cost $211, or $30 a night. A bargain for sure, but not as much of one if the bidding gets too high. Unfortunately, ignorance and over-enthusiasm on the part of the bidding public has caused there to be far fewer bargains than in the past.

A dubious tactic that Skyauction often uses is to offer an airfare or cruise with travel within a certain time period (say Spring 2005) and then tack on additional surcharges for most dates. This means that the winning bid will have this fee tacked on if you can't fly or sail on the 1 or 2 dates that don't have surcharges ... if those dates are or even were ever available. Better is to stick to date specific offers. For example, this recent auction

OCTOBER 13, 2004

MERCURY

Sensational 11- Night California & Mexico Cruise Roundtrip from San Francisco aboard Celebrity Cruise Lines

was won for $525 + tax and port charges of $244.00 per person + $15 processing fee (for US residents), totalling $776.50 per/person. Looking at this same cruise using my favourite cruise agency CVC I can purchase it outright for $842.53 (all in). Using Skyauction resulted in a savings of $66.03 per person. A savings, yes, but not the bargain the $525 win would have many bidders believe.

More often than not, cruises are overbid. For example,

CARNIVAL INSPIRATION

November 18, 2004

Extraordinary 4-Night Western Caribbean Cruise Roundtrip from Tampa

was won for $250 + tax and port charges of $122 per person + $15 processing fee (for US residents), totalling $379.50 per/person. CVC has this cruise for $299.05 (all-in). The bidder actually overpaid by $80.45 per person.

It all boils down to a couple of basic rules:

  • Do your homework. Don't bid unless you've done the research and have pricing.
  • Read the fine print. Scour the description page and note all the terms, restrictions and fees that will apply. They're always there, in plain view, just often overlooked. Then add the $15 processing fee.

I've found the best bargains are longer (11 day +) cruises and 7 day accomodations ($1 bids). The bid per night hotel stays are sometimes the worst as there is always a $32 tax and service fee surcharge per night.

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I agree with what's been said here. Make sure you're you're clear on the total cost (per room vs. per person, plus ALL the fees... read their FAQ). I successfully bid for a hotel in Barbados in 2002, and it worked perfectly. I didn't get the oceanfront room, of course, but I only spent 1/3 of the normal cost for the room.

Be an educated consumer, but the site works.

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I have used Skyauction numerous time and love it !!!

I would also agree with previous posts to do your homework before bidding and beware of the added fees. In my experience the best deals by far have been for the condos. For example I booked a very nice 2 bedroom condo in Williamsburg VA back in June for a weeks stay in mid September. My total cost for the condo including taxes and fees is $260 ( $50 winning bid and $210 in taxes and fees lol ) which we will be splitting with another couple.

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Today I discovered a sister site to Skyauction. It's called OffPeakTraveler and it has similar offerings to its sibling, but with a twist. Instead of bidding, prices are fixed. Some of the deals are attractive as they aren't being overbid by overzealous bidders. Others, such as condo/resort rentals are overpriced. They currently have a number of well priced air/hotel packages:

  • Europe: London $299 / Malaga $479
  • Asia: Bangkok $599
  • Latin America: Cancun $499
  • South America: Buenos Aires $549 / Rio $549
  • Hawaii: Honolulu $599

It might prove interesting.

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I suspect from looking at offpeaktraveler that it is possibly (probably iimho) a skyauction subsidary. It is just a version of their buy it now option on the main site.

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Just wanted to say "thanks" for this thread.

I'm considering using Skyauction for a San Francisco hotel in April 2005 - they seem to have lots on offer. I am keeping an eye on the bidding and they seem to go for good rates. Plus you know the hotel name in advance.

If anyone has any additional advice, I'll be glad to read it.

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CheshireCat, you may also want to consider the mistake made by priceline in this thread ... puts you very close to San Fran and it is available for 2-4 nights in April.

PRICELINE DEAL

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Just noticed that some auctions for condos/hotels now include tax and service charges. A couple of lucky bidders actually only paid $1 for their week's accommodation. Now those are true bargains!

An example from an auction closing soon:

Includes tax and service charges!

7 Nights at the Mayan Palace Nuevo Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico for arrival on December 17, 2004!

This one is currently at $2 with an hour to go.

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I have used Skyauctions several times and had a wonderful experience, but you have to be careful. The last time I used their site I purchased tickets to Panama City, Panama on Taca Airlines. It was a horrible experience.

Skyauctions booked us on our requested day, we arrived in a foreign country at 11:30 at night, not a time to arrive in a foreign country. We were booked to leave at 06:00 am, also a terrible time to leave a foreign country. We had to be up at 2 am to leave the hotel, a taxi picked us up at 3am, there were still hookers on the street corners at this hour. I attempted to correct these horrible times of arrival and leaving Panama with Skyauctions to no avail. They had no concerns allowing their customers to be put in a dangerous situation. We were told that the information about the airline could of been searced before bidding. I want to warn people that Skyauctions will not change your times even if they are inappropriate to travel to a foreign country. I have learned my lesson and will only use a source that I can pick my own flight times, saving $50.00 and having two days of our trip ruined by horrible flight times and being placed in a country in the middle of the night is not worth it.

I have purchased a Alaska Cruise, Carribean Cruise and several hotel and condo auctions from Skyauctions in the past and had great service,but it only takes one horrible experience to keep me from going back. I wish they had cared more for their customers than the all mighty dollar!

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I've used SkyAuction before successfully, and will agree heartily with the above: Check ALL the addons!

I had successfully bid and purchased two roundtrip, nonstop Virgin Atlantic tickets from Miami to London in August for $250 each. Plus $50 each for being out of Miami, Plus $100 each for taxes. However, $400 each is still a stellar deal for peak time on VA on that route!

As an aside, these ARE prepaid and nonrefundable, just like Priceline! I was actually able (due to a doctor's note forbidding me to fly overseas due to a tough pregnancy) to get a refund (minus $50 per ticket) for these through very helpful people at both SkyAuction and Virgin -- but it was definitely an exception, and took lots of work.

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