The Upside of Travel

So I recently discovered this new website which is still in beta called Upside.  They are founded by the same guy who founded Priceline so they already have an idea of what they are doing.  They do quite a few things that are unique.  

The first thing you will noticed is that you have to book your flight and your hotel together at the same time.  When you start you pick your dates, destination, and general times and hotel star rating.  From there you get a few options of flights about 6 and you get the same number of hotel options.  After all is said and done you get to see your package and the final price right next to the full retail of the package.  The absolute best part is the gift card.  Now many services offer gift cards but generally you have to wait and there are stipulations, blah, blah, blah.  That is not the case with Upside.  You can get e-gift cards up to $500 instantly.  I recently booked my trip to New Orleans and the package was only $50 more than if I booked it separately myself but then I got a $200 gift card.  Plus right before you book you are given the option of another hotel and flight combo that will get you a bigger gift card too.

I have to say this is a really cool idea.  I had to inquire how they managed to give away this much money per customer transaction.  Turns out they get special rates by not showing all of the options or even the flights and hotels seperately.  Now technically the service is marketed towards business travelers only but you don't have to provide anything to verify that.  They made a really great 90 sec video telling you all about the service.


Another fantastic things is the gift card value is not based solely on the amount you are spending.  So you may be able to get a larger gift card for a shorter stay just depends on where you are going and when.