Luxury Travel for Stupid Cheap

I was reading the Globe and Mail on the weekend, and saw a little blurb in the travel section about a website called Off & Away.  It’s a hotel suite auction site, where you can bid on 5-star luxury hotel suites for ridiculous prices (bids start at $0.25). A recent package for a 2-night stay at a posh hotel in Chicago went for $100, and 3 nights in a gorgeous suite near Cancun went for $60.  Insane!

I’ve been watching the site for a few days now, trying to figure out how it works, and trying to figure out what the catch is.  The catch is this – if you want to bid on a hotel package,  you have to “buy” bids.  And bids cost about a dollar each.  I’ve watched a few auctions, and the winner has used anywhere between 20-100 bids to get the deal.  Not so bad if you’re the winner, but if you’re the runner-up, you basically lose that money.  Of course, Off & Away says you can use your losing bids as a credit towards booking hotels with them, but I’m assuming those aren’t the cheap ones.

If you want to try it, read the “How It Works” section of the website, watch a few auctions to see how it’s played, and then jump in there and start bidding.

Update: You can now buy bids on Off and Away from Canada.  You couldn’t previously.  Thanks Hilary for the tip!

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