Travel deals

Holiday Travel Deals to Grab Now

Even if you’re not traveling just yet, you can shop for future travel.

(This is an updated version of a story we prepared for NBC News)

A gift-season mantra the past few years has been “skip the things; give experiences and trips instead.”

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most travel adventures have been put on hold.

Does that mean you should ignore the travel and hospitality-related deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year and stick to sales on slippers and sweatpants instead?

Definitely not. Studies show that thinking about and planning trips makes people happier. And that happiness may get a boost from the deals many travel companies offer during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Travel Tuesday this season.

Many companies are expanding the purchase window. Others are loosening restrictions on how and when deals can be used.

If you decide to shop for travel during this Black Friday/Cyber Friday/Travel Tuesday season, experts recommend joining frequent travel programs and signing up for email alerts for brands and destinations you are interested in. Many deals are offered to club members early and often include a bonus member discount. You can always unsubscribe later.

And while many deals may seem to be more generous than usual, be sure to check for blackout dates, cancelation rules, and other conditions.

Some deals to get you started

Amtrak has rolled out its “Track Friday Sale.” Book November 27 through November 30 to get 50% off on coach fares nationwide for travel from December 8, 2020 – April 30, 2021. In past years the discount has been 30%, so this looks like a great deal.

Many cruise lines, which have been hard hit by season-long cancellations, are offering deals as well. Hurtigruten for example is offering savings up to 50% off per person on select 2021 and 2022 itineraries to destinations that include Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica, and more.

Attractions and destinations

Orlando has a web site dedicated to Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals at theme parks, attractions, resorts, and shopping. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has a long list of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals available to book now.

LEGOLAND New York Resort, set to open in New York’s Hudson Valley in 2021, is offering a Black Friday deal (November 26 – December 1) offering 60% off retail on an unlimited admission pass good for a decade and including a wide array of other perks.  

Hotels

Many travel booking sites, hotel brands, and destinations are offering site-wide discounts on stays.

Hotwire’s Cyber Super Sale offers 12% off Hot Rate hotel bookings made in the app with the code BF12 at checkout from Friday, November 27 to Monday, November 30.  

Priceline is offering more than $5 million in travel deal email alerts and flash sales through December 1 to its VIP members (signing up is free) and giving 1000 lucky VIPS a coupon for 99% off hotel Express Deals.

Red Roof guests can save 40% off bookings made November 27 through November 30 for stays through January 31, 2021.

The Cyber Sale from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants offers 25% off Best Flexible Rates booked through December 7 for stays through September 7, 2021. The boutique brand will also donate $5 per night to charitable partner No Kid Hungry.

Members of the ALL-Accor Live Limitless loyalty program will be able to find deals up to 40% off accommodations + 2x Reward Points. This is for stays at select Fairmont, 21c Museum Hotels, Sofitel, Swissotel, and sbe properties around the world from November 26-30, 2020 for stays December 7 to March 14, 2021.

And Provenance Hotels’ 13 boutique hotels from Boston to Seattle, New Orleans, Nashville, Palm Springs, and Portland, OR is offering fully changeable rates starting at $59 per night through November 30 for stays December 1, 2020 through December 2021.

Travel deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Travel Tuesday

Skip the things. Grab travel deals on Black Friday/ Cyber Monday instead.

Here are some travel-related deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Travel Tuesday to get you started on deal-shopping this season.

More deals to come!

Deals on getting from here to there

Look for Amtrak’s “Track Friday Sale,” to go live at Amtrak.com on November 29. Last year’s deal offered 30% off nationwide train travel well into the new year.

Many airlines will be offering discounts and flash deals.

To catch them, make sure to follow a few favorite airlines on Twitter and other social media sites and join their frequent flyer programs so you get email announcements sent to insiders.

Until December 2, Air France is offering current and new Flying Blue loyalty program members triple miles on most US to Paris flights purchased for travel December 7 to March 31, 2020.

Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus will offer $100 off on round trip economy fares and $200 off on round trip business class flights from the US and Canada to Europe booked between Tuesday 11/26 and Tuesday 12/3 for travel between January 1 and March 8, 2020.

Turkish Airlines is having a Black Friday “Friday Flyday” sale with discounts to various cities around the world.

According to Hopper, many other airlines, including Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and TAP Portugal will likely launch sale offers on Cyber Monday or Travel Tuesday.

Airport lounge pass deal

Plaza Premium Lounges has a walk-in offer for holiday flyers.

From 5 a.m. November 29 through midnight on Monday December 2, travelers flying out of Toronto or Vancouver, B.C. can get 25% off a 2 or 3-hour lounge stay and 35% off 2 and 3-hour lounge stays in their airport lounges in Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Place to stay  

It seems that just about every hotel and resort is courting travelers with a Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Travel Tuesdays deals this year.

Savvy shoppers will be able to snag great lodging deals but pay attention to the fine print on the offers. Some deals are non-refundable, have blackout dates and narrow stay windows or other restrictions.

As with airlines, you can often get the best deals if you are a member of a property or chain’s free-to-join frequent-stay program. And, keep in mind that discounts often don’t apply to local and state taxes and resort and amenities fees, which can be quite steep at some properties.

Here are some offers that caught our attention:  

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort’s Cyber Deal, underway now through December 3, offers Honors Members up to 30 percent off a Hawaii vacation. Valid for stays Nov. 28, 2019 through June 30, 2020.  

For its ‘Black Friday Meets The Mile High’ deal at The Curtis in Denver, the hotel is linking its holiday booking deal to Denver’s elevation of 5280 feet. The hotel is offering discounted rates of $52.80/night for dates in December and January booked from Black Friday to Cyber Monday (11/29 – 12/2).

Virgin Hotels in Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas are celebrating Cyber Month. Discounts of up to 30% off best rates will be available December 2, 2019 through January 2, 2020 for stays between December 2, 2019 and June 1, 2020. As a bonus, each hotel will choose a winner each day to be upgraded to a penthouse suite.  

MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas, including Bellagio, Aria and MGM Grand, have lined up Cyber Week deals up to 35% off regular rates, plus 5% more for M Life Rewards members, from November 25 through December 4, 2019. Look for many more offers Sin City offers on visitlasvegas.com.

Pacifica Hotels, which owns boutique properties on the Pacific Coast, will offer 40% off room rates during its Cyber Monday Sale. The hotel’s Passport Program participants get early access to the sale on Friday, November 29th. Sale covers stays from December 2, 2019 through March 14, 2020.

If you book on the HotelTonight mobile app, use the code HTDEAL25 between Monday December 2 and Tuesday December 3 (Cyber Monday/Travel Tuesday) to get 25% off one hotel stay.

And double-up on discounts at Hotwire’s mobile app with promo codes that can be used on top of discounted hotel bookings made between November 27 and November 29. Use code HWBF for $10 off $100 hotel bookings; HWBF40 for $40 off $300 hotel bookings and HWBF70 for $70 off $500 hotel bookings. On Cyber Monday (Dec 2), use promo code HWHOTDEALS for an extra 11% off $100 Hotwire Hot Rate Hotels.

Packages and tours

Botswana, Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Photographing Elephants on a Game Drive

Cruise lines and tour companies will be also be floating special offers during this holiday shopping weekend.

Travelers looking to experience bucket list cruises destinations such as Antarctica, Alaska and Norway can take advantage of Hurtigruten’s deals of up to 50% off select 2020 and 2021 itineraries. Sale dates are November 27 through December 4, 2019, and include expedition voyages aboard the line’s MS Roald Amundsen, the first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship in the world.

Abercrombie & Kent’s Holiday Sale offers discounts of $1,000 to $3,900 on a wide variety of adventures to destinations such as Vietnam, India, Peru and Kenya. Their sale runs from 8 a.m. C.S.T. December 2 through 4 p.m. December 6, 2019.

Deals on attractions

While you’re grabbing airfare and lodging deals, be on the lookout for discounts on attractions and amusement parks in cities you plan to visit.

Now through December 8, 2019, use promo code “GIFT” to get an additional 10% off the deals and discounts to more than 50 theme parks, attractions, activities and dinner shows at Visit Orlando.

From Saturday, November 30 through Monday, December 2, use promo code CYBERMONDAY to save up to 15% on Go City passes, which offer discounted admission packages at popular attractions in more than 20 cities.

And in advance of the July 4, 2020 opening of LEGOLAND New York Resort, the price of the park’s highest tier annual pass, the Gold Pass, will be on sale for $99.99 instead of $209.99 from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

The pass can’t be activated until the LEGOLAND New York park opens but waiting will be worth it. The pass not only offers year-long admission to this new LEGOLAND resort, but admission to more than 30 other Merlin Entertainment attractions around the country, including LEGOLAND resorts in California and Florida, LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquariums.

(My story about Travel Deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Travel Tuesday first appeared on CNBC in a slightly different form).

Filed your taxes? Now get some free stuff.

As of March 16, at least 61 million early bird tax filers had already received refunds averaging $2,960 from the Internal Revenue Service.

But millions of other taxpayers are still rushing around gathering receipts and grappling with paperwork and electronic forms as the April 17 tax filing deadline nears.

Whichever column you’re in, you can still take advantage of Tax Day rewards ranging from free pizza and cookies to discounts on hotel stays and getaways.

Here’s a sampling of some of the deals I gathered for a piece on CNBC:

Free (and charmingly discounted) food and snacks

As is their tradition, on Tax Day, April 17, Great American Cookies will be giving away a free cookie to anyone who stops at one of their participating stores. This year’s treat is a Cookies & Cream cookie.

In keeping with its Tax Day motto of “No taxation without relaxation,” Kona Ice trucks will once again show up in many communities on April 17 to hand out free shaved ice. As part of its “Tastes Like America” menu campaign, on April 17 participating Hardee’s will offer customers a free Sausage Biscuit until 10 a.m. and Hot Dog on a Stick will give each customer that stops by participating locations one free Turkey or Veggie Dog on April 17.

Taking a cue from the tax forms, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria locations around the country are offering 16” Traditional Cheese pizzas for $10.40 on April 17. Bruegger’s Bagels is offering a downloadable coupon for a Big Bagel Bundle (13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese) for $10.40, a $3.50 “deduction,” they note, off the regular price. (Valid through April 17).

And Potbelly Sandwich Shops has set aside 75,000 free sandwiches as a Tax Day reward for people who join its Potbelly Perks program. Those already enrolled in the program will find a buy-one, get one-free sandwich offer loaded on their app April 17 for Tax Day use.

Travel Deals

Throughout the month of April, four Kimpton hotels southern California – Hotel Palomar and Hotel Salomar in San Diego, the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and The Goodland in Santa Barbara – are giving out “Random Refunds.” Each day one randomly chosen guest at each hotel will find they’ve been refunded a hotel charge such as the resort fee, parking charges, restaurant bill or perhaps the in-room movie.

From April 17 to 20, Hotel Saugatuck in Saugatuck, Michigan is offering a 20 percent discount to anyone who shows a current 1099 tax form (or proof of membership in the United Auto Workers or Freelancers unions). The B&B is also offering guests a box of local chocolate fudge at a discount, for $10.99.

Thinking of spending your tax refund in Europe? Rail Europe is offering travelers $25 off bookings of $400 made through April 24. Use code: TAXDAYRE18.

Budget-minded tax filers can also take advantage of some other timely travel deals that just happen to fall around April 17.

Filing taxes may not be a walk in the park, but anyone can take a walk in a National Park for free on Saturday, April 21, when entrance fees are waived at any of the National Parks that have them, including Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park and others where the entry fee per car can reach $20.

The U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways sale runs this year from April 9 through May 8 and features daily deals up to 60 percent off everything form loyalty point programs and car rental coupons to attractions tickets, hotel stays and more from travel companies such as Hertz, Hilton, and Universal Parks and Resorts.

 A tidying-up trip

Once you’ve filed your taxes, be sure to store away the important financial paperwork you might need should the IRS come calling for an audit.

But don’t stuff everything back in that shoebox. Take a moment to review Consumer Report’s advice on what receipts and records you really need to keep and what can be thrown away.

Bundle the discards, print out this coupon for 5 pounds of free document shredding and take your first post-Tax Day trip to your local Office Max/Office Depot store.

Updated list: Travel Deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Updated Monday at 9:11 a.m. West Coast Time

Looking for Black Friday/Cyber Monday travel deals? Of course you are!

Check here for what I’ve found so far for airlines deals and here for deals on hotels, rail, travel books and other travel-related options.

I’ll keep updating through Monday – so send me notes about anything that looks really great to you.

 

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Travel Deals

Thinking about all the things you’ll be able to shop for at great discount once Black Friday and Cyber Monday come around?

Add travel to the list.

Here are some deals that have arrived in my inbox. Check back (I’ll remind you) as the list gets longer and the deals go live.

*In some cases the links/deals mentioned won’t be ‘hot’ till November 27, but some are available now.

Among those offering deals:

Read up on where you’re going – or want to go with discounts (us code BF5017) on DK Books 

Amtrak – 30 percent off on select travel through Monday

40 percent off Joie de Vivre properties – throughout the year – if you book by Nov. 29.

Rail Europe 

Priceline.com will have Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals for its email subscribers.

Hotels.com will offer a slew of deals – some 50 percent off – Tuesday November 21 through Wednesday November 29.

There are also Black Friday/Cybe Monday deals from GoAhead Tours,

Expedia.com

W Hotel’s newest hip property in Bellevue, WA, W Bellevue  will join Starwood’s “Biggest Sale of the Year,” coming Cyber Monday.

Hotwire is currenlty offering what they call a ‘million-dollar deal,’ with a batch of 5-star hotels available for booking for $50 for travel Dec. 8-28, 2017.

The Viceroy Hotel Group will roll out Cyber Mondays deals beginning on 11/20 that will bookable throughout the week. Discounts of 30 to 40 percent at various properties.

These properties are among those promising Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals as well: Carmel Mission Inn (CA), Chicago Athletic Association hotel Godfrey Hotel Boston.

Loews Hotels will launch a 3-day sale on Cyber Monday with 20 percent off rates.

Liftopia will offer 25 percent off gift cards on Cyber Monday.

And if all this shopping news is making you dizzy, keep in mind that you don’t have to participate.  To help you avoid all this buzz, New York State is offering free admission to all its state parks on Black Friday and many state and national parks nationwide have fun, free, family-oriented activities on tap.

More to come…