Are Travelpony’s Advertised Discounts Real
Travelpony is a relatively new online booking site that specializes in providing discounts for a curated list of properties. Last year they became pretty well known because of a number of great deals, but the discounts have since dried up for the most part.
The way Travelpony markets their product, you would think that the deals are always outstanding. For example, they almost always advertise up to 45% off with code TPSAVINGS and from time to time have coupons offering additional discounts.
For example. through tomorrow you can save up to 50% off with the code WEEKEND. This isn’t a straight discount though. This promotion actually just adds a 5% discount on top of the TPSAVINGS discount. Confusing? Well lets break down real world rates in four cities to see if Travelpony is better than other sites.
Real World Examples – Travelpony vs. Kayak & Other OTAs
To compare Travelpony to other online travel agents, I searched their site for a room in four cities on the weekend of 2/20-2/22/15. Since Travelpony doesn’t list all hotels, I filtered their results by savings percentage and chose a hotel with the highest possible savings. (Theoretically this should give Travelpony the greatest advantage.)
For comparison I then searched Kayak for the lowest rate among a variety of sites for the same room type and used that price including all taxes & fees. The four hotels that are being compared in this post are all in areas that a tourist would visit during a trip.
Las Vegas – Hard Rock Hotel
Travelpony lists the Hard Rock Hotel with a 25% discount. Adding the code WEEKEND should make the total discount 30%. After all discounts, the total price is $378.60 on Travelpony while the price on Kayak comes out $1.40 cheaper at $377.20
RESULT: KAYAK WINS BY LESS THAN 1%
Chicago – Swissotel Downtown
The Swissotel in Chicago is located in a decent neighborhood. With both coupons Travelpony advertises this hotel as being 40% off. In reality, their rates were $17.30 or about 5% cheaper than competitors.
RESULT: TRAVELPONY WINS BY ABOUT 5%
New York – Amsterdam Court
With Travelpony’s sale, the Amsterdam Court hotel in New York City is supposedly 35% off. Unfortunately Kayak’s non-discounted rates were about 1% cheaper.
RESULT: KAYAK WINS BY ABOUT 1%
Los Angeles – Historic Mayfair Hotel
Travelpony’s discount is listed at 30% after their normal coupon and the extra 5% WEEKEND savings. Fortunately, this is one time when Travelpony really delivered savings. Their rates were $66.78 cheaper than their competitors.
RESULT: TRAVELPONY WINS BY ALMOST 30%
Whenever I talk about hotel bookings sites, I always try to emphasize that there simply isn’t a one size fits all solution. Travelpony advertises their rates as up to 50% off, but in reality this isn’t the case. Thankfully we did find a great rate at the Mayfair and a slightly better rate at Swissotel, but the other two properties were more expensive.
Also keep in mind that the Kayak rates were the same as if you booked directly through hotel websites. Sometimes you can use cashback portals to extend your savings and chain hotels often don’t let you earn points on third party bookings. In other words, you are giving up possible cashback, points and elite status by booking with Travelpony, so make sure the rate warrants it.
This analysis reinforces my position that Travelpony belongs in the search process when searching for a hotel room. With that said, I don’t ever believe there will be that ONE SITE you should ALWAYS use. I also am not a huge fan of the way they advertise discounts.
Finally, if you aren’t currently a member, you can join Travelpony through this link and get a $35 discount on a $200 or more booking. It is my personal referral link, however every member has one if you would like to join through other means.
Have you ever used Travelpony? Do you think their advertising methods are disingenuous? Let me know in the comments!