Jay's Corner: To Bundle or Not to Bundle.

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Just like phone companies and cable companies want all of your TV, internet, wireless phone and home phone business so do travel companies want all of the pieces they can.  There are a bunch of them like Priceline, Travelocity, Orbitz, Bookit, Kayak, Hotwire, Expedia, TripAdvisor and more.  They put together amazing deals at amazing prices but there are some drawbacks and hidden fees to many that may not make it worth the savings.  

Bundling is simply buying a package of air, hotel and an optional car.  Because you are bundling the travel site is able to mix and match different unpublished deals to give you the best price.  This can save you hundreds of dollars.  The downside is sometimes you have no control over flight schedule, hotel, what kind of bed, hidden fees, no ability to change dates or times after you buy trip, no full or partial refunds, a room with a view or no view all of the things that you don’t think about until you get there. I am also convinced that hotels give their worst rooms based on my experience to people who bundle. 
I don’t bundle anymore because it was not worth it to me after a few disappointments.  Last year my teenage son and I went to San Francisco for our summer guy’s trip.  Upon getting checked in we found out that our great bundled four star hotel room for $180 a night had a single queen bed.  I was so concerned with getting a good deal that I didn't notice that there are no options for type of bed , had I thought far enough in advance the right thing to do is call the hotel as soon as you get a confirmation number and request the right configuration for your situation.  It worked out as another advantage to staying at a four star hotel is that generally service is better, we were able to upgrade to a small suite and he got the pull out couch in the living room and I got the bed. 

Another example of bundling gone awry is when we bundled or trip to Paris last year.  I played with the numbers, the flights the hotels, back and forth.  I finally bundled with Expedia instead of Delta Vacations in the end and saved $500 and got a better hotel location.  All that was good, until we arrived at the hotel at 6:00 AM.  A small detail that started the day off wrong.  The hotel was not ready for us to check in for eight more hours.  Here we are exhausted in Paris after flying all night and we can’t check-in.  When we get our room key 702 and she points us to the elevator.  We get on the elevator and there is no 7, it only went to 6th floor.  We took the elevator to six and got off looking for 702 or stairs to seven.  We found a ladder going up and stairs going down.  Pretty sure our room is not up the ladder we dragged all of our luggage back down to the lobby.  Laughing because we are so tired we are directed to another elevator that does go to 7.  The entire floor is under construction/renovation.  There was no shower curtain and the glass partition for the shower was on the wrong side so when you took a shower all the water went on the floor.  The toilet was in an actual closet on the other side of the room.  But we liked our quirky little room in the end and may stay there again someday.   But the worst part was a week later after we returned we only received 2200 miles from Delta and we were expecting 8800 miles to give us silver medallion status and free bags on our flights the next year.  The reason, Delta and most airlines give a fraction of or no frequent flier miles to people that bundle with discount sites. 

Bundling is good for the infrequent traveler that is not going to make status with airlines and hotels.  For the person that travels once a month bundling may cost more in comfort and time then paying a little more for the perks of being a frequent traveler.  
Bottom line if you are on a budget and can deal with some of the quirky things like multiple stops, bad flight times, rooms that may not be the preferred view or lay out, ok with not being able to cancel or change what you booked after you book it, not worried about loyalty programs then bundle.  If you like a room with a view, want a king size bed or 2 queens, want exit rows, priority boarding so you know your carry on will be in a bin near you, free bags, free upgrades, free flights and hotel stays and upgrades then be loyal to a brand and they will recognize you with little perks and surprises along the way.

To find cheap airfares without bundling click on this link -----> http://angieknowsthetruth.blogspot.com/2013/09/jays-corner-how-to-find-cheap-airline.html


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