Yesterday, fellow BoardingArea blogger, Kendra (Points and Pixie Dust), wrote a post raving about her experiences using a new hotel site called TravelPony. Since I don’t have an immediate need to book a hotel room at the moment, I didn’t really put much thought into giving the site a thorough look.
That all changed when I received an intriguing email this afternoon from my good friend Mark (@MileCollector), letting me know of a really awesome way to save up to $85 (and more) on a hotel booking. Now that really grabbed my attention.
First Off – What is TravelPony?
I’d be lying if I told you I really dove in and explored the site down the nitty-gritty, but the reality is, I only spent 5 minutes glancing over it all and making some “dummy bookings”. TravelPony appears to be a hotel-booking site that offers discounts that seem greater than what other competitors are offering (they claim that you can save up to 60% more than the ‘Big Travel Sites’).
Sign Up and Receive $35
New members automatically get to start off with a $25 booking credit, but new members who sign up through a friend’s referral link get an extra $10. Here is my sign-up link. Feel free to share yours in the comments if you please.
Save $50 on a Booking of $200 or More (Promo code expired 2/28/14) Promo code KATE50 seems to trigger an additional $50 discount on bookings of $200 or more (combinable with the $35 new-member credit). TravelPony reached out to me via email after I first published this with clarification about this promo code, saying that it is valid until the end of the month (2/28/14) – sweet! Update: If the KATE50 code is not triggering the discount for you, try using their new code – PROWINNER.
Update: There’s two new TravelPony discount codes that are valid until the end of March – GET25 saves you $25 on a booking and PONYPOINTS10 saves you 10%
For fun, I played around with rates for Valentine’s Day Weekend (fellas, it’s only 9 days away…), and I priced out a 2-night stay in Chicago from February 14-16.
I found a great $89 rate at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare (not exactly the most romantic destination, but for the purpose of my experiments, we’ll stick with it).
Look at this: After the new-member bonus is applied and the $50 coupon code is deducted, for $117, you can get a 2-night, fully-refundable stay at a Hyatt Regency. Can I get a “wow”?.
That’s a solid 40% cheaper than Hyatt’s rate of $282 for the two nights.
My Best Answers to Questions I Can Already Predict Being Asked
Will I receive elite benefits/recognition or stay credits from bookings made on TravelPony?
I think it depends on the property itself. Most hotel loyalty programs, based on my personal experience, do recognize your elite status. Receiving stay credits from 3rd party sites is a hit or miss (sometimes a small room charge will do the trick). YMMV. I’ve had great luck receiving stay credits/elite benefits from HotelTonight bookings (related post).
Will rates found on TravelPony work for “Best Rate Guarantee” claims?
My experiment continues. I’m guessing YES (based on the pre-coupon rate and if same room type is available), but I will report back and update this answer in a bit. You can learn more about my experiences with best rate guarantees here. You will also find a list of BRG tips and policies in that post.
Update: commenter Sky says that his BRG with IHG was denied when he used TravelPony in his claim because TP is a “members-only” site. No word yet from other hotel brands. Feel free to share your experiences as well.
Are the rooms booked through TravelPony refundable?
Looks like the word “refundable” is pretty clear to me.
So who’s jumping on the TravelPony? Are you going to go on a booking frenzy? Post your successful bookings in the comments below!