July 8, 2008 Update: Points of Light has suspended operation of their ebay store for travel. For more information see this Q&A.
A Go Visit Hawaii reader, Lindsay, recently wrote me to tell me about how she had purchased two roundtrip tickets for $780 on American Airlines. That’s a steal at $390 per person from the Midwest!
Now, you’ll probably never guess where Lindsay purchased these tickets. It wasn’t through the American Airlines, or a travel agency, or online discount agency like Travelocity. Are you ready for this? She purchased the tickets on ebay. That’s right, ebay! So, how did she do it? She was kind enough to give me to the scoop to share with you.
So, here’s the deal. There’s a non-profit organization called Points of Light that auctions tickets and vacation packages on ebay as a means for raising funds. Here’s a link to their ebay shop. They sell other items besides airline tickets and travel packages, so you may have to sift though random stuff to find the Hawaii travel related items for auction. Some travel items are available for “buy it now” and others are available for bid. At the moment, here just a sampling of the Hawaii airline tickets and packages that are up for auction:
- Buy It Now: 2 Roundtrip Coach Tickets from the West Coast – $900
- Buy It Now: 2 Roundtrip Coach Tickets from US and Canada – $1500
- For Bid: 2 Roundtrip Coach Tickets from US and Canada – current bid at $810
- For Bid: 4-Star Hotel and Coach Roundtrip Airfare for 2 to Kauai – current bid at $1,475.
Note that there are restrictions for each item for auction so make sure you know what they are before purchase or bid. Also, make sure you understand what additional taxes and fees may be required. Most tickets and packages have restrictions like a 7 or 14 day advance reservation and a Saturday night stay. Most tickets must be used within 12 months. From sifting through a few of them, it appears that it’s best if you have flexibility in your travel dates.
Though this ebay seller has an overall positive feedback rating (approximately 96%), they do have a some neutral and negative ratings. Make sure you shop with ebay wisely.
For frequent fliers, you’ll still earn travel miles with these tickets. That’s a great bonus.
A big mahalo to Lindsay for sharing this tip! What do you think of this way of purchasing discount tickets? Do you think it’s worth a try or are you scared? Have you purchased tickets or vacation packages from this ebay store? How did it work for you?
UPDATE: Did we flood their system? The day after I posted this tidbit, all the travel items were removed from the ebay store and this notice was posted:
Due to unexpectedly high volumes of summer travel, we have exceeded our capacity to handle new travel packages efficiently. We have temporarily suspended the sale of future travel until we can catch up with your demand.