Major price mistakes happen several times a year. I’ve been blogging since 2004, so there have been hundreds of incredible deals during that time period. The best deals don’t stick around very long, so it’s critical to know some of these “rules” beforehand.
Just last month saw people landing insane deals on Air Canada flights to cities across the globe and getting all kinds of free stuff at Toys R Us, which people are still reporting getting new stuff daily on DDFB. In July DansDeals readers were able to get 80% off Amazon handyman services.
Airfare glitches sure seem to like my family birthdays. The Air Canada glitch last Sunday happened on the morning of my wife Mimi’s 30th birthday. I had gotten up to make her some belgian waffles, but wound up spending the entire morning blogging about the deals available. Sorry Mimi!
United’s 4 mile island glitch that allowed bookings to Hong Kong in first class for just 4 United miles occurred on a Sunday afternoon just as we were starting Rafi’s first birthday party.
On a Saturday evening in late November 2010 there was a glitch for free Las Vegas vacations. Free airfare, free Bellagio suites, free Cirque tickets, free limo transfers, etc. Some friends had asked for us to hang out with them, but I was in the zone and blogging away about the possibilities. Eventually Mimi had to tell me that the friends asking to hang out was just a ruse and that there were several dozen people waiting at a surprise party to wish me a happy birthday. Sheepishly I turned off my computer and went to the party. Once there, everyone was incredulous that I didn’t bring my laptop. One guest went home to retrieve his laptop and when he returned I wound up booking free five star Vegas vacations for everyone at the party!
For some odd reason I haven’t had a surprise party since then.
On the day after Mimi’s birthday in 2013 there was a USAirways glitch with tickets to Israel from $302 and on a Saturday evening in late November 2013 Wideroe Airlines gave me another birthday surprise when they created a glitch on United with $127 tickets to Europe and $287 tickets to Israel.
Is it right to take advantage of a glitch? Sometimes a glitch isn’t a glitch at all, but it’s created to generate publicity or profit (just ask Wideroe). But I’m not your Rabbi, Priest, or ethicist. If you are uncomfortable with a price mistake, then don’t do it. Or ask someone who is one. I’m just here to provide the information and people can do with it what they want. I wrote about some of the halachic (Jewish law) implications of airfare mistakes for the Yated a couple of years ago here.
I’m forgetting some of the other birthday glitches that have popped up over the years, but I suppose one rule might be to stay alert around my family’s birthdays 😉
Of course not all glitches follow that rule. The Delta 2013 glitch with $50 first class tickets to LA, Alaska, and Hawaii happened just after I landed from a red-eye from LA to Cleveland from giving a DansDeals seminar there, so it’s not always on birthdays.
But it is my daughter’s birthday this week, so maybe we’ll get lucky again 😀
And my birthday always occurs within a week of Black Friday…
Rules of the deal:
- Don’t call.
- Don’t talk to the airline or companies offering a deal while the deal is live. You can always ask questions once the deal is gone.
- Don’t hesitate.
- These deals never last long, you’ve got to act very fast. Luckily sites like Priceline and Orbitz provide the ability to cancel a ticket for free until the day after you book. That allows you to make a quick ticket and then analyze whether you want to use it after the craziness settles.
- With some really crazy deals like 4 mile island, the only tickets that were honored were people who booked tickets to travel that week. Luckily there were DDFers who were able to drop everything and fly in first class around the world for just 4 miles.
- Don’t forget to book your baby!
- A common theme that I’ve seen with price mistakes is that people forget to book tickets for their infant children. You need to pay 10% of the normal fare for the privilege of holding your child on international tickets. My opinion is that you should always buy a seat and have a carseat for your infant just like you would in a car. But even if that is normally cost prohibitive, when you are getting a tickets to Israel for just $350, surely you should book a seat for the infant rather than pay for the right to hold the infant.
- Sometimes websites won’t allow infants or kids to book a ticket. The date of birth on a ticket isn’t actually matched up with anything, so I’ve been known to add 100 years to the age of my kids when I need to and I’ve never run into any issues.
- When our kids were under a year old they went on a plane in their Chicco Keyfit 30 while we gate checked the UppaBaby Vista that pushed the carseat to the plane. Now we use 2 GoGoBabyz Travelmates, which we use to make it easy to push Rafi in an Evenflo Maestro travel carseat and Talia in a Cosco Scenara travel carseat.
- Don’t use fly-by-night online travel agencies.
- There are always reports of people who book glitches on various fly-by-night online travel agencies that wind up getting cancelled even when everyone else has their tickets honored. The reason for that is that many of those agencies don’t have instant ticketing, so those bookings were cancelled. This often happens with the smaller online travel agencies and is why I don’t recommend using them. I haven’t seen any reports of people who booked tickets from Priceline or Orbitz being cancelled in those situations.
- A common acronym found on the DansDeals Forums is PGFHGS, or pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Ordering a few items on a price mistake won’t raise any flags and your order may ship, but ordering hundreds of items in one order means that the order is unlikely to be honored and it may ruin for others as well.
- Browse incognito.
- If a deal isn’t working for you, open an incognito browser window and try again. You can use the setting menu in your browser to open one up, or in Chrome you can click Ctrl+Shift+N to open one.
- Mobile browser/desktop browser.
- Sometimes a deal will only work on a desktop browser or will only work on a mobile browser. If you’re on a mobile device you can go into your browser menu and click “Request desktop site” if your mobile browser isn’t working and you don’t have access to a computer.
- Follow @DansDeals on Twitter.
- Every day I get mail from email subscribers about missing deals and I get dozens of emails when there’s a big deal. The email digest is just a roundup of the previous day’s deals, if you want real time alerts you’ll want to follow @DansDeals on Twitter and have Twitter send you a text message whenever a new deal is posted. Once you’re signed up you never have to go onto Twitter again if you don’t want to. You can also send an SMS to 40404 with the text: follow @DansDeals for instant alerts, but that won’t allow you to customize alerts like Twitter to block messages during specified hours, etc.
- Join DDF
- Many great deals are posted on the DansDeals Forums before they are posted on DansDeals.com, so it’s always a good idea to check there for the latest deals. Besides for deals, DDF is also an amazing resource for planning a trip, questions about credit cards, and much more.
- Create your own free trip!
- I don’t get as excited as some people over fare glitches. I’ve been playing the mileage game for over 15 years, earning tens of millions of miles and points over that time period. Those miles allow me to travel the world on my own terms and in the cabin I want. You can read some of those trip reports here. I’m still sitting on a ton of miles and it’s not because I’m a hoarder. Just last year alone I burned through 2.5 million miles. I’ve flown around the world countless times in private first class suites with miles earned from the credit card and mileage game. And I still have a top-notch 810+ FICO score.
You can view credit card offers by hovering over the “Credit Cards” tab. You can then click on “Credit Cards From All Banks“ to find card offers via the logo of the bank you’re looking for.
You can also learn more about my favorite hobby by clicking on the credit card and points menus on the top of this site or by browsing the DansDeals Forums to search and read about strategies.
Once you have the miles you can read through posts like Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints.
What are some of the best deals you’ve nabbed over the years? What other rules would you add to this list? Hit the comments!