Bing travel wants to get your (and my) attention.
I’ll admit, I hadn’t paid them much mind before, I’m used to searching with ITA Software and with Kayak, booking directly through an airline site or with Expedia or Orbitz if need be. I often find that Orbitz is good for putting together complex multi-carrier itienraries, and depending on the carrier they may be updating inventory at a lag from other sites, so Expedia or Orbitz might be cheaper on any given itinerary on occasion.
So I was surprised to find that Bing seemed very much in the tradition of Kayak, the site I’ve recommended most often to non-experts for search for travel. Very good to know!
So how did they get my attention and now yours?
They’ve laid out their summer travel forecast and have quite an offer to promote it.
Here’s what they say about overall air and hotel pricing:
The average airfare to domestic destinations is up 22% from 2009 and 4% higher than 2008 fares, averaging $303 per ticket. But don’t kill the messenger – you can still save big with your hotel stay!And they actually provide some reasonable advice on booking summer travel, not the fanciful made up stuff that you get out of most commentators but advice on using alternate airports (and an implication would be add a train or European discounter segment if you need it) and to book the best deal you can now rather than waiting. Nothing new for the expert, but sound nonetheless for general guidance.
On average, premium hotel rates in domestic destinations are down 10% over 2009, averaging $166 per night. Choosing the right destination this summer could allow you to make up for higher airfares. Some destinations we recommend considering are Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Honolulu, San Diego, and New York City, where hotel rates are down considerably and can help reduce your overall trip cost.
So what are they offering exactly? Money. Serioously. Bing-branded prepaid Mastercards. They’ve sent me 100 $15 cards. I’m going to package them as (20) prizes of 5 cards apiece. Which means there will be (20) winners receiving $75 each.
These prepaid Mastercards say “15 Dollars / Bag Fee on Bing.com” but I know many of my readers are elites whose baggage fees are waived. Use the cash for whatever you’d like.
Personally, I love keeping low-dollar prepaid cards around, for (1) free trial signup offers that require a credit card and (2) for testing out bidding on Priceline when I don’t want to play the incorrect security code trick. And I’ve also been known link debit cards to my Paypal account and shoot the balance over to my wife. Or just load up my Starbucks card.
There are (2) ways to enter:
- Visit Bing’s summer travel forecast and post a comment here on this blog post answering the question where will you go this summer?. 15 winners will be chosen at random from these entries. Only one entry per person.
- Follow @garyleff and @Fareologist on twitter and tweet
- RT this and follow @garyleff and @fareologist to win actual CA$H http://tinyurl.com/vftw-bing
5 winners will be chosen at random from these entries. Only one entry per person.
Enter once using either or both methods no later than Tuesday, May 11 at noon Eastern time.
Very generous of the folks at Bing Travel, and as always I pass the goodies on to you!