Luxury Link Ceases Operations: Customers Paid for Hotels, May Be Out of Luck

As discussed on Tripadvisor and on Flyertalk, Luxury Link has ceased operations.

Effective immediately, Luxury Link LLC aka Luxury Link Travel Group has ceased all operations and entered into a General Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC), following which all of its assets will be sold. As a result, Luxury Link will not be able to honor the travel you have booked through it. We suggest you contact your credit card issuer for your options regarding any charges to your credit card. You may also want to contact the destination property directly to see what arrangement you can make with it. As Luxury Link is no longer operating, it will be unable to assist you in rearranging your travel plans or obtain a refund.

At this time the Luxury Link website makes no mention of this. In fact, they appear to still be taking reservations even though they have indicated they don’t intend to fulfill them:

I called Luxury Link for clarification but their voice mailbox was full.

Hotels don’t get paid right away when you make a booking through a third party like Luxury Link. Luxury Link has your money, and will pay later. Only they aren’t going to do that in this case. They just have your money.

Your only recourse is to dispute the charge with your credit card company. And how far in advance you made a booking may affect whether this strategy will work or not.

While a given credit card company may accept a disputed charge after this, your legal right to dispute a charge for a service not provided ceases 60 days after bill on which the charge appeared was mailed to you.

So technically someone booking more than 60-90 days out may no longer have the right to dispute the charge for their booking. They could have paid for accommodations, never be provided those accommodations, and still be out the cash.

There are people departing on trips now who expect to have accommodations which have already been paid for. They may be out of luck, or at least may need to pay again. In this case, a hotel may at least be willing to work with a guest — they want to get paid something for the stay, but may understand that the guest really shouldn’t have to pay double for it.

I don’t like paying for goods or services more than two months in advance of fulfillment precisely because I lose the right to dispute the charge in the event of non-fulfillment. That’s true not just for hotels, but for any purchase. It doesn’t mean I won’t do it — just that I need to be aware of the risks when making the decision.

I’d still suggest of course that anyone with a Luxury Link booking contact their credit card company, even if they’re outside the statuatory limits, because they still may accept the dispute.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I don’t like paying for goods or services more than two months in advance of fulfillment

    Except for buying miles, right?

  2. Very disappointing. Also, the situation raises further questions, because LuxuryLink has some sort of relationship with Vacationist, which in turn has a relationship with Secret Escapes. I have used all three sites in the past with great success. I currently have a booking with Secret Escapes, so I’ll be watching the fallout from this with interest!

  3. Oh, and the “about us” page on LuxuryLink.com has a pop-up indicating they also run Gilt Travel. So that’s at least four discount third-party luxury travel sites that may be affected.

  4. Should be able to dispute with credit card company for 60 days following failure to deliver the service (i.e. the travel accommodation), as opposed to 60 days following the date the credit card was charged (?).

  5. Spoke with AMEX (Platinum Card) and they have issued a ‘permanent’ credit for two packages I had purchased. Spoke with both hotels involved and they have agreed to let me purchase the same deeply discounted rates for the reservations I had made through Luxury Link. Nice gesture from management at both hotels.

    I had been a consumer with Luxury Link since 2003 and enjoyed some fabulous destinations.

    I’ll miss being about to do business with them going forward.

  6. In April I booked our 17th trip through Luxury Link. We were never disappointed and loved every single property. Hopefully the owners of this last booking will work with us but luckily I am within the 60 days.

    Luxury Link, so very sorry and disappointed. Plus, we’ve now lost all the money in unused gift cards!!

  7. Thanks for breaking the news! (at least to me)

    You may be right Gary, but until now, I would have agreed with @Pete (i.e., 60 days from failure to provide service).

  8. Unfortunately I used my Citibank card to book my next trips. Has anyone had any dealings with them? I have put it in dispute but I am not in the 60 day billing window and wish I had used my AMEX platinum as someone has had success with them honoring the charges. Any suggestions appreciated.

  9. sad news. we had several previous stays through them. in the past couple of years, they seemed to switch totally away from their original, auction-based, business model. Now they were posturing as a luxury travel agency. That’s where they lost us.

    Although the original auction model was great for customers. Repeating auctions meant that a savvy bidder could win with one bid. (dirt cheap) Obviously not sustainable if no “upbid” ever occurred.

  10. A shame. I first bought from LL in 2002. Perhaps other upstarts – living social, groupon, etc., may have intruded, but I think that, at bottom, their audience did not have the stomach for uncertain dates for their traditional auctions. The manager at Wentworth Mansion in Charleston explained to me that auction prices were not worthwhile fro them. That has been 12 years, and what was once an auction oriented site slowly morphed into a quasi-luxury-travel-agency.

    But I am troubled that when they sell a package, they do not pay the provider with dispatch. This is NOT a tour, where the consumer might conceive that the provider might go belly up prior to settling up with the provider. Rather, they sold discrete packages where the consumer should believe that LL pays the property in short order.

    The legal rights, along with what LL actually represented, might be buried in the terms and conditions, but I am left to wonder how their practices square with consumer protection laws of California, where they are based.

  11. So sorry to hear this. I had so many wonderful trips through winning bids (often the only bid) on their auctions — 3 stays with a dozen close friends at a castle in the Maremma, a week with 3 friends at the Ferragamo compound in Tuscany (and the family was there for a wedding at their village church!), a pampered solo stay at an elegant hotel in the south of France, a 3-day stay at a spa in the Veneto — best was 4 nights with my daughter and 2 grandkids at a newly opened palazzo hotel on the Grand Canal (anybody who frequented the auctions probably knows exactly which places I’m talking about). I will sure miss those opportunities.

  12. So disappointing. I have had many great experiences with LL and was able to take a couple of vacations that would have otherwise been outside my budget.

    Just FYI, the website appears to still be functional but it does error out if you try to buy a package.

  13. I was relieved to discover that I do not have a booking with Secret Escapes, as I thought, but rather with Jetsetter, which does not seem to have any affiliation with this mess. I have sent an email to Secret Escapes asking for clarification about the relationship between Luxury Link, Vacationist and Secret Escapes. Personally, for the time being, I won’t be booking with Vacationist or Secret Escapes until I get a straight answer from them.

  14. A few years ago I purchased a spa getaway for my wife, well when she decided to redeem it we found out the original company was purchased by another & they would not honor the certificate. I called Amex explained what happened & they credited me back my full purchase. The time period from purchase to when I called, 13 months. If I were affected by this company going out of business I would call regardless of any timeframe. Hope this info helps.

  15. Jane, I booked my stay using a Citibank MasterCard and they stated that my 90 days window has passed…I’m still waiting a little longer to understand the situation and try again…if the failure to provide the service is the mark, then there is a discussion point!

  16. FlyerTalk has locked its thread on this topic and TripAdvisor has removed the linked discussion thread. There is still at least one thread on TA regarding Luxury Link but most of the posts have been removed. So right now the only place those affected can discuss their situation without being shut down, is here and on the Luxury Link Facebook page.

    I have no dog in this hunt but the situation incenses me. I really feel for all those honeymooners who are being screwed – and based on the posts I’ve seen, there are a lot of them.

    This morning I received the response below from Secret Escapes, regarding its relationship with Luxury Link. It doesn’t reassure me enough to make me comfortable with booking through Vacationist or Secret Escapes at this point.

    Dear Mary,

    Thanks you for your email.

    I understand that the news of Luxury Link has ended its business would make you nervous to make a new booking.

    Past Secret Escapes bookings made through Luxury Link will all be honored and have never been in danger. The vacationist brand will continue to exist and we are able to take new bookings through the website without problems. Any sales that were dependent on Luxury Link have been taken off the Secret Escapes website, so you do not have to worry about paying for something with a company that does not operate any more.

    I hope this eases your mind, but if you have any further questions, please let me know.

  17. Last week, I just used my last Luxury Link package. I got the email about Luxury Link’s closing as I was driving to the resort. I called the resort, and they said there was no problem with the package. Obviously, LL had paid them. I had absolutely no issues, and the resort ended up being better than expected as most of my purchases on the site.

    I really loved the site before they went over to a more agency, less auction site, though it was still one of the best sites to find a vacation on. Hopefully, someone will take it over. That may be the reason why the site hasn’t been taken down as of yet.

  18. We paid for a honeymoon for our Son and daughter-in-law in January. They were married this past Friday, June 5th. On June 3rd I received an email from the resort indicating that they never received monies from Luxury Link. The resort would still guarantee their reservation but my Son would have to pay for the trip when he arrives in Cozumel TODAY!! As crazy as this sounds I am glad I received the email from the resort within a few days of their wedding. We gave our Son the funds so we could pay for the trip again!!! My husband and I have used Luxury Link 6-8 times over the past few years and absolutely loved the service.
    Luxury Link should have done the right thing by it’s loyal customers and at least emailed them letting them know of their financial mishaps. I am grateful I received notice from the resort vs. my Son getting the shock of his life with his new wife and not having the monies to pay for the trip…NIGHTMARE averted.

  19. I took two LL trips in May of this year just as all of this was happening. I was very lucky indeed but I am still heartbroken about their demise. I have taken over 15 trips through LL over the last 12 years and they were always terrific.
    Their exit was not classy.

  20. I paid $2k for a reservation in Mexico from June 16-20, LL took my money and I had to pay the hotel again when I arrived in Mexico. It ruined my vacation, I booked it and paid in March and they never told me anything. I also logged onto the site two days before I left and my reservation was shown as paid and booked. The hotel told me LL canceled it in May. Nice of them to call the hotel and not me!

  21. as a former employee of luxury link i can provide some insight. the company hired a new ceo in november 2012, scott morrow. he did not understand the business. he made a lot of reckless decisions. in 2 years he bankrupted the company. i suspect there was foul play and corporate malfeasance similar to enron. i am 99% sure the ceo, the cfo and board members played a role in taking money from customers diverting it to themselves instead of paying the hotels. i don’t have proof but if i could examine their financial records i’m sure i could prove criminal behavior.

  22. I just received an email from Luxury link posting hotels and resorts. Are they back in business?
    http://www.luxurylink.com/5star

    I too booked through them and had to pay the hotel directly on arrival as they did not pay them. I put through a dispute with me credit card company and hopefully it it be resolved.

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