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Friday, July 12th 2024

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YOW." - Chris Myden

Don't fall for the '$128 for 2 roundtrip flights' OneStopTravel scam

Over the past little while, I've had a lot of people ask me about a deal they've seen pop up on a variety of those 'daily deal' type sites (you know the ones, the Groupon-esque clones that were all the rage last year, and initially had some legitimately great deals but have now all turned into a wasteland of spa treatments and massages you can never get an appointment for).

The offer I'm referring to specifically is the one claiming that you can buy '$128 for 2 roundtrip flights', usually to somewhere like Europe or Hawaii. The offer will claim that this is a '$1100 value' and you're 'saving 90%' off the usual airfare cost.

Here's a real-life example from DealTicker:

You just know there has to be a catch right? Outrageous taxes and fees tacked on? It's true that the airport taxes & fees are not included, but that's not the real catch here. Let's take a look at the terms & conditions...

The key part to this scam (it doesn't deserve to be called a 'deal') is that you also *must* book your accommodations through the website specified (usually escapetheordinaryonline.com) and that you're required to purchase a minimum number of nights.

People that fall for this scam will find themselves forced to book accommodations at rates that are vastly inflated to what the hotel would normally cost. In the end, once they've done the math, they'll find that they actually ended up paying more than they would have had they booked their flights + hotel on their own.

Of course, it's the headline that suckers people in. The headline could read '2 free roundtrip flights' and it would still be a bad deal for you in the end. But of course, that would be a little too obvious that something wasn't right, making people more suspicious before purchasing. Giving it a price like $128 is an attempt to give it an air of legitimacy.

The purveyor of this scam seems to be a company claiming the name of OneStopTravel, apparently based out of Orlando, Florida. Googling around, you won't even find a website for them. Unless it actually is the site located at OneStopTravel.com (I wasn't really sure), in which case, the look of it should set off enough alarm bells already.

The site they force you to book your accommodations through is listed as escapetheordinaryonline.com, and has a contact e-mail address using the domain myholidaybreak.com (another dodgy looking site).

Run, don't walk.

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