Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Luxury Link (in which I book a very affordable vacation, even by my standards)

If you love vacations and/or traveling AND saving money while you do either, this post is for you.

However. If you dislike blatant pleas for referrals, this post is most definitely not for you. Consider this a bonus post that you can skip with my blessing.

(Having this blog has lowered my standards. Before, I would never spam my friends. But now? Pssssh. I have no problem with it.)

Especially when it is for a great site that I love and can actually recommend since we’ve used it a few times.

Grand Rapids friends/lovers of the city: read on to the very end. I’ll make it worth your while.

So. Everybody knows about Groupon and LivingSocial. Both are good sites for cheap travel packages. But, over the last few years, I’ve noticed that the selection is kinda, well, meh. It’s always the same hotels posting the same packages, and none of them are deals that I would place in the category of incredible. We’ve used LivingSocial for a hotel stay (on our honeymoon, woot!) and it was a good experience but not great. But note: I have high standards when it comes to hotels. Especially when it comes to how they smell.

Man. My “italicize” button is getting a workout in this post.

HOWEVER. There is a better option that Groupon/LivingSocial. And that would be LuxuryLink.

Ken and I used this site when we went booked part of our honeymoon. Our 3-night package came with a free $100 credit to their fancy bistro and a free bottle of wine at dinner. And that was in addition to the bottle of wine we got in our suite (yes, I said suite, not “room”).

Here’s Ken’s awkward dinner picture. See more awkward honeymoon outtakes here, if you really want to.

Ken and his rack of lamb

Now. Let me just take a sec to highlight our most recent LuxuryLink purchase.

Ken and Anne like to go to Chicago on occasion. Usually we just go for a day trip, because that’s all we can afford.

But earlier this week I purchased a package from LuxuryLink (at auction, which I’ll explain later) for a hotel that is just off Michigan Ave. It’s right next to Gino’s East pizza, in fact.

Can I just stress the fact that this prime* (*in our minds, not for everyone!) hotel location is not normally in our budget?

Here’s the details.

I purchased a package at auction for a total of $254 to MileNorth Hotel.

For 2 nights in Nov.-Jan. (regularly $209/night for a total of $418).

With complimentary valet parking included (regularly $52/night for a total of $104).

Plus the package came with a $25 dining credit to their restaurants,

and best part: all taxes are included.

We should have spent something like $575 (not sure what taxes are, so I estimated they’d be around $30 at least).

But with LuxuryLink, we spent a mere $254That’s a savings of $321. I think even Dave Ramsey would approve.

Hang with me for just a bit longer; I want to explain how the auctions work. First: the background. Hotels can offer either a buy-it-now option or an auction option (or both). I’d always recommend going with the auction option…set your high bid for what you’d at most pay for the package, and the site will automatically bid you up to that point and then email you if you’re outbid after that. HOWEVER. I’ve never had anyone challenge me and have gotten each of our LL packages for the MINIMUM BID. Sheer luck? Perhaps. Or this is just an awesome site. Note: if you do get outbid, don’t sweat it. I’ve noticed that the hotels offer packages back to back to back frequently, so just wait a day and try again when the other mythical bidder isn’t warring against you.

NOW THE BEST PART: you can get $50 of credit by using my referral link. EVEN BETTER: You can get an additional $50 off your first purchase when you sign up for their daily emails (just go to the homepage of LL; the form is on the right). That’s $100! However. There is a $40 handling fee that bums me out. But still. You can get great deals regardless.

Right now, there is a hotel deal for the AMWAY GRAND in Grand Rapids (it’s pretty nice & stuff). The minimum bid for the hotel is $186 for 2 nights. GO! RUN! But don’t all bid against each other because that would mean my friends are wasting money and we can’t have that.

The Chicago deal Kenny and I just bought is still available too. Search around a bit, and let me know what you find. Have fun!

Has anyone else used LuxuryLink? Has anyone else sold their soul to get referral credit (raises hand sheepishly)? I’d love to hear your stories!!!