Free Flights to Vegas, New York and Cancun?

Photo: Amazing Travel Bargains: Computer glitches and promotions lead to great deals

Matthew Klint might have just landed one of the best travel deals ever.

Next month, Klint, his brother and his uncle are all flying to Las Vegas and staying in two rooms at a five-star hotel. The total cost: $44. Throw in a $200 food and drink credit and they are actually making $156 off the trip.

How did Klint score such a deal? The 24-year-old Philadelphia law student saw a promotion -- possibly an error -- on Expedia's Canadian website and snagged it quickly.

Then he started booking other trips for friends and family. Ultimately, Klint purchased 15 tickets, most of them for free.

"I always recommend to people: book now and ask questions later," said Klint, who also has a blog about flying called Live and Let's Fly.

A few hours after Klint booked the tickets, Expedia caught the error and changed its promotion requiring all trips to start in Canada.

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Savvy travelers had caught on to a promotion where Expedia was offering $300 off any air and hotel package to Cancun, New York or Las Vegas. The deal was originally supposed to be just for Canadian travelers and aimed at longer vacations. But deal watchers saw it and word spread quickly on the Internet.

Besides his one-night Vegas trip, Klint is taking two mileage runs from his parents' house in Los Angeles to New York, just to get the frequent flier miles needed to re-qualify for elite status next year. The cost: completely free.

"This deal was so lucrative. There was no minimum stay," he said. "It just seems that Expedia dropped the ball and should have put a minimum night requirement."

Expedia declined several requests for an interview and only would say that it is honoring all bookings.

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Gary Leff, who runs the blog View From the Wing and re-posted the Expedia offer, said such deals come around from time to time but travelers need to act fast.

"They're usually human glitches, working with computers," Leff said. "They seem to happen every so often. But not as often as they used to."

While they might not be as frequent, thanks to social media and the Internet the number of travelers taking advantage of such deals seems to have grown.

Some favorites that Leff has taken advantage of have involved currency conversion issues.

Le Méridien Hotels in Thailand priced its rooms once in Ugandan shillings. Leff got a $1,500 a night, 3,100-square-foot presidential villa for 60 cents.

And there was a buy two nights, get the third free -- plus breakfast -- offer.

The hotel realized its mistake, but gave him the room for $50 a night, with the third one free.

When Hilton took over Starwood properties in French Polynesia, somebody improperly typed in the currency code. CFP, is the proper code for the franc in French Polynesia. But CDF -- the code entered into the reservation system -- is the official currency of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rooms were being offered at only 10 percent of the price.

Airlines also make mistakes and tend to honor such errors.

"Hotels are more iffy," Leff said. "Sometimes, you win, sometimes you lose."

Most often, these deals come when something gets entered into a computer incorrectly, said Rick Seaney, CEO of airfare-search site and an columnist.

For instance, a couple of years ago, United was trying to match Southwest fares. By mistake, somebody set Southwest's one-way fares as United's roundtrip prices.

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