This past weekend I blogged about a $200 off coupon at Travelocity for air and hotel vacation packages of at least three days. You could book the hotel in a separate city from the air travel meaning that there were amazing deals to be had. Some folks found hotels in South or Central Asia that were about $10 a night, yielding $170 off airfare using the coupon.
The deal had been around for several weeks and was in its last days when it became publicly known.
The terms and conditions said:
The promotional code (the Promo Code) for $200 is valid between 12:01 a.m. Central Time on July 2, 2012 and 11:59 p.m. Central Time on August 4, 2012 (the Promotion Period) or until it reaches the redemption limit of 3,500 redemptions.
The Promo Code is valid only for qualifying purchases made on the Site. A qualifying purchase means a three-night or longer Hotel+Flight Vacation Package which is offered on the Site during the Promotion Period. Travel dates must be between July 2,2012 and December 31, 2012.
Qualifying Hotel+Flight Vacation Package purchase requires a minimum spend of $200 and should be booked immediately following your qualifying air booking.
To redeem the Promo Code, you simply type NFB2012 into the Promotional Code field on the Checkout Review Page of the Site, and $200 will be automatically deducted from the final price of your qualifying Hotel+Flight Vacation Package .
You may only redeem the Promo Code once and only during the Promotion Period.
You may not redeem or exchange the Promo Code for cash. You may not use or combine the Promo Code with any other promotional codes. If lost or stolen, the Promo Code will not be replaced.
Travelocity prohibits posting the Promo Code on the Internet or any public forum, or forwarding the Promo Code to any other person.
In the event of any violation of these Terms & Conditions, Travelocity reserves all of the rights and remedies available to Travelocity including charging your credit card for the amount of the Promo Code not to exceed $200, canceling your reservation without a refund to you, and all other remedies available to Travelocity.
TRAVELOCITY MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO PROMOTIONAL CODES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN THE EVENT A PROMO CODE IS NOT FUNCTIONAL, YOUR SOLE REMEDY, AND THE SOLE LIABILITY OF TRAVELOCITY SHALL BE THE REPLACEMENT OF THE NON-FUNCTIONING PROMO CODE.
Travelocity reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions from time to time in its sole discretion.
The terms said they reserved the right to cancel reservations that were booked outside of these terms and conditions. But as far as I can tell, everyone with a successful booking complied with the terms and conditions.
Recently you booked a vacation package at http://www.travelocity.com using the promo code NFB2012. Based on our review of the details of your reservation, we have determined that you were not eligible to use the promo code and, therefore, we have cancelled your reservation.
If you received the promo code when you attended the 2012 National Federation of the Blind National Convention in Dallas, and feel you have received this message in error, please contact us at 1-866-211-1731.
Travelocity Customer Care Team
Except that nowhere in the terms and conditions does it say that one would have to have received the promo code by attending a Dallas event.
And in fact, that wasn’t Travelocity’s position when the coupon was introduced. They even tweeted publicly about it! Here’s a Google cache of their tweet:
(And while it was clearly intended for members of the National Federation of the Blind, the terms and conditions did not so limit it,and many folks who read about the deal here joined the NFB concomitantly.)
Reports in the comments of my original post suggest that reservations are actually still intact, though Travelocity has indicated their intention to cancel them.
It will be interesting indeed to see how this plays out.
Update: Here’s the link to the original Tweet above from NFB_Voice, which the graphic suggests to me was re-tweeted by Travelocity.
Update 2: It just gets stranger and stranger. Travelocity seems to be sending out cancelling emails indicating that they aren’t providing full refunds, but rather imposing a cancellation fee. That has to be an error on their end. I wouldn’t get too worked up about those emails just yet!
Update 3: Funniest thing of all? It looks like the promotion code is working again! Perhaps after cancelling reservations they are back below the maximum usage cap for the discount. And it was supposed to be valid through August 5, after all…