Groupon Amazes With a Terrible Deal on an RTW Ticket

Image source: Jezebel.com

In my inbox yesterday I saw the most recent potboiler from Groupon: two around the world tickets  for $10,000* USD offered up by the Sky Team Alliance. This of course came as a surprise to me since my experience with Groupon has only been for offers of a banal assortment of spa treatments, wine tastings and hair salons.

I had no idea Groupon was ready to break into the plane ticket game. And, so it seems, they’re not quite ready to.

I’ll say right up front that, in my opinion, this is not a great deal. As a matter of fact, it’s even possible to save $1000 on a RTW ticket simply by NOT taking this deal.


Leave it up to the airlines to make a grand opening statement then kill it with stipulations. They are as follows:

  • Tax is not included (this can be $750 per person or more for a 10-stop RTW ticket).
  • You can only use Delta, KLM, Air France and Alitalia (there are 15 Sky Team Alliance airlines).
  • You can only fly to cities in the northern hemisphere.
  • You have a maximum of 10 stops.
  • Oh, and they’re giving you a steamer trunk and some funny hats to take with you. Hilarious!

I’ll cut to the chase: if AirTreks were to book a RTW ticket using the carriers the Groupon deal specifies, we could do it for around $3950 including tax and insurance, that’s more than a thousand dollars less after tax, and we throw in a post departure travel insurance policy. That trip would look something like this:

Chicago – New York – London – Amsterdam – Hong Kong – Tokyo –  San Francisco – Chicago

Using other carriers, we could get as low as $3400, including tax and insurance. You could buy a lot of steamer trucks with that savings, plus you’d have travel insurance should those airlines happen to lose one.

There’s an AirTreks special in our quiver called Around the World by Air and Foot that gives so much more. There are 20 cities on this trip, with 7 overland segments, (you get to travel on your own, through the countryside) and it allows travel in any direction, starting and stopping in different cities should you choose to do so, help with your Australian visa, and one-on-one service during the booking process. This trip starts at $5060 including tax and insurance – still cheaper than Groupon’s Sky Team deal.

What your trip would look like after spending $5000 with AirTreks

There are a lot of reason to jump on a round-the-world-ticket. Because a giant deal service gave you a price isn’t one of them. I do hope people take a second to research their options this before they give their money to Groupon and Sky Team. Options abound!

And in this case, I’m sorry Groupon, but you lose. Trying to convince people on fabricated pretenses that what your offer is worthy is just mean. But of course, when all is said and done, at least they’ll have that steamer trunk.

Discover more about the benefits of using AirTreks over the airline alliances.

Have you ever bought a plane ticket through a service like Groupon? How was that experience for you?

8 responses to “Groupon Amazes With a Terrible Deal on an RTW Ticket

    • Thanks for the comment Annie. Yes, it was frustrating for us to see this as well. And while I don’t necessarily think consumers are dumb, I do think they often are ill-informed. I bet Groupon sells a bunch of these (not a ton) simply because people might not know any better. I’d say gullible may be a better word in this case.

  1. I saw that deal yesterday as well. I immediately thought it was overpriced for what you got, but I’m no expert. Good to see that you – the experts – agree. You really have to be careful with such ‘deals’ on anything that has variable pricing.

  2. Nico so glad you wrote this. I had people tempted to pull out credit cards. I knew that pricing was too high for the number of restrictions placed on you. If nothing else Groupon exposed lots of people to the possibilities of round the world travel and now hopefully will take the time to research and get an even better deal.

    • Excellent point, Brian. Groupon’s user base is vast. And for the people who may not have known RTW travel was even an option may have that seed planted in their heads. For that reason I suppose Groupon deserves a hug.

  3. Thank you for the article, very interesting to read, my friend sent me this link as we did discussed if we should consider buying this Groupon deal.

    It was another friend that sent the announcement to me on a Monday to anticipate this deal to come out “sometime on Tuesday”… I contacted my potential travel buddy (Monday afternoon) and she was interested. We agreed to think about it overnight, after all, it is $5000 cash for each of us plus scheduling maybe a month or 2 months off from our busy work. We both came to the same conclusion Tuesday morning that we can do similar for less than $4000 plus it will include all the countries we want to go to.

    I was bugged that the deal didn’t include South America (What kind of an around-the-world trip if it excludes Brazil/Peru?) and Africa (been wanting to see the Safari plus Egypt – when it’s safe to go again); disappointing that it doesn’t cover Aust/NZ as that would be one of the most expensive flights.

    One can get a roundtrip(!) trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flight for about $1000 during off season; the inter-Europe and inter-Asia one-way flights would be in the $300/400 range (same for within the US.) I noticed there is no huge premium for buying OW tickets versus RT these days.

    Anyways, out of curiosity, I did try to see when the deal was going to come on. I was constantly refreshing my screen while I was at work since 8am! I think it was sometime around 2pm, it came back as “sold out” and it indicated they sold 2. TWO!! We were not going to purchase it but it annoyed me that they had two to begin with! It might as well be a lottery.

    I do have to say, I am a huge fan of Groupon… I have bought a lot of restaurant deals, some spa/salon deals, and occasionally gifts and even the GrouponNow deals. I haven’t been disappointed. There were a couple incidents that I wanted to buy some out-of-state hotel deals but it’s confusing to me because you have to buy the deal first and then call the hotel to book… what if they are sold out by the time you call (even if it is a difference of 5 minutes), you can’t get a refund and no one plans a trip around the hotel. That part puzzles me and I see people’s frustration in the Q&A forum so I have been holding off on those kind of deals.

    Again, thanks for the article Nico.

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