Thursday, March 8, 2018

Air Deal Email Alerts- Yay or Nay?: Scott's Cheap Flights, AirfareWatchDog

So, I, like you, love a good deal. And so when looking for travel arrangements and so on, or even for just a good reason to travel like a price too good to pass, I signed up for a few email blasts about deals, mistake fares and so on. Two that I joined that had great recommendations were AirfareWatchDog and Scott's Cheap Flights. Both boast savings of hundreds, blah blah but I wanted to see for myself.  Granted, it's only been a month at each of these, maybe a touch more, so I haven't booked from them or tried to yet. But I get roughly 20-30 emails a week JUST from these two lists. It's overwhelming. And spammy.
Scott's Cheap Flights: I might not ever book from them because they don't tailor anything without a long set-up process. You can set an alert or hope that your computer cache collects info, but basically they just send you deals from any place to any place unless you do that frustratingly repetitive process of tailoring a free site to suit your needs. As you know, I'm in Detroit. We have a pretty big airport. So I can hope on a flight to Europe or Asia if I wanted (and I do). But with Scott's, their emails are mostly flight deals, yes, but having nothing to do with my preferences or even my airport. So yes, an RT flight to China for $693 is a great deal BUT not if I have to spend $350 to fly to Chicago or Atlanta to catch it. Ya know? But I guess the nice thing is that right in the header it lets you know if there are extra fees for bags and such. But still, I like a good hunt when it's my own creation and I will possibly stay on this list just in case, but honestly, it's a lot of emails. It is posted that the free list like I have only gets a THIRD of the emails that the paid premium list gets! I legit just got another email as I was typing this paragraph.
and.....?
Another annoying thing- in EVERY email it pushes you to sign up for their paid premium  subscription ( $5/Month, $25/6 Mos, $39/Yr). I get it, it's a business and they need money to operate, but spamming me with flights I can't even get to without another RT flight because Detroit Metro is not on your radar and then telling me how much money someone ELSE saved? It just makes me feel more bothered than anything. I don't understand how I can get 4 emails a day and it's still telling me I'm missing out on anything. It also does me no good to know that the company saved a random amount of people a random amount of money. It's like when Wish or RoseGal sites say that they slashed a price of a jacket that cost $58 down to $6. Did it REALLY cost that much to begin with or is that just what you SAY to look irresistible? Because, honestly, if you're sending me this much garbage I can't really think that you actually CARE about saving me anything, you just want me to use your snake oil. I want to like Scott though- he seems adventurous and really into what he's saying and I think for a business guy he really believes he is helping people, and I can get behind that I guess. He has a few books out that I may see if my local library offers and go from there. So this is still a maybe.

Airfare Watch Dog: They're just a spammy as Scott, maybe even more. I get 3-5 emails a day from this group- fare deals, tips on traveling, trip watch alerts, hotel deals I never signed up for, etc. The plus here is that it is location based most of the time. So it's not showing me arbitrary deals from San Fran to Sydney or something, they're mostly deals I can cash in on without having to fly to the airport I fly from for the actual trip. Mostly. You can sign up for trip alerts that let you know if something you're looking for changes in price, they say. But it's hopeless because you open the email and get an alert about checking to see if price dropped that you click on and it opens another page. Then that page opens a page to an airfare calculator list thing and you basically are RE-researching your own flight listings all over again just to see if they went down via 15 other pages. So, this list that is supposed to save you time and effort looking for trip deals basically just makes more work for you. I can't recommend joining unless you are someone who gets excited by receiving junk mail simply because it's not a bill. I can't see this email list as being helpful considering the amount of muck you need to swim through just to find something useful. It'd be easier to pick a vacation and research it for yourself than hope that Watchdog will send you something worth seeing. Either way, though, you're still spending hours poring over websites thought the email links. I've had enough. I'm breaking up with Watchdog.
This is the alert I got for cheaper hotels in Key West for a flight not even leaving from Detroit that i didn't book. It's not a link to a good deal. It's a gimmick trying to get you to open all affiliate links and make you angry. There were 12 hotels on the list that I would have to test individually to check prices. And $5 off a $200+ room is NOT a deal, guys, ok?

All in all both of these lists are of course spam. Scott's boasts the best deals and mistake fares and really makes you think you're getting in on something special but I'm here to remind you that if you join a free email list from a Facebook blast- it's not anything special just for you. Their website does make you feel a little thrilled, though, until you remember that that is what businesses are supposed to do. They WILL ask you for money to be further "helped" but if the free emails are already trash-worthy I can't imagine paying $39 a year just to delete 97% of the emails. Watchdog just sends too much. Neither of them reflect well on individual tastes without spending that hard earned cash, and honestly, a monthly payment for spam is just not worth the trouble, even if it is small. When it comes down to it, I have a job that I like and a lifestyle that isn't built for pick up and go travel whenever I feel like it. I have to be choosy. So paying to be a part of a handful of lists that urge me to book flights within 48 hours of the deal or miss out do not make financial sense for someone like me to keep joining. These lists are better for nomads and couples who make their money on the road. Also, I am a curmudgeon. I want kids off my lawn, junkmail right in the recycle bin and don't like anybody tying to pull my leg to make a buck or waste my time.

Have you tried either of these lists and have differing opinions? Let me know below! I'm always down for some good app and alert list tips as well, so if you know of anyone one worth a darn let me know about that as well.

As always, be kind to one another.

26 comments:

  1. Interesting....this is some great information that I never knew of. I don't like spam so it's important to find sites that will offer you real information and not waste your time. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. Thank you for the information. I’ve never joined either of this lists or any thing really that offers deals for traveling. I mostly get my information through my jetblue emails. I get enough emails from them I don’t think I would want to join something that is sending me emails 3-5 times a day.

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  3. I've only ever signed up for Kayak flight alerts before because I was watching a flight. I'd consider these too! thanks for sharing :)

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  4. really appreciate the honest review. I've heard of both of these but hadn't used them - now I won't!

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  5. Always appreciate an honest review! I tend to not join the alerts because I hate all the emails, good to know I haven't been missing out!

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  6. I am so glad I come across your post, I am planning my vacation now, thanks for sharing.

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  7. I am always looking for airline deals, but NOT at the cost you have mentioned -- annoying, deceptive, spammy stuff. Thanks for steering me away from them!

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  8. I have mixed feeling on airfarewatchdog... I get emails for exciting prices and it is never for the dates I wanted

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    1. Yeah it will say hey the price went down- you just have to alter your plans entirely and not want to bring any luggage!

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  9. thanks for the introduction to the great products and deals. I believe I will be checking into them after reading this post email is so important

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  10. I've never tried either of these, but we live in Houston and there is a website called escapehouston.com and my husband has signed up for their emails. I also have used the Hopper app which I like because I only go to it when I want to look for deals.

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  11. I do not sign up for anything email wise unless it's very specific to me and what I need/want. I don't think I could handle the amount of emails I'd have to go through just to find a good one. But then again, the savings are probably worth it.

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  12. Hi Kate! I really love your writing and your blog so I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Check it out on my blog here: https://bububackpacks.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/liebster-award/

    Also, I have mixed feelings about flight / travel deal email lists. I was signed up for a bunch about a year ago while I was working and it did help me find some good deals, but I'm not sure if it actually ended up helping me save money in the long term because I traveled more than I otherwise would have. Eventually, it was just stressing me out with having all the places I could go if only I had the time to travel repeatedly bombarding me in my inbox so I had to unsubscribe, but it's definitely useful to know where to find the deals when I do have the opportunity to travel again!

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    1. Thanks, Hanna!!
      Yeah, since posting that I have gotten 15 new emails SORT OF about a trip I was looking into to see my brother in Florida- but none matched the days I had set. Like, it's not a deal on a trip I looked up if it's not the same place or dates I was looking up! I don't need 5 emails about a trip I hadn't booked.

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  13. These are great tips. Thank you so much for this information. That is so helpful.

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  14. I truly love how this article being written.I really find it so great and engaging.

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  15. I always have different flights on alert just in case. Great tips here!

    April

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  16. I don't travel often but I am no stranger to all those email alerts! I can't tell you how many different email newsletters I get signed up for without my knowledge when I enter giveaways!

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  17. Ok so I have signed up for the watch dog one, but I'm not that thrilled. I haven't tried the other one. My friend Miki uses a good one I need to ask her about.

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  18. I hate spam. :-( Not sure if I'd try either of these because of that!

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  19. I try really hard not to sign up for email lists like this but somehow I always do. I hate being bombarded!

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  20. My husband and I both LOVE Scott's Cheap Flights! Found an amazing deal to Tokyo through them. I'm also constantly watching their Paris and London flights for an upcoming trip. We also use Dollar Flight Club, they are equally as good.

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  21. This is interesting and very well written with great photos as well.

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  22. Interesting! I'll have to check it out next time I book a flight. :)

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