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In case you’ve missed earlier posts, Upside is a new travel tool that aims to disrupt the business travel market by incentivizing travelers to choose options that save their companies money.
OMAAT readers have had selected access to the various beta versions for a few months now, but Upside officially opened to the public last week, and now includes domestic bookings as well. To celebrate, One Mile at a Time readers can get a guaranteed $200 in gift cards on their upcoming bookings.
What is Upside?
Fundamentally, Upside works by encouraging business travelers to capitalize on their flexibility. The premise is that you might be willing to take a connecting flight, or stay a block away from the conference if there was something in it for you.
Of course, that connecting flight is likely less expensive, and Upside might have been able to negotiate a great rate with that other hotel, so they’re able to offer competitive pricing on their packages, while still rewarding travelers with gift cards. They have a video that sums it up nicely:
I’ve written extensively about Upside previously, so if you have further questions as to how the tool works you’ll want to check those out:
- Upside: The Travel App That Rewards You For Saving Money
- 9 Answers To Upside Travel Questions
- The New Business Travel Tool Is Here, But Is It Any Good?
Is Upside a good deal?
Now, as I’ve said from the beginning, Upside isn’t for everyone. The model is geared towards business travelers, but not as much for extreme road-warriors or those with highly-managed travel policies at big companies. Leisure travelers can likely do better elsewhere if they have time to hunt for deals.
For those at smaller companies, however, Upside could be a good fit. For folks who don’t care about hotel elite status, and don’t travel frequently enough to maximize benefits through credit cards, the gift cards could be a nice perk.
Speaking of gift cards, OMAAT readers will get a guaranteed $200 in gift cards on all purchases until February 28th of this year. You don’t have to travel by then, but the 28th will be the last day to book with the $200 guarantee. Just use the promo code “OMAAT” when making your booking.
Given that the packages are competitively priced for what they are (i.e., not something that is maximizing every possible elite or credit card benefit), the $200 in gift cards make this a potentially very nice deal.
I like the concept of Upside, so it’s nice to see the public launch, and the inclusion of domestic travel packages.
They’ve bitten off quite a bit here, so I have some empathy for the slow-roll out. Hopefully the extended trial period has given them a chance to build best practices surrounding things like changes and cancellations.
In general, Upside seems to be delivering both the traveler incentives and the savings that they’ve promised. The packages I’ve priced have all been competitive, and there are definitely people who will value the one-stop-shop approach.
So if you’ve been wondering about Upside, now is a good time to look at some packages. The $200 gift card minimum is certainly a nice incentive!
Have you booked a trip through Upside yet? How did it go?