Society 19 Travel is a registered trading name used and powered by Secret Escapes Ltd for and on behalf of Society 19

Frequently Asked Questions

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the travel plans of a large number of members. The questions and answers outlined below may help you understand what is a complex and changing situation. Please be reassured that if you have an upcoming booking which is likely to be affected by COVID-19, we will contact you in advance of your departure date.

Secret Escapes is following government guidance across all regions where we offer travel. You can access this guidance here.

What happens if my trip is affected by COVID-19 restrictions?


Most governments now have stringent travel restrictions in place until further notice.

If it becomes likely that your trip will be impossible due to COVID-19, Secret Escapes (or a partner operator responsible for your trip) will contact you to discuss your options. A clear process has been developed to help customers in this situation and you do not need to do anything, you will be contacted. Please look out for messages from us and check your spam / voicemail regularly. Affected bookings are being prioritised by departure date.

If however, you do want to speak to us, please fill in the form on the Contact Us page to help us help you most efficiently.

What is the best way to get a response to my enquiry?

There is a high volume of customer enquiries at this time, so please use the form on the Contact Us page to reach us. This form has been designed in response to COVID-19 to give us all the information we need to respond to you quickly and efficiently. Please submit one form per booking. All enquiries are prioritised by date of travel.

If you submit an enquiry, please monitor your email (including spam folders) and voicemail.

Why is it taking time for Secret Escapes to respond to my query?


As you can imagine, this pandemic has created issues with high numbers of bookings and our Customer Services teams are working around the clock to reassure members and resolve their issues. We apologise if you have found it hard to reach us. New processes and an expanded team are helping us look after more and more people each day.

Members are being contacted in date order, with priority being given to those with the most imminent travel dates. As governments extend restrictions, new groups of members will be affected. We will respond to everyone as quickly as we can.

I have an upcoming trip and I haven’t heard from you. Why not?

We are contacting members in advance of departure dates, so please check your spam folder and voicemail. If you have not yet been contacted by us, this should happen shortly.

If you want further clarification, please fill in the form on the Contact Us page. Your imminent departure date should see your enquiry prioritised.

If my trip is cancelled due to COVID-19, can I get a refund?

Secret Escapes offers two types of travel: Hotel-only trips and Package trips (any trip where travel (air, rail etc.) is included). Your options will vary depending on the type of trip that you have bought:

Hotel-only stays: With hotel-only trips, Secret Escapes acts as an intermediary and the contract is between you and the hotel. If you have purchased a hotel-only stay via Secret Escapes, then it is up to the hotel whether they will offer a refund or not. Secret Escapes is unable to refund any stay without the permission of the hotel. If the hotel does agree to a refund, Secret Escapes will assist members as appropriate. In these situations, hotels should refund 100% of the cost of the trip to customers. Secret Escapes continues to reimburse its hotel partners as per the normal payment cycle.

The good news is that almost all of our hotel partners are open to members postponing and rebooking their stay, so your trip need not be lost. At Secret Escapes we have now created a new rebooking process to help members with this. If your booking is affected, we will be in contact to help you with this.

Package stays: Two groups of package stays are available on Secret Escapes. The first group is offered by trusted partner operators. If your trip is one of these, then the operator responsible for your trip will contact you to discuss your options. As with hotel-only stays, in these cases Secret Escapes operates as an intermediary and the contract is between the member and the operator. The operator often has the most up-to-date information in these cases.

The second group of packages on the site is offered by Secret Escapes itself. With these trips, the Secret Escape team will contact you. You will be offered a credit note to cover the complete value of your trip, for use on any upcoming offer on the site. Any part of the credit note that has not been used will then be refunded to you as cash on the expiry date.

Only bookings affected by COVID-19 (ie those falling on dates where government restrictions are in place) will be credited or rebooked.

How do I know who is responsible for my trip and for looking after me?

Secret Escapes does not own its own hotels, so it acts as an intermediary between its members and carefully selected travel partners. Secret Escapes only works with reputable operators and it quality checks them regularly, using member feedback.

Where you book a hotel-only stay, the contract is between the customer and the hotel and with some package tours, the contract is between the customer and the tour operator. In some instances Secret Escapes is the operator. You can find your travel provider on your booking confirmation.

In the event of your trip being disrupted you will be contacted by either Secret Escapes or the operator of your trip.
If you purchased your trip through Secret Escapes, we will do whatever we can to help you. However, the operator of your trip (be it Secret Escapes or a partner) will always have the most up to date information.

I no longer want to travel. Can I cancel my trip?

Currently, most travel is impossible, with no clear end date. Where there is change, the situation is likely to differ by country as restrictions are eased. If restrictions are eased before your trip dates, you should expect to travel as planned and our normal terms and conditions for any amendments or cancellations will apply. Should your government travel advice change to advise against travel Secret Escapes or your travel provider will contact you to discuss your options.

Why am I being asked to rebook my hotel-only stay?

In this unprecedented situation, Secret Escapes has created a rebooking system in partnership with its hotels, to help members protect their stays. If your stay is impacted, you will be offered the chance to postpone your stay and rebook at a later date. You will be emailed the rebook form and by filling it in, you can help us best look after you.

How can Secret Escapes offer a rebooking option when it is impossible to tell when current travel restrictions will be lifted?

Current uncertainty means many customers who would like to rebook are unsure exactly when they would like to postpone their trip until. In these cases, Secret Escapes has created a voucher scheme with hotels to ensure the value of your trip is recognised by the hotel at a later date of your choosing.

Some people are choosing to book specific dates later in the year. Should COVID-19 continue to impact these later dates, then the trip will be postponed further.

I have already independently agreed on a rebooking with the hotel. Should I also contact Secret Escapes?


If you have come to an arrangement with your hotel directly, we would really appreciate it if you could notify us of your new dates. This will avoid us trying to make a duplicate booking with the hotel on your behalf.

The hotel is telling me that Secret Escapes should be refunding me, not them. Who is responsible?

Secret Escapes is contractually unable to refund customers without the explicit permission of the hotel. In cases where hotels have allowed us to refund on their behalf, we may be able to do so.

Secret Escapes has promised me credit in my account but it still hasn't arrived. Why?

Credit notes are now being rolled out to package customers whose trips have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreak. There was a short initial delay in issuing these credits, whilst Secret Escapes sought confirmation from travel bodies that your money remains protected under the ATOL scheme We are now confident that this is the case. If you receive a credit note, please make sure you keep a copy of it and the email it comes in, as they are evidence of the on-going protection of your money.

What if my hotel shuts, so I have nowhere to stay?


If your hotel shuts in response to COVID-19, but is not located in an area where official advice is advising against travel, your hotel should be in touch to discuss options. If you are worried, please use the form on the Contact Us page to inform us and we will try and assist you.

What if the country I'm planning to visit refuses entry to people from my country?


It is unclear how and when countries will release travel restrictions. Should a country change its rules or bar travellers from other countries in a way that affects your booking, Secret Escapes or your travel provider will contact you to discuss your options.

If you have booked a hotel only deal, we advise you to monitor impacted destinations closely up to your date of departure, via your government's foreign travel advice site.

I have booked a hotel, but not flights, with Secret Escapes in a country subject to restrictions from COVID-19. What are my options?


For all hotel-only bookings impacted by COVID-19, we are working with hotels to postpone stays and rebook members later in the year. If your trip is affected, we will contact you. If you have been contacted by your hotel and you have made a direct arrangement, please use the form on the Contact Us page to update us of your plans.

If you bought your flights separately, you will need to follow up directly with your flight provider or explore your options with your travel insurance, so you know your rights if you are prevented from travelling.

What happens if an airline cancels my flight?

If your flight has been bought as part of your Secret Escapes booking and is impacted by airline changes, we or your travel provider will be in contact with you to discuss options

If you did not book your flights with Secret Escapes, you should check the terms and conditions of the airline you're flying with and your travel insurance policy, so you know your rights if you are prevented from travelling.

Can Secret Escapes help me get back from abroad if I can no longer leave my holiday destination?

At Secret Escapes, we (and our operator partners) do everything we can to help customers who encounter difficulties whilst abroad. If you do have problems during a trip, your in-country team will be focused on supporting you. Secret Escapes gained experience of this type of problem during the locking down process and the team were able to help many customers get home safely. Whilst local law dictates what happens in different countries and the Travel Advisories are best placed to offer support on the ground, we are committed to doing everything we can to help our customers.

____

What is Secret Escapes?

How does Secret Escapes actually work?

At Secret Escapes, we think booking a vacation should be fun, enjoyable and stress-free, so we decided to create a website to curate exclusive offers on handpicked hotels and getaways available only to our members. Our rates are the best you'll find online during our sale – that's our guarantee.

Each week, we'll run flash sales lasting approximately ten days each, although the duration of each sale may vary and is subject to remaining availability. The time left is indicated on each individual sale. There may be many sales happening at any one time, so we'll email you to let you know what's coming up during the week.

It's worth noting that, although all of our prices are lower than anywhere else online during a flash sale, the availability of our lowest advertised rates may be limited.

By handpicking hotels and vacations for members, Secret Escapes acts as an agent for the suppliers, tour operators and hotels featured on the site.

Why book with us?

Our ethos from day one has been to offer high-end hotels and vacations, at home and around the world, for the best price you'll find online – guaranteed.

As a Secret Escapes member, you can rest assured that our rates are exclusive to you and cannot be beaten while our sale is live, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you don't need to shop around once you've found your perfect getaway. There's no fuss – you pick your dates before you pay.

We also try to make sure that all of our members see the value of booking with us. Our offers are handpicked by our team of travel experts, and we always try (but cannot guarantee) to secure little extras, like room upgrades, spa treatments or discounts, welcome gifts or even evening meals – anything to make your stay extra special.

Are you selling discount vouchers?


We DO NOT sell vouchers or certificates. We sell offers with definitive dates at definitive hotels, and other definitive vacations. We enable our members to book the nights they want to stay at a rate exclusive to them. There are no vouchers to redeem, because turning up to a five-star hotel for a romantic weekend with a voucher doesn’t seem right to us...

The Secret Escapes Price Guarantee 

Guaranteed best rates online

What is the Secret Escapes Price Guarantee?

Our contracting team works hard handpicking fabulous deals, and our flash sale offers beat the best price you'll find on the open market during the period of our sale. We scour the Internet far and wide to make sure we offer the lowest rates available. You shouldn't have to shop around – we guarantee our exclusive rates won't be topped elsewhere.

If we were to ever see a lower price for one of our flash sales, we'd immediately cancel the sale and either push for better discounts and extras for our members (like champagne on arrival, a room upgrade or a three-course meal) if we were to feature that hotel again, or just drop the deal altogether.

Flash sales is what we do, and we hope you agree we do it well. We'll do our best to inspire you to try something, or somewhere, different. But, we also know that you may come to our site already with an idea of where and when you want to travel. If you search for a specific destination, with dates, and we have none – or a limited number – of flash sales available, we may show you hotels from our collection. These hotels are marked in teal, displayed underneath our flash sales, and price-matched against the best price online. They're not flash sales, but recommended hotels that we don't have a flash sale for right now. These hotels – though displayed at the best online price – are not as discounted as our flash sales, which are better than the best online price. We just want to make sure you get what you need at the best price possible.

What happens if I find the same offer cheaper elsewhere?

It's up to us to make sure that this never happens. But, should you find a price elsewhere that has slipped under our radar, please contact us on help@secretescapes.com, and we'll remove the offer from our site and renegotiate with our supplier.

How do you calculate the price and the discounts?

Our flash sales are sold at exclusive members-only rates, cheaper than anywhere else online. The top rate advertised is the highest possible saving you can achieve with a particular offer and usually, but not always, represents the lowest price you could pay. Sometimes you may end up paying even less than the rate advertised, but there may only be a few available dates at these super low prices. The "up to" price reductions are valid when the sale is set live.

We advertise the price after checking and re-checking the rates numerous times before setting a sale live. When a sale is set live on our site, we always ensure that our "lead-in" rate – the price advertised at the top of the offer page – constitutes at least 10% of our total number of available dates for that sale.

Naturally, this leading "best" rate advertised is usually the most popular, and often sells out before the remaining dates. Therefore, you may notice that a few days after the sale goes live, we're advertising a slightly higher "lead" rate. This is only when the original rates have sold out and, if this happens, we will inform you of this change next to the new price. Full details of how our prices are calculated are available in the "More details" section of each individual offer. 

You should note that our vacation packages – offers that include travel – are priced per person, not per room.

Are there any exceptions to the Secret Escapes Price Guarantee?

Vacations categorized as "The Web’s Best" are not represented to be prices exclusive to Secret Escapes and, therefore, may not be the lowest available price. Otherwise, Secret Escapes generally requires our providers to represent and warrant to us that our prices are the lowest available during our period of sale; however, we reserve the right to offer our flash-sale pricing through other websites and venues. 


The Web's Best

What is The Web's Best?

To offer you even more choices, we've worked hard to source a collection of incredible deals from our partners around the web. These sought-after stays are discounted and were chosen because they offer great value for money, though the price is not exclusive to Secret Escapes.


What do I get?

What do I get when I join?

We offer our members discounts of up to 70% on handpicked hotels and vacation packages. If it's for sale on Secret Escapes, you won't find it cheaper anywhere else while we sell it – that’s our guarantee.

Who can join?

Everyone over the age of 18. We love you all.

How often will you send me emails?

We'll send a weekly summary (on Monday) of all the sales coming up during the next seven days, as well as reminders when the new sales start, just so you don’t miss out. You can opt out of any of the emails at any time. We’ve recently launched a new contact preferences selector, where you can take a break from our daily emails and just receive our weekly summary.

Making a purchase

Why can’t I see your prices?

You’re probably not logged in yet. Once you're logged in and have selected an offer that catches your eye, the price should appear with full offer details to the right of the image gallery.

How do I buy?

You can buy just as you would on any other travel website, or you can pay $40 to hold a room while you decide.

What’s a "hold"?

Our members can "hold" a date until the end of the sale by paying $40. Organizing a vacation takes time; we know that. Especially when you’re traveling with others, organizing several trips or just need time to plan, we understand that you may not be able to commit to a booking immediately.

To give you more time to ponder, you can pay $40 to reserve a date in the calendar while you decide, meaning that no one else will be able to book the date you hold (which will remain held until the offer expires). If you decide to book your trip, the $40 will automatically come off the total price. If not, no problem – we'll credit the money back to your Secret Escapes account.

Important: A hold is NOT a deposit on a booking and is not a guaranteed, completed or confirmed booking. It's just a handy feature to prevent other members from booking this date.

Unfortunately, because the hotels and vacations that we feature are available to buy elsewhere (albeit not at the exclusive rates our members enjoy), the supplier may occasionally sell out while you're deciding. If that does happen, the date will be closed to sale and all holds will automatically be cancelled and the money refunded as credit on your Secret Escapes account. We will, of course, notify you if this should happen. 

Unfortunately, we are unable to refund any "hold" deposits other than via credit to your Secret Escapes account. Please see our terms and conditions for more information. Refunds to credit card accounts are made only as required by the Terms and Conditions and applicable law.

Invitations and credits

How do I share Secret Escapes with my friends?

We love it when people share. In fact, we encourage it. You receive credit when the friends you invite (using your very own referral link) join Secret Escapes. $10 when five of your friends join, $50 when 25 join and $100 when $50 of your friends have joined using your link. You also get $50 credit for each purchase your friends make with us.

What happens if more than one person recommends Secret Escapes to someone; who gets the $50 credit?

The person eligible for the $50 credit would be the one whose email the user clicked on.

Will there be a cash alternative to $50 credit for recommending a friend?

No. The $50 credit can only be used against purchases on Secret Escapes.

Vacation packages

What is a vacation package?

The definition of a vacation package differs from state to state, but generally speaking, it means an overnight stay with at least one other element of travel included in the total price; this could be a flight, train journey or cruise.

In which states are vacation packages available?

Currently, our vacation packages are available for residents of California, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. If you don't see your state on this list, don't fret – it won't be long until it's added.

I don't live in any of those states – can I still book with Secret Escapes?

You're still able to book any of our incredible hotel deals. We've got amazing hotel properties across the U.S., throughout Mexico and the Caribbean, across the pond in Europe and beyond. From countryside hideaways to beautiful beach breaks to bucket-list city stays, our hand-picked hotels will scratch that travel itch.

When will vacation packages be available in my state?

Rest assured we're working on making sure everyone in the US can access our vacation packages this year. It's only a matter of time until these sales are available in your state, and we'll be sure to send you an email when that day comes. Be on the lookout...

Our offers – the small print…

What is my relationship as a customer with Secret Escapes once I’ve booked?

Secret Escapes handpicks and showcases unbeatable and exclusive deals for its members. Once a customer has made a booking on Secret Escapes, the customer has entered a contract with the hotel or supplier with which the booking was made. Why? Well, Secret Escapes is selling the hotel or tour operator’s product, and therefore it is up to the hotel, tour operator or supplier in question to ensure the customer gets what they paid for.

Where do you get your star ratings?

We handpick the hotels and vacations we offer to you, our members. The star rating is a useful classification of the accommodation and reflects the standard of the establishment in its own region. A five-star New York hotel may feel different from a five-star hotel in Athens or Istanbul, but we go to great lengths to ensure that each hotel we sell reaches and exceeds OUR standards, which we feel are far more important than an arbitrary star rating.

I'm not happy with the flight times I've been given – is there anything I can do?

As we’re acting on behalf of a supplier or tour operator when offering vacations that include flights, we’re not in control of the flight times and cannot offer alternatives directly. If you’ve booked a package with us that includes flights and you’re not happy with the times of travel, but they are as advertised when you made your booking, unfortunately, we can’t do anything about it. If the flight times have changed since you have made the booking and do not fall within the parameters suggested, please contact the supplier or tour operator directly.

My vacation includes flights – when do I get my exact flight times?

We always strive to ensure that our members have all of the information they need ahead of booking with us. If we sell a vacation that includes transportation – be it flights, cruise or train – we will display the latest, most accurate travel times as supplied to us by our tour operator.

However, as we’re an agent acting on behalf of a tour operator, the exact travel times are out of our control and may be subject to change according to the tour operator’s terms and condition. You will receive your final, confirmed flight times from the tour operator when your booking has been confirmed by them. Suppliers differ in how they operate their confirmation process, but it is up to them to send you accurate flight times once your booking is confirmed.

What if I have a complaint while I’m away?

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your hotel or vacation, and you feel the experience you bought is/was not up to par – whether due to your room, the service, the food or the cleanliness – please take this issue up with the hotel management, your tour operator or resort representative. They will be able to deal with any issue you may have there and then, and we will assist you as much as possible in getting a resolution.

In extremely rare cases, a customer may feel that the hotel or vacation is/was not as advertised by us – essentially, you didn’t feel you received what you bought. Again, immediately notify the hotel management, your tour operator or resort representative in the first instance for a speedy resolution. However, please also contact us on support@secretescapes.com. We’re here to make booking travel a truly enjoyable experience, but we also need to know if things aren’t as they should be. Your feedback is incredibly important to us.

If you have an issue with your flight, such as delays or cancellations, please contact the tour operator directly (an emergency contact number will be on your booking confirmation).

What if my booking is changed or canceled?

We take great care in making sure all details, prices and information we provide are correct. Very occasionally, we may have to correct an error in a deal we’ve advertised. This may take place before you book or just after. If we have to make a change to your booking after it has been made, we will do so having informed you as soon as possible, in line with our terms and conditions. Again, this is very rare.

In very rare cases (we’re talking yeti-spotting and the like), a supplier, tour operator or hotel may cancel a booking after it has been made on our site. This is completely out of our control, as the provider may have sold out of rooms or seats without updating us and is therefore unable to honor the booking. As we’re an agent, and your contract once you’ve booked is with the provider, we’ll support you in getting a refund or changing your dates. We (Secret Escapes) are not responsible for costs associated with a cancellation by the provider (for instance, you may have booked a hotel in Miami and immediately booked separate flights only for the hotel to cancel the booking). This is why we always recommend that you buy travel insurance to cover against cancellations.

For further information about changes and cancellations, please see our Terms and Conditions.

Secret Escapes Ltd. is a registered Seller of Travel in California. CST 2118424-50. Registration as a Seller of Travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. This Seller of Travel is not a participant in the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund. California law requires certain Sellers of Travel to have a trust account or bond. This business has a bond issued by Suretec Insurance Company in the amount of $65,000.

Secret Escapes Ltd is registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel. Registration No. ST39499.

The boring – but VERY important – stuff

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

We would always recommend you purchase travel insurance whenever you book a trip. Travel insurance has to be the least glamorous aspect of buying a vacation, and we understand that. But it may also be one of the most important steps in ensuring your trip is a success. We recommend that all of our members booking with us should purchase adequate travel insurance for the type of trip you wish to take, whether for local or international travel.

Depending on your level of protection (for best results, consider a comprehensive plan), travel insurance may cover you against cancellations, healthcare, family emergency, baggage, supplier failure and a whole host of other potential issues. Currently, we do not require travel insurance, and we cannot provide insurance or recommend any specific coverage – this decision is up to you.  

It’s always best to be on the safe side.