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The best deals on Cyber Monday

1:23 PM, Dec 2, 2013   |    comments
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NEW YORK - Futures trading was mixed ahead of Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year.

Hotels offer Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals

Consumers can get much more than a discounted flat screen TV or tablet on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In recent years, hotels have also gotten into the spirit of the shopping frenzy on the day and Monday after Thanksgiving.

This year, on Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, tons of hotels throughout the country will be offering up to 50% off room rates, some with an amenity or two thrown in.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been lucrative for many hotels.

Alex Attia, general manager of The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., says a Cyber Monday deal generated more than $40,000 of revenue when the hotel first offered it in 2011. Revenue jumped 20% on Cyber Monday the following year.

"For us, the true success has been to really open up availability so guests can actually take advantage," he says. "With the savings and increased availability, we're finding families are booking more and more, taking advantage of our ice rink and other family-friendly winter activities."

Here's a sampling of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals available at hotels throughout the country.

HOTEL TONIGHT

The last-minute hotel booking app is making some changes for the holiday. Typically, hotel deals appear daily on the app at noon. Now, deals are starting at 9 a.m. local time each day. To celebrate the change, HotelTonight is offering rooms for $99 nationwide on Black Friday in such markets as Manhattan, San Francisco, and Chicago.

MAJOR HOTEL CHAINS

On Cyber Monday, you'll be able to get 30% off room rates at more than 350 participating Marriott hotels across several brands, including JW Marriott and Renaissance Hotels. The hotels are located in a number of cities from New York to San Francisco. Stays must occur between Dec. 20 and March 31.To book, go to marriottcybermonday.com starting at 12:01 a.m. EST Dec. 2 and enter the promotional code 16C or call 888-703-9727 and quote the promotional code 16C. There's a limited supply, and a non-refundable advance purchase must be made by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2. Comments? Share it on Twitter with #MarriottDeal.

Omni Hotels is launching a "Click Quick " Cyber Monday promotion at nearly all its 60 properties in North America. Guests who book starting at 1:01 a.m. EST on Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 will get 40% off nightly rates. Members of Omni's Select Guest loyalty program can get a head start with members-only early access to the deal beginning today. The offer applies to stays through Dec. 30. The Omni Berkshire Place in Manhattan will extend the stay to mid-January. The offer is subject to availability and cannot be combined with other offers. Guests can book at omnihotels.com or call 800-The-Omni.

Loews Hotels and Resorts are giving travelers four days to book discounted rates. From 12:01 a.m. EST Nov. 29 through 3 a.m. Dec. 3--Big Deal Cyber Weekend, as the hotel company is calling it -travelers can book rooms for up to 40% off the best available rate. Bookings apply for travel from Nov. 29 through April 3 and included free Internet access. To book, visit loewshotels.com.

Red Roof Inn, an economy hotel chain, is offering 30% off rooms at more than 350 properties nationwide through Feb. 28. Book on Cyber Monday at redroof.com/partners/cyber_monday/ using the code 616892. You can also call 800-RED-ROOF (800-733-7663). Blackout dates may apply. You cannot combine the deal with any other promotions.

NEW YORK

The Jade, a Greenwich Village hotel with a Gatsby-like vibe, is offering a 1920's-themed Cyber Monday package. Book a standard room from midnight to 7:20 p.m. (or 19:20) on December 2, and you'll pay $192 a night in January and February plus taxes. You'll also get lunch at Grape & Vine for $19.20 in addition to two complimentary 1920's themed cocktails. A look at a weeknight stay in January shows rooms ranging from $255 to $380. Book at thejadenyc.com/?ibe=true&pc=CYBERMON.

Book a room at Triumph Hotels' six properties on Cyber Monday in New York for two or more nights through March and you'll get 30% off. From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST, you'll get 50% off premium rooms and suites also through March. Properties are located all over Manhattan, from the Upper West Side to Midtown, where the Iroquois New York is located. Book at triumphhotels.com.

THE OUT NYC, close to Broadway and Times Square, will shave 25% off room rates for Jan. 2 through March 20 if you book on Cyber Monday. Private rooms on a weeknight in January range from $199 to $359. You also get a $20 voucher for The Spa at THE OUT NYC, two complimentary tickets to the off-Broadway production "Hot Mess Drag Revue," and two welcome cocktails at KTCHN Restaurant. There are some blackout dates such as Super Bowl weekend. Reservations will also be charged at the time of booking and are non-refundable. Book at theoutnyc.com/specials/.

At the Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City , you can get 20% off regular room rates if you book between the hours of 2:20 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. on Cyber Monday. The offer includes two complimentary cocktails and is available for stays from Jan. 2 to March 31. Rates in January range from $129 to $215. Black-out dates include Jan. 1 and Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, around the SuperBowl. To book, dial 212-319-7000 and mention CYBER MONDAY or visit zhotelny.com and use the code CYBR.

PHILADELPHIA

The newly converted Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia is offering its redesigned Business Class rooms for $19.26, a number chosen for the year the hotel opened. Rooms can be booked at 12 a.m. Cyber Monday for 24 hours or until sold out. Business class rates normally start at $218. The deal is limited to one reservation per person. A maximum of two nights is required for stays through Feb. 28. Blackout dates may apply. The room comes with early check-in privileges, Nespresso machines, upgraded bathroom amenities, turndown service, and access to the Lounge with complimentary breakfast and evening refreshments. To book, visit radissonblu.com/hotel-philadelphia/offers/steal.

CAMBRIDGE

Stat at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square for 20% off the best available rate if you book on Cyber Monday. For one hour, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST on Cyber Monday, you'll get 50% off room rates. The deal applies to stays from Dec. 2 to March 31. Blackout dates apply. Book at charleshotel.com.

CHICAGO

Starting Cyber Monday until Dec. 9, if you book two nights at the Thompson Chicago, you'll get a third night free for stays from Dec. 2 through Feb. 28. The offer applies to a Superior King Room for two. It includes a greeted arrival at the airport, complimentary private airport transportation to and from the hotel, and a special welcome amenity, for a total cost of $549 before taxes. For reservations, visit thompsonchicago.com and use the promo code CYBERM2013.

TUCSON

Reserve a room at the Tanque Verde Ranch for four or more nights and get 50% off the starting rate. The southwestern styled rooms come with three meals a day, a supervised children's program for ages 4 to 11, and on-property activities ranging from horseback riding to mountain biking through desert trails. This deal is valid for stays from Nov. 29 through March 10. Book at tanqueverderanch.com.

SAN FRANCISCO

At the Hotel Abri in Union Square, if you book on Black Friday from midnight through 11:59 p.m. PST, you'll get a room for $99. Starting rates are typically $154 a night. The rate is valid on stays from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31. The offer is valid on weekdays, and blackout days apply. Book at hotelabrisf.com.

How to find airlines' Cyber Monday deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't just for buying toys, clothes and jewelry anymore. Hotels, resorts, cruise lines and online travel sites such as Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity are also trumpeting their holiday sales.

And so are some airlines.

Department of Transportation regulations prohibit airlines from sharing pricing and promotional details before the actual promotion, but JetBlue spokeswoman Tamara Young said "we did offer a Cyber Monday deal last year, so customers should stay tuned to JetBlue.com for our latest promotion offerings."

The best way to catch Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for airfares is to follow airlines on Twitter and on Facebook and to sign up for their e-mail announcements. (You can always unsubscribe later.)

To get you started, here are some of the major airlines' Twitter handles:

Alaska Airlines - @AlaskaAir
American Airlines - @AmericanAir
Delta Air Lines - @Delta
JetBlue - @JetBlue
Southwest Airlines - @SouthwestAir
United Airlines - @United
US Airways - @USAirways
Virgin America - @VirginAmerica

"Check early and often, and by as many channels as possible," said Anisha Sekar, a financial expert for NerdWallet. "Inventory is limited and sales start at different times. These flash sales offer great deals, but they will go fast."

Caribbean deals heat up Cyber Monday

The travel business isn't one to rest on its holiday laurels. Indeed, whether your buying season begins on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or another retail-inspired day of frenzy, travel companies will be there competing for your business. After all, wouldn't a sun-soaked beach look nice under the tree next to that shiny new iPad?

Here's a sample of what you'll find online starting on Thanksgiving until December 2:

Puerto Rico: San Juan Marriott Resort

Get 30% off the best available rate (as low as $136/night) at The San Juan Marriott. The resort is located beachfront on bustling Ashford Avenue in the Condado resort district of Puerto Rico's capital city. The resort is full service, incorporating the Stellaris Casino, and is the site of frequent performances by some of the island's best salsa bands. The promotion is for travel from Dec. 2, 2013 through April 30, 2014, Mondays-Thursdays only. Book online at www.marriottsanjuan.com and use promo code D3Q.

Cancun, Mexico: Grand Residences Riviera Cancún

Be one of the first to visit the new Grand Residences Riviera Cancún by claiming their Cyber Monday-only grand opening rate of $289 per night for a junior suite. The resort opens its doors for the first time on December 7 and is a member of the elite Leading Hotels of the World association. It's located on the beach in Puerto Morales, halfway between Cancún and charming Playa del Carmen. As part of the promotion, you'll also get resort credits starting at $100 per day to use in the five-star resort's restaurants, spa, salon and lounges. The 103 suites were designed as private residences - kitchens, separate bedrooms, terraces, butler service - and overlooks the famed Riviera Maya beaches. To book, visit www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com.

Curacao: Santa Barbara Beach Club

Take 45% off and leave your wallet in the room at the Santa Barbara Beach Club in Curacao. The AAA Four Diamond resort's Cyber Monday discount applies to its all-inclusive packages that cover breakfast, lunch and dinner along with unlimited premium beverages, use of resort facilities and discounts on greens fees at the Pete Dye-designed oceanside golf course. The resort is also giving 35% off on its standard double-occupancy rates as well. The Santa Barbara is located on its own beach south of Willemstad, with the wide open southern tip of the island at its back door. Good for travel through December 24, 2014. Book online at www.santabarbararesortcuracao.com/caribbean_deals/Cyber_Monday/ with promo code CYBERMON.

Turks & Caicos: Ocean Club Resorts

If you move fast you'll get big discounts at the posh Ocean Club in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. There are two Cyber Monday-only offers - the first offers 20% off all room categories plus a $200 hotel credit for travel of 5 or more nights between Jan. 3 and Feb. 7, 2014; the second gives 25% off junior suites and one- two- and three-bedroom suites plus a $200 hotel credit for stays of 5 or more nights between May 1, 2014 and Dec. 18, 2014. Providenciales (Provo) is just north of the Dominican Republic at the southern end of the Bahamas chain. Provo is known for its wide, sandy beaches, startlingly blue water and superb diving and water sports. The Ocean Club is right on Grace Bay, one of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean. Book online at http://oceanclubresorts.com and use code CYBER.

Aruba: Marriott Resort Palm Beach

If you're a beach lover, you'll find a lot to love here: Palm Beach is the island's premier location, just a few minutes from the capital Oranjestad and in the middle of the action. If you book on Cyber Monday you'll get three nights free with the purchase of three nights, with rates starting at $389 per night for travel between April 20, 2014 and Nov. 22, 2014. The resort includes the Stellaris Casino and large rooms with a contemporary look, an adults-only pool and swim-up bar, a Ruth's Chris Steak House and fine-dining seafood restaurant, a Mandara spa and a front-and-center location on Palm Beach. Book online at arubamarriott.com with promo code D52.

The Bahamas: Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina

Abaco is the iconic picture of The Bahamas: a lightly inhabited island with endless tawny beaches, impossibly blue water and a candy-cane-striped lighthouse marking the harbor at Hope Town. The Abaco Beach Resort is close to the Marsh Harbour International Airport and faces the Atlantic Ocean across the lagoon separating Great Abaco from Elbow Cay. The property spans 40 acres with accommodations, including oceanfront rooms, suites and cottages overlooking a marina. When you book on Cyber Monday, receive a free "Turtle Crawl" experience - a paddleboard expedition to visit the habitat of endangered sea turtles. The offer is valid for travel from Dec. 2, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Book by calling 877-533-4799 or email reservations@abacobeachresort.com.

Guatemala: Casa Palopó

You probably don't think of the Caribbean as a mountain destination, but you should. Lake Atitlán in central Guatemala is actually the crater of an enormous dormant volcano, with three more volcanoes lining its shores. The author Aldous Huxley thought it more picturesque than even Italy's famed Lake Como. The area surrounding the lake is home to indigenous Maya peoples and there are Maya archaeological sites, including Copan, within driving distance of the lake. The hotel has only 7 rooms, plus a small villa. It was originally a private home - Lake Atitlán has been a retreat for wealthy Guatemalans for many years - and overlooks the lake. The villages around the lake are isolated and the villagers continue the way of life they've practiced for hundreds of years; in fact, there are three separate indigenous languages spoken on the lake's shores and each village has its own mode of dress and dialect. When you book for travel May 1 - June 30, 2014 and Sept. 1 - Oct. 31, 2014, you'll get 35% off of room rates, as low as $91 per night. Book by emailing reservations@casapolopo.com and mention "Cyber Offer." See the hotel website www.casapalopo.com for more information.

St. Kitts: Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino

You can pack your bags for Christmas or New Year's when you book online Cyber Monday with the St. Kitts Marriott Resort: Travel as early as December 2013 or wait and travel between May 1 - Sept. 1, 2014. Take 30% off the best rate (which will bring the rates down to about $112/night this December) and stay in the beachfront resort just south of the capital, Basseterre. In addition to the beach, casino, golf course, pools and restaurants, the resort is close to the attractions that have made St. Kitts a favorite with seasoned Caribbean travelers: the scenic railway that once carried sugar cane from the fields to the mill, the 18th-century Brimstone Hill fortress and the rain forest that cloaks the flanks of the island's dormant central volcano, Mount Liamuiga. Book online at www.stkittsmarriott.com with promo code D59.

Anguilla: Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa

Fake out your fiancé or significant other by promising to put a CuisinArt in his/her stocking, then surprising them with a beach instead of a blender. CuisinArt is a high-end luxury resort on Anguilla, just 97 rooms rimming the scenic (and romantically named) Rendezvous Bay. Book a week to give yourself time to unwind and hit all of the highlights: the spa, bicycling, tennis, fishing, golf on a Greg Norman-designed course, and, of course, just laying on the beach. Book on Cyber Monday and get 40% off a junior suite in one of the Mediterranean-white buildings on the beach, with rates as low as $395/night. Book online at www.cuisinartresort.com.

Antigua, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Grenadines, St. Lucia: Elite Island Resorts

With seven resorts located in some of the Caribbean's most relaxing locations, Elite Island Resorts put them all on sale for Cyber Monday. When you book online between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2 for travel through Dec. 20, 2014, you get a fifth night free with the purchase of four nights - and that's on top of discounts of up to 45% the usual rates. The resorts include:

• St. James's Club, Morgan Bay, St. Lucia

• Palm Island Resort, The Grenadines

• St. James's Club & Villas, Antigua

• The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua

• Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua

• Long Bay Beach Club, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

The offer is subject to some blackout dates.

The resorts on offer are some of the region's most exclusive and secluded - perfect for that romantic Valentine's getaway, an anniversary or just a break from the weather or routine. Palm Island is a perennial "Top 10" pick on many lists of luxury resorts.

At The Verandah, you can book all-inclusive packages starting as low as $153.50 per night and can book packages with air to save more.

To book, visit www.eliteislandresorts.com or call 1-800-858-4618.

Cruise: Carnival

If you'd rather spend your time at sea, Carnival Cruise Lines is putting its Caribbean itineraries on sale. Starting from Nov. 27 through Dec. 6, you can book online at www.carnival.com and pick from these dates and others. Prices are per person; note cruise duration varies and all departures are before year's end:

• The Bahamas: Dec. 3, Dec. 11 (departs New York) from $299; Dec. 5, Dec. 9, Dec. 12 (departs Jacksonville, Fla.) from $199; Dec. 5 (departs Ft. Lauderdale) from $169; Dec. 12 (departs Orlando) from $199; Dec. 8 (departs Baltimore) from $369

• Key West & Cozumel: Dec. 2, Dec. 12 and Dec. 16 (departs Miami) from $139.

• Western Caribbean: Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 12 and Dec. 15 (departs New Orleans) from $229; Dec. 7, Dec. 12, Dec. 16 (departs Galveston, TX) from $289; Dec. 9 (departs Ft. Lauderdale) from $199; Dec. 9, Dec. 14 (departs Tampa) from $259

• Eastern Caribbean: Dec. 1, Dec. 9 (departs Miami) from $199; Dec. 14 (departs Orlando) from $409; Dec. 8 (departs Galveston) from $369

Steve Blount is the former editor of Caribbean Travel & Life, Adventure Travel and Florida Travel & Life magazines.

Amazon primed to dominate online this holiday

The shorter holiday shopping season has tempered expectations for online sales this year and a potentially profit-bruising price war broke out earlier than usual.

So why are shares of Amazon.com, the world's largest Internet retailer, hitting records?

One reason may be that the company is set to be so dominant online this year, at the expense of e-commerce rivals like eBay and traditional retailers.

From Oct. 24 to Nov. 4, Bizrate Insights surveyed 14,721 online buyers who made a recent purchase from a retailer that was not Amazon and asked them where they planned to buy gifts this year.

These shoppers planned to allocate 43% of their holiday shopping to physical stores on average. But they also planned to spend 34% of their gift money at Amazon. That was almost as much as they planned to spend at all other online stores put together (35%), including destinations such as eBay.com and Walmart.com, according to Bizrate's survey.

Bizrate Insights also asked where these consumers typically start online shopping and 25% said Amazon. Google came in third at 22%, with "directly to a retailer's web site" coming second at 24%.

The shoppers are also big users of Amazon's Prime program, which offers free two-day shipping in the U.S., along with other benefits, for $79 a year. The survey found that 35% of them have a Prime account.

"The data suggest that this will be a huge Christmas for them," says Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Amazon shares rose 1.4% to $386.71 on Wednesday and hit another record of $387 earlier, valuing the company at more than $175 billion. The stock is up 54% so far this year, with most of those gains coming in the run-up to the holiday shopping season.

EBay shares rose 1.1% to $49.30 on Wednesday. But the stock is down 3% so far this year and it has been particularly weak in recent weeks.

EBay gave a cautious holiday forecast last month and some analysts are predicting sales growth below 10% during the crucial Cyber Monday online shopping frenzy.

"There are concerns around the quarter," says Colin Sebastian, an analyst at RW Baird.

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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