Escapes by Yatra Prepaid Hotel Scheme-Pros and cons - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Escapes by Yatra Prepaid Hotel Scheme-Pros and cons

Recently I came across this prepaid hotel scheme by travel portal Yatra, called Yatra Escape. Escapes by Yatra is a short term timeshare scheme where you prepay a fixed sum in exchange for a number of room nights over a period of few years. This post is a brief analysis of this scheme.

What is Yatra Escape Scheme?

  • You pay a large amount upfront- like 30k to 60k INR
  • In exchange you get to stay at participating hotels for a fixed number of nights (four to 7 nights per year) for a fixed duration (two to five years)
  • Per room per night charge varies from 2500 to 3000 INR for what Yatra claims 4 star properties
  • You will have to pay for everything else other than room extra (like breakfast if not included, laundry, activities, transport, meals etc)
  • There are peak season and blackout date restrictions ( you can't use for New Year's Eve etc)
  • In summary, Yatra Escape is like a short term timeshare membership plan. While Club Mahindra/Sterling like timeshare membership is for 25 years costing several lakhs, if you can't commit so much or for so long, you can avail short term plans like Yatra Escape.

Can we save lots of money under Yatra Escape Scheme?

  • I checked per night room rates of some of the hotels listed in Yatra Escape scheme. Hotel Le Royal Park in Pondichery is available for about INR 3100+ tax, approx INR 3500 per night inclusive of breakfast. Hotel Amara Grand, Goa is available for about INR 4000 per night. This is almost close to what it costs per night under prepaid scheme- INR 3000 per night without breakfast.

  • However hotel rates vary a lot depending on season, demand and other factors. Rooms costing 3000-4000 above might be available for 2000-3000 on some other days. With a prepaid hotel room scheme, you get assurance of certain number of rooms at a prepaid price-irrespective of real time rates go up or down. You save if hotels get expensive later but lose if hotels get cheaper. This is the gamble you've to take.
  • The amount you pay could have earned about 10% interest minimum had you invested it somewhere- this way your effective spend per night is not 2500-3000 but 2750-3300 INR.
  • Max 2 bookings per year. You can't exhaust all your nights in one go.
  • It appears to me prepaid rate includes all room related taxes. But it is not explicitly called out. Get this verified because if you've to pay luxury tax, city tax, GST etc extra on top of prepaid rate then equation gets spoiled.
  • Saw an ad promising INR 29990 worth Yatra vouchers if you buy 29990 plan. But details of this vouchers are not disclosed, so unable to assess their real value. Most likely these are inflated or designed to make you spend more. (like 500 Rs spa coupon to use which you'll have to spend 3000 INR)
Key terms and conditions you should be aware
  • This scheme is for base category rooms (cheapest of the rooms in a property). Any upgrade will cost you extra.
  • Force Majeure clause: Yatra can refuse booking/modify/cancel in case of exceptional scenarios (such as pandemic, calamities etc)
  • Two years expiry clause: If you don't book for 2 years, your room credits will expire
  • Exact blackout dates are not listed on the site. You can't use this scheme during high demand dates like X-mas, new year and other popular festivals. If there're only 2 blackout days it may be manageable, but if they add 20-30 blackout days then most of the long weekends will be gone.
  • If you are not using yourself but want to transfer room nights to someone else, extra fee INR 1500+GST per night applies
  • You may get lots of promotional messages from Yatra (spam) and may share your data with 3rd party service providers
  • Any modification of your bookings will attract 1000 INR + GST
  • Bookings need to be made min 15 days, max 120 days before check-in date. There is no service guarantee that requested hotel will be assigned. Yatra may assign a 'similar' hotel elsewhere as well.
  • There is no self service portal as of now. You've to deal with Yatra Escape customer care by email or phone and trust whatever they may have to say, including "sorry no rooms available". Ideally Yatra should provide a transparent portal with live inventory- we should be able to book even for tomorrow ourselves, without having to email customer care 15 days in advance and wait.
  • Peak season formula is not clear- will there be any reduction in nights or extra charges or normal and peak seasons are same?
My final thoughts on Yatra Escapes prepaid hotel booking scheme
  • Without breakfast plan looks odd- almost all 4* hotels include buffet breakfast in their room rates. In Yatra's without breakfast plans you may have to shell out INR 600-900 per person per day extra for breakfast. Of course if you don't need breakfast then this scheme may work for you.
  • Savings are not substantial- probably 10-20% range compared to walkin/online booking rates. But for this you'll have to deal with Yatra customer care, wait for them to confirm/assign alternate hotel and just hope everything goes as per promise. I would probably take the risk, save on upfront spending and book on the go as per my needs and wishlist, without having to comply with two dozen terms and conditions. But if you are guaranteed spender and will be booking lots of nights every year in 4 star properties, you might want to check this scheme.
  • There is no compensation clause or service level agreement- what happens if rooms get cheaper, what happens if requested property is not available on Escapes platform (but say available elsewhere say MMT or or what happens if customer care doesn't revert even after 3-4 days forcing you to change your plans or what happens if new rules are introduced later and forced upon you- like extra blackout dates, less nights for peak season, what happens if you are assigned room in a 2*/3* property instead of 4*/5* etc. 
Official site here:

Do check the schemes, read fine print and go ahead if you see a value. These are uncertain times- if you believe rooms will get expensive over next few years you can consider timeshare options like this. Even Club Mahindra has launched a 3 year membership scheme- I saw an ad, but they won't share any detail/pricing in public domain- you've to give your contact details and their sales team will pitch. Didn't want to enter their database so didn't bother.

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