Travel clubs have become increasingly popular over the last several years - and not popular with consumers, but popular with scammy, fly-by-night businesses. In this post we will cover:
- How Travel Clubs work
- How they mislead consumers
- How to spot a travel club scam
While these clubs are not specifically timeshares, we have found that many non-reputable Timeshare Exit Companies will offer a sort of travel program (99.999% of the time it is a scam).
Remember: Legitimate Timeshare Exit Companies will not offer you a Travel Club.
Travel Clubs are nothing more than access to a booking network.
That's it. No special deals. Nothing of value. Just a custom web application that sits on top of the various travel networks and open APIs. So if the travel clubs don't really offer much, then why are so many companies pushing it?
The only reason travel clubs have so many sales teams pushing them is that they can sell the travel club for thousands of dollars, meanwhile their cost is roughly $300 to get consumers access to the product. Another factor is that travel clubs are nearly unregulated.
Misleading Advertising + Misleading Sales
Travel clubs usually rely on small companies traveling around the country pushing their products as independent contractors. This adds a layer of protection for the company. If someone complains they will simply state that they provide software and are not directly selling anything.
Here is the BBB profile for the number one travel club provider:
Another issue that consumers face are that the smaller contractors who sell these travel clubs will cold call unsuspecting consumers and say anything to get them to attend the sales presentation.
Tips to avoid travel club scams
- Do not attend sales presentations that are offered at restaurants, hotels, or from any company that contacted you out of nowhere.
- Do not decide to purchase a travel club without checking reviews, BBB affiliation, and taking time to check things out.
- When they demo the travel club ask for a specific reservation (resort, location, certain date) as an example
- Many timeshare developers have gotten involved in this scam > some have rebranded it as their own travel program (but it's all the same program and not worth the $300 they (the travel club fulfillment company) charge, let alone the thousands of dollars timeshare companies charge).
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