I heard from James and Richard asking me if I really got the cruise I mentioned in my timeshare shenanigans story. The short answer is yes. We even got a “tropical vacation getaway” in addition to our cruise.
On our drive home my wife was reading the details to me and I soon realized that we had wasted our entire Saturday. There are numerous restrictions and hoops to jump through to make our travel happen. Because of this, it will
be more expensive to use our “free” prizes than to make our own travel arrangements!
The cruise includes a bunk bed cabin on the inside of the ship. We’d also need to get from our home in Austin, Texas to Los Angeles or Miami to catch our cruise. Why we couldn’t just drive down to the Gulf Coast to catch our boat is beyond me!
The tropical vacation getaway was good for hotel stay for 4 nights on any of several island locations from the Caribbean to Hawaii. We’d have to make our own travel arrangements to reach these destinations.
Both of these packages were handled through Spirit Incentives which added their own lengthy process for getting our free vacations. We’d have to:
- Select 3 valid dates during the off season. These are at least 30 days apart and not within a week of major holidays.
- Mail in our request at least 60 days before earliest departure
- Send in a deposit to cover taxes and fees
- We’ll be notified between 45 to 60 days prior to our accepted travel date
Unfortunately these requirements demand great flexibility in our ability to travel almost anytime. Plus the hidden costs to even make these “free” trips comfortable and feasible lead us to believe we could get a better deal ourselves.
The hype and marketing around our free prizes appears to be nothing short of deception. Companies must remember to be honest and straightforward with customers by giving them all the information upfront.