BBB Consumer Alert: Travel Offers Are Not Always What They Are Cracked Up to Be

Pensacola — As a leader in advancing marketplace trust, BBB is offering advice to consumers who may respond to a solicitation offering them airline tickets and other awards for attending a travel expo.

A consumer in Cantonment and another in Pensacola received a postcard inviting them to a “VIP Travel Showcase” in celebration of Southwest Travel’s Silver anniversary currently being held in their neighborhood. For doing so, they would receive two round trip, coach class airline vouchers to most major airports in the continental United States. The earliest callers in response to the postcard would also receive an Android Tablet featuring a high definition full 7” touch screen along with $100.00 in dining dollars. In another section of the postcard it states that they would also receive $500.00 in real travel dollars to almost all hotels or a $100 VISA gift card.

The postcard includes a PROMO CODE of FA23.

The postcard also has several well-known hotel logos but in the fine print it reads that the promotion is not sponsored by any specific airline, resort, or hotel.

We could not find any information on Southwest Getaways but the phone number on both post cards brought up an advisory alert from 2017 on a company with a different name. There is no address on the postcard.

The BBB offers the following advice regarding travel clubs and offers:

  • Check them out at bbb.org. There are often multiple companies involved in such deals; get information on all of them. Research them online to see if other consumers have reported experience with them.
  • Be wary of high pressure sales pitches. A salesperson’s refusal to answer questions or give you time to consider the offer should be a red flag.
  • Read the fine print. Before signing any contract, read all the terms, conditions, policies and financial obligations. Don’t rely on oral representations.
  • Understand any fees and limitations involved in using the airline tickets and other premiums given for attending the presentation. The postcard says the recipient is responsible for all applicable taxes and/or fees. In the BBB’s experience, those costs and limitations on usage often make the premiums far less attractive.
  • Sometimes when something sounds ‘too good to be true’ it really is.