This company is selling travel club memberships with the promise of significant savings over the prices available online. Our presenter used a "price-markup" illustration to suggest that travel agents and online services markup their prices from the travel clubs and travel wholesalers by as much as 100%, leaving the impression that High Tide Travel can save its members as much as 50%...this is NOT a promised claim, but it is conversationally suggested in the hype of the presentation that this is representative. During the presentation I attended, this company used unsubstantiated claims of cruise savings to entice membership. Our presenter did not provide us with any of the specific details about either the comparison prices or the High Tide Travel Inc prices. He did not tell us departure dates, departure locations, length of cruises, or cruise lines...all the facts necessary to make an independent comparison. The baseline costs and the High Tide Travel costs are not copied to participants in writing.
At our sales presentation, the one-time membership price was $7,995 (or your negotiated amount) + $399 processing fee + $199 first-year annual fee. If you cancel within 3 days, they will keep the $399 fee PLUS 15% of the membership fee (15% x $7,995 = $1,199). And they will keep another $499 if you do not return the member notebook.
Unless you ask for an exception, they will not mail your membership number and website login information until well after the 3 day cancellation period, leaving you no option to independently verify their travel cost savings. We did ask for a temporary access and their best prices offered for three cruises were only 9%, 10% and 13% less than the online prices available to everyone. With our typical travel habits (which we told them during the table-talk time), we estimated it would take us 23.5 years just to break even! Elizabeth LuClare, Executive Assistant to the president stared to me that the club may not pay-off quickly for people travel once or twice a year and spend only $5,000-$6,000. She commented that the club pays for itself more quickly for those that vacation 11-12 times per year. When speaking to one of their on-line travel advisors, you will be told that they will email you within 24-48 hours with the best price for your travel; that seems like an unacceptably long time to wait for pricing.
To estimate your payback period in years, simply divide your total purchase price for the membership by the difference (subtract) in your estimated annual savings from using High Tide Travel and the annual membership renewal fee. This isn't something High Tide Travel did nit disclose but it's simple math and it's the truth. You may be VERY surprised at how long you will need to break even.
So in summary, the company is so confident in their service (sarcastic humor!) that they 1) do not let you try-it-before-you-buy-it, 2) use unsubstantiated savings that are hyped to be representative of the savings you will get, 3) do not provide proof of savings in written form to every guest, 4) retain 100% of your money if you cancel after 3 business days, 5) retain 15% of your membership price PLUS $399 I'd you cancel in the first three business days, 6) DO NOT provide your membership number within the 3 business day cancellation period unless you ask for it, and 7) do not tell you the specific amount of your cancellation fee...they leave it to you to have to understand and do the the math of 15% purchase price + $399
While we were told by a salesperson that we would have access to the president of the company if we ever had any problems and that he would personally contact us to get those resolved, he did not. Other people we did visit with and who you WILL NOT find in their published member's materials are 1) Arnulfo Vasquez, member services, 817-247-9240, 972-971-1315, firstname.lastname@example.org; 2) Rich Blan, president, 855-433-7444; 3) Elizabeth LuClare, Executive Assistant to the president, 855-433-7444, email@example.com.
Here is an interesting link to a website featuring an "Arnulfo Vasquez". I don't know if these are the same people but I'm guessing so: http://www.ripoffreport.com/cruise-ships/royal-palms-travel/royal-palms-travel-arnulfo-vas-db823.htm.
In summary, your savings with this company will vary tremendously based on the number of times you travel and the annual amount you spend on vacations. The membership price is negotiable so hold firm to what you believe you can afford to lose. Recognize that if you cancel after 3 business days, you lose everything and if you cancel within 3 business days, you lose $399 PLUS 15% of you membership price. I don't know if this business is a scam, but I certainly do know they use very questionable techniques to make quick, final sells of a service that is very expensive. BUYER BEWARE AND CAUTIOUS!