Classic Escapes Holidays Club / 2 for 1 holiday cruises - my241rewards misrepresentation, misleading sales pitch
In August 2017 my wife and I were approached in Cairns shopping Mall and offered to chance to win a holiday through a scratch and win card. We scratched a card each and I won a week holiday on the condition that I pay a $50 deposit and attend a 1 hour presentation. I paid the $50 and booked a presentation for that evening.
Before attending I checked online and saw a) that this company was a timeshare marketing business b) That the presentation would be a high pressure sales exercise.
I attended with my wife and received the $50 refund. What followed was 1.5 hours of high pressure sales presentation, at the end of which I declined the opportunity to spend $9, 800 to join and requested the Holiday Voucher. They then offered an alternative; I had already qualified for the 1 week holiday to be selected from a list of resorts (subject to paying $100 booking fee), now I was offered for only $2, 800 a) 1 week holidays to be chosen from a select list of resorts, plus b) another 1 week holidays to be chosen from a select list of resorts, plus c) the option to extend a holiday stay an additional week, plus d) a "buy 1 get 1 free" on a ship cruise to be selected. The first person would pay a full fare including Cruise ship port charges and government taxes and the second person only paid Cruise ship port charges and government taxes.
There was a timeframe given that the holidays had to be taken within 3 years and the cruise had to be booked within a certain time-frame.
That seemed good value for money - essentially 4 weeks holiday for $100+$2800 = ~ $100/night twin share in a minimum 3 start resort plus in addition (and this was a clincher to the deal) a 2 for 1 cruise ship holiday, so we bought in and paid the amount on credit card.
Since then I have booked the holiday that I have won and paid the $100 booking fee, and booked the first of the holiday resorts to be run sequentially. I searched online for the reviews of the resorts I have chosen, and the bulk of reviews were very positive. So far so good.
I then looked at booking the 2 for 1 cruise (My241Rewards.com.au), the site was easy to use, and I started searching cruises. The first thing I noticed was that the total cost of the cruises was not significantly cheaper (and in several cases was more expensive than deals that I could get through any travel agency or direct from the cruise ship website. I looked at the Terms and Conditions of the My241Rewardss website and it said that apart from Port charges and taxes (and gratuities if applicable) the second person would travel free. Having searched about 10 cruises on average I can say that they take the Cruise line advertised cruise fare per person nearly double it, this becomes the My241Rewards "first person fare", then take a substantial percentage of the advertised cruise fare and call it "Port Charges and Taxes" for the "second person fare".
I note that nowhere on any cruise line or travel agency that I have searched on the web have the Port charges and Government taxes been separated from the cost of the cruise, these are always advertised as Inclusive of such charges. I suspect, that the Port Charges and Taxes figure is made up and not based upon the actual Port Charges and Taxes.
When I queried the My241Rewards consultant and gave details of the cruises which I could get cheaper direct from other travel agencies online for the same cabins, the response was, that they would look in to it as the my241rewards quote on line "should come in with a savings of a few hundred dollars under other cruise online quotes".
So, not the buy one get one free deal advertised.
They then offered that if I would choose a cruise, and another agency was advertising cheaper, they would beat that quote to offer some savings.
Still not the "buy 1 get one free" deal advertised.
I note that these My241Rewards deals have to be substantially paid for up front, so that they get the benefit of interest paid on deposit held in trust, this provides them with additional income.
In summary. The My241Rewards will only provide a small saving compared to online advertised cruise ship fares. The "buy 1, get 1 free" is a scam to hook you in. Since I have paid my deposit, I will choose a cruise and take the minor savings anyway.
Lastly, My241Rewards offers holiday deals including airfares, hotels, shore trips etc. I wouldn't bother, I have done a comparison of several trips and can do all the bookings on line myself cheaper through an online travel agency or substantially cheaper direct to the airline/hotel/cruise ship.
Remedy: My241Rewards "Buy 1 get 1 free" is misleading misrepresentation and should be prevented.