So here's the deal with Amazon Travel Club DBA Amazon E-Travel DBA Oasis Travel or whatever other names they choose to operate under. This company is not a scam in the traditional sense of the word, but they are running quite the racket. My sister went to a widely reputable and famous wedding convention in Boston and ENTERED A CONTEST TO WIN A TRIP (if you notice the owner's post on here that they don't market this as a contest, he's lying). She was informed she had "won" a trip valued at $5,000 but in order to take it she would have to pay $500 in order to avoid tax penalties. They then demanded her credit card number right away. God, I wish I had been there when this happened as I would never have allowed her to hand it over. Warning flags should go off in your head when anyone asks for this type of information. They had told us we could choose from a variety of locations in Florida, and that we'd be again be paying the taxes at each hotel as well (quoted $4-$7/night). They did not tell her where she was staying (red flag #1) and also informed her that as a condition of the trip she would be attending a time share presentation in each location (red flag #2). By the way they don't cover any transportation costs, meals, NOTHING!
The real story starts when we took this trip. At each location they send you to a hotel where there is a "welcome center" you have to check into. At that point you're given your meeting time and place for the time share presentation (by the way it can be in the middle of the day, totally ruining any plans). At our first location in Orlando they had us check into the Ramada Maingate. They also give you your voucher to then check into the hotel. To start we were given a presentation at 1p, smack dab in the middle of the day. Next, we were told we had to provide our own transportation to the meeting as it was off site of the hotel (and by off site, I mean WAY off site). To see further reviews about my experience with the hotels we stayed in, the timeshare company, and more, check out reviews for Ramada Maingate (Orlando), Ocean Plaza (Daytona), and Vacation Village (Weston/Fort Lauderdale). Basically, the Ramada Maingate was the filthiest hotel I've ever stayed in, they charged us a resort fee we had to pay ($45 for three nights!!), and our timeshare presentation we had to attend was almost 3 hours long!!!!
I'll only elaborate a little further. Orlando was a horrible experience, and was only saved by the fact that we had purchased (out of our own pocket) Disney tickets and spent all day in the parks (where it was clean!!). Daytona was actually quite nice, but Ft. Lauderdale got interesting. At the "welcome center" in the Ramada of Ft. Lauderdale we were told we were staying in a 1 bedroom condo at the timeshare destination.... but hey, it's in WESTON, FL, about 30 minutes outside of Ft. Lauderdale. Good thing we had rented our own car. At this point we were so creeped out about the whole experience we went and found our own hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, booked it, checked in at this place in Weston and then left and stayed at the Hyatt in Ft. Lauderdale (read my review, it was amazing!!!)
Amazon Travel Club, I found out, is basically a "marketing company" that is contracted by the timeshare company to provide them with people at their presentations. Amazon Travel gets up to $500 a couple!!!! In Amazon's "contract" they note that if you do not show up to the presentation you'll be charged $200. Also, if you do not stay in the hotel they've booked for you then you will be charged the "full retail rate" of the hotel. Note: there is no such thing as a full retail rate for a hotel, hotel rates are fluid and based on season, how far out you are booking the room, and how many vacancies they have. It's Amazon's way of making up the commission they don't receive for no shows. The presentations, to say the least, were sketchy. The timeshare sales people tried to bully us into putting down our credit card for $30,000 in the space of an hour for a timeshare that we had no opportunity to research (a quick google research of the time share company provided some scary results as well!). In total, I estimate that the $5,000 trip really only costs $500 and Amazon gets you to cover that on your own! The Ramada in Orlando was going for $50/night online, the Daytona Ocean Plaza was about $140/night, and I'm assuming their "$5,000" spin came in when they put us in the 1 bedroom condo. I am glad we booked our own hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, we got a beautiful room at the Hyatt for a reasonable rate. We also learned, as we watched other couples check in, that you don't necessarily get a hotel room where the "welcome center" is. So you can end up FAR from the destination you thought you had chosen (like we did in WESTON!!)
We met other couples who had essentially been scammed as well. We asked where people had "won their trips" and answers went from wedding conventions, to country fairs, to beer conventions! So, we could have booked this vacation on our own minus the time share presentations. I also would have chosen hotels that didn't make me search for bed bugs, or feel like I had to sit up all night by the door with a bat in my hand.
In short, RUN when Amazon calls you. DO NOT give them your credit card number, and always research any company that calls you and tells you that you've won something. Lesson old but true: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Review about: Free Florida Vacation.