Money Mindset

Money Mindset discusses the experiences and opinions of a middle-aged professional on the topic of money, including: financial planners, investment experiences, part-time income sources, real estate investment and private sales, web site income opportunities, changing professions, home office organization, money education for kids, and many other subjects I have experienced first hand or even just thought about.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Saving Money on Travel, or Making Money From Travel Agent Referrals -

In return for making you read my philosophical blather, I suppose I should put in some real tips on saving money and making money.

This one comes as a result of a real estate seminar I attended that was put on by the Russ Whitney organization. You may have seen him on early morning infomercials telling his story about how he was working on a pig farm for minimum wage, got fed up with it all, and lived the American dream by becoming a real estate millionaire in something less than 5 years. (There is at least another article or two on real estate gurus and becoming a "real estate millionaire" which sounds much better than it is...)

Anyway, in this case, there may still be a way to get something of value for free. When you register to go to one of the free seminars coming to a hotel in your city, they will tout a "free gift" that they are offering just for showing up.

If you go and sit through the free introductory seminar, you will hear about Russ' amazing story (told by one of his sales people), and a couple of times throughout the seminar they will mention "discounted travel" that you will also have access to, or the opportunity to set up your own "travel agency".

They have a deal with a company called "Global Travel International", based out of Florida, I think. In any case, at the end of the seminar, they hint that you can sign up for this great deal if you buy the $2,000 real estate course coming in the next month (after the traveling road show moves on). If you go to the Russ Whitney web site, you will see a signup button. On the list of hotels where you can choose to sign up, it clearly states that you will receive a free gift worth $195, just for attending the seminar.

That free gift is the introductory registration fee for the affiliate program of Global Travel International (GTI). This is where the value is. Normally it costs about $200 US to join GTI, but here you get it free for sitting through a one hour seminar.

GTI is an interesting concept. It's a bit like a Multi-level Marketing business, but in the travel agency industry. You can choose to sign up and as soon as you send them a picture of yourself and fill out the forms, you will get a valid travel agent ID card.

You may already know that travel agents get big discounts on lots of things. There are also things called FAM (familiarization) trips where agents get to go for a very small free on new promotional vacations.

Another benefit is that they set up a fully automated travel agency web site for you. And any trips booked on that site earn you an agent's commission. You can see what the travel booking site looks like, and book trips on it, at .

Or you can just book trips by phone on their 1-800 number and earn commissions. You can't combine a commission on a trip for yourself and a travel agent's discount as well. But it's still a discount no matter how you do it. Airlines don't offer much, if any, commission any more. But hotels do.

The last benefit is that if you refer others to become agents, you get $50, plus a cut on their commissions (like an MLM). I've used it and it does save me a lot. I haven't earned commissions yet. Just a note that the second year and each year after require about $200 per year in membership fees. But by that time you should know whether it's worth renewing the membership.

If you don't like this idea, another way to save on travel is with CAA memberships. They are good value in themselves for roadside assistance, but the travel benefit is also sometimes good.

... Scott

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