In March of 09 a pop up ad showed up on my computer giving me a chance to win free airline tickets. I signed up and thought no more about it. I was on the Orbitz site at the time and thought it was from Orbitz. On June 6th I received a phone call telling me that I had won 4 roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the world I wanted to travel, but I had to join Cheap Trips for a fee of $117 for their lifetime membership. I did this and was told that when my membership packet would arrive it would contain a voucher for the tickets. I was told that it would take 7-10 days to get but took nearly 6 weeks. No voucher was in the packet but a request for the voucher was. All the promised dividends of membership (a $100 gas card, etc), which were supposed to be free, required me to test products or services from other companies, which always led to a fee from that company. Nowhere in the info provided to me on the telephone call in June or in my membership packet did it say that I had to return the request for the voucher within a certain time or that I had to give them two possible travel times 30 days apart and they would pick which ones I could get. Nor were black out dates mentioned. It only said that I had to stay 5 days in one of the hotels on their site and make those reservations through their site 60 days prior to travel.
So, I made my hotel reservations and sent in my request for travel tickets. This was September 18th. After several weeks of no vouchers, I called the company. This has led to a nightmare for me. Numerous calls were made, usually being picked up by someone with a horrible accent on a terrible phone line, such that I could barely understand them. I was told on several calls that my request had never arrived, then that it had arrived but could take 2 months for them to turn it around. I was given the number and name of the woman who handles the receipt and mailing of vouchers, but was never able to speak to her as she was never in the office. I was told that in reality I had to request the vouchers much longer than 60 days in advance of travel, because it took 30 days for them to prove to themselves that I actually had a membership. Then they would send a voucher on which I had to put two travel times, 30 days apart, and pick a hotel or two and they would make all the arrangements. Since I had already made the hotel arrangements on their site and paid for them, they said that they would try to get me the travel voucher asap so that I could have a hope of getting the tickets in time. Several more weeks went by and no voucher. I finally sent a nasty complaint letter on October 27th and low and behold got a call from a "complaint department rep" the next day. He assured me that he would have the ticket voucher to me within the week. When it didn't arrive, I called back as he instructed, but he was conveniently never available and never returned my calls.
Finally this morning the vouchers arrived. Turns out they were mailed two days ago, after I had called 4 times to speak to the complaint rep again. In reality, they are not for free roundtrip tickets anywhere I want to go, unless I can go there for $300 or less domestic and $500 international. Where in God's name would I get tickets that cheap to anywhere? Also, there is a $25 handling fee to make these flight reservations required for each ticket, air ports were limited to those with at least 3 carriers and it required 7 instead of 5 nights stay.
I have cancelled the hotel reservations and have no intention of using the voucher for the tickets. So, except for the $25 cancellation fees for the hotel and the $117 for lifetime membership we aren't out much money, but the aggravation has been unbelievable.
Also, when I charged the hotel reservations to my Chase credit card, the charge set off their fraud alert and they closed my account and moved me to another one. According to Chase, Cheap Trips is on their fraud radar.
I would encourage everyone to avoid these people like the plague. No one there knows what is going on, has the authority to help, or will accept responsibility. After talking to them several times, I am not even convinced that they use computers! They are a total rip off!