Is this offer for free airline tickets a scam?

6 On Your Side Answers: Is this offer for free airline tickets a scam?

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By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's that time of the year when promotion companies start sending what appear to be government documents daring you to open the letter. What you read is an offer to travel for free.

Betsy from Knoxville asks, "Did I really win two free airline tickets, or is it a scam?"

With the winter resort travel season nearing, many of you may be getting a letter like the one Betsy did.

It says: "I am pleased to inform you that you have qualified for an award of two round-trip airline tickets. These tickets are valid for travel anywhere within the continental United States departing from any major airport."

That's not bad. In a few months, when we have the heat cranked up in our homes, and when meteorologists Matt Hinkin or Julya Johnson warn us of a major winter storm coming our way, we'll want to take a flight to anywhere its warm.  

The letter goes on to say: "You will receive two nights at any one of over one-thousand Marriott hotel locations."

The retail value of this award is up to $1,400.

If all that has not gotten your attention, this line will: "Because of previous attempts to reach you have been unsuccessful, this is your final notification. If you don't call within 10 days, the travel vouchers will be awarded to someone else."

A lot of people would then call the number.

6 On Your Side called the number and spoke to a woman named Lynn. The tickets were complementary, as long as we attended a presentation for a travel agency where you would likely be encouraged very strongly to sign up for a travel club.

So, is the deal a scam? Not really. It's a clever promotional campaign to get you to join a travel club.

6 On Your Side has warned of travel clubs before. Once you pay a high entrance fee, they have practically hooked for life.

The bottom line is throw the free ticket offer away.


You can see Don Dare's 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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