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Travel Agent Fee


Aunt-Sue
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I booked my VV cruise in December thru an American Airlines Cruises agent for the bonus AA miles and she charged me an extra $24.99 agents fee. It's a seperate line item on my credit card as payment to American Airlines from payment to Virgin Cruises and payment for insurance. I booked my flight seperately myself. 

 

Is this normal? Don't think I've ever seen this...I mean she did mention it and at the time I just hurridly said ok after being on the booking call forever. 😕

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I have never booked thru American Airlines.  VV pays at or near the highest commission in the business, at least to their Gold Tier agents.  These people NEVER charge an additional fee and often toss in some extra loot or other benefits.

Bottom line, no, it is not normal.  I'm curious what you got for this extra fee.   I have heard of agents who make you sign an agreement that you'll pay $50 if you cancel a booking, but I wouldn't use one who did that...that's not normal either.

 

 

Edited by cantgetin
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I'd like to know what I got for the $25 fee too! The cruise rate was the exact same as I found on VV website myself with the same Bar Tab and no additional On Board Credits!! Like I said I used AA to get the bonus miles and I did shop around for that deal first.

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33 minutes ago, Aunt-Sue said:

I'd like to know what I got for the $25 fee too! The cruise rate was the exact same as I found on VV website myself with the same Bar Tab and no additional On Board Credits!! Like I said I used AA to get the bonus miles and I did shop around for that deal first.

 

I haven't booked through AA's cruise portal, but they're giving you loyalty points and miles. They probably charge a fee when booking over the phone but their system doesn't allow you to book online with Virgin so that's annoying.

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They do have it at the bottom of their website. They're not alone, there are some online agencies that charge it. Of course, I would never use one that did.

 

* Prices shown are samples quoted in U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy of a 7-night cruise in an interior stateroom aboard Icon of the Seas departing 1/18/25, and do not include U.S. Government Taxes/Fees, airfare, gratuities, travel protection, or a non-refundable $24.99 processing fee.

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16 hours ago, cantgetin said:

I have never booked thru American Airlines.  VV pays at or near the highest commission in the business, at least to their Gold Tier agents.  These people NEVER charge an additional fee and often toss in some extra loot or other benefits.

 

That's surprising that they pay high commissions, given that one big online TA that routinely offers 10% on Celebrity and similar lines is only offering 5% back on VV.

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17 hours ago, Aunt-Sue said:

I booked my VV cruise in December thru an American Airlines Cruises agent for the bonus AA miles and she charged me an extra $24.99 agents fee. It's a seperate line item on my credit card as payment to American Airlines from payment to Virgin Cruises and payment for insurance. I booked my flight seperately myself. 

 

Is this normal? Don't think I've ever seen this...I mean she did mention it and at the time I just hurridly said ok after being on the booking call forever. 😕

 

United Cruises charged the same price, I got almost 25,000 reward miles and $100 OBC for the $24.99, I'm good.

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3 hours ago, MisterBill99 said:

 

That's surprising that they pay high commissions, given that one big online TA that routinely offers 10% on Celebrity and similar lines is only offering 5% back on VV.

I'm not a TA, and I could be wrong....but my understanding is that VV commissions start at 16% and they get commission on any bar tabs, excursions, or anything you book in advance thru the app, on line, or thru the agent..  At least some other lines start at 10% and increase based on how much an agent sells.

 

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22 hours ago, cantgetin said:

I have never booked thru American Airlines.  VV pays at or near the highest commission in the business, at least to their Gold Tier agents.  These people NEVER charge an additional fee and often toss in some extra loot or other benefits.

Bottom line, no, it is not normal.  I'm curious what you got for this extra fee.   I have heard of agents who make you sign an agreement that you'll pay $50 if you cancel a booking, but I wouldn't use one who did that...that's not normal either.

 

 

This! Exactly. There’s no reason for the fee other than corporate garbage. 

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8 hours ago, TheDarkestBlue said:

 

 

United Cruises charged the same price, I got almost 25,000 reward miles and $100 OBC for the $24.99, I'm good.

 

And miles are typically worth around two cents, so that's $500. Not bad.

 

3 hours ago, MeganGC1983 said:

This! Exactly. There’s no reason for the fee other than corporate garbage. 

 

Perhaps, but take a look at how many FF miles the previous poster got. 

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6 hours ago, MisterBill99 said:

 

And miles are typically worth around two cents, so that's $500. Not bad.

 

 

Perhaps, but take a look at how many FF miles the previous poster got. 

But they didn't get an MNVV certificate which would have been worth $300 off the cruise cost + $600 in Loot......

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On 10/24/2023 at 11:02 PM, Aunt-Sue said:

Is this normal? Don't think I've ever seen this...I mean she did mention it and at the time I just hurridly said ok after being on the booking call forever.

 

Good TAs don't charge any fees. They are paid commission on the back end after travel. However charging research and other fees is a growing trend in the industry, most prevalent in situations like yours with a major travel entity selling cruises 'as part of their offerings.' We've been cruising nearly 20 years and have never paid a travel agent fee. 

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3 hours ago, CruisingWalter said:

 

Good TAs don't charge any fees. They are paid commission on the back end after travel. However charging research and other fees is a growing trend in the industry, most prevalent in situations like yours with a major travel entity selling cruises 'as part of their offerings.' We've been cruising nearly 20 years and have never paid a travel agent fee. 

I had one who tried many years ago.  I thanked her and went elsewhere.  No, I don't shop for how many perks I can get, but I am looking for someone who knows the product and gives good service.  I Also once saw a "special" in an AAA magazine, so I went in to see their agent,  It became obvious that I knew a lot more than she did and that she was looking up the answers on like right in front of me.  I called my regular agent who advised me that no only did they have the same "special," but it could be booked that day rather than waiting for the "special booking dates."  This was long before internet was a big thing.  It  existed, but was dial up and almost a miracle if it didn't die on you.

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9 hours ago, cantgetin said:

But they didn't get an MNVV certificate which would have been worth $300 off the cruise cost + $600 in Loot......

 

Hi! 🙂 I did try to use a VV travel agent, had trouble finding one, not sure if I missed it, but I never found a good resource. Could you tell me where to look for next time? I know about the existence of the MNVVs and wonder how much they charge to sell them to you? If the cruise goes well, I may buy some on my upcoming trip. Hoping to find soap at Gunbae 😜

 

This year is the first time I ever paid a fee to a travel agent. My long time one retired, she used to get me perks and 5 to 10% of the price of the cruise, in the form of a check, when I returned home. Her company didn't deal with Virgin anyway. I'm not sure if I had the best places to look for a gold VV first mate, but I did try. I was aware of the program, even watched an hour-long vid of first mates putting other first mates through the booking process on screen, nothing special, though I did get to see how much they were going to make in commission. Have almost always booked my own excursions directly with people on the ground, not through the ship or any third party like Viator. I love to do the research, I eat that 💩 up 😋

 

Also, I always book my own air, and play the frequent flyer mileage game - just this year took my family from Newark to French Polynesia for 35k miles each way, 70k total per person, so 25,000 ff miles for me, is important. I forgot to mention that my credit card will pay me two times the price of the cruise in frequent flyer miles, so that will bring me up to just under 30k ff miles. Since 2018 I've also managed to fly the family in business class, to Rome, twice, on frequent flyer miles.

 

For this trip, I also got $300 in bar tab and $100 in loot - the promotion was a $600 bar tab per cabin, but because I am one person staying in a Central Sea Terrace, it's half. 

 

With all the nickel and diming going on these days, I'm okay with 25 bucks that I knew ahead of time would be charged to me. In the bigger scheme of things it's a drop in the bucket, or ocean  LOL 🌊

 

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41 minutes ago, TheDarkestBlue said:

 

Hi! 🙂 I did try to use a VV travel agent, had trouble finding one, not sure if I missed it, but I never found a good resource. Could you tell me where to look for next time? I know about the existence of the MNVVs and wonder how much they charge to sell them to you? If the cruise goes well, I may buy some on my upcoming trip. Hoping to find soap at Gunbae 😜

 

This year is the first time I ever paid a fee to a travel agent. My long time one retired, she used to get me perks and 5 to 10% of the price of the cruise, in the form of a check, when I returned home. Her company didn't deal with Virgin anyway. I'm not sure if I had the best places to look for a gold VV first mate, but I did try. I was aware of the program, even watched an hour-long vid of first mates putting other first mates through the booking process on screen, nothing special, though I did get to see how much they were going to make in commission. Have almost always booked my own excursions directly with people on the ground, not through the ship or any third party like Viator. I love to do the research, I eat that 💩 up 😋

 

Also, I always book my own air, and play the frequent flyer mileage game - just this year took my family from Newark to French Polynesia for 35k miles each way, 70k total per person, so 25,000 ff miles for me, is important. I forgot to mention that my credit card will pay me two times the price of the cruise in frequent flyer miles, so that will bring me up to just under 30k ff miles. Since 2018 I've also managed to fly the family in business class, to Rome, twice, on frequent flyer miles.

 

For this trip, I also got $300 in bar tab and $100 in loot - the promotion was a $600 bar tab per cabin, but because I am one person staying in a Central Sea Terrace, it's half. 

 

With all the nickel and diming going on these days, I'm okay with 25 bucks that I knew ahead of time would be charged to me. In the bigger scheme of things it's a drop in the bucket, or ocean  LOL 🌊

 

CC does not allow us to name our travel agents.  The only thing I can suggest is that you look up Where's Walter Travels on YouTube and read all the stuff under the video as well as watching his VERY high quality videos.  I found him to be very honest about the good and bad with no "look at me" but rather  "i'm doing this to be helpful" kind of stuff.

We always do our own air and so far have always found it cheaper than the quotes we've gotten thru VV (figured it didn't hurt to ask.). We also do travel insurance privately.

I'm surprised that you only got a $300 bar tab because I haven't seen any solo cruiser specials recently.  If you are paying for 2, you should get $600.  I'm NOT an agent, but again, I think your agent might have messed up on that,  If you have loyalty status on any cruise line or airline, go to the loyalty section of the VV web site and sign up for Sea Rover status thru their loyalty match.  This will give you their "Deep Blue Extras" package which includes another $100 bar tab, a bag of laundry (HUGE bag), $10 per day credit in THe Grounds Club, etc.  

Every travel agent I know sells the MNVVs for the $300 that they cost on board, and then applies the $300 you pay for it toward the down payment on your cruise.  You pay $300, which goes directly to the cost of the cruise.  You get an additional $300 off the cruise price + $600 in Loot.  You can buy it yourself on board or buy one from an agent,  IF you buy on board, tell the sales person to NOT credit your current agent; then you can have it assigned to any agent when you are ready to book.  THey are good for 2 years and are non-refundable, but are transferable,    Agents and regular sailors are limited in the number they can buy,,,,,I know my agent used one of my cruises to buy some extras since I didn't want the 4 each that we could have purchased.  Her goal is to always have some available for her clients!   Also, if your agent books 10 cabins on any given cruise, that qualifies as a "circle" and they get extra goodies for that,  My agent passes on the goodies in the form of extra loot to the clients in the circle,

Tootles!

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13 hours ago, TheDarkestBlue said:

For this trip, I also got $300 in bar tab and $100 in loot - the promotion was a $600 bar tab per cabin, but because I am one person staying in a Central Sea Terrace, it's half.

 

That's not how it works. If you paid for a Central Sea Terrace, you get a $600 Bar Tab even for a solo traveler. Is your cruise 6 nights or less? Then it's a $300 Bar Tab for the cabin. $600 for 7 nights or longer.  If you were only getting half because of being a Solo then your Sailor Loot would have been $50 as well. Cabin perks are for the cabin, whether it's one or two people. 

 

As I mentioned previously, we've never paid a travel agency fee in our almost 20 years of cruising and hopefully never will. The good ones take care of their clients so they build a long term relationship so the billing naturally takes care of itself. 

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2 hours ago, CruisingWalter said:

 

That's not how it works. If you paid for a Central Sea Terrace, you get a $600 Bar Tab even for a solo traveler. Is your cruise 6 nights or less? Then it's a $300 Bar Tab for the cabin. $600 for 7 nights or longer.  

Correct, Bar tab is based on length and is for the whole cabin, regardless of the number of sailors or cabin type (solo insiders also get the same amount). 

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4 hours ago, CruisingWalter said:

 

That's not how it works. If you paid for a Central Sea Terrace, you get a $600 Bar Tab even for a solo traveler. Is your cruise 6 nights or less? Then it's a $300 Bar Tab for the cabin. $600 for 7 nights or longer.  If you were only getting half because of being a Solo then your Sailor Loot would have been $50 as well. Cabin perks are for the cabin, whether it's one or two people. 

 

As I mentioned previously, we've never paid a travel agency fee in our almost 20 years of cruising and hopefully never will. The good ones take care of their clients so they build a long term relationship so the billing naturally takes care of itself. 

 

You're right Walter, I'm on a 5-day, so that's what the deal is, thanks for straightening that out 🙂

 

For me, whether the $25 comes out of the front end or the back end of the deal is no matter. As long as I get what I need, and feel that I've been treated fairly. If I sail on Virgin again, I'll probably do things differently, thanks for the heads up. I've been cruising longer than you, and I'm not worried about it, not sure why you keep bringing 20 years up? 🤔 

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/25/2023 at 4:59 PM, TheDarkestBlue said:

 

 

United Cruises charged the same price, I got almost 25,000 reward miles and $100 OBC for the $24.99, I'm good.

 

They are the same agency. They operate under several different names and are all part of the conglomerate World Travel Holdings. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I booked a cruise through American Airlines because of the double earnings of bonus miles for using my AA credit card plus 20,000 AA miles just for using their agency.  For $24.99, it was a good deal.

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