There are several hotel consolidators and discount sites that promise deals, Their offers are frequently limited, sometimes the deals are good and frequently they aren’t, but they all try to distinguish themselves in one way or another.

Back in October, SniqueAway offered me a site credit if I would promote their product by giving away some credit to me readers. I asked them if I could give away the credit they were offering to readers and the credit they were offering to me, so that’s what I did.

Also in October, TripAlertz was offering $10 for every person you got to sign up their email address using your link. I said at the time that was too generous, and it clearly was, they reduced the amount of their offer quickly and then twice in quick succession sped up the period of time you had to use your credits before they expired.

It was this big offer that got my attention, and a bunch of people signed up using my link, but with only 6 months to use the credits (instead of the originally-promised two years) and lots of hotels that didn’t really fit my plans — mostly Caribbean all-inclusives or mid-range hotels in cities I wasn’t visiting or where I had another preferred property — I didn’t plan on using the credits myself. I emailed and Tweeted TripAlertz asking if I could run a giveaway on the blog, it would have promoted their site and would only have provided those credits they had already given me. I got no response.

I think that The Points Guy gave away his credits, I wanted to do the same, but technically the terms and conditions said that the credits had to be used by the person who earned them. I didn’t see how that would be tracked since they only asked for an email address at signup. But I didn’t want to run a giveaway where the prize wasn’t something the recipient could rightfully use. I did use some TripAlertz credit for a quick stay at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf, I needed a place to crash enroute to Asia (I was grabbing Cathay’s San Francisco – Hong Kong flight) but beyond that most of the credits are likely to expire.

Along comes Jetsetter. Many of their hotels are decent deals, and higher end places I really would like to stay. But there’s a lot of noise in this space and I hadn’t paid much attention to them before.

And then they ran an offer for discounted airport car service through It was a big deal because when you sign up as a new member, you get a $25 credit. And they had car service starting at $29. A New York-LaGuardia pickup could cost as list as $4 plus fees, a great deal. Plus the person referring the member gets $25 as well.

Normally Jetsetter is happy to give both the referrer and the referred member $25 with first purchase because the margins are pretty good. But on a net $4++ car service (while paying out $25 towards future travel as well!) the economics of Jetsetter’s offer weren’t really very good for them.

So they decided, apparently, not to honor the referral credits they had promised.

Now, I was late to the party. Lots of other blogs and travel sites had written about this deal, and it was abruptly pulled several days before it was originally said to expire. So only a dozen or so folks actually completed their purchase, I didn’t have a lot of referral credits at stake. Possibly because I not only gave my link but I invited readers to post their own links in the comments, some folks likely used others’ links as well. Someone’s link needed to be used, I though, since Jetsetter was giving out referral credits on each completed transaction. But it could have been mine or someone else’s.

Nonetheless, they pulled my credits, something I only discovered weeks later logging back into the site and seeing the funds gone.

It was February 12 when I noticed that my referral credits were gone, oddly they hadn’t pulled my credits in the first couple of weeks after the offer, and I had even written about Jetsetter subsequently when they had an offer at the Peninsula. Seeing my credits mysteriously gone, I sent an email:

I referred a bunch of people to JetSetter. the system shows 153 people signed up. I had hundreds of dollars in referral credits available. Now I log back in and the system shows $25. Please advise.

They said I violated their terms of service somehow:

Thank you for the email. Your credits were expired by our team due to a violation in the Jetsetter Terms of Service we discovered. Referrals are based on completed orders. If you are able to give the email addresses of the people you referred, we would be more than happy to look in to this on your behalf.

If I broke their rules, why didn’t they tell me they were pulling these credits? And what rule exactly did I violate? I replied:

Why was I not contacted?

You can see the email addresses of those that were referred under my account.

All of the referrals signed up using a bona fide referral link, which I found on my JetSetter account, and which I placed on my blog.

I promoted JetSetter signups, and anyone signing up made trasnactions on their own independent of me.

Please tell me —- What rule did I violate?

And they replied, not telling me what I did violated their terms and conditions, but just by copying and pasting their terms and conditions into an email.

By now it’s February 16 and again, I just wanted them to explain to me what I did that supposedly broke their rules:

So what rule did I violate?

I followed JetSetter directions. I took the referral link that JetSetter provided, people signed up through that link and made bona fide purchases at my suggestion.

You provided me credits, which were properly earned, but then took those credits away many weeks later.

And no one has yet to provide an explanation that says what I’ve supposedly done that’s inconsistent with your terms.

Please advise, or simply re-instate the credits (which were all properly earned)

They replied on February 20th by saying I broke the terms and conditions but that they couldn’t say how:

We are only able to refer you to the below list of the Jetsetter Terms of Service provided by our colleague below. It was determined by our team you were in violation of one or more of these terms and therefore the credit was removed from your account.

So now I wanted to know, since they wouldn’t explain even which rule I had broken, were these secret terms and conditions?

So you’re telling me that I broke a rule, but ‘which one’ is a secret?

I maintain, as I explained below, that I followed all of your procedures. I used the referral link provided to me when logged into my account. I posted that link along with multiple offers from JetSetter. People used that link, signed up, many made purchases. I received credit for those purchases and then you took them away ‘because I broke a rule’ but you will not tell me what rule I broke or what I supposedly did wrong?

And if you won’t tell me, how can I avoid doing it again?

Referring me to the terms and conditions is of no help, because after reviewing those it is clear I did not break any rule.

And it appears that you’re simply removing credit from my account arbitrarily, capriciously, because you don’t want to honor the very terms and conditions that you cite.

Their reply is… once again.. that they will do nothing other than refer me to their terms and conditions, but not explain what I did to violate them.

Thank you for the reply. The Director of Member Services has alerted us the only course of action we have at this point is to cite the Jetsetter Terms of Service. Unfortunately, we can no longer further assist you with this issue.

At this point I’m getting frustrated with the stonewalling. They’re clearly not interested in providing an explanation (and of course there is no reasonable explanation — they are acting entirely arbitrarily in my view, and not based on their terms and conditions at all). So I call them out on it:

Please provide me with contact information for the Director of Member Services.

At this point I can only otherwise assume you have engaged in fraud. You cite the terms and conditions but do not describe how my actions have violated those terms. You have removed financial credit which is due to me based on the promises of those same terms and conditions. That’s theft.

Surely this isn’t behavior which you are proud of.

Please either return the credit to my account or provide me with contact information for the Director of Member Services,

So they tell me their Director of Member Services will contact me. Mind you, so far though each email is signed by someone with first name, last initial, all replies come from a generic email address. There hasn’t been any one person to correspond with, and each reply has come from someone else (or is at least signed with some different name).

And guess what? I get an email from the same generic email address, this time just signed “Member Services” (no name) telling me that I broke their terms and conditions by… using the referral link they gave me and asking people to use it. Seriously. Here’s their reply:

Hello Gary,

We hope this email finds you well. We have been looking into your inquiry about why your credits were expired. Please be advised that under our terms and conditions, Jetsetter reserves the right to void credits that were earned in a manner not intended by Jetsetter.

The Terms state that you may not conduct your own promotion in connection with the credit program, and may not engage in any promotional, marketing or other advertising activities on behalf of Jetsetter. This was an example of such a promotion, as you asked people to use your referral link.

If you have further questions, you can refer to our Terms of Service here:

Warm regards,
Member Services

(Emphasis mine.)

At this point they’ve truly got to be kidding.

My response, I think, speaks for itself. And so far I haven’t heard back.

Dear Member Services,

This response is absurd. Are you seriously claiming that any attempt to “ask people to use your referral link” is a violation of Jetsetter’s rules, when Jetsetter provides me with that very referral link for the purpose of asking people to use it?

Jetsetter even provides a page specifically designed to help members ask others to use their referral link:

There’s a pre-written message, provided by Jetsetter, for that very purpose!

    Isn’t it time for a vacation? Here’s an invitation to join Jetsetter, where you’ll have access to the world’s greatest travel experiences at members-only prices.

However, if you will review my writings nowhere do I ever actually ask anyone to use my link!

So your specific claim is incorrect, in fact I specifically tell people that they do not need to use my link.

As a result, and per your email explanation below then, the credits I earned were exactly following Jetsetter procedures. Jetsetter provided me with a referral link to use, I shared Jetsetter offers on my blog using that link, but based on your explanation I have not violated Jetsetter’s terms and conditions.

Furthermore, if your explanation were correct and covered what I’ve written, then any blog anywhere that posts a referral link, or anyone posting a referral link on Twitter or on their Facebook wall, would similarly be in violation of Jetsetter’s terms and conditions – despite doing exactly what Jetsetter asks its members to do!

That’s the definition of arbitrary and capricious. And exactly why it seems fraudulent to remove my referral credits under these circumstances.

Jetsetter has been stonewalling consistently, would not provide any explanation of its reason for removing credits, and now offers an explanation that is (1) false and (2) utterly illogical.

I would kindly ask you again to re-instant the credits that I earned. Call it a one-time exception if you’d like. But please do so immediately, or provide dedicated and direct contact information for someone empowered to handle this at an appropriately high level.

Do I ‘deserve’ the referral credits? Per their terms and conditions yes, in some metaphysical sense one might argue not.

Should I have given up several emails ago? Probably.

But I was mostly interested in pursuing this to push Jetsetter, see how they’d behave, see how they stand behind their offers. See what kind of customer service response they’d provide. And I certainly found out!

The lesson, to me, is that Jetsetter isn’t going to stand behind their offers when it isn’t financially advantageous to them to do so. I really didn’t expect any problem with this offer, but they decided to renege, and then to stonewall. That’s not a company I trust or especially want to do business with.

If there’s another offer along the lines of Groundlink I will probably post it, along with a caution though I imagine, probably a link to this post, as a reminder of buyer beware with these characters.

Is my experience unique? I know that several other blogs promoted the Jetsetter/Groundlink deal before I did. Any other bloggers out there have their credits taken away? Has Jetsetter treated you in a similar manner?

I do not ask for anyone to feel sorry for me, I’m not bothered being ‘out’ a few hundred bucks in referral credits, referrals that I usually try to find a way to give away to readers in any case. But I did learn a lesson that I no longer trust Jetsetter.

Am I being unreasonable?

Update: It occurs to me that I should add, if they’d just be honest and write “we really didn’t intend to reward low value referrals, and despite our terms and conditions we aren’t going to reward $25 per referral for something we lost money on, we hope you understand” I’d actually let it go. I’d publish it here, to be sure, to give everyone fair warning about how they do or do not stand behind their offers, but I’d at least appreciate the honestly instead of resenting their stonewalling.

  1. Colleen said,

    You’re welcome to let Jetsetter know that this traveler/reader will no longer use their services, and will also evangelize to nine additional potential customers to ask them to BOYCOTT JETSETTER. Gotta run – got people to talk to!

  2. BNS said,

    Even if you didn’t deserve the credits (which it seems you do deserve) the terrible and ridiculous “customer service” Jetsetter provided is enough for me to take my business elsewhere.

  3. ArizonaGuy said,

    Wow. Haven’t dealt with that kind of non-answer customer service in a while. Really curious to see if there will be a footnote to this story once Jetsetter gets wind of the negative publicity.

    Posts like this are why I still read blogs. These topics are far more useful than rehashing the same details about various credit cards.

  4. burmans said,

    Agreed this sucks. Am not sure what the Terms and Conditions said at the time of the promo but interesting to see they have been updated as at 28 Jan and the section on referrals seems to take up about half of the T&C’s now.

  5. bmvaughn said,

    I’ve RT’d, plan to remove myself from their mailing list as well.

    Sounds like they don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to social marketing, and they’re trying to CYA, poorly.

  6. Chas said,


    Had a hauntingly similar experience as you, except I had far fewer referral credits, and I had already used them all to buy GroundLink services. My orders were all canceled, and I had almost the exact same conversation with their team, except via increasingly escalated phone calls. Every time I asked them to show me where I violated their terms of service, they couldn’t tell me. They were somehow surprised when I asked them to deactivate my account on the same call.

    Long-winded way of saying no, you are not being unreasonable in the least. I’m glad you posted this on your blog, since you have the ability to reach far more savvy travelers than I!

    FWIW, the GroundLink service actually kinda sucked (a friend gave me a cert after hearing my sob story about getting all mine canceled). I was hit with all kinds of fees that weren’t included in my initial “quote,” car was in sad shape, driver had no idea where I was going, etc.

  7. James said,

    There’s only one established way to properly punish Jetsetter for this and get your credits re-instated.

    Have Lucky Tweet about it!

  8. HikerT said,

    Have you tried posing the question on their facebook page? I won’t boycott them until I use up the very large stash of jetsetter credits I bought for 50% on cybermonday. :)

  9. sunny said,

    I had the same problem where MyPoints mysteriously removed hundreds of points (not quite the same financial scale as hundreds of dollars) from my account.

    I emailed their customer service and after several back and forths with generic scripts of “You earned X points! Great!”, I gave up. I think most of these customer service agents are not authorized to deviate from their scripts, which is why they couldn’t actually tell you which condition you violated.

  10. ArizonaGuy said,

    @James – you mean have Lucky tweet about Jetsetter while somehow including a mention of teenagers, milk and cookies, Bieber, Diet Coke with lime and the corniest jokes around. :)

  11. The Weekly Flyer said,

    Gary, It is a simple matter of principle that you followed through on. I would have likely done the same thing, but given up before you did.

    I agree completely with you on this. Don’t provider members a referral link if you don’t want them to actually, you know, refer people.

    Thank you for exposing them for not honoring their referral program.

  12. BothofUs2 said,

    I’m 100% behind you Gary- these jetsetter people sound like a bunch of amateurs. Keep the fight you’re in the right here!

  13. Jacob said,

    You’re a reasonably well-connected guy and influential in the travel space. If this blog post doesn’t already lead to a quick fix, I’d consider going straight to the top and contacting executives at Gilt Groupe (Jetsetter’s parent) or one of its VC backers, Matrix Partners and General Atlantic.

  14. Son said,

    Thanks for the information. I will not use Jetsetter in the future.

  15. Litigious Reader said,

    Sue the bastards. Honestly, Small Claims court is simple, fun, and it will get their attention MUCH more effectively than any email message.

  16. bluto said,

    go get him. I am less likely to use them after hearing about the customer service.

  17. Peter S said,

    I will not deal with them or their assoicated website ever. I will also unsubscribe.

  18. oleg said,

    Sounds like they really should fix their terms to give referral bonus for transactions over some value, so this is actually cost-effective for them.

    But yes, their treatment of this situation is appalling.

  19. al613 said,

    Here is my story with them:
    I had 3 people join through my links. Why do I see $0 credit in my account?
    J:Your referral credits were deactivated as there was a violation of the Jetsetter Terms of Service detected on your account. To review these terms you may visit the following link:
    Me: I don’t understand what did I violate?
    J: Thank you for your email. We appreciate hearing from you. It had been determined by our team that referral credits were not being applied to the purchase. You can read the terms of service my colleague Brad provided in the below email for further details about our Terms of Service. Warm Regards, Corey Jetsetter Member Services

  20. Sailor said,

    Way to go, Gary. Don’t let them get away with this. I won’t be using Jetsetter until they resolve your issue and bring their customer service quality up to normal standards.

  21. mike said,

    I agree with you, and Jetsetter is in the wrong. It is flat out fraud to offer such a credit, post it and then state you earned toooo much we are taking it back.
    I say go after them and make a statement.

  22. Stuart Falk said,

    Without commenting on the merits of this case, I think this is a good example of all-to-often misguided social media marketing, in this instance compensating bloggers for referrals. While Gary is always above board and honest about such compensation, that is not true of all bloggers, whose motives are not so pure. The best way to deal with this is to end the practice altogether, and that includes credit card issuers. That said, I don’t think this one incident – which I see as being more of a misunderstanding, should poison people against Jetsetter, the leadership of which are people of high integrity.

  23. Ryan said,

    153 Referrals * $25= $3825! I’d be more than a little upset about losing that much credit. Jetsetter deserves all the bad press it can get.

  24. Gary said,

    @Stuart Falk – this is my only experience with Jetsetter. They give everyone a referral link to use, I just used mine on my blog. I have no direct experience with their leadership, except that someone more senior than I’m talking to set up the policy that they’re pursuing with me, and wrote the scripts, I understasnd now that the same scripts have been used with others. So I presume this sort of customer service reflects on the leadership. But then I have no countervailing experiences, would love to hear yours. best, Gary

  25. Gary said,

    @Ryan about 150+ signed up under my account, but I only ever had about $275 I think in referrals so presumably only 11 actually completed purchases. Or they didn’t report all the purchases. But I don’t think I had nearly that much at stake. And I don’t especially want the credits at this point, I don’t really want to deal with them after this, I’m just sharing my experiences.

  26. al613 said,

    Anyone can explain this statement from Jetsetter?
    “It had been determined by our team that referral credits were not being applied to the purchase.”

  27. Jenny said,

    Wow I am so appalled that Jetsetter would do this. It’s fraud!

  28. dealswelike said,

    Same situation happened to me. I had 4 referrals and all credits were taken out of my account. I am actively contacting customer service as well and will keep you up to date with my progress. Hopefully I can speak to a supervisor tomorrow as the evening representatives were anything but helpful.

  29. Scott said,

    Jetsetter is dead to me! I will never do anything through them.

  30. J said,

    Outrageous, hope you get their attention here. Looks to me like they applied some stupid heuristic to filter out what they didn’t like and started revoking credits. Certainly won’t be doing any reservations with them, what if something goes wrong or they feel the need to pull my res?

  31. irene said,

    i am mostly a lurker. i shop at gilt occasionally, so jetsetter struck a note. i know they’re a startup in nyc – and a sketchy acquaintance works there now. i think what they did was shady, and really! you can’t post a referral link in a blog? i hope you get to the bottom of this!

  32. purplnurpl said,

    Dear Jetsetter,

    If you wish to promote your products and services here and succeed, be honest.

    The Internet

  33. Power joe said,

    So according to their TOS you cannot promote a referral link on blogs and websites? What is the point of a referral link?? Idiotic business behavior to say the least.

  34. Ben said,

    Umm, y’all published a deal that was mispriced on it own, and you’re upset because they’re reneging on the referral bonuses?

    The funny thing is that most of the referral credits will expire unused as there’s little that someone with 1-3x referrals who flew under than radar can buy, and the bloggers who got 10-100x are getting cancelled. This is no different than the AA shopping mall. It costs nothing to dangle nice promotions out there, if you can cancel them as soon as some low-revenue customers show up.

  35. The Weekly Flyer said,

    @internet – well said

  36. Gary said,

    @Ben the Groundlink offer from Jetsetter wasn’t a mistake or mispriced. I’ve actually used Groundlink several times now, and have had good experiences ironically enough on all EXCEPT the time I used the jetsetter coupon. (Story forthcoming as part of a trip report.)

    See, the Groundlink deal got my attention, I started checking out Jetsetter, saw that they were different from other sites in discounting places I actually wanted to stay — I would have been a customer, they’re offering deals on places I’d DREAM of staying, like the Peninsula New York.

    But this customer service experience has me feeling rpetty burned. I don’t especially want the credits, though I’d love for them to make this right to the folks that have commented on their own similar experiences, since that would suggest to me that they actually see their customer service reaction as wrong and show an intention to change / fix it rather than just pacifying someone causing them a bit of embarassment on the internet (me).

  37. Brant said,

    App will be deleted and will remove my address from the mailing list.

  38. John said,

    I’ve been a long time user of Jetsetter but this kind of behavior is unacceptable. I will never buy anything from Jetsetter ever again.

    Thanks for giving the heads up on this mess.

  39. melissAA said,

    An excellent case study on how to kill your business with poor customer service. RIP Jetsetter….

  40. guru said,

    The funny thing is that Jetsetter is losing its reputation within its target demographic. Any guess on what they would have saved by removing the credit? $3-5miilion? Someone in leadership decided to trade that for their brand reputation/value.

  41. Mike said,

    Contact the BBB

  42. DG said,

    Jetsetter is rumored to be in significant financial straits, which is maybe why they’ve reneged on their promise. I’d wish you continue to pursue this, because it’s such a blatant case of fraud.

    BTW, here’s who the director is –

  43. TCho said,

    A bit off-topic, but somewhat related, I know two people who have gotten jobs at Gilt Groupe, but promptly left. They said that morale there is horrible, and employees are not treated well at all.

  44. Chas said,

    This blog post is currently on page 4 of the Google results of a generic search for “”
    The snowball is starting to roll!

  45. Syndey said,

    wow, great post, happy I have never used Jetsetter and never will. they keep on sending me these annoying emails with nonsense subject lines, blah

  46. Cook said,

    Customer No-Service at the very best JetSetter is OFF My List.

  47. JC said,

    At this point, I am thrilled I did not book the ever so tempting Peninsula deal. What if there had been a glitch? Is this the example of how responds to all issues? No thank you.

  48. Voice of reason said,

    I find all the threats of “I’m never going to use Jetsetter again! Hmpf” from the various posters rather amusing.

    None of you ever had any intention of using Jetsetter for anything than this promotion. You’re all waiting to swarm to some other website to take advantage of some other “deal” that’ll let you get something for nothing.

    And if Jetsetter comes out in the future with another promo that’s too good to be true, all of you will swarm right on back.

  49. Joelfreak said,

    Amazing how some companies don’t realize the harm they do to their business with their FU customer attitude. We have seen it time after time. Gary, you did nothing wrong, and deserve what you were promised.

  50. Carleton Hafer said,

    Thanks for posting this story. One of the most important things we can learn is who stands behind their offers and who does not and who has good customer service or not. I certainly will stay away from Jetsetter. By the way, you deserve the credits. They made the offer, they need to honor it.

  51. FlyingBear said,

    @Voice of (un)reason

    I signed up for Jetsetter after all the promotion was gone because they looked interesting and some of the stuff fit my interest/travels. So no monetary gain to begin with and just now I unsubscribed from their service. Thank you for exemplifying why absolute statements are absolutely ignorant :)

  52. Michael said,

    You are not alone Gary. Several months ago, I reserved a Dubai hotel deal with Jetsetter. Well within the sale period I went to complete my purchase and, when the payment page came up, the price had doubled.

    I spoke with an agent who said that the price had indeed changed but, as I had reserved and attempted to pay before the deadline, she was sure that the company would honor the original price. Spoke with a supervisor and finally a VP and was firmly told no way. That was the end of my subscription.

  53. marc said,


    FF list of companies not to do business with:

    Cartera (w/ a general mistrust of other shopping portals)

  54. Alex said,

    I actually had a similar run in with Gilt Group/ I think that their executives and in-house legal team are quite sketchy. If you get any letters from their in house legal counsel, I do advise you to read the actual laws and regulations as well as pertinent case laws as their “legal counsel” does not appear to understand how the law works, or at least assumes that others will not bother to research when faced with an attorney. The lack of professionalism in their company has prompted me to wonder whether it is worth it for me to contact my corporate contacts to pull our advertising and partnerships with such an unprofessional agency.

  55. David said,

    A check of the JetSetter FAQs even suggests this:

    Is there a limit to the amount of credit I can have?

    Absolutely not. In fact, we suggest inviting every person you know so you can get millions in credit. Well, you’d have to know millions of people first, but it’s worth a try.

    My reading of that is that it is actually encouraged to get your referral link out there and seek maximum credit.

  56. Rita said,

    Thanks for sharing this story Gary. Sometimes I’m tempted by the Jetsetter deals but feel wary of doing business with them now after reading about your (and some of the other commenters’) experience. Thanks

  57. joelfreak said,

    @Voice of Reason Sure, if they want to GIVE me something, I will take it. But thats not what they are looking for. The issue is, if Jetsetter makes an offer thats a little bit less, or equal to another site, I will not have that little birdie in my ear that reminds me that Jetsetter is not trustworthy. That will make a big difference to a company. You can ALWAYS buy customers. The question is are you worthy of my EVERYDAY money? This proves that Gilt/Jetsetter is not.

  58. joelfreak said,

    Of course that should read “I will have that little birdie in my ear that reminds me that Jetsetter is not trustworthy.” :)

  59. Charlene said,

    you could try posting to them on twitter. they respond quickly and it would be somewhat of a public forum. their parent company gilt and jetsetter has always responded quickly when i needed customer service help from their various sale sites.

  60. ramon said,

    i had booked the taxi deal through jetsetter and when i tried to claim it on-line, i found out it was “cancelled” because they assumed that another email belonged to me as well- which it did not (similar name in system). there was no getting around it, and the phone service was no help. F jetsetter

  61. Scott said,

    Unbelievable — was looking to book my honeymoon trip to Bali through them if I could find a good rate, but will definitely look elsewhere after all this.

  62. Andrew said,

    Something I find funny…
    the JetSetter CEO has his referral link listed as his homepage on Twitter:

  63. George said,

    @voice of reason- same as the other two posts above- I signed up when Gary originally promoted the site, but did not take advantage of the discounted car offer because it was not available in my city.

    However, I would read their emails, and was on the verge of booking a hotel room through them (Paresa Resort in Phuket) because the rate was good and I liked the site. I’m not going to use their site now, and unsubscribed to their offers, so I doubt I will “jump on the next deal”…

  64. Danny said,

    stick it to them Gary, don’t let these a-holes get away with the bait and switch.

  65. chitownflyer said,

    I think you should gather information on as many people whom have been shafted by Jetsetter not honoring its offer, and then get it publicized in the mainline media. On top of that, small claims court sounds like a good remedy. All the negative publicity is going to drive Jetsetter’s reputation down.

  66. Julianne said,

    I, too, think Jetsetter is questionable. I referred people via direct email NOT via posting a link. I originally was given $350 in credits when my referrals signed up and made their car service purchase. A few weeks later, my credits were reduced to $250, without explanation. Now my $250 in credits comes and goes. Some days it is there, some days I have $0 in credits. I have NOT yet followed up with jetsetter. From what Gary tells us, I think I won’t bother, since I can’t risk getting to a destination I reserved with jetsetter credit and being told I have no reservsation. Add me to the boycott jetsetter group.

  67. Joe said,

    This is really eye-opening. I’ve got a two week Asian vacation coming up and I was close to jumping on two of their offers… but a company that treats affiliates like crap is a company that will treat customers like crap. No thank you.

  68. AV said,

    Thank you for being so persistent! They should get all of the negative publicity they deserve!!!

  69. Robert Hanson said,

    Reminds me of my experience with AAdvaantage Shopping, except that Jetsetter at least answers your emails. My last email from AAdvantage Shopping promised to transfer 2,500 miles to my American AAdvantage account within 15 business days. That was 4 months ago, and despite sending them some 25 emails since then, no response at all.

    The best thing we can do is to publicize these scam artists, so people stop using them…..

  70. dishonest referral program - One Mile at a Time said,

    […] wrote a post yesterday about why he doesn’t trust, a luxury hotel travel discounter. […]

  71. Carberrie said,

    Better Business Bureau!

  72. kaz said,

    Please do continue to pursue this. These companies need to learn some accountability.

  73. Steve said,

    On the Jetsetter facebook page, I linked your story and asked how they could do this. Today, they replied by saying that some of your referrals violated their TOS and they were working with you to fix this. I will be curious how this gets resolved…

  74. Angelina said,

    Awful Customer Service… they should be ashamed. I’m done with them. Jetsetter is the same company as Gilt who was shady with their DEC OnePass promotion.

  75. Jetsetter said,

    Hey Gary –

    We hear you and first and foremost would like to apologize that you’ve had a bad experience. We are continuing to investigating your case to honor any credits that are duly owed to you. We just want to make sure and clear up any misunderstanding and do what we can to do right by you.

    Jetsetter experienced a lot fraudulent activity during the Groundlink sale. As a result, we were forced to delete several accounts deemed fraudulent, as well as their respective credits. Upon further investigation, we are restoring your credit that complies with our terms and conditions. While we know you did not knowingly commit any fraud, your invitation link was used in several confirmed cases of fraud. Jetsetter has always honored referral credits and we will continue to do so. We will not however, honor credit received through fraudulent practices.

    We value your business and are doing as much as we can to make things right. We always appreciate your feedback (positive or negative) and of course, we apologize.

  76. DJP_707 said,

    Goodbye Jetsetter.

  77. ArizonaGuy said,

    You’ve got to be kidding. They respond publicly to Gary’s issue – but on Ben’s blog. WTF?

  78. ArizonaGuy said,

    I posted my previous comment before Jetsetter’s appeared here. Friggin’ WordPress commenting system.

  79. Gary said,

    @Jetsetter obviously I have no way of knowing the details of who did what with the link from my blog. However it makes little sense that anyone using my link (and there were very few confirmed purchases, actually) would be engaged in fraud — because folks doing some sort of fraud, such as mutliple accounts/email addresses, would be using THEIR OWN link so that THEY would get the $25 referral credit.

    The issue here of course is the customer service and not standing behind an offer. And that it took a public posting to get your attention.

    I don’t even especially WANT the credits myself. There are SEVERAL people on this comments stream that are in a similar position. The way to demonstrate that you recognize you handled this badly is not to try to honor MY credits and shut ME up since I’m the one shedding light on this, the way to demonstrate you’re a company worth its salt would be to make right the situations of each person that has commented here. If you would provide me a ‘real’ email address of a person who can handle this I would be happy to put each person who commented here in this thread with that contact information for followup.


  80. Gary said,

    @ArizonaGuy they had replied here, it was just in the spam queue and I’ve just approved.

  81. jfhscott said,

    Wow. It seems that they used the following language “may not engage in any promotional, marketing or other advertising activities on behalf of Jetsetter” as the basis for identifying a violation of the terms and conditions. Posting, in the most general and generic form, on a blog hardly constitutes “promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities”. And to whatever extent their terms may be ambiguous, they are to be construed against them. Interestingly, my quickest read of the T’s & C’s identifies no disputes clause which might limit the form of dispute to arbitration or otherwise limit the locus of disputes. Some attorney is gonna get in trouble for not including such language.

  82. Gary said,

    @jfhscott and these are the more restrictive terms and conditions put in place AFTER the deal and referrals at issue!

  83. Anita said,

    Their response posts here and on Lucky’s site do not put them an a better light.

  84. Chris said,

    This doesn’t bode well for Jetsetter’s Freddy award nomination!

  85. jfhscott said,

    As for post 75, I should like for Jetsetter to identify what it defines as “fraudulent”. I suspect that much of what they consider “fraudulent” is merely opportunistic behavior. To the extent Jetsetter set up a deal where credits to referees could be could be used to obtain highly subsidized ground transport, with the referrer getting a handsome referral credit, they made a bad offer, and I refuse to think they are the victims of “fraud”.

  86. Ben said,

    just use to get your right

  87. julianne said,

    So what will @jetsetter do for the rest of who were scammed by jetsetter???? NOTHING, because we don’t have blogs like Gary does. Get them Gary, get them. On behalf of the rest of us, get them.

  88. chitownflyer said,

    It sounds to me like JetSetter just wants to use the guise of fraudulent activity as their method to not honor the referral credit. Since most people have lost their referral credits, there is no logical explanation except that they do not want to pay up snd honor the offer they created.

    The bad publicity which they encounter from this episode is going to do far more damage to their reputation and loose business than paying out the referral credits which they themselves offered and then decided to not honor.

    How about an Occupy JetSetter movement across cyberspace?

  89. reeder said,

    It seems like they opened a can of worms that also brings up trust issues in jetsetter bookings which is their customer facing business. Travel bookings take a degree of trust as it isn’t a material good that can be shipped and a transaction that is finalized in a two week period. It’s a service based industry. If you can’t trust that a company will follow their own rules in a contract, why would you ever use them? Especially for indulgent luxury properties which make up their core offerings?

  90. gobluetwo said,

    Also on the Jetsetter website, which shows recent tweets:
    “@OneMileataTime We apologize that you’re upset. To clarify, the folks that used your referral link were in violation of our TOS, not you.”

    So that’s the company line, it seems.

  91. julianne said,

    I was able to log into my jetsetter account this morning but now I cannot. It keeps saying “error on page.” Maybe the occupy jetsetter movement is working? Or, I’ve been locked out of my account for complaining here. Anyone else having the same problem?

  92. airshadow said,

    A company should communicate professionally at all times, regardless of circumstances.

    Their response begins with “hey” and “we hear you”

    You decide…

  93. Peter said,

    My wife and I took advantage of the Groundlink offer (our service ended up being great), yet the measly $25 referral credit I earned from my wife’s booking also vanished.

    If Jetsetter says it’s fraud, they need to notify those people that their account is being reviewed for alleged fraudulent activity and provide us with a means of recourse. Silently deleting credits and providing no meaningful method of appeal is disingenuous and a bad business practice.

    Gary, Jetsetter they ever gave you contact info for a real person, I’d love to have it as well.

  94. Adam said,

    A suggestion for you. You have a robust readership, and we all value the work you do day in and day out to produce valuable and relevant content. Perhaps as a “thank you” one of your readers who is also an attorney would be willing to do some pro-bono work to help you put together a letter (on letterhead) requesting that they reinstate or otherwise compensate their client who has fulfilled his end of the bargain while fully complying with the stated rules and restrictions. Obviously it’s not worth spending legal dollars to fight this fight, but it would be a great example to set on behalf of all of the folks who are getting screwed simply because Jet Setter knows that no one will go through the hassle of holding them accountable.

  95. John said,

    Jetsetter might want to merge with Topguest?:P

  96. Rookie10 said,

    @Peter exact same thing happened to me. This is one mistake that can make Jetsetter disappear. No email to notify that the credits were taken away, classic bait and switch scheme. I won’t be using them in the future. Bye Bye.

  97. Autolycus said,

    I’d recommend avoiding all Gilt Groupe sites. I still haven’t gotten my miles from the OnePass/MileagePlus promo that I signed up under back on 11/30. They take well over a week to respond to any of my emails, and when I called they either told me that their manager would look into it and call back–they never did–or that it was already being looked at by someone else and that they I needed to wait for that person to address my complaint. They say I signed up under some other promo, but I’ve never gotten anything about that promo and definitely used the correct link. It’s just 1500 miles, but like you with JetSetter, it’s the principle of honoring their promos. They set the original promo terms and they don’t get to change them ex post facto just because they realize they set them too generously.

  98. Globaltrotter said,

    Heres an idea. Let’s start a petition on!

    If we get enough people to sign it, then I bet jetsetter will issue your credits back!

    I posted this on Lucky’s blog too.

  99. jasonz said,

    I deal with people like you when I work in customer service, I end up just not responding to their emails.

    Shit happens, move on.

  100. Ben said,

    Looks like they stole my one $25 referral bonus too. No explanation was given.

  101. DrG said,

    Gary, thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I too had similar issue with Jetsetter. My referral credit and reservation was canceled with zero notification or explanation. My referrals were legitimate.

    I will not give Jetsetter or Gilt any of my future business due to this abysmal experience.

  102. Beau said,

    I smelled a scam when I first heard about this, and so I didn’t jump, but I had a similar experience with the whole Kingfisher/Visa Signature free status thing. My dad has a legit Visa Signature, issued by a US bank, and with a US billing address, but they never issued any status. After a couple of weeks, I emailed them and they said they wouldn’t give it to me because I was not from India. I called BS and threatened to lawyer up (an empty threat, of course) and they still refused. So I got a marketing email from them that said to email the chairman with any problems. I emailed them and about two weeks later got a call from an Indian number to my cell in the middle of the night. I didn’t answer it (~25 cents/minute) and got an email from them a couple days later saying they tried to contact me and to call an Indian number if I had any future questions. They didn’t even leave a voicemail. No wonder they’re losing employees en masse.

  103. MJL said,

    I’m so tired of this crap. Does no one think through these promos before they offer them? I wonder if the real issue is the number of referrals you received. If that were the case, why not set a limit on the number of credits / referrals you could get with a single promo like this? SMH.

  104. Lsrry said,

    Wow, they just keep making up new reasons. When what you screw people out of is too small to get sued, you’re lsrgely immune amnd they seem to know it. This is a case where a lawyer with some free time could have a blast. A little discovery on the company’s history of referrals would be interesting.

  105. mrredskin said,

    meh, not worth all the hassle for a company that operates like this. they’ve showed themselves, now. anyone who googles their name will see loads of bad pub. glad i didn’t take advantage of my one, $25 credit and that none of my friends did via mine, either.

  106. DaveS said,

    Seems to me they are unable to explain what they are doing out of basic incompetence – they are making up their rules as they go and don’t know what they are themselves from one moment to another. I’d give up on that operation for sure.

  107. bryan said,

    @Voice of Reason, you sound like a shill for Jetsetter- perhaps you are “the Director of Member Services” or affiliated somehow with that waste of time company. If so, you should spend time trying to improve the site because you sure lost some potential customers. Just because people who check this site with frequency like miles and points etc and like saving a buck here and there, we are also big spenders when we travel. I know because I just came back from a two week splurge with my partner…and the only “free” thing was our flight (using miles). as for Jetsetter, I told my friends what a piece of crap it is.

  108. chitownflyer said,

    So here is how JetSetter works. They claim to offer member referrals to entice people to make purchases of their product(s). Once they lure the customer into the mousetrap, they then claim the customer engaged in fraudulent activity and violated the terms of service of the offer, so they can avoid paying out the referral and increase thier profits. This is a horrendous business practice, and they should be called on the carpet for their behavior.

  109. Ben said,

    Here is your place to fill in complaints:

    Writing here doesnt change anything !

  110. Dan said,


    Neither is the BBB! BBB is the biggest waste of time, as they have no enforcement powers. I know, I filed a claim with them over a stupid gym membership. Tried to get an early cancellation (I moved, it was within my contract to move and cancel early). What started off as a $25 dispute mushroomed into $125 as the gym took their time responding to my letters. They wanted me to turn in some document I didn’t have (and never got), so that’s what we went back and forth over. The whole thing just pissed me off.

    I filed a claim with the BBB, and all they really do is ask a couple of questions. They can’t *do* anything.

  111. Autolycus said,

    @Gary, While I couldn’t find a Director of Member Services, I did notice that Gilt Groupe’s “Team” page does have a Chief Marketing Officer, Elizabeth Francis, whose responsibilities include the “new customer generation and retention programs across all channels”. Perhaps that’d be a good person to contact about this. Seems like a referral program would fall under the category of new customer generation. No contact information is listed, but I’m sure you can get a hold of her with minor effort.

  112. Jetsetter said,

    Jetsetter’s CEO, Drew Patterson put together a blog post about some of the concerns surrounding the referral program mentioned here:

  113. Robert Hanson said,

    “To clarify, the folks that used your referral link were in violation of our TOS, not you.”

    Since you can prove you didn’t violate their terms of service, and all of your readers are well aware you wouldn’t risk the integrity and reputation of this blog just for a few Jetsetter bonuses, they shift the onus of blame onto some “others” that linked thru you.

    You can never prove that unnamed fictitious people that linked thru you didn’t do anything wrong, so their excuse is air tight. It’s like trying to disprove “I heard from an acquaintance, that someone said”…

    Finally, since they admit that you didn’t do anything wrong, there is no reason to delete your credits. Deal with the people who supposedly did something wrong, not with people like you who they admit did nothing wrong.

    The whole point of this program was to get publicity and new members. It’s not true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, as they are about to find out. Perhaps your blog could have an ongoing link to “companies my readers don’t want to do business with”…

    Jetsetter, and AAdvantage Shopping Mall are my first two votes for that list…

  114. Tom said,

    Well, Gary, if you lay down with pigs, you’re gonna get dirty, or at least frustrated. One of the advantages of having a well-read blog such as yours is the ability to obtain the monetary benefits that come from referrals. While you and others make ample disclosure of this fact, the fact remains that if you didn’t wish to take advantage of those referral benefits, you would not be getting upset now with one of the less scrupulous users of referrals. Like it or not, it’s part of the price you pay.

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  120. Cecilia said,

    I have a question? Have any of you purchased a trip through jetsetter? Can I trust it? I dont want to a credit card or anything like that I just want to go with my friends to a trip and I would like to use this offer! Have any of you travelled throught this site? I dont want to arrive and dont have a place to stay… lol

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  122. Mark said,

    Jetsetter cancelled my hotel reservation less than 24 hours prior to arrival. Beware.

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  124. Richard Cheatham said,

    A good friend sent me an invitation to join Jetsetter. I was just about to join until I read you story. Having personally dealt with quite a large number of Internet vendors with “situational ethics”, I immediately trashed the invitation. Is there a similar discounter that you would recommend? Thanks!

  125. Chris said,

    Wish you would put year on your blog.
    In 2014 I find jetsetter has been taken over by Tripadvisor.
    Have they changed their ways?
    TrustPilot shows only 1 star and 5 Star reviews all the latter in a short period before take-over. So suspicious.
    Still no wiser but cautiously avoiding.

  126. Yeni said,

    I was about to purchase a promotion on on a hotel stay but decided not to after reading your blog post. Who knows if my purchase would be honored or not.

  127. Adam Bear said,

    Thanks for the warning post. I was actually searching for Jetsetter’s affiliate program to sign up but I’ll be rethinking that decision. I’ve had a few crappy affiliate programs try stuff like this over the years. Some of them surprisingly legit companies.

  128. Robert O. Hall said,

    I have been receiving Jetsetter emails daily and have never requested them, so I clicked on “unsubscribe.” The process does not work. Guess what? After unsubscribing for a week, it is still very obvious that it is a ruse. The unsubscribe site hangs up and never appears

  129. Add A Comment

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