Sundance Vacations “Gift”: Real or a Scam?

Sundance Vacations

Not too long ago, I attended the Barnum and Bailey’s latest circus extravaganza, Legends, at the United Center in Chicago. The show was amazing and very entertaining, but that’s not what this post is about. While I was at the circus, a woman stopped me and asked if I would want to sign up to win a vacation. Win a vacation? That sounded tempting, so I completed the form, gave it back to her, and thought nothing more of it. I have no luck when it comes to winning things anyway.

 

Fast forward to a few weeks later. I am home sick after having my wisdom teeth ripped from my head – I mean extracted – and I get a call. I have just won a vacation for two to my choice of Jamaica, Mexico, or Puerto Rico with airfare and hotel included! Wow! But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch isn’t there): I have to come to the offices of Sundance Vacations and listen to a presentation. That’s it. Well, I thought, I can certainly show up and let them attempt to sell me whatever it is they specialize in. I am great at saying no – ask any of my students, they can tell you.

 

And so I found myself driving out to the Sundance Vacations offices in Downers Grove, Illinois one Friday evening with my boyfriend in tow to claim our vacation. Upon arrival, I was asked to give my ID and the code that was given to me over the phone. The lady at the front desk handed me some paperwork that asked questions about where I have traveled and where I would like to travel. Of course, water and cookies were available if we needed hydration or sustenance. I took full advantage.

 

We only had to wait a few minutes before we were ushered into a room for the presentation. One of the managers introduced himself and began his pitch. Sundance Vacations are a discount vacation company that specialize in wholesale locations. This means they pay for a large quantity of vacations rooms or homes and can therefore sell it to their customers at a discounted price. What they offer is 30 weeks of vacation for $15,000… which at this point in my life I can’t even come close to paying for. The manager pointed out that hotel prices are on the rise, and so it is the best time to invest in their offer. Basically, hurry up before it’s too late! Their cheapest offer was available for that day only.

 

Once the presentation concluded, the back doors of the room opened and in stepped the salesmen and women. They each had a folder with the name of a guest (all of us lured by the promise of free vacations) and they called us by name to ‘please follow them’ so that the selling could begin.

 

Having come with the clear idea that I was not interested in their product, I found the whole interaction with our guy amusing. First he asked, do we like to travel? Why yes, we do. Where would we like to travel? Well, many of the places you offer. Are we ready to sign away our lives? No, we are not. He went over all of the perks of signing up today, which had previously been covered, but we still politely declined. Too poor, sorry.

 

Then he went to bring in the big guns. Out strolled another manager who had the power to offer us a special deal. Sign up now and we could get the employee package for much cheaper. Tempting, but still a no. Eventually, after going back and forth a few times and lowering the price even more, we came to the conclusion of our visit and were brought to the guy with the gifts. We sat in his office where he handed us a folder, told us to follow the steps on the back, thanked us for coming, and sent us on our way.

 

And the vacation? Well I just got back from a glorious escape from Chicago winter to sunny Montego Bay, Jamaica where I had a fabulous time. All I had to do was 1) Register online, 2) Pay a deposit of $100, 3) Sign up for the dates and location I wanted and, 4) Call the booking agent once they sent me the number, who booked it on the phone with me (this took some time so plan to spend at least an hour on the phone once you get to this step). There was an option to upgrade my hotel for more money, but I declined. After paying the taxes on our flight and hotel, we packed our bags and off we went.

 

So is the Sundance Vacation gift a scam? Absolutely not. If they call, definitely pick up the phone. Is it free? No, you are required to pay for taxes (on average comes out to about $200 per person). I had a lovely vacation courtesy of them and for quite a low price. And all I had to do was say no. I can tell you… saying no never felt so good.

 

Cheers to Sundance Vacations from Jamaica

Cheers to Sundance Vacations from Jamaica

Company Info

Sundance Vacations

3000 Finley Road

Downers Grove, IL 60515

630-964-0900

For more information on Sundance, visit their website, blog (where you can find some of my writing!), Facebook, or Twitter.

Have you won a Sundance Vacation trip? Share your questions or experiences in the comments below!

156 Comments

    • I registered pretty quickly for my trip, so I actually got my first choice on dates. The earlier you complete the registration process (send in deposit, pick your initial dates, call to make the reservation) the more likely you are to get your preferred dates. In terms of blackout dates, they didn’t tell me there were any specifically but that booking over a major holiday (New Years Day, Presidents’ Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas) or during peak season (which varied depending on location) would result in limited availability. If you would like any holiday vacation, you should definitely start the process way before the date you would like to travel.

      Hope this helps!

      • Stella, we just went to a Sundance presentation, and are thinking we would prefer Jamaica over the other options.. Do you know the name of the hotel/resort so that we can check it out?
        Thanks!

      • Hey Stella, I just got a call from the Sundance vacations, and i thought it was a scam! I never been on a vacation and The first time i won something was tickets to a Lecrae concert and then i was like no i did not win. But i went with my 11 year old daughter to the concert and we had a blast. Anyway so i got that invitation to a 60 minute presentation, and im like gosh should we go will we waist our time. We are a family of 4 who live paycheck to paycheck, so money is always tight. We were just talking about having a getaway just my husband and I we never left the kids behind or went on vacation together. My question to u is it worth it? They say all we pay is taxes which range between $50-$87 and thats all. Is that true? As soon as i got that call i googled them like who r these people u know, because u never know who they are. We went to sixflags and we signed up thinking like okay lets just sign up just to do it. Thank u so much for ur post its awesome info for new people like us to get real info. God bless you

        • Hello,

          It is true that if you do not want any upgrades, all you will pay are the taxes on your flights and hotel.

    • Haha, you’re just a shill for that hard-sell Sundance timeshare racket. How many blogs posts are you going to have about how great they are? 4? 5? Stay away from Sundance Vacations, people. That’s not how to go on low-cost, high-value vacations. Anything that requires aggressive sales obviously can’t sell itself.

      • I just wrote this post to explain my experience with the gift vacation to Jamaica and how it is real. I am in no way sharing any opinions on the company itself and the timeshares that it sells, since I have experience with that. My hope was that people can read about my trip and use it to decide whether or not to go on the vacation themselves.

  1. I also have chosen to go to Jamaica and I’m trying to decide to upgrade or go with the standard package. So my question is once you booked the standard package did reservations or the people at the hotel ask you again to upgrade for a cheaper cost?

    • When you call in to make your final reservation, they will ask you if you would like to upgrade. At that point you can decide and pay the additional fees. Your upgrade will change the hotel to a location closer to the beach, although it was simple for me to get there even without the upgrade, as well extend the number of days or nights. Enjoy Jamaica!

  2. Hey, I just got a call from them last night. I wanted to know how does the airfare work? Is it only out of O’hare?

    • Yes, all flights from Chicago leave out of O’Hare. When you call to book your reservation, they will find the flight and let you know what times you will be leaving and arriving at your destination as well as your return flights.

        • There are other cities that Sundance operates from, though I am not positive on the list. I won the vouchers through attending a circus in Chicago.

  3. Ok. Thanks so much for this blog I was really skeptical about this. Glad to know someone actually did go on the trip.

  4. I just chose my dates about a week ago. My first date isn’t until December. I know they say that you’ll find out at least 45 days before your first date, but how long does it really take? Is there a chance that I’d find out sooner? How long did you wait until you heard back?

    • Hello, once you choose your dates you will have to wait until you receive an email notifying you to call and reserve your vacation. Once I submitted my desired dates, I waited about 4 to 6 weeks until I got the email to call and book the trip. When I called, I got the first date that I picked. It does depend though. My boyfriend also received the gift vacation but had to wait almost two months until he heard back about booking his reservation. Just make sure to keep an eye out for that final email! Hope this helps!

  5. I gave my deposit and I got the email, I am about to make my first call to them tomorrow , my question is , it says ” I have to travel there between the times of 3-11pm? And that the second day my flight is between 6am – 1pm? Making it sound like , we would land and right away get on a plane ?

    • The gift vacation is for 3 days and 2 nights. Without the upgrade, they say most flights will leave in afternoon and arrive at your destination that evening or night. On the 3rd day, your flight would leave in the morning, getting you back home in the early afternoon. HOWEVER, I did NOT sign up for the upgrade and the man who completed my flight reservation booked my flight out early in the morning (I arrived in Jamaica midday) and left 3 days later in the afternoon (I got back home in the evening) giving me plenty of time to enjoy my vacation! It is not a guarantee that your flights will eave during those times, it really just depends on what is available when you call. If you are super nice, I’m sure you can convince them to book flights that are more to your liking. Good luck!

      • Hello, so I just got that call saying that I won a free cruise to the Bahamas. Obviously I know I have to pay taxes..all I want is my vouchers. Do I have to sign anything??

        • You do not have to sign anything in order to receive your vouchers. Simply attend a presentation and a representative will give you the necessary paperwork at the conclusion. You are not obligated to purchase anything from Sundance in order to go on the promotional vacation.

          • Okay alright great! It just scares me when I read all the horrible reviews on how the trip is probably going to be horrible, and the ship is going to be crappy etc..

          • I can’t speak for the cruise promotional vacation, but I have gone on two trips after getting a call from Sundance (I received one and my boyfriend received one) and while we didn’t stay in the Ritz, we still had a great time in places we had never been. Don’t expect luxury, but it will most likely be comfortable and affordable!

  6. Thank you for this posting this. I just received this call and started researching to find out if it was legit. I was very skeptical during the whole call (especially since I never win any drawings). I called my husband immediately after I got off of the phone. I now know what to expect during the presentation, and that I can refuse and still enjoy a nice vacation with my husband.

  7. HI I just got the call today and everything I see online is negative so I’m still skeptical. However my biggest concern if I were to try to do this is transportation… would I be able to rent a
    car or what’s the best transportation in jamaica or cancun?

    • The hotel I stayed at had a driver who took us everywhere we wanted to go for a small fee. You can easily rent a car and pick it up at the airport in Montego Bay if that is something you would prefer. I can’t tell you anything about Cancun as I have never been there. The vacation is a blast though, I hope you can go!

  8. Hi,
    Can you please tell me what was the entire cost of the trip without any upgrade? They gave me three options: Cancun, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
    I understand that there is a refundable deposit of $100 and taxes, travel fees and other government fees which range from $104-$185.
    Are there any other charges to the trip? Do they entirely cover the hotel and airfare? I would greatly appreciate if you could let me know your experience.
    Thank you again.

    • Hello,

      The total cost without any upgrade for me was $400 (the deposit and the taxes on my airfare and hotel). It does cover your airfare and hotel completely. On your trip, you are responsible for paying for any transportation, food, and activities you may want to do.

      • Really trustworthy blog. Please keep udiptang with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email itto a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..

  9. Hi Stella,

    I understand that you choose not to upgrade but did they mention how much it was to extend the trip per day ?

    • Hello,
      Since I did not upgrade I never spoke to the booking agent about the exact cost of upgrading my trip.

  10. Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this web site, and post is really fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these articles or
    reviews.

  11. Hi so it means we have to go on our own from airport to hotel or they will help us in that case??

    • Hello, you will have to find your own transportation from the airport to your hotel. Taxis are readily available though.

        • I simply shared my experience that I had with the company. The promotional vacation was real and I went on it and a very nice time.

  12. The fact that this company employs illegal telemarketing techniques to call Do Not Call registered phone numbers AND lying about “form you filled out at Disney on Ice” should tell you how they operate their business. Complete FRAUD.

    • My experience was mostly positive with Sundance and I have enjoyed two vacations courtesy of their gift.

      • Wait, you “won” twice through this company? Even after you said no to them the first time? I just received a call from them tonight for Orlando or Vegas.

        • I got the promotional vacation and my boyfriend did as well. So we got to go to Jamaica and Cancun together.

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  15. Stella
    I got the same call from sundance. they insisted me to come down to their center in NW DC to watch a presentation before giving me the claim code.
    could we get the claim code without going down to their center and spend hours on this?
    thanks

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  18. Thanks for the great info! I was hesitant at first about this whole thing. We attended a WWE Raw here in Philly and I filled out to win Wrestlemania Tixs then I got a call a month later saying I won a trip. Hmmm really?? So my husband and I went to listen- an hr of our time. We chose the cruise to the Bahamas. If anyone has chosen this option please I would like to hear your feedback. I am going to call tomorrow since I read you’re on the phone for about an hr. Thanks again to all! Especially Stella for starting the blog ;o)

      • Thanks Stella! I’ll keep you updated.. Im just waiting to hear about my dates I selected. They say it’ll take several wks.. how long was it before you heard from them?

        • I had to wait about a month, maybe a little more before I received the email about booking my dates once I had picked them.

        • Hey Christine! My fiancé and I just went to a Sundance Presentation last night. We have our choice from a 4 day 3 night trip to San Juan, Cancun, or St. Thomas or a 3 night cruise. I was told that we can upgrade to an all inclusive if we take the Cancun trip but am being told that it is $160 per person per day to do so….No thank you!!! So I am considering accepting the cruise since food is included with that. I wanted to see how your cruise was and if you ended up paying a bunch of additional money once you accepted it. Thanks so much!!!

  19. This was such a down-to-earth, well written article. I can’t wait to read more of your stuff! (I am also a travel writer dreamer- have you read “Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide” by Doug Mack??) Anyway, I live in Baltimore and got a call from this company last night via Disney On Ice. I was covering one of their shows for a Baltimore weekly alternative news source and I figured, ‘Why not? I’ll sign up for whatever the heck this is so I get the whole experience.’ I certainly did not expect anything to come of it. To claim our tickets, I have to travel almost an hour to DC but I’m not sure it’s really worth it?

    • When I won the gift, I had to drive out on a Friday night after work about 45 minutes away to attend the presentation. You do get a super cheap trip out of it, so depends how badly you want to travel? For me it was worth it, just to be able to visit Jamaica (and later Mexico once my boyfriend won his vacation) – two places I had never been. Also, I have not read that travel guide but will definitely check it out!

      • I have the same story Stella.. I live in Philly and had to drive to King of Prussia about 45min from me. I think it was worth if if I get a cruise out of it and it’s only gonna cost me a couple hundred dollars. I don’t think you can beat that for a cruise! I never travel like that and I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise and to the Bahamas! Win win situation! I wonder if I can upgrade to all inclusive. I was told that’s well worth it on a cruise. Ok, a month isn’t too bad.
        Thanks

  20. Hey Stella ,
    My fiancé won a honeymoon trip to Jamaica Mexico St.Thomas or Puerto Rico. Since we are getting married in October we would like to choose Mexico. We are actually going today to see the presentation 2/27. I’m used to traveling all inclusive and I work in the hospitality industry, so my question is if its Mexico what hotel is it? And do they not offer all inclusive option ( food and drinks included?) Im hoping we get the dates we want . What are some of the options you can upgrade to? Thanks again for your blog you Rock!! P.s don’t forget to mention the hotel you stayed at in mexico so i can look it up. God bless

    • In Mexico, I was booked a stay at the Grand Royal Lagoon (). It is a little further up the strip and faces the lagoon instead of the beach. Food and drinks are not included, but there are cheap and delicious restaurants nearby. I didn’t spend much time there to be honest since I was out exploring most of the time. When you book your vacation, you can choose to upgrade to a hotel closer to the beach for an additional cost (I do not know which one since I did not upgrade). I also do not think they have an all-inclusive option with the Sundance Vacation promotions. If you want something all-inclusive, on the beach, and more romantic, I would book separately from the gift vacation as it is all budget hotels and flights.

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    • Hello! Subscription to my newsletter is on the right side of the website. All that is required is your email.

  22. I chose the Bahamas cruise. We had to pay 199.00 for our deposit. We paid another 370.00 once we booked our airfare. We decided to upgrade our room for another 200.00. 770.00 in total just for the 3 day cruise, and airfare. We have to drive 4 hrs to an airport that they chose for us. We need to pay to have our car parked at the airport for 5 days, which is $40 with my work discount. We also need to pay for a hotel in Miami which is $100 with my work discount. And for a rental car for $100 for two days. $20 in gas to drive us to our hotel. We need to pay $100 in luggage fees to check one bag on our airline they picked for us. So before souvineers, drinks, and excursions we are paying about $1100 for a ‘free’ 3 day cruise….

    • Yikes! Sounds like the cruise isn’t a deal at all. I didn’t pay nearly as much for my vacation; my boyfriend says he felt he paid more to go to Cancun but I think it was due to the time of year we booked for that trip. I didn’t have the cruise as an option for my promotional trip, so I can’t really speak much on it.

  23. Hi Stella,

    What other fees did you pay for during your vacation since you mention you paid in total around $400? They quoted us at $249-299 for taxes, fees and ‘other government fees.’ We must send in a total of $198 ($99 per person) as our Reservation Deposit which said it will be applied to our ‘fees’. Did you pay $400 total for you and your boyfriend, or just for you?

    • Hello, I paid $400 in total for both me and my boyfriend. After the reservation deposit, I only had to pay around $200 more to book the flight and hotel. It should be the same for you, meaning the $198 will be deducted from the government taxes and fees that are owed once you call in to book. Hope this helps!

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  27. Hi Stella,

    I just won a 5 night cruise to bermuda and went to the info session and recieved my promotional code. I registered on the website and there is a link to pay online for the 198 fee (plus a convenience fee which totals 207 and change). I was wondering, did you pay online or did you mail in a money order for that initial payment? I don’t know which one would be a better option.

    Also, after that part, you had to wait a little over a month for the next step to occur?

    I was feeling so skeptical until I found your blog. So many negative reviews. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! 🙂

    • I paid my initial deposit online. For me it was just easier and I knew they would get the money right away. After paying that I waited around a month for the email and the next step. Enjoy your Bahama cruise! I did not go on that trip, but as long as you keep an open mind and remember it won’t be five stars, you should enjoy it! The Bahamas are beautiful!

      • I went to a Sundance presentation three years ago. I did purchase a vacation package because at the time it was a right fit for me. I have yet to use any of my vacations but that is not of any fault of the company. I started a new job shortly after and travel often for work. So long vacations are just not in my wheel house at the moment. But, from my attending I received the Bahama Cruise. And my boyfriend and I did upgrade our room. We were able to see all the rates and make the upgrade of our choice. We had the greatest time.
        My daughter graduates from high school this year and instead of a party she chose to go away for a vacation….she said Bahamas Cruise. And then Sundance called me YESTERDAY to see if they could come to my house and review my plan and go over changes and updates. If I allow them to do this I will receive the Jamaica, Cancun, or St Thomas trip.
        It is like a penny from heaven. Now I can take my daughter somewhere amazing and spend the money I will save to make her trip very memorable.
        I just want to say Stella that your blog is spot on from my experience with the cruise and I am very much looking forward to making our reservations for our next trip!

        • Glad to hear another positive experience! Thanks for sharing your story and you should definitely consider Jamaica for the trip with your daughter!

          • I finally selected the dates. It was instant after paying the intial fee. I do recall Stella that u said it took u a month to hear back b4 selecting dates.

            Now it states that I have to wait 45 days prior to my first date to hear from the company.

            Hope it all goes well for me, especially considering that I chose 2017 dates lol that’s alot of waiting to hear something.

            Stella, how far out were the dates u chose?

    • Did you continue with planning for the trip? I also received the call and have an appointment to attend the presentation this weekend.

      What types of rooms are offered?

      Was Norwegian included in your offer?

    • I also received a call about the 5-day cruise to Bermuda. I was definitely skeptical after reading other pages. I’m going to go for the presentation and say no, no, no also. I figured after reading this blog, that it is worth it. I will update after I go. I have never been on a cruise and worry about becoming sea sick, oh boy. :-0 I will update later.

  28. Fraud and Scammers!!! They will ask you to pay $200 at first and it will start snowballing from there. They end up asking for almost $1000 for Bahamas cruise for 2, when on certificate it was only saying up to $200 per person in taxes. Ridiculous, plus the flight suppose to get you to Fort Lauderdale only and cruise is leaving from Miami. More and more and more spending on the way. You can buy a convenient schedule for the same money!!! It is not a gift it is SCAM and extortion!!!

    • I am sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I did not get offered the cruise and had a mostly positive experience with my Jamaica trip and did not spend more money than they said on the certificate.

  29. Thanks Stella for this blog very informative. I was offered a 5 days cruise to Bermuda. Looking foward for the presentation. Just wondering if anyone had the chance to include a third person for the free trip. How costly and easy was to book? Thanks.

  30. Thank you for this blog Stella! I am actually picking out my cruise dates to Bermuda right now!! we’re so excited.

  31. Excellent blog, Stella. I am scheduled to attend a presentation on Wednesday in
    NJ. The free vacation is a 5 night Bermuda cruise leaving from NJ so no additional airfare taxes are required from me. I was told the other fees/taxes would be approximately $249-$299.

  32. Update.
    I attended the meeting last night (6/9/16). I politely declined the offers and walked away with my code for the cruise. I was there for about 1 hour and 15 min (we started almost 10 minutes late). The reps were not pushy. They gave me a few offers and kept lowering the price each time. After I said no they brought out the manager, who offered me an even lower price–which I still said no too. I let them know up front that I had no intentions of purchasing anything. All staff was professional and courteous. Looking forward to booking my cruise vacation! Also, when they give you the code, the offer is more than just the Bermuda cruise they initially mentioned. You can choose hotel accommodations in various locations or other cruises instead.

  33. Hi Stella,
    You mentioned your total cost of $400, but also mentioned deposit of $100 and taxes of $200 avg, so that would mean $300. Could you clarify? And this was for just you, right? So it is double for two travelling…

    • Hello, my deposit of $100 was included in my total of $400. The $200 average per person comes out to the $400, but your deposit is subtracted from your final price. So I paid $100 and then $300 for a total of $400 for my trip to Jamaica. I traveled with my boyfriend, so it was $200 for each of us.

  34. This company just called me, two seconds after I checked out some tickets on ticketmaster. I hung up bc it was too good to be true then I found this…. I told her I would call back later to come to NJ for presentation……I guess i will actually. Do you have to pay the deposit there on the spot?

    • Nope, at the presentation you just receive the details on how to pay the deposit and register for your trip.

  35. Hi Stella,

    Very excited to have found your blog. It was very reassuring and informative. However, like others I still have some questions. When it came to the flight carriers they used for your transportation were they well known commercial flights? Also, when they offered you the upgrade did they inform you that it was a more expensive hotel than the original or just that it was a closer location to the beach?

    Thanks!

    • Hello! I was booked to fly on a budget airline (Spirit I believe) which is not my favorite but got me to my destination safely. They do inform you that the upgrade is more expensive as well as being closer to the beach. I did not choose to upgrade, so I cannot speak much about that part of the experience.

  36. I received a call after entering at a baseball game in Lancaster, PA that I won a 4 day 3 night trip to either Cancun, St Thomas, or San Juan. We have a meeting schedule to go see them in King Of Prussia tomorrow night to get the travel vouchers. She gave me an access code and said to bring 2 forms of ID. What ID did you bring? Is it worth going and listening? Will I get the vouchers or you think its just going to be a waste of time?

    • I remember bringing my driver’s license and passport. If you would like the vacation, it is worth going and listening to the presentations. You will receive the vouchers at the conclusion, no worries!

  37. Hi Stella
    I attended the presentation on Sat and registered today. I was scared that I might have been scam but after reading your blog I feel a little more comfortable. Their are so many negative reviews about this company but I’m going to try it out. I chose the St.Thomas Virgin Island’s package 4 days and 3 nights. I will keep you posted about my experience.

    • I also was scared when I first got the call, but as my experience shows you it is not fake and you can enjoy a nice little budget vacation. Let me know how everything goes!

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  39. What about food/beverages and alcohol. Is the resort you go to an all inclusive resort? I got called today about this and I am going to claim my gift tomorrow. Thank you!

    • The resort is not all inclusive. However, if you decide to upgrade your gift, it may be possible to choose a resort that does have an all inclusive option. Since I chose not to upgrade, I don’t know much more past that. Enjoy your trip!

  40. I won a trip, I was thinking of the US Virgin Islands, St Thomas. I know I have to pay taxes, how much spending money should I take? I am not an experienced traveller.

    • The location you choose can change how much money you need. Since I chose to go to Jamaica, I did not need a ton of spending money since the country is a lot cheaper than the US. I have never been to the US Virgin Islands, but my impression is that they are about the same as traveling the US. You should bring however much money you would want on a normal trip you would take. Make sure to take into account transportations (like a taxi to and from the airport), food, and entertainment (like museums or other tourist attractions). Enjoy your trip!

  41. I just spent over half an hour on hold, trying to get through to a manager at Sundance. My intent is to request our money back for the 4 weeks we have remaining. Although we have had several good weeks at properties we liked, far more often we cannot book anything anywhere we wish to go! The properties we would like to use are booked ALL THE TIME and even planning 6-9 months out, are BOOKED and so we can’t book. Sure you can get to the Jersey Shore in January, or Florida in July – but to go in season (and pay the higher rate of $600/week + insurance) is nearly impossible. So if you pay the quoted price of $15,000 / 30 weeks (we did not, we paid $5,000 for 10 weeks) plus the annual fees of nearly $400, plus the weekly fee ($300 or 600 out of or in season) you actually average about $1100-1200/week. Still better than a hotel, especially if a 2-bedroom, at comparable level of comfort, but not really the great deal they tell you. Unless you are retired, can travel anytime and use the “surplus” and don’t care about going in season, this is a very difficult program to use. Then it can be a decent deal (average $800-900/week) but still not the immense savings they talk about in their presentations.

    • Sounds like you purchased their deal for vacations. I just received their gift vacation for a discounted 4 day, 3 night vacation in one of three choices.

    • When i arrived they looked at two forms of ID before I was allowed into the presentation.

  42. Does anyone know the resorts they are affiliated with in St. Thomas? I am considering that location.

  43. Do you have to pay anything before you are given the dates to choose from? What if none of the dates will work for you?

    • Yes, you do have to pay a deposit before choosing your dates but you get to choose your own, they are not given to you. As long as you travel within a year of registering and not on holidays (which may still be available but book quickly), you should be fine.

  44. I just got my gift certificates from them in NW DC last week. Presently planning for the vacation next year. Thank you for the post. I think the trick is not to buy any package, just take the gift/budget vacation and go your way. The negative reviews i have seen are from people who bought one of their package deals after the presentation. Politely refuse them.

    • I would agree with you – I simply did the gift vacation and didn’t have a negative experience.

  45. I’m a bit late to the party, however I found this post before putting down my deposit a few months ago and this post convinced me to do so. Since people are asking about upgrades, I figured I’d throw in my experience, even though it’s been a while since this is posted (maybe someone will come back and read this? Who knows!): my husband and I attended the presentation about 45 minutes away and said no, no, and no. It was a lofty deal, no doubt, but we’re not in any position right now to make a purchase that large. We registered and followed all the instructions, and paid our $198 deposit. We chose our 3 dates and were on our way. The certificate says that 45 days from your first date they’ll contact you, and, lo and behold, 45 days to the nose we got our email to call and make the reservation. Here’s what we did differently: we upgraded our trip. We chose Puerto Rico, and with the upgrade they added a night (our trip is a 4-day, 3-night + airfare) and it extended our trip hours.
    While we were originally supposed to fly out at midnight, stay a day, then leave again in the morning at 6 AM, we got an extra day and we are now flying at 7:10 in the morning for a 2 PM arrival on the island, but we’re also flying out at 5:30 PM which means another basically full day. We’re also not flying a budget airline – not that we’d care, but we’re flying with Southwest from Pittsburgh, when without the upgrade we’d be flying from Latrobe, PA (a few hours from us versus 40 minutes), and our hotel is ON the beach and has 4 stars versus the budget hotel they typically put guests up in. We also have one cancellation and reschedule, meaning that if something comes up between now and February (we’re spending Valentine’s Day in San Juan – how romantic!) we can reschedule the trip once with no repercussions. So that’s cool, too.
    Did we pay extra? Yes. Yes, we did. Actually, kind of a lot extra. We paid about $650 total, including the deposit, but after I did the research, it was so worth it. The hotel was around $200 a night, and for 3 nights that’s basically all of what we paid. That’s not to mention the airfare – when I looked up the flight schedule it brought up prices for those dates, and our airfare is priced at about $1,100 per person round trip. So we got a nearly $3,000 vacation at the cost of $600. I say worth it. Some might not. We’re avid travelers and like to get a deal when we can.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I know many people who wonder about the upgrade and now have your testimony to help guide their decision. Again, thank you!

    • Thank you for posting this! Your experience is so similar to ours. We just attended the presentation today in the Pittsburgh area. You might have just sold me on upgrading. We’re also trying to decide between St Thomas or Puerto Rico but I’m sure the logistics are similar.

  46. Thanks Stella!! That was a relief to know I have something good out of the 2 hour session.I have got a 2 night 3 day trip to Miami with my husband.It says I have to pay 50-88 dollars per person for the taxes in the fineprint I read.Will there be any extra charges than what stated ? I won’t be opting for any upgrades

    • You have to pay a deposit and when calling to book your dates they will tell you the charges for taxes on your flights. Other than that, no extra charges if you do not opt for an upgrade!

  47. I got a “free cruise” from them after going to a similar presentation. However, had to put down close to $200 deposit. And now that the registration has opened up for my chosen dates, they are saying the price is close to $900 more for the two of us for a 7 night cruise. When you say the taxes were about $200 per person, was that per day? This $900 for two seems a lot for just taxes…

    • I feel like the taxes depend on a couple factors – time of year, the cruise company they are booking, travel fees, etc. If you book holidays during peak season, the taxes might be more than non-peak times. I did not pay that much for the taxes on my trip and I do not believe they are per day. $900 does seem like a lot for a promotional trip.

  48. I got a call from sundance the other day and have am appointment at the office tomorrow. They say Ive won a trip for 4 to orlando with park passes. Just wondering if you know if they give you an option to extend your stay a night or two? Also, this trip is supposed to be 3 nights and 4 days. Do they give us another “presentation” during the trip?

    • I don’t know specifics of the Orlando trip, but there is usually an upgrade option that will let you extend your trip. During my trip, I was not required to attend another presentation. Be sure to ask that question to clarify for your specific trip, but I don’t believe you should have to. Enjoy!

    • Hi Mzkyia79, have you gone on your trip yet? We just got a phone call last night for a 3 night 4 day trip to Orlando. Do you know if you can stay at any of the Disney Resorts? Any info on how your process has been would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  49. Hey Stella! Your feedback on Sundance is very useful. My fiancee and I attended the presentation today and actually had a good experience. They were pushy, which was expected, but super nice. We are deciding between going to St Thomas or Puerto Rico. I can’t find any pictures online of what the resort and rooms look like. I’m not expecting a five star experience but I also don’t want to be uncomfortable where we are staying. Could you attach pictures (if you have any) or the name of your resorts so I can compare? Thanks!

  50. It’s a scam, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be fun. Psychologically, hard-sell tactics are fascinating. If the most sales pressure you’ve ever received is at a car lot or furniture store, where the biggest pressure point is “I can only guarantee that price today,” you should definitely check one of these things out.
    And I don’t mean go and be a douche, just go, decline their offer, and accept your prize. The pressure is intense. Oh, and watch the people who do bite; they’re fascinating, too.

  51. PLEASE BEAWARE: This company is a scam! A small amount of research on the internet or even YouTube will prove they are professional con artists! If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Please be aware of this company. They have changed their company name multiple times as well as the BBB receiving multiple complaints over the past year. The only reason they have good ratings with the BBB is because they resolve the complaints if the customer takes it that far. They take advantage of people and make them sign contracts without disclosing important information. They will take your money and you will never receive a vacation. In NJ they banned the company from calling any person and telling them they won a vacation, tablet etc. because they were receiving so many complaints. Do yourself a favor and go to a REAL travel agency. They are professional and will not hassle you to sign any kind of contracts. They accept payments and you will receive all your booking and flight information before you even leave. Please do not give this company your money or sign a contract with anyone. They WILL take advantage of you and they WILL take your money and put you in debt. If you stop paying they will turn it into collections and ruin your credit. You will not receive anything but a headache and debt from this company.

  52. Hi Stella,
    I deposit $200 for 3 night cruize and now i have to make bookings. I want to know the following.
    1) Is dining, entertainment free in cruise or is there any additional charge for that
    2) I have a 3 years old daughter, will i have to mandatory upgrade to accommodate my daughter

    • Hello, unfortunately I can’t answer your first question since I did not participate in their cruise promotional trip. On another cruise I went on to the Bahamas, there was a free buffet available almost all the time and many free entertainment options, with just a few you had to pay for. I don’t believe you should have to upgrade for your daughter, though I am not positive if there is an age restriction on the ‘plus 1’ given for the trip. Hope I could help a little!

  53. I’m going on a Sundance vacation and was wondering if maybe you know know about adding ppl to go on the trip with you

    • The promotional trip is for you and one other person. I assume you would have to pay additional charges if you add more people than that.

  54. we got a call that we had won a trip also but then they told us we needed to have a income of 50,000 or more or we could not have the trip which is a bummer because we really wanted to go but i guess we will not be going

    • That’s strange; my income at the time was lower than 50,000 as a first year teacher and I was able to receive the promotion.

  55. I got a call last week for filling out the “raffle” at Pittsburgh Zoo. Just got back from the appointment in Monroeville (Pittsburgh) and it was surprisingly painless.

    Went in with my wife, filled out some forms (5 minutes), briefly chatted with a salesperson named Alicia (who seemed like a nice gal and said she’s been doing this for just a week and had herself gotten a call a couple of months back also from a zoo visit) who gathered some info about our leisure/vacation preferences, and listened to her personal presentation about their wholesale vacation packages (15-20 minutes). Then, in what seemed like standard practice, a manager type came in and told us about some sweeter discounted deals (with Alicia still sitting at the table), before handing us back to her for the final push (5 minutes). They weren’t overly pushy and we weren’t too obnoxious with our NOs and nodded along to their package descriptions and asked a few questions (I was genuinely curious about the logistics and financial aspects, but internally firmly decided on NOT getting anything – I’m a more outdoorsy, solitude-seeking personal vacation type person, not the relaxing getaway to beaches and resorts kind). She asked one final time, we gave our final no, citing our visa status and the fact that it doesn’t make sense for us to invest in any long-term vacation deals given certain recent events (you-know-what), and spent a few minutes waiting for a “gifts department” agent to come get us (10 minutes).

    The gifts lady Hannah took us to a different room, gave us our Amazon Fire tablet (choice of that or $50 gift card), and our complimentary vacation voucher, with a choice of a flight+cruise to some islands ($198 deposit total towards taxes and fees incl. flight taxes and govt. fees), 3 day 2 night hotel stay in select locations ($50 deposit), weekday and night stay and trip to a waterpark ($100 deposit), or flight+hotel for 3 days and 2 nights in select locations ($198 deposit). All packages and deposits were for 2 people except for the waterpark which was for 2 adults and 2 children. This took another 5 minutes, and we were out of there.

    So, in all, it took 5+20+5+10+5 = 40-45 minutes from car to car.

    All we have to do now to redeem the gift is register on a website, select the package, location and some options for trip dates and pay the deposit online, wait for some time (either 45 days from registration or until 45 days before the first vacation date options, not sure which) to receive an e-mail from them, call back to confirm dates based on availability and work with their travel agent to book the tickets (hopefully without paying anything extra apart from deposit and any upgrades to basic package if desired) , and go on the vacation.

    I went nuts the last few days trying to dig up all possible info on their legitimacy and/or description of the process, and found very little, so thought putting this out here might be useful for some of you wondering the same things.

    Take their call and go if you live close to their office. At the very least, you’ll get a $50 gift, no questions asked, for 45 minutes of your time (well, 45 minutes of 2 people’s times, so $50 for 1.5 hrs, discounting what turned out to be and hour’s worth of driving back and forth in rush hour traffic). Oh, and a potentially cheap vacation to look forward to.

    • My husband just got a call today. We have a meeting set up for Wednesday at monroeville mall which is an hr and 15 minute drive but it sounds like it is worth it. Thank you for setting up this blog cause I was very skeptical about the whole thing.

    • Hi, I just received this call and I think I will go to their presentation. My question is that once you take the vacation, do you need to attend another presentation while on vacation? Thanks.

  56. Go crv and sundance I can say from my own personal experience that it is not a scam! My fiance and I went to the promotional thing and I was very sketchy to say the least I thought a waste of time, and im not sure i could sit through it again even though it IS worth it. If you do everything as they say you will get to go on a trip we paid approximately 200. In taxes per person we originally wanted to go to st thomas ….45 days EXACTLY to the date i checked online and received notification to call, I did and there were no trips available to st thomas island for my first date selection (which was the best date for me since im a student parent and i work) also we had no passport so they told me i could do Puerto Rico San Juan……im sitting here right now and everything has been smooth airfare hotel ect. We have really only paid our food and activities including snorkeling el yunque rainforest tour and bioluminescent bay and a few other things, we are exhausted but so satisfied with everything. I found an app called viator that scheduled our activities pick up and drop off at the hotel we stayed at the acacia boutique hotel.. (beautiful but no elevators and small room… ours was atleast but that was ok with us) if you can handle the sales pitch which is something not easy for me you will have a trip out of it. I rarely if ever write reviews but i read them and this was the most helpful blog i have gone to. Not a scam just follow the directions and check on your 45th day! Im flying home in a few hours 🙂

  57. THANK YOU SO MUCH! This was so helpful. My sister and I just won a vacation after filling out a form at a country concert! This whole presentation thing was concerning but what you’ve written really helped!

  58. Hey, I’ve been reading all of these comments to convince myself this is safe to go through with! I was super suspicious because both me and my best friend won after we filled out the forms at a Chris Brown concert. Now my question is do they ask for an ID or verification that you are 25+ at any point? When I spoke to the lady on the phone she acted as if I could not schedule my meeting, I had to get someone who was 25 or older to call and give my information then we could move forward…..

    • When I arrived, they copied my ID before I could go into the presentation.

  59. I completely agree with the author of this article! My husband and I enjoyed a 3 night Carnival Cruise to Nassau, Bahamas on them with airfare included and just had to pay $198 in taxes plus a hotel stay for the night before because they required us to be in FL the day before the cruise.

    • Hi, we were also thinking about doing the Bahamas cruise. Was the food included? Were there any hidden fees? Thanks!

      • The fees they tell you about are what you owe from what I remember. Food should be included but I did not take a cruise with them so I cannot be certain.

  60. On June 9, 2016 I posted that I attended the meeting. Due to my kids’ school schedule, I am now getting around to booking. I am confirmed on a 5 night Carnival cruise to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos in 4 weeks! I paid the taxes and for one extra person because we are a party of three and the prize is for two (which was made clear up front). They did require me to come in the day before (maybe because I’m flying from NY and the cruise leaves from FL?) so there was one night hotel that I had to pay for. For any skeptics out there, the vacation prize is REAL! I can’t speak to the legitimacy of any timeshare offers and how they operate from that end because I did not purchase the timeshare. Looking forward to my upcoming vacay!

    • Just wanted to update that I went on the Carnival cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas and Grand Turk in August 2017. I did have to switch dates/location because my choices were in the middle of the summer since the kids are out of school. I understand that this is their busiest time and they couldn’t accommodate me fully so I ended up in Bahamas and Grand Turk instead of my first choice, which was Bermuda. No tears here! I would take a free cruise anywhere. It was quite enjoyable, there were no extra fees than what was told to me up front and I am so glad that I did it! Thanks for sharing your experience Stella! Love your blog!

  61. I went to a presentation with sundance vacation high pressure sales and to many hidden information and most of what is offered is very decieving, for example when I made up my mind to go on vacation I chose the month that I wanted to travel and part of their package require you to chose three month of chices for when to take the vacation. I feel that if I choose novenber its because thats when I want to travel. Any other month might not suit me . How ever it may be easier for sundance not only to choose where your going bu also when you are goung this made me very uncomfortable and worried that I may no be able to travel on thiese dates it is decieving to make a person pay before they can ge this information. If this company had any morals they would let people know this so that they can make a choice that they are comfortable with now I have to go through the hassel of trying to get my money back somehow if it is at all possible. I have much more to say but I’m probably wasting my time becase it won’t make a difference.

    • I got my first choice on dates. You have to remember you are essentially get a very reduced vacation and can only go when they have openings. The sooner you enter your preferred dates, the more likely you will get the ones you would like.

  62. I’m supposed to go tonight….a 3 night trip to Florida or Vegas and a 7 inch Amazon tablet….im super skeptical to say the least

    • I’m glad to have found this.
      I’m in Pennsylvania and received the same call. I have been through the website and sent an email asking 2 things – if we are going to receive a 1099 for this trip (in which case we are on the hook for the trip value that they set) and since our lives are so crazy, if we aren’t able to do the dates we originally set because of the short notice to travel, would we get our $99 deposit back. I just got off the phone and she just kept repeating that she didn’t know and there was no one there that could answer that, and that it is something I should ask during the presentation. She didn’t understand (tho I repeated my reason 4 times) that I was trying to prevent possibly wasting 3 hours of my eve for my trip to their office and the 1 hr “short multimedia presentation” in case there is really more to it than they are telling us. I too am looking for the “catch”. I suppose I will just check with my accountant.

  63. This is sounding more and more like a SCAM…. Got a call that I won from going to a Dierks Bentley Concert. My wife filled one out as well, and can you believe it, she won as well.. That’s amazing that we were both WINNERS of FREE VACATIONS !!!
    We are scheduled this evening for the Presentation, and thankfully, I had the opportunity to do some research. No doubt in my mind that Stella works for Sundance Vacations, and no doubt that the positive posts are other employees of Sundance as well. What is shocking is that there real negaitive posts here that somehow got through.

    Needless to say, we WON’T be wasting our hour and half drive to Harrisburg this evening. So Thank you Stella for being so obvious !!! For those of you still wondering if this is NOT a SCAM, go look at The Better Business Bureaus’ website. You’ll see that Sundance Vacations aren’t affiliated, yet over the last 3 years there have been 137 complaints… SHOCKER !!!! I Don’t know about you, but I cherish my time and effort to allow High pressure sales tactics to upset me. Do yourselves a favor, and don’t subject yourselves to this SCAM !!!!

    • It is very clear from the rest of my blog that I am a teacher, who just recently was living abroad in Thailand. I have no connection to the company whatsoever and just wrote this post to share my experience for those wondering the same thing – whether or not it is a scam. Since I went on the vacation, I can assure you it is not. I cannot speak for the company’s rating on BBB, only sharing what I myself have gone through. My boyfriend and I both won the vacation (and by the way it is not advertised as free… it’s a gift and you do have to pay taxes) and we went to Jamaica for mine and later went to Cancun for his – so not out of the norm for both you and your wife to receive calls. I am sorry you did not believe my post which I only wrote to genuinely help people wondering about the call they receive. You could have had a nice time somewhere… And negative reviews got through because I let people share their thoughts and experience – so if something is ‘obvious,’ as you state, it’s ‘obvious’ I don’t work for them.

    • Jeffrey M,
      I do NOT work for the company. I went on the vacation and did NOT purchase a timeshare. I only paid the taxes, as the company advertised up front. As long as you do not choose any upgrades, there should be no additional cost. My kids and I had a fabulous time on our cruise to the Bahamas and Grand Turk, a vacation I would not be able to afford without this opportunity. I also thought it may have been a scam so I Googled it and found Stella’s blog. From her blog, I felt that she was honest and reliable, so I went for it. So glad I did!! For one hour of my time and a couple hundred dollars in taxes I scored a wonderful vacation. My only regret is that I didn’t bring someone else with me to the meeting because that could have been a vacation for two additional members of my family. Sorry that you missed out on a great offer.

  64. Jeffrey M,
    I do NOT work for the company. I went on the vacation and did NOT purchase a timeshare. I only paid the taxes, as the company advertised up front. As long as you do not choose any upgrades, there should be no additional cost. My kids and I had a fabulous time on our cruise to the Bahamas and Grand Turk, a vacation I would not be able to afford without this opportunity. I also thought it may have been a scam so I Googled it and found Stella’s blog. From her blog, I felt that she was honest and reliable, so I went for it. So glad I did!! For one hour of my time and a couple hundred dollars in taxes I scored a wonderful vacation. My only regret is that I didn’t bring someone else with me to the meeting because that could have been a vacation for two additional members of my family. Sorry that you missed out on a great offer.

  65. I stand by my original post !!! I’ve been privately contacted by a couple of other people who were researching this as well, and one actually had first hand experience in sitting in on the so called presentation. It turned out to be a high pressure pitch, that dropped in price for the timeshare package, not once, not twice, but 3 times. So, as I stated before, I am grateful Stella for your blog. You saved me time and money, and I appreciate you for that.

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