Who doesn’t want to spend their workday soaking up some sun and having a blast on a cruise ship? For some, that might mean taking a job aboard as part of the crew, but for this company of entrepreneurs, it means selling discount cruises to their friends – and then going with them for the ride.
What Is inCrusies?
At its core, inCruises is a basic MLM (multi-level marketing) company, similar to things like Mary Kay or Tupperware. Instead of selling makeup or kitchenware, inCruises partners are selling discounted trips on cruise ships all over the world. In another sense, however, inCruises is also like a timeshare company. In order to purchase these seemingly amazing deals, buyers must first purchase a membership into the club. The company markets this model as a “travel membership club”. Here’s how each level of the company works:
Discount Cruises for inCruises Members
The initial level, and the main product that inCruises partners sell, is the membership into the travel club. Memberships cost $100 per month, and that money is converted into 200 “cruise dollars” that allow members to book cruises around the world at discounted prices. There is a variety of cruise lines that participate with this program, and the cruise dollars never expire.
The membership cruises are divided into two types: Dream Cruises, which are hand selected by the inCruises staff, and Global Destination Cruises, which seems to be a catchall category for most everything else. Members can use their cruise dollars to pay for up to 50% of a Global Destination Cruise. Dream Cruises must be paid for by cruise dollars.
There are no limits to how many cruises can be booked in a year, and spouses can combine their cruise dollars if each is a member. In other words, for $200 a month, a couple can spend 400 cruise dollars towards a cruise that participates in the club. Let that roll over for a full year, and a couple could have 4800 cruise dollars to spend.
All in all, the membership definitely has it perks at first glance. But as with all buying clubs, there are some potential cons to be aware of, too.
Potential Member Pros
- Essentially, you are doubling your buying power each month with the conversion to cruise dollars. This means you could end up getting “2 for 1” cruises (a big selling point on the inCruises website), or a much nicer cruise for your money.
- As far as buying clubs go, inCruises goes out of their way to allow for combining points, bringing along non-member friends, etc.
- Cruise dollars are not considered a legal currency, so you don’t have to consider the “doubled” money as taxable income.
Potential Member Cons
- There is no way to pay for Dream Cruises out of pocket if you don’t have enough cruise dollars accumulated. You’ll have to wait till you do.
- You cannot pay more than $100 per month towards your account, so it may take you longer to save up for a Dream Cruise.
- You are limited to the cruises that the club offers; you can’t use your cruise dollars to get reimbursed for a cruise that isn’t offered by the club at all. This is the biggest concern that most potential members have – is there enough variety and are the available cruises worthwhile? There’s no way to tell without joining.
- There is no financial protection in the event that the company fails. According to the inCruises website, should the company fail, the money you have paid into the club will not be refunded. There is a 30-day guarantee for new members, and that’s it.
Get Paid to Cruise as an inCruises Partner
The second level of the inCruises business model is the MLM set up. Members can upgrade to “partners” who sell memberships. The more memberships they sell, the more commissions they earn. The model is very similar to most MLM companies, in which you can also recruit other partners to be part of your “partner team”, and earn a small commission on their sales as well. In addition to earning commission, partners can also reach a level where their monthly membership is totally free – they’ll earn 200 cruise dollars a month for nothing.
Because inCruises offers something worth real monetary value (membership into the travel club), it is not considered a pyramid scheme. However, it’s important to note that inCruises isn’t really offering a product itself, but rather just acting as a channel that allows people to save for and book cruises from other companies.
In addition to having the opportunity to make commissions, partners can also earn bonuses, and have access to online training that helps them become better salespeople within the cruise and travel industry. It costs a one-time fee of $195, plus a yearly fee of $95 to become a partner.
Just like being a member, there are potential pros and cons to becoming a partner with inCruises.
Potential Partner Pros
- Earn your cruise dollars for free, essentially getting free cruises each year.
- Bonuses are reported to be between $500 to $30,000 per month. Additionally, you get a bonus between $50 and $150 each time you sign up a new member.
- For every active member that is five levels down from you (meaning every member that you and your partner team down five steps on the pyramid have signed up), you earn commission.
- You also earn extra cruise dollars as part of your bonuses at times.
Potential Partner Cons
- In order to become an affiliate that earns the bonuses and commissions, you have to generate a minimum of $5,000 a month in sales – though this is hidden behind a complex system of selling memberships in groups of three or five on the website.
- Despite not being considered a pyramid scheme legally, it does still walk a fine line due to offering only access to deals, rather than a tangible product itself.
There is currently nothing else quite like inCruises, which makes it a very interesting prospect for those who like the idea of getting paid while they cruise. There are some concerns to consider, as well as quite a few potential benefits. Keep an eye on inCruises as the industry considers the model of travel-based MLMs.