A Free Vacation by Becoming a Member and Having Trees Planted? Not Quite…

This is an interesting offer which I stumbled across: a free vacation is being offered to members of an organization called 8 Billion Trees, whose mission is to fight to overcome rampant deforestation, harmful greenhouse gases, global warming, and carbon dioxide emissions by helping Earth do what it does best — grow and sustain life — by planting ten trees for every single member, every single month.

A Free Vacation by Becoming a Member and Having Trees Planted? Not Quite…

As of 2019, this message appeared on the application form for membership:

For a limited time 8 Billion Trees is now offering a FREE vacation for all new members. These resorts are offering empty rooms to new members for free. No time share presentation or anything like that but you do have to pay the daily room tax of about $20.

Right now we are offering these locations: Cancun, Puerto Penasco, Mazatlan, Nuevo Vallarta, Orlando, Las Vegas, Branson, Williamsburg, Gatlinburg, Acapulco, Tenerife, Koh Samui, Phuket, Myrtle Beach, Daytona Beach and Bali.

Membership Details and Benefits

Membership is apparently monthly, as you can join as a member of the network of 8 Billion Trees every 30 days at $20.00 per month. Ten additional trees are planted each month on behalf of each person who renews his or her membership.

All you have to do is sign up for membership and choose your destination; and a free voucher will be sent to you as an incentive to have you join to help the “Earth of tomorrow” become “a brighter, greener, more sustainable place!”

You can purportedly cancel your membership at any time, with no questions asked.

Membership benefits include:

  • Ten trees planted every month
  • Exclusive member only events
  • 10 percent off all 8 Billion Trees products
  • Free vacation voucher of your choice

Summary

I enjoy trees and am all for being environmentally friendly and ecologically sound — but although the mission of 8 Billion Trees seems noble, I have never heard of the organization and have many questions.

From what I can tell, a stay of seven nights would cost approximately $280.00 at a minimum, which seems like a great deal — but exactly at what types of lodging do the members actually stay? How much time elapses after someone becomes a member before the vacation voucher is sent? Does the vacation voucher get revoked if a person cancels his or her membership too soon? Can someone become a member once again after already canceling a membership and earn another vacation voucher?

The questions you just read are only some of the questions I have.

Keep in mind that 8 Billion Trees is defined as a social enterprise, not a charity; so membership is not tax deductible. The company sells items of clothing to fund its efforts.

Finally, what is being offered is not even remotely close to a “free” vacation — especially as only lodging accommodations seem to be what is offered. At its absolute best, the vacation will be ultra-low-cost — but certainly not free.

Then again, a vacation voucher is not the primary reason why you would join as an environmentally conscious member of 8 Billion Trees in the first place — right?

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

12 thoughts on “A Free Vacation by Becoming a Member and Having Trees Planted? Not Quite…”

  1. Megan Thompson says:

    You actually receive the travel voucher after spending $100 (you don’t have to sign up for the subscription). You then spend ~$100 for taxes/fees for the resort, so it’s $200 for 5 nights. I went ahead and tried it because I was already familiar with the organization, and I received a 5-night stay at a 5-star resort in Cancun (I chose Cancun because flights from where I live to Cancun are pretty cheap). My taxes/fees were slightly under $100, and the market value for the resort is $300/night (I checked on a couple travel sites to see if I was really getting a good deal). When I called to check on blackout dates, I was told the only official blackout is from right before Christmas to just after New Year’s. The rest of the year is fair game depending on availability, and you have 18 months to book your dates after you receive your voucher. I also managed to hit a special upgrade rate – at the time I called, for less than $200, I was able to upgrade to an all-inclusive package for 2 adults, so alcohol, meals, and transportation to and from the airport are now included.

    TL/DR – I spent less than $400 to plant 50 trees and get a 5 night, all-inclusive stay at a 5-star resort in Cancun.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for sharing the details on this offer and the information related to your experience, Megan Thompson.

    2. dizzy says:

      Hey Megan, how did you end up getting the voucher? Email? Snail mail?

  2. dizzy says:

    Ok, I decided to hop on this. You can buy 5 bracelets for $100, and shipping is $2.95. I needed some gifts for people and some organic spend, I figured I’ll try. You can be sure I screenshotted it tho- it appears on the pages about the $100 in spend so fingers crossed.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Please let me know what happens, dizzy.

      Thank you for “taking one for the team.”

  3. Emily says:

    I ordered $100 worth of bracelets to qualify for the travel voucher. Placed my order Saturday and today (Monday) received order confirmation and tracking for the order. Still no travel voucher. Hoping it comes with the bracelet shipment.

    1. Emily says:

      Just wanted to provide an update. I received my May 6 order today. No travel voucher. I reached out to the company to see if this is still being offered. Stay tuned!

  4. Cseamunchkin says:

    I am following this post.

  5. Anne says:

    Following

  6. KB says:

    Following

  7. Gabrielle Glaski says:

    Interested in learning the outcomes of those who purchased items online and hoped to receive a voucher. Also interested in learning more people’s experiences with using said voucher.

  8. Gab says:

    Interested in learning the outcomes of those who purchased items online and hoped to receive a voucher. Also interested in learning more people’s experiences with using said voucher.

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