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.

25 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?

    3. Randa says:

      Hi Megan or anyone who can answer!

      But do you have to purchase the airfare separately or is the voucher “including” that as well?
      You say you spent $400 to plant trees and get an all inclusive trip, but if not without the airfare how much did you actually spend in total? Thanks!

  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!

      1. Mike says:

        Hi Emily,
        I actually work for the company and can tell you the voucher is emailed to you once you become a member. If you didn’t receive it right away just email our customer support and we will get you taken care of. That email address is support@8billiontrees.com

  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.

  9. adam garrett says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience @Megan Thompson.

  10. Kate says:

    I became a member for 20 dollars a month and received my voucher after 10 minutes After signing up for Las Vegas. I got a 3 night stay at westgate for 58 dollars. I’m very satisfied!

  11. Kim says:

    Thanks for the input. Awaiting your final words. Anytime one can help our planet AND teceive a wonderful thank you gift, it’s a win-win. ❤️

  12. James says:

    A friend shared their post on Facebook and did a quick search and saw this article. I had already planned to help plant trees but reached out to their support and got a reply within a couple of hours on how the voucher works. You have to pay the taxes on the room each night which are $20 and become a member to plant each month. I signed up and got my voucher for Branson almost immediately by email. The room looks great and a better price than anything we could find online. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  13. Bre says:

    I signed up for the $20 subscription yesterday but did not receive a voucher so I replied to my email order confirmation and was sent back a link to book. I paid the “fees” and got a confirmation. Booking has to be 30 days in advance and only blackout is Christmas time. I called bookvip to confirm all details and was advised the booking does NOT require a timeshare presentation unless you want to upgrade (resort credit in Vegas or to make a Cancun resort all inclusive). All in all it seems like a good deal. I’ll try to update after I attempt to book a Vegas trip in a few months!

  14. Barbie says:

    I wanted to share my story to help others….. I did come across TWO very different offers from 8 Billion Trees. I think people get confused when singing up. So pay attention which offer you sign up for.

    1) Spend $100 (no membership needed) and you get the vacation deal
    or
    2) Purchase the $20 dollar membership (cancel anytime) and get the vacation deal

    Signed up for the $20 membership at 9:09pm last night (06/15/2019). Once I signed up, a link shows up and you click on it to take you to the vacation offers. You will not receive an email for this. So dont close the window and pay attention when signing up. Do it on your computer and print all everything too. Once you are in the offers section, you enter your name, email address and pick with city/location you’re interested in. I picked Acapulco and no questions regarding payment so far.

    By 9:21pm same day I received the email from 8 Billion Trees – they use BookVIP for the vacation agency and when I click on the link with the Acapulco offer, it said I had 6 days to activate/confirm that I wanted to travel to that location. Once you click on the link to confirm, you need to pre-pay the hotel taxes. I paid $98 for 5 days in Acapulco- but it didn’t ask for dates (you have to call them to book the actual dates). They also concealed the name of my hotel. I had to call them. I got the Mayan Palace hotel.

    Also, I called them because right after paying the taxes, I got an offer to upgrade to all-inclusive for $199. That was odd since the hotel was originally advertised as all inclusive in my offer. It never said I had to pay extra (I read all of the terms). Still a good deal, but I don’t like the bait and switch tactic or when they reveal the deals/upgrades at the end.

    Then on the phone there was some mixup. They will not offer you the all inclusive package for Acapulco, even if the hotel does offer it. Only Cancun, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. I immediately switched to Cancun.

    They had two hotels they were offering in Cancun – Krystal Hotel or the Oasis Beach (not the grand). Now both hotels, do have the option to upgrade to all-inclusive for $199 and you have to attend like a 2-hour time share presentation (they ask about your income and I found a review online that if you dont make enough they can reject you. You have to make a specific $$ a year). The all inclusive option is also not required, but its a good deal. Also, be aware that for the Krystal, your second person has to be your husband or daughter. It cannot be your friend. I read online they ask for proof of living etc. With the Oasis, you can bring whoever.

    I picked Krystal because of the location and I was going solo anyway…. but after giving her my credit card…she said I had to pay resort fees…..Of course more fees. Krystal is 20x day and Oasis is $29x day.

    I need to call them tmw and finally book (I have to get new dates)….so far this is what the cost break down is…..

    So here is the breakdown
    $20 membership to 8 Billion Trees
    $98 pre-paid taxes
    $199 All inclusive package (airport pick up is included)
    $100 for resort fees (20x day) or $145 ($29 for the Oasis but I can bring a second person)

    So $417… for a vacation that you were only supposed to pay “taxes”…nothing is free and still a terrific deal. Just dont sign up if you were kinda of “blah” about going to that location. I really love Cancun and I’ve been wanting to go to Acapulco…Overall, for the all inclusive, it’s quite the deal…. I think Krystal would’ve cost me well over 1k with the all inclusive and would’ve been $700 not including the resort fees and food etc.

    I’ll be picking dates tomorrow. I’ll keep everyone posted.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I really appreciate you sharing your experience in detail, Barbie.

      Thank you for keeping us posted; and I look forward to reading more information when you get it…

  15. Breanna Coach says:

    Okay so update: I attempted to book my 3 night stay in Vegas with bookvip for Labor Day weekend and they are all booked (fair enough). So I ask what other weekends they have available and am told none before January 2020. They only have checkins Wednesday through Sunday. BUT there are weekends available if I “upgrade for $49” and attend a 90 minute timeshare presentation. I’m not necessarily happy with this but we will see what happens when I finally book.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That sounds like a case of not getting what you expected but still getting a fairly good deal, Breanna Coach.

      Please keep us up to date.

  16. BWH says:

    Following.

  17. LaMonica says:

    I came across 8 Billion Trees on Instagram and after doing my research I’m considering signing up.

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