Correction: THIS is the Most Useless Current Promotion

T alk about a targeted promotion: in what has overtaken the title of the most useless current promotion, Travelzoo has teamed up with Starwood Hotels and Resorts to send five lucky people to Hawaii; but the catch is that your name must be one of the following in order to qualify:

  • John Smith
  • Maria Martinez
  • Priya Patel
  • David Lee
  • Amanda Johnson


What kind of a ludicrous promotion is this? Unless the intent is to receive publicity — as I am obviously doing right now — what the heck is the purpose of a promotion such as this one?

The prize for each winning lucky name is a vacation to Hawaii including roundtrip airfare for two and accommodations for five nights provided by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. There are a total of five prizes and only one person per lucky name will win a prize. Anyone with one of the lucky names is eligible to enter by Friday, September 11, 2015 — which also happens to be the fourteenth anniversary of the infamous terrorist attacks which occurred in the United States.

“Chances are that you already know someone with one of these names. Or a friend (or a friend of a friend) does and if so, share the contest on Facebook and Twitter — and maybe they will bring you along!” Would you spread the word via social media if you knew someone by one of those five names? Even so, this promotion is still severely limiting.

I first found out about this promotion from this article posted at The Reward Boss, where there is a breakdown of how many people in the United States have those names; and this contest is indeed only open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. The five winners amongst all of the people named John Smith, Maria Martinez, Priya Patel, David Lee and Amanda Johnson who participate will be chosen at random.

Poor David Lee Roth. The lead singer of Van Halen cannot participate in this promotion because his first and last names are not precisely David Lee as mentioned in the official rules. He will just have to dance the night away in a location other than Hawaii; or perhaps visit Michael W. in Brooklyn to jump.

That’s all right. Airfare and lodging for two people may be included in the grand prize, which also apparently includes a check for $2,000 for “travel money” — but read the fine print of the official rules:

The Grand Prize is awarded “as is” and is subject to availability, blackout dates, and the terms and conditions of the hotel. Grand Prize cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Grand Prize winner will be responsible for all other expenditures not specificallymentioned here, including, without limitation, transportation to/from departure/arrival airport, all air travel, all meals and beverages, gratuities, incidentals, personal expenses and travel/medical/baggage insurance. Grand Prize Winner must book travel through Sponsor. All Grand Prize travel must be completed by October 1, 2016 or it will be forfeited in its entirety without any compensation. Grand Prize winner will be asked to supply a valid, major credit card at hotel check-in to cover any expenses not specifically mentioned in these Official RulesARV of Grand Prize: $4,000. All taxes are Grand Prize Winner’s responsibility and a 2015 form #1099 will be issued to all Grand Prize Winners for $4,000. Odds of winning a prize: Dependent on the number of eligible entries received during the Sweepstakes Period for each Lucky Name. Should the actual value of the Grand Prize be less than the ARV stated in these Official Rules, the difference will not be awarded in cash or kind. A Grand Prize Winner acknowledges that the Sweepstakes Entities have neither made, nor are in any manner responsible or liable for, any warranty, representation or guarantee,expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the Grand Prize or regarding the use, value or enjoyment of the Grand Prize.

Am I reading that correctly? Both airfare and five nights in a hotel in Hawaii for $2,000.00 total for two people? I suppose that is possible at $200.00 per night in a shared hotel room and $1,000.00 in total airfare. I must be incorrect…

…but all is not lost for you: you might get some entertainment value reading the content posted in the Comments section of this promotion, which is available to all people and not just those with the aforementioned five names who are legal residents of the United States.

Thank you for reading The Gate with John Smith — er…I mean Maria Martinez — um…would you believe Priya Patel — excuse me; I meant David Lee — scratch that; the name should be Amanda Johnson — uh…no; it is actually Brian Cohen. Nope — I do not qualify. Boo hoo.

You know what? With a useless promotion such as this one, I do not feel so unlucky that I am not named one of the lucky five names in order to participate after all…

…and I suppose that I must be missing something here; but in my opinion, it has definitely stolen the title of the most useless current promotion from the one I highlighted in this article on Friday, August 7, 2015.

Nine days?!? That did not take long at all…

Source: Travelzoo.

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