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Author: caladezi

Joined: 1/30/2011
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2003

February 19, 2011

Pauline-  I wouldn't totally count on the fact that your invoice is "paid in full".  In the past when a surcharge has been added, it was placed on all invoices for all trips not yet departed.  I had a trip that was "fully paid" at that time and received a bill for the surcharge from GCT.  This then became a new "BALANCE DUE".  I agree that it's a very poor way to do business, but it's their way, and since they have your money there is little that you can do but pay it

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 404
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 19, 2011

Please don't think that I am being argumentative, but I want to comment on my experience. I will be departing on 09 March on a trip for which I paid in full some 8 months ago. My invoice still shows "Paid in full" with a balence of $0.00. That can mean only one of two things -- GCT is honoring the "no cost increase" pledge, or the surcharge that is the subject of this thread was not applied to my trip. I suspect the former.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 404
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 19, 2011

Thanks, Ed. You keep jerking me up for my tunnel vision. I guess I just assume that everyone is like me, and (fortunately!) that is not the case. I always pay with an ACH funds transfer which has the effect of a check. The thought of paying with a credit card has not even occurred to me before, but you make a good point. I am just now getting a new credit card that gives me points that can be used for airline miles as well as other rewards. So now I'm going to have to give a little more thought as to how and when I pay. Thanks.

Thank you also for your military service. I had 27 years in the Naval Reserve. The Navy took me to about 25 countries on five continents.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 19, 2011

Well, I just re-read the travel handbook and went through all the fine print, and it seems that Caladezi is correct.  They do spell out that payment by credit card does not ensure that they can't add a surcharge even after the invoice reads "paid in full."  They don't actually say that, but they do say that it can happen unless final payment is made through the Good Buy Plan.  And those terms are listed in several places in the handbook.  However, I still prefer to pay by credit card wherever and whenever possible.  And I wouldn't consider this a deal breaker.  The savings I get when I travel solo on GCT as opposed to what I would pay with other tour companies is considerably more.

Author: travelann

Joined: 3/12/2010
Posts: 44
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2010

February 19, 2011

The Travel Handbook is not really clear. I believe when it talks about paying only by check, it is referring to the Good Buy discount. When I traveled last year I had to pay by check to get the discount. This year I booked too late to get the discount, so I paid in full using a credit card. My invoice for my March trip shows paid in full, no money owed. To qualify for the good buy plan discount you must book 120 days or  more in advance.The Good buy plan and the Good Buy discount are two aspects of the same program---- discount / pay by check. At least this is the way I am interpreting what is could be a lot clearer.

Author: calsandy

Joined: 7/21/2010
Posts: 12
Trips Taken: 15
Traveler Since: 2007

February 19, 2011

 Hi Everyone--Let me add my 2 cents. I booked a trip with an April departure date and paid with my credit card. Just checked my invoice and it's still marked "paid in full"--no $100 increase, yet! Sounds like the last poster might have ferreted out what the actual policy is. I agree, it should be a lot clearer.

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:


Traveler Since: 1999

February 20, 2011

I used a credit card in January to make the final payment on a trip departing March 31. There is no additional charge on the invoice.

Author: gerabel

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 22
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

Iceland, Westman Islands, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy, France, England, Greece, Grecian Isles, Spain, Gibraltar, Malta, Comino, Gozo, Morocco, Sicily, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Mallorca, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, much of the USA, among other places.

Traveler Since: 2000

February 21, 2011

You can use your credit card for final payment but it does NOT lock in your final cost. Unfortunately, GCT can post an additional charge for fuel increase or whatever  unless you make your final payment by electronic transfer or check.

Author: grumpy_jr

Joined: 2/25/2011
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2008

February 24, 2011

I don't think its right for gct to increase my cost after I made a deposit base on what I thought the trip would cost.  If this is a method of getting people to pay cash way ahead of getting their product(trip), is this a BBB issure??????????

Author: cal429

Joined: 5/8/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 13
Countries Visited:

Domestically, almost everywhere. A native Northern Californian, I'd set foot however briefly in all 50 states by the time I was 35, lived on all three U.S. coasts and the shore of the South China Sea (the latter courtesy of Uncle Sam in 1969). Been to all corners of our country and beyond into Canada (i.e., Tijuana, Key West, Halifax/PEI, Vancouver BC), plus lived for a summer near the geographic center of the country. New England nearly every summer or fall since 1972 to visit family and watch the leaves turn. Barely getting started internationally. Been to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, Ireland, South America (five times, five countries), Panama, Cuba, Spain, Greece/Turkey and Aegean, Great Rivers (Netherlands, Germany, Austria), and Antarctica.

Traveler Since: 2004

February 25, 2011

Lots of postings on this topic, but the answers should be pretty clear by now.

Pay ahead by cash, check, direct bank withdrawal, etc. etc., any of the methods that do not cost GCT/OAT the usual 3-5% credit card loss and you are in the Good Buy plan and won't see an increase.  Pay by credit card, in full up front or part now part later, GCT/OAT loses 3-5% to the Visa et al Bandits, you may get miles from the Visa Bandits, but in return you agree that GCT'/OAT may increase your price for any reason prior to departure.  I just went back and re-read the "General Terms and Conditions" on the website and, although the wording requires pretty careful parsing (that's one of the things I did for a living before I retired), yes, they can increase the charge at will.

"Operator reserves the right to correct promotional or pricing errors at any time, or to increase the Trip Price in the event of cost increases due to changes in airfares, cruise fares, currency fluctuations, park fee increases, taxes, or fuel surcharges, or other reasons, unless you pre-paid according to the terms of the Good Buy Plan prior to the cost increase going into effect."

To be clear, next month is my seventh GCT/OAT trip, I've always paid in full by credit card on the day I first booked, and I've never had them bump the price later.  So, no, I don't think it's something they do as a bait and switch.  On the other hand, times change, and maybe they've revised their business plan to our detriment.  Time will tell.  In any case, it would have been much less of a PR disaster had they e-mailed everybody the moment they posted it into your online accounts, rather than let you discover it when you viewed your statements.

One poster mentions hedging.  This is hedging, on your part and on theirs.  You pay cash-equivalent ahead and they protect you from increases.  On their part, you pay cash-equivalent ahead and they get the float on your money and don't get robbed of 3-5% of the payment by the Visa Bandits, but they also can't increase your trip price if their costs go up.  You are their hedging counterparty, in business lingo.

As an aside, I have to admit to a certain (very) mild resentment when I see people who could afford to pay by cash or check using their cards instead simply to get the miles, because I know the merchant is paying the Visa Bandit, and he has to charge everybody more (me).  The flip side is that so many credit card payers also pay huge fees and usurious interest to the Visa Bandits when their credit card statements come.

And yes, I did pay by credit card, and I know I'm at risk for an increase.  But my next trip was just booked within the past week at a truly humongous last-minute discount, after the increase you're noting, and departs in five weeks, so I've likely escaped this one.  My online statement still says paid in full.  The OAT rep offered the $50 Good Buy plan discount with price protection on the phone when I booked, but I declined in favor of the credit card convenience.

Author: dee

Joined: 6/10/2010
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2009

March 03, 2011

I too, don't understand how they can tack on an extra $100 without knowing how the economy is going to be doing in the nine months before my next trip. I could go ahead and just pay it off now, but why? I think they should (if they need to raise prices) start with the new bookings, not the old ones.

It almost feels as though they're going out of business and want to gather all the cash they can before they fold!

That's not an encouraging thought...

Author: gabrielle

Joined: 4/27/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2007

April 01, 2011

I was told a date certain for paying the balance by check to qualify for the good buyer plan and save $50,  but that wasn't good enough to avoid the $100 per person increase.  It seems as though there are two versions of the good buyer plan.  After a short series of phone conversations, it's the only time that GCT didn't send me an email asking me to evaluate my experience talking with customer service.  I wonder why? 

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 157
Trips Taken: 13
Traveler Since: 2005

April 02, 2011
Is anyone else suspicious why it is always exactly a $100 price increase? If they are passing on the actual price increase from a supplier wouldn't you think it might be a different amount at least occasionally? Back in 2005 on my China trip I was told that United Airliners had a $100 price increase due to higher fuel costs. I asked OAT:
1) How do I know thare was a fare increase (i.e fuel surcharge) for my flight? Ans: All the airlines are adding it, the price of their fuel has gone up. It's in the newspapers.
2) Can you provide a copy of your invoice from United to document the specific increase for my flight? Ans: NO
3) Can you provide a specific point of contact at United that I could call to verify the increase?  Ans; They gave me United's standard customer service 800 number.
I pointed that that calling that number would be useless as the agent would have no specific knowledge about my flight. Basically the OAT agent couldn't care less. I ended up paying the $100 since I wanted to go to China.  I'm willing to bet that if OAT actually has a price increase from a supplier they "round up" and actually make a profit from it and/or do so to get others to cover the cost of those not paying it (i.e. Good Buy Plan). 

Author: ronackermann

Joined: 2/22/2011
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2008

August 10, 2011

If you read the not-so-fine print, any payments (after the initial down payment) don't qualify for the guaranteed price if you use a credit card. It mus be cash, check or electric funds transfer. Below is the relevant paragraph (emphasis mine):

"Your entire remaining balance after your initial deposit must be paid in full by cash, check, or electronic check only to qualify; any reservations with additional payments by credit card are ineligible for the Good Buy Plan."

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