How Travel Agents Travel For Cheap

Travel agent discounts- also known as fam rates- are everywhere, provided you ask. Here is how you can save a bundle on your next trip:

First off, no company will offer you a discount until you can prove you are a travel agent. To do this, visit the International Association of Travel Agents Network ( IATAN) website and fill out their application to receive your very own IATAN travel agent ID card. They will ask for your agency’s IATA or ARC number, as well as general personal info. Total cost: $30.

With your ID card in hand, you are now ready to apply for fam rates with a wide variety of providers. The first place to start is with hotels. The two major chains I use are Hilton and Marriot. In order to qualify for their rates, you have to become a sales specialist for their chain, which loosely translates to a few hours studying for an online exam. Trust me, these aren’t difficult.

I’ve used Marriot just recently on for a two night stay at the Courtyard in Bangkok. The room cost $60 per night with the fam rate, including breakfast. The funny thing is, breakfast alone would have cost $60 for two people! This type of deal is certainly worth the time spent taking the online tests!

Now that you’ve got the hotels covered, it’s time to look for flights. Contact one carrier from each frequent flyer alliance (e.g. OneWorld, Star Alliance, etc.) and sin up for their frequent flyer program. Lean on whichever provider your agency does the most revenue with, and call their service department and speak with a rep regarding their special rates.

Cars are similar to hotels, in that you sign up as a sales specialist and they’ll help you out. Whenever you bring a new client to them, ask if they offer special incentive rates for them- and you. For example, Hertz will generally offer 10% to any client you refer, and they’re really good about offering travel agents heavily discounted rates on their cars.