What does it mean to be a smarTraveler? Is this similar to other status/loyalty programs out there in the market?
Since 1996, smarTours has been dedicated to rewarding clients by consistently offering high quality international travel at unbeatable value. In the last 20 years, we have been fortunate to have an overwhelming number of repeat travelers and very strong word of mouth. Our smarTraveler program is our way of rewarding these loyal and active clients.
With our smarTraveler program, we wanted to make it a bit different than the typical status/loyalty program by genuinely expressing our appreciation by providing rewards that improve upon an already great experience. smarTravelers will receive room upgrades or other hotel perks (subject to availability), advanced notice on special deals and new destinations, priority telephone service, tickets to the New York Times Travel Show and a special cocktail reception, and more.
If I always travel with my significant other or a certain travel companion, do we both need to apply to gain smarTraveler status?
We do recommend that you and your regular travel companion(s) each apply separately to gain smarTraveler status if you envision potentially traveling separately in the future. However, if you always plan on traveling together, it’s not essential that you both apply for smarTraveler status.
I’ve traveled with smarTours for years and referred countless new travelers. Does that mean I’ll definitely be a smarTraveler?
smarTraveler is a program that rewards those who are both consistently and recently active with smarTours. If you’re among our most active clients, then we expect that you’ll qualify for smarTraveler status, but we do encourage you to review the requirements and let us know if you have any questions.
If I have more questions about the smarTraveler program, what do I do?
Please call us toll-free at 800-337-7773 or 212-297-0955 to discuss further.
How soon can I use my smarTraveler status? What if I received my smarTraveler status after I registered for a trip?
You will start to receive smarTraveler perks right away once you are approved. Specifically regarding the room upgrades and other hotel perks, you will be eligible for these benefits so long as you have smarTraveler status 90 days prior to departure. Please note that these specific benefits are subject to availability. If you do return from your trip and feel that these hotel perks were not provided, please let us know, and we will provide you with a $100 credit towards a future trip if it’s clear that extra perks were not delivered.
What happens if my status expires just before departure?
In order to enjoy the full benefits of being a smarTraveler, you need to be an active smarTraveler at the time of departure. If you have any questions about your eligibility for smarTraveler perks, please call our toll-free number at 800-337-7773.
What can I expect in terms of room upgrades or other perks at the hotels on a tour?
The nature of the hotel perks can vary – from an upgrade in room category to a room on a higher floor to a room with a better view to simply extra amenities.
Please note that these benefits are subject to availability, and it is important to remember that availability will vary depending on time of year, destination, and other potential factors. We will always do our best to provide any possible perks, and we strive to make these perks possible in at least one property per trip.
If you return from your trip and feel that these hotel perks were not provided in a single hotel on the trip, we will provide you with a $100 credit towards a future trip if it’s clear that extra perks were not delivered.
What does it mean to skip to the front of the line of a waiting list for a departure?
If there’s a waitlist (which happens often for trips high in demand), you’ll jump ahead of anyone without smarTraveler status.
What type of exclusive smarTours news should I expect to receive on the special smarTraveler email list?
As you know, smarTours often comes out with simply amazing pricing. When we have an extra special deal, we’ll send it out to our smarTravelers first so that they have a chance to book before it’s sold out. Also, when we have trips with very limited capacity (for example, Cuba), smarTravelers will get first notice so that they can claim their spots. We will also advertise new destinations to our smarTravelers to provide first access to new tours that often sell out quickly.
What does priority phone service mean?
When it’s a busy day of phone calls, as it often is here at smarTours, we will prioritize our smarTravelers. You may still need to wait, but it shouldn’t be for very long, and you will be our priority!
If I have smarTraveler status but my travel companion does not, are we both eligible for the smarTraveler perks?
If you or your travel companion has smarTraveler status, you will both benefit from the smarTraveler perks if you are sharing a room on the trip. If you are in separate rooms, then only the smarTraveler will be eligible for perks (subject to availability).
Do the perks apply for all smarTours trips?
We will strive to deliver all of the perks as consistently as possible for our valued smarTravelers. Without exception, the following perks will always be provided: exclusive smarTours news, the opportunity to skip to the front of trip waitlists ahead of everyone except other smarTravelers, priority telephone service, complimentary access to the NYT Travel Show and cocktail reception, and more. Regarding the hotel perks, they are subject to availability, and for some trips and during certain times of year, it is simply not possible to provide room upgrades or other special benefits at hotels. Specifically, with destinations such as Cuba and Western Europe with limited hotel capacity, it will be very hard to provide special hotel perks, and the same goes for our cruise programs. It will also be more challenging during a peak season in a given destination.
However, we will always do our best to provide these hotel perks. If you do return from your trip and feel that these perks were not provided in a single hotel on the trip, please let us know, and we will provide you with a $100 credit towards your future trip if it’s clear that no special perks were provided.
Please also note that the special hotel perks will not be available for custom groups / private groups / invitation groups.
I’ve traveled with smarTours for years, referred countless new travelers, and been vocal in my community about smarTours. Does that mean I’ll definitely be a smarTraveler?
smarTraveler is a program that rewards those who are consistently and recently active with smarTours. If you’re among our most active clients, then we expect that you’ll qualify for smarTraveler status, but we do encourage you to review the requirements and let us know if you have any questions.
Do I need to satisfy just one of three requirements or all three?
You only need to satisfy one of the three requirements. If you believe that you’re potentially eligible through more than one category, then it doesn’t hurt to fill out multiple categories to increase your chances of becoming a smarTraveler.
How does the “travel frequently” requirement work?
In order to qualify for the “travel frequently” requirement, you will need to have traveled three times in the last three years at the time of your application.
An example: Let’s say you apply for smarTraveler status on September 12, 2015. You will qualify for smarTraveler status if you have taken three smarTours trips that departed between September 12, 2012 and September 12, 2015.
How does the “refer friends & family” requirement work?
In order to qualify for the “refer friends and family” requirement, you will need to have referred at least 12 friends or family members who took their first smarTours trips in the last three years at the time of application. Please be honest in the listing of your referrals. We will be double checking all referrals.
An example: You decide to apply for a smarTraveler status on October 15, 2015. You will qualify if you have referred at least 12 new travelers who took their first trips with smarTours between October 15, 2012 and October 15, 2015.
How does the “be vocal” requirement work?
We are looking to reward clients who have been vocal about their love of smarTours in the year leading up to their application. Unlike the “travel frequently” and “refer friends and family” requirements, the “be vocal” category is more subjective, but we apply the same high standards for approval.
For online activity, please provide links to any/all examples of your vocal support of smarTours. Examples could include YouTube videos, Facebook/Twitter/Instragram posts, TripAdvisor reviews, Yelp reviews, and more! The sky’s the limit, and please remember to use #smarTours or @smarTours in your social media activity to get credit for your work.
For activity in your community (offline activity), please provide a detailed description of your activity. Examples could include hosting a gathering in your community to discuss a trip for everyone to join for the upcoming year, requesting smarTours brochures to leave in the lobby of your apartment building, and more! We may follow up with you to understand further and verify.
A concrete example: Long time smarTours traveler Maciej Piotrowski. Take a look at the amazing YouTube videos he’s made of his smarTours trips: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBAg_cbe-pju0AFfGPegukBbiDRxeKjBt
Applying to Become a smarTraveler
How do I apply?
Please click here to fill out the simple online application form. Please fill out your contact information and at least one of the categories required for achieving status. You will hear back from us within two weeks. If you have any further questions about signing up, please give us a call at 800-337-7773.
I’m certain that I fulfill these requirements. Why do I still need to apply?
We want to reward our most consistently active clients, and we want to do so in the fairest and most accurate way. We certainly do not want to miss anyone who is deserving, so we ask that you submit the information to us, and then we will verify that everything is correct.
I am having trouble with the online application form. What do I do?
Please do not hesitate to call our toll free number at 800-337-7773.
I applied, but I haven’t heard back about my smarTraveler status, and it’s been longer than a week. What do I do?
We do our best to ensure that you hear about your smarTraveler status as soon as possible. However, if for some reason you have not heard from us within a week, please feel free to give us a call at 800-337-7773.
How often do I have to apply to be a smarTraveler?
We make it easy for you to maintain your smarTraveler status. Every year in early December, in advance of your smarTraveler status expiring, you’ll receive an email asking you to fill out the quick online form with your updated qualifications. If you do not fill out the application, your status will expire until you reapply.
How long will my smarTraveler status last?
If you’re accepted any time after March 31, 2018, you will have smarTraveler status through December 31, 2019. In December of the year where your status is expiring, you will receive an automated email asking you to renew, and your smarTraveler status will be yours to keep so long as you continue to meet the requirements.
Why does smarTraveler status expire?
Our goal is to reward our most loyal clients who maintain consistent involvement with smarTours. If your level of activity declines, your smarTraveler status will likely expire, but you can still of course enjoy our wonderful trips and will have a chance to regain your status!