Pig in Bahamas

Is the Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation a Scam? Written by a Winner

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Around the United States, shopping centers and malls have been increasingly promoting a raffle drawing to win a free trip to the Bahamas for two in 2023 and 2024. Shoppers write down their name and phone number onto a pink slip to enter to win. As hundreds of people have been texted by Briar Travel claiming that they have won, the internet is going wild over the question: Is the Briar Travel free Bahamas vacation a scam?

My boyfriend was one of the “winners” of this free Bahamas vacation raffle he entered at a mall in Minnesota. As someone who got scammed for thousands of dollars before in my life, I was skeptical. However, after extensive research, we realized it was not a scam. However, it was not free, either. This post will go over the onboarding process, what Briar Travel includes in this package, and the fees you’ll need to pay.

The Bahamas

Is the Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation a Scam: An Overview

After learning that the Briar Travel Free Vacation for Two was not a scam, my boyfriend and I decided to do it. We figured this wasn’t the type of vacation we’d typically take, so it was an opportunity to experience “luxury travel” as a couple for our fourth anniversary. However, it wasn’t as cheap as the raffle ticket made it out to be.

If you’ve gotten a text saying that you’ve won a free Bahamas vacation for two with Briar Travel, read on to learn more about what this means and what you can expect if you decide to take this trip.

Is the Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation a Scam? The Answer

The verdict? Technically, this raffle is not a scam, but labeling it as free isn’t entirely truthful either. Additional fees are required to take this trip to the Bahamas. However, I will note that the team at Briar Travel was upfront straightaway about all of the fees and did not try to hide them at any point while booking.

The Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation for Two is a successful marketing tactic to get people to think they’ve won a free vacation when resort taxes and fees are involved. Additionally, it’s expected you spend money while on the island. However, Briar Travel helps outline what you should expect to pay during your trip, from cheap cities to fly into, what to budget for taxis, etc.

It’s up to you to decide if you want to take this opportunity like my partner and I did. If you’re thinking about it, this post goes over what you can expect throughout the process through onboarding, what the package includes, and the fees you can expect to pay.

Dylan and I were wondering is the Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation A Scam? We found out that its not

The Process – “You’re a Winner!”

You might be wondering what the actual process is like to claim your offer for your trip to the Bahamas. First, you’ll receive a text message with a picture of your pink slip claiming you’re the lucky winner. The text message includes a link to learn more about the offer, and on the website, you’ll find a phone number to call to claim your vacation.

Dylan called the number and listened to an automated recording with information on activating his account to claim the vacation. Surprisingly, he got ahold of a person at Briar Travel after the recording! Talking to someone who could answer his questions made him feel more at ease with the opportunity.

At the end of the phone call, she directed him to activate his account within forty-eight hours to move forward with the process (to create a sense of urgency). Here’s where the extra fees started to incur because it was $19.99 per person to activate his account. Once activated, we had eighteen months to book the dates we wanted to vacation in the Bahamas.

If you're wondering is the Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation a scam, the answer is no but its not free

What The Package Includes

On the pink slip, the bottom print stated, “All Winners will receive a Free 4 Day 3 Night Vacation in the Bahamas. Winners will still be responsible for all normal travel expenses including transportation, resort/service fees, and taxes.” Once we got into Dylan’s account, we received a more detailed overview of what we “won.”

At some point in the process, we got asked if we wanted to take the Margaritaville at-sea round-trip cruise ship out of the port of Palm Beach for an additional free night. As people who have never been on a cruise, we agreed.  Therefore, our vacation package included:

  • Five Days and Four Nights Room Accommodation at the Grand Bahama Island
  • 2-passenger overnight cruise to Grand Bahama Island with cabin, meals, and entertainment covered
  • 2-passenger overnight cruise return ticket from Grand Bahama Island with cabin, meals, and entertainment covered
  • The option to stay at the All-Inclusive Viva Fortuna Beach by Wyndham Resort

After we chose our travel dates, we received a message through Dylan’s account with our cruise confirmation numbers. Then, we got to choose one resort out of three options:

Each hotel or resort stated what you could expect while staying there and the amenities offered. Essentially, this is what the package entails, and the costs vary based on whether you choose the cruise option and which resort or hotel you pick. Briar Travel covers the cost of your accommodation minus fees and taxes.


The Fees

Now that we know what the Free Bahamas Vacation package offers, let’s discuss the fees you’ll need to pay! The nice thing is that Briar Travel allows you to pay what you can when you can, as long as it is all paid 35 days before your departure.

  • Account set-up fee: $19.99 per person –  $39.98 total
  • Resort Taxes (all accommodation options): $19 a night per night
  • $114 for three nights
  • $152 for four nights if you take the cruise
  • Resort Fees:
  • Bell Channel HotelFree
  • Taino Beach Resort – $39 a day per person
  • $312 for four days
  • $390 for five days
  • Viva Fortuna by Wyndham All-Inclusive Resort – $89 every 24 hours per person
  • $899 for four nights

If you go on the cruise:

  • Cruise administration fee: $87.50 per person, per trip – $350 total
  • Port Entrance Fee: $258 total

To sum it up, to book with Briar Travel, the fees in total are between $153.98 and $503.98 without the cruise ship add-on. If you book the cruise ship to add another night, the fees will be between $799.98 and $1,698.98. These only account for the costs to book with Briar Travel and don’t include flights, transportation on the island, or any activities or food while you’re there.

Pig in Bahamas

The Verdict

Why would someone choose Viva Fortuna over the cheaper Bell Channel Hotel? The reasoning is that although it costs a ton more, it’s in a more convenient location, is all-inclusive, and has a handful of activities people at the resort can do for “free.” Although it costs more upfront, visitors don’t have to worry about spending money on attractions, food, or beverages while they’re there.

I’m hesitant to do the math for how much we’re saving because prices vary, and resorts will offer promos during certain times of the year. However, I’ll provide the numbers without any resort discounts, but take it with a grain of salt. This number is hypothetical for our situation by choosing the cruise and the most expensive resort.

In the best-case scenario, with no resort discounts or promos, we’re saving $897 at Viva Fortuna. We’re also paying $190 less for the cruise, though this is a little harder to measure because Margaritaville on the Sea only offers three-day cruises. With a non-discounted price at Viva Fortuna and Margaritaville on the Sea, we’re saving $1,087, but this is the best-case scenario.

To Look Up/ Book These Resorts Independently, Follow These Links:

FAQs: Is Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation a Scam?

Now that we’ve gone over the onboarding process, what Briar Travel offers, and the fees to take this vacation, let’s ask some frequently asked questions.

Is the free Bahamas vacation real?

The Free Bahamas vacation is real, though a bit misguided. The only free thing is the hotel room, but you still pay the daily hotel/resort fees and taxes. Additional costs are account set-up fees and cruise ship fees if you decide to take the Margaritaville by sea cruise to get to the Grand Bahamas.

Is the Briar Travel Bahamas trip legit?

The Briar Travel Bahamas trip is legit and is not a scam. You set up your account with them, choose your vacation dates, choose the hotel you’d like to stay at based on availability, pay the resort fees and taxes, and you’re ready to go.

Are vacation giveaways real?

There are many vacation giveaway raffles, some being more legit than others. The best thing you can do is research, look up the terms and conditions, and get other people’s opinions before accepting.


Wrapping Up: Is the Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation a Scam?

Well, there you have it. Briar Travel Free Bahamas Vacation for 2 is not a scam, though it is far from free. The only thing “free” about this is the hotel or resort room, but you’ll still have to pay the daily taxes and resort fees.

To conclude, is it worth it? It depends. You are saving a chunk of money you’d otherwise be paying for the actual room, and you can make it a cheap vacation if you stay at the Bell Channel Hotel and opt out of the cruise. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of whether or not this opportunity is something you choose to take up.

Dylan and I decided to move forward, and we went big. We decided to take the cruise and stay at the All-Inclusive Resort because we’re typically budget travelers, and this was an opportunity for us to experience luxury travel for our anniversary without having to decide where to stay.

What about you? Would this be something you decide to do!?