Travel Agent 2.0 – Using Affiliate Programs to Become a Travel Agent

In-Person Travel Agents are somewhat of a relic these days, thanks to the rise of the OTA, or Online Travel Agencies like Priceline and Expedia.  Like many positions now, these types of jobs may have to adapt to new strategies to spread their knowledge and expertise regarding monetization.

Becoming an Affiliate of these types of Travel Agencies is indeed an option, and now it’s easier than ever to join one and start earning commissions for everything you refer.  We know most of them out there, and there are indeed better ones than others that you should keep an eye on.

Business Idea: Travel Agent Alternative

Airline Affiliate Programs

There aren’t many direct (i.e., Southwest or Jetblue) airline affiliate programs left within the Affiliate Marketing world.  There are always reasons behind this.  Perhaps lack of budget, razor-thin margins, or that affiliate programs didn’t bring expected revenue into a company would expect.  On the other hand, if you push air travel, there is still quite a bevy of options to work with.

Kiwi

  • Unique Interactive Map of Absolute Lowest Price Travel via Air
  • Unprecented 3% Commission Rate of Confirmed Flight Sale
  • Bring 100 Sales, Get $25 Bonus
  • Found on Commission Junction (CJ)

Hawaiian Airlines

  • One of the last standing direct airline affiliate programs
  • 1.5% Commission for Completed Flight
  • A popular tourist destination with many patterns
  • Found on Commission Junction (CJ)

CheapAir.com

  • Get $8 for a Completed Flight
  • Found on Commission Junction
  • Many flight patterns and a good selection of deals

Honorable Mentions:

  • Air France USA
  • Expedia
  • Priceline
  • Skyscanner

Car Rental Affiliate Programs

Our least favorite category for Affiliate Travel partnerships is the rental car one.  Sure you’ll find significant brands and direct partnerships but at dramatically low commissions.  We recommend these while supplementing other affiliate options (i.e., booking travel on Hotels and Cruises).

Hertz Rent a Car

  • Significant brand name in regards to booking car rentals
  • 3% Commission on Completed Car Rentals
  • Found on Commission Junction (CJ)

AVIS

  • A popular choice for car rentals
  • 3%-4% on completed car rentals
  • Found on Commission Junction

Hotwire

  • Book other travel options like Air and Hotel
  • Advertise the lowest price of all car rental companies
  • 2% Commission on Completed Rentals
  • Located on the Impact Network

Honorable Mentions:

  • Sixt Car Rental
  • Priceline
  • Thrifty
  • Orlando Car Rental (if in Orlando, Florida)

Cruise Affiliate Programs

Cruises are a popular choice amongst those who want to travel but want a more hands-off and relaxed experience.  Travel with restaurants, living, and entertainment all in one spot while moving in extraordinary places.  There are a few reliable options here if you’d like to refer those who are willing to take this method of travel.

Princess Cruise Line

  • Popular Cruise Line with a wide array of options and destinations
  • Found on the Linkshare Network
  • 3% Commission on Completed Stays

MSC Cruise Line

  • Newer cruise line with many adult options
  • Pays out only for 7 Day Cruises at $80-$90 per booking
  • Found on the Linkshare Network

Cruise Direct

  • Popular site for Cruise Reviews
  • 3% Commission on completed stays
  • Found on Commission Junction (CJ)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Priceline.com (Small Commission)
  • Expedia
  • Cruise Critic
  • Orbitz ($40 per cruise)

Hotel Affiliate Programs

Our favorite when it comes to travel affiliate programs due to high AOV (average order value) and appeal to Businesspeople as well.

Hilton Hotels

  • Get 2%-5% commission even when a referred client books with points (whoa)
  • Found on the Linkshare Network
  • Tons of Hotel Options and has one of the better loyalty programs

IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group)

  • Tons of Hotel rooms globally
  • Generous 5% Commission on Hotel Stay Completions
  • Found on the Commission Junction Network

Marriott Hotel Group

  • A very popular hotel group
  • RARE program to find (not many people know about it)
    • Ask us, we’ll help you find it
  • 4% Commission for Members and up to 6% for Non Members

Honorable Mentions:

  • Booking.com
  • Radisson
  • Priceline

Travel Agency (OTA) Affiliate Programs

So we’ve kind of neglected the OTAs on the lists above because it’s best to go direct in most cases.  They’ll still be mentioned though, and if you are looking for an all-in-one option for your referrals there may be no better route to take than going through an OTA.  Here’s our top three:

Hotwire

  • If price is a concern, you’ll find no better
  • Sacrifice knowing where/what brand you are booking for lower price
  • Average to Below Average Commissions, but Value Proposition is there
  • Found on the Impact Network

Priceline

  • Prices are close to Hotwire and are on point
  • OK Commission rates
  • Most popular OTA out there
  • Found on Commission Junction (CJ)

Amoma

  • Up and coming Hotel booking OTA
  • Generous 6%+ commissions
  • Low prices and good quality hotels
  • Found on the Commission Junction Network

Honorable Mentions:

  • Booking.com
  • Travelocity
  • Expedia

Where’s TripAdvisor in these Rankings?

We’d love to see TripAdvisor increase attention to their affiliate program but the fact remains…it hasn’t been updated in a while.  Things may or may not be on autopilot with the program but we’ve ran into documentation with Windows XP screenshots…nuff said.

TripAdvisor Affiliate FAQ
TripAdvisor Affiliate FAQ: Sporting stuff from Windows XP and an ancient CJ.com window

Also, TripAdvisor’s commission structure is a tad confusing to the novice affiliate marketer.  In lamens terms, TripAdvisor commissions when someone books a hotel through them and lands on a hotel site, but at a VERY low commission.  They also offer direct commission should you book a hotel that has TripAdvisor embedded with a checkout system.  Yeah, that’s too confusing.

Show CommentsClose Comments

2 Comments

  • Andrey
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 7:51 am 0Likes

    Thank you for the article. You wrote about the popular brand programs but nothing about travel affiliate networks that involves all these offers. Such like as Travelpayouts

    • Todd Weitzman
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:17 pm 0Likes

      Well, the title is Travel Affiliate Programs and not “Travel Affiliate Networks.” But to quickly summarize: White label networks like Travelpayouts, Momondo, etc are fair options for those looking to have their own branding and a solid structure behind them. On the other hand, you won’t be able to find many direct partnerships mentioned above like Hertz, Hilton, and others. Plus there are many other up and coming direct travel affiliate programs like Airbnb, RVshare that offer unique options like renting out an RV for example. It’s best to go direct!!

Leave a comment

50+ Personal Finance Apps
More Info
50+
Personal Finance Apps
Web/iOS/Android Finance Apps