WHY NO CREDIT CARDS?
One of the
questions we get asked most is "Will you charge our trip to our credit card?"
When we answer, "Sorry, we dont accept credit cards," we know the answer
raises some flags. Some first-time travelers with Home At First wonder what kind of
company doesnt take credit cards. Maybe were one of those fly-by-night outfits
that will take your money and default on delivering the travel we have promised.
(Were not. Weve been around since the early 80s, and weve
outlasted a lot of big names in the travel business, including Pan Am, Swissair, Sabena,
TWA, British Caledonian, and Braniff. Were still flying, even if theyre not.)
Its not entirely accurate to state that
Home At First doesnt accept credit cards for payment. We do accept them for domestic
airline tickets. In addition, if youre willing to pay a fare increase of
approximately $75 per ticket for international flight tickets, well accept your
credit card for payment for that portion of our travel package, too. Otherwise, however,
we do not accept credit card payment for any other portion of our travel packages. There
are two principal reasons:
1. COST TO THE CONSUMER. If we
accept credit cards for payment, the cost of everyones trip goes up. Credit card
companies charge a fee for each transaction. More labor and record keeping would add more
cost to your trip. Travel costs have steadily risen sometimes for unavoidable
reasons, like the increased cost of jet fuel, sometimes for debatable reasons (new and
increased taxes on air travel, rental cars, and lodgings), and, sometimes for
We could build all kinds of
"conveniences" into our trip packages: upgraded airline seating, mandatory trip
insurance, cell phone rental, automatic transmission rental cars, and, yes, credit card
acceptance. Each of these conveniences appeals to a portion of our clientele, but not one
of them appeals to all of our customers. Therefore, we make most of them extra-cost
options Home At First travelers can elect to add to their trips. But, because credit card
acceptance would require establishing a new bureaucracy at Home At First, the cost of its
operation would necessarily be borne by all customers, whether they buy by credit card or
not. And, we want less bureaucracy and the lowest possible prices, not more bureaucracy
and higher prices for every customer.
Show us a way to accept credit cards without
adding costs and levels of bureaucracy and we MIGHT be interested. But probably not.
Thats because of reason number two:
2. CREDIT CARDS MAKE BUYING LUXURIES TOO
EASY. Watch out here comes some unconventional some will say
heretical philosophy. Home At First produces, sells, and services great travel
products, and theyre all luxuries.
Almost every customer we have ever heard from
agrees that their Home At First trip was an excellent vacation and an excellent value.
Some of our guests tell us their Home At First trips are among their favorite experiences
ever. A few have told us their trips changed their lives. We love hearing these
things, and we believe that what we do would be a great experience for most (but not all)
people. But overseas travel is not cheap. And it is not vital.
We know that America has a credit card
addiction. We have made it too easy to buy things we cannot afford and should not buy.
Youve seen many examples of this addiction. Too many people owe too much money on
pricey cars they shouldnt have bought or leased, on cell phone plans they
shouldnt have agreed to, on boats and plasma TVs and oversized homes they
couldnt really afford, and even on prestigious schools they chose in a moment of
Credit cards have made it too easy to live
beyond our means. They have inflicted more pain on our society than we know. They have
seriously weakened our willpower. Some top economists believe that the greatest risk to
the world economy doesnt come from terrorism, wars, the threat of pandemics, the
rise of China, or climate change. They believe the greatest danger facing the worlds
economy is Americas huge debt, its imbalance of payments, its practice of consuming
beyond its means, and the mortgaging of its future.
Home At Firsts trips are a great value,
but theyre not cheap. They will provide you some of the great experiences of your
lives. But you should not sacrifice more than you can afford to travel with Home At First
or any travel company. So, be prepared to write us your personal check. If it bounces, you
dont go. In our way of thinking, thats much preferable to your using your
credit card, going on one of our trips, but suffering debt you shouldnt take on.