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Old 09-01-2020, 10:41 AM   #1
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Passport America Lifetime Upgrade

I received an email today from Passport America offing to upgrade my current 7 year membership to a lifetime membership for ~$148.

I haven't had good luck with it so far as the deals always seem to be during the times I don't want to be where the parks are. Now I'm only semi-retired (for now) and are a little more limited than say those that are FT.

Also we really like to boondock so only really use parks when we are traveling to more populated areas and for the 2-4 days a month to hook-up, clean out and fill-up. We do plan to spend more time on the road in a year or 2 and was hoping that I could get some real world feedback on PPA users and any advice on whether you think this is really the "Once in a Lifetime" deal as claimed in the email

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:50 AM   #2
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Passport America has always paid off for us. Yes, there are lots of restrictions, but we only have to use it a couple of times to recover our costs.

I haven't gotten that e-mail but it sounds like a deal I would take!
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Old 09-01-2020, 11:59 AM   #3
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We upgraded to Lifetime a couple of years ago - it hasn't paid for itself yet, but that is only because we haven't done any traveling this year. We had a 3-month trip planned that we had to cancel, and if we had been on the road for those 3 months our savings would have been over $200 so it would have paid for the upgrade.
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Old 09-01-2020, 12:48 PM   #4
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No club program is worth much if you don't/can't use it. And I seriously doubt if this is the last time the "once in a lifetime" opportunity will arise, since this is not the first time they've made this kind of offer. On the other hand, you aren't risking much. Don't know what you have invested so far in the 7-year plan, but unless you are already in your 70's, another $148 is probably no more than $15/year.


If you used Passport campgrounds 2x as much in the future, would the lifetime deal be a bargain? If not, you should probably decline.
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:13 PM   #5
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We used to use PPA a fair amount. But over the past few years we are using it less and less due to the services provided. We are seeing more restrictions placed on use, more block out dates, no weekend use, etc. We are also seeing more of the parks with lower ratings and places that we don't care to travel to. I guess joining PPA is one way the poorly rated parks can get a little business.

When it expires this time, I am not renewing.

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Old 09-02-2020, 05:20 AM   #6
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We have a hit and miss relationship with PA, sadly more miss than hit. We have one place we go twice a year that more than pays for itself, if they drop it we most likely won't renew.

We came down to Port Aransas a few days ago for work/vacation. On the way down I tried a couple of PA's, first one said it wasn't valid on Sunday despite the fact on PA it said it was the second said they didn't have a PA spot for my rig. Kinda my luck with PA.

More often than not we don't care for the offerings, Google Maps and Camp Ground reviews are usually fair to poor at best.
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Old 09-02-2020, 06:10 AM   #7
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I really like PA, and use it, mainly for an overnight stop. I got a screaming deal for 5 years earlier this year, added on to the 3 years I already had. So right now I have almost 8 years left and I just got the same email, only it would cost me $132.
I really thought about doing it, but I think I'll pass this time.
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Old 09-02-2020, 06:38 AM   #8
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I had always avoided PPA because we don't use a lot of private campgrounds preferring instead to either boondock or dry camp at State campgrounds. But every year we make a late summer trip to South Padre Island and on that trip we mostly stop at private campgrounds due to wanting to use air conditioning. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are pretty hot in August and early September.

When preparing for the trip 2 years ago I realized that many of the campgrounds we usually stop at on that trip were associated with PPA so I bought a membership and now renew every year. This year's trip probably saved me $60 or more and so more than paid for the membership. I have not received a lifetime membership offer but if I did I would probably buy it because the cost is not particularly high and 2 more trips to Texas would probably make it pay for itself.

PPA does a lot of "special offers". When I renewed this last year there was an offer of an extra 3 months membership so I assume they will continue to offer specials as long as they are still in business. I just don't know if they are making these offers because they are in financial trouble and need cash right now or if this is their general operating mode.

The current Lifetime Membership offer on their website costs $349 so that mail offer is quite a bargain.
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Old 09-02-2020, 06:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
No club program is worth much if you don't/can't use it. And I seriously doubt if this is the last time the "once in a lifetime" opportunity will arise, since this is not the first time they've made this kind of offer. On the other hand, you aren't risking much. Don't know what you have invested so far in the 7-year plan, but unless you are already in your 70's, another $148 is probably no more than $15/year.


If you used Passport campgrounds 2x as much in the future, would the lifetime deal be a bargain? If not, you should probably decline.
X2
If you use it go for it.

Enjoy the journey
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:07 AM   #10
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As PPA members we are concerned that once the Covid issue is less restrictive, more and more folks will take to their RV's and hit the road.

This is especially true since RV sales are increasing every week. More folks taking up less available campsites leads to trouble making reservations. Once that happens, the parks will not need to lower their rates to attract visitors. They will pull out of PPA in a heartbeat. Then the 50% discounts go up in smoke.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:43 PM   #11
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On our yearly voyage a couple of years ago we made reservations at a PPA park in Utah. When we arrived they said that they had recently dropped their PPA affiliation, but they would still honor the rate for us anyway, since we had a reservation. The park was an old KOA that had recently changed hands and the new owners had used PPA as a way to attract new customers. Once they felt that their occupancy rate was acceptable they dropped PPA. It was a nice park and we would stay there PPA or not.

We also stayed at a PPA park in Dodge City, KS that was probably the worst park we have ever seen - the PPA price of $30 was about $25 too high for what they offered! We'll never stay there again!
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:04 PM   #12
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We were members for one year and never found a PPA park that would have been our choice if it wasn't PPA. Trying to patronize the PPA parks led us to stay further away from our routes, taking sites in parks without the amenities we would normally choose and finding out the either the park's base rate was inflated to account for being PPA, or the park made up for the discount by having charges such as 50 Amp or full hookups. Then on top of that , the parks often had policies that made staying there more difficult. Either you had to make reservations several days in advance or they didn't accept reservations for PPA. There were either limited numbers of sites available for PPA or the PPA sites were the least desirable. Or the park only accepted cash, which we don't carry in large amounts. Wasn't worth it to us, so we never renewed, and never looked back.
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Old 09-02-2020, 03:57 PM   #13
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It just depends what kind of traveler you are.

We were mainly public park or boondocking on public lands types. However, we had a lifetime membership in Passport and it paid for itself soon. You can't loose on it. We'd use it enroute to our big destination and when we needed to dump our tanks and refill with water. We didn't use it because we like RV parks; we don't.

OP: Even if you pay $30/night when you use RV parks, in 5 nights over a year you'd recoup the $148 lifetime membership. $30 is on the low end.

Yes, it has restrictions. However, just plan to use it during weekday and non-holiday travel. It really can be done. We learned not to be out there traveling on weekends or holidays. We'd hunker down away for RV parks or major attractions so we didn't have to deal with the noise. We like quiet. We sometimes found just by asking that we could extend a day or two even if there was a restriction.

We found many parks with very good ratings but then we don't require much. Certainly, not activities and pools. We've even used those will low ratings when just needing a quiet place to sleep for one night. It's better than WalMart's noise.

We didn't travel interstates but instead, used secondary roads so it didn't bother us to drive to a Passport park. We just deviated our route and re-connected later on. We also didn't want to be near cities or major tourist traps so driving the secondary roads was just fine with us. We saw the country by doing that.

I will say we were full-timers and had unlimited time. So if you're still working and need something for weekends or vacations, Passport will not work for you. You need to travel with flexibility to make it work but yes, it's worth it.
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:48 PM   #14
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We found it useless on the west coast, as the campgrounds that honored it, were few and far between and the usable days were in months that no one goes to those campgrounds.
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