DreamTrips Review: WorldVentures survives Ch 11 bankruptcy
DreamTrips was initially the name of WorldVentures’ travel service product. It has now been launched as a stand-alone MLM company.
Who owns DreamTrips is murky.
At the time Verona International Holdings had no footprint, it was a newly created entity owned by persons unknown.
Six months later and we still don’t know who’s behind Verona.
Until this is remedied, as far as basic MLM due-diligence goes, this remains a red flag.
Even more so considering Spherature Investments, former owner of WorldVentures, has signalled it intends to file suit against former WorldVentures co-owner and CEO, Wayne Nugent.
What we do know is that Verona International Holdings is rebooting WorldVentures as DreamTrips.
This was announced in a November 16th press-release;
Verona International Holdings, Inc. is pleased to announce that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered an order confirming its purchase of the exclusive rights to sell DreamTrips around the world.
As a result of the purchase, Verona’s wholly-owned subsidiary, DreamTrips, LLC d/b/a DreamTrips International, will be the exclusive worldwide provider of DreamTrips going forward.
Heading up DreamTrips on the executive side is Mark and Tammy Smith, respectively CEO and Chief Field Officer.
BehindMLM first came across the Smiths in 2018.
The Smiths (right) were former Nerium top earners, and were then suing the company for $100 million.
Following arbitration, the lawsuit was quietly settled in mid 2020.
The Smiths meanwhile moved onto Jeunesse, prompting a raiding countersuit from Nerium.
In December 2020 the Smiths signed up as Seacret Direct distributors.
In the months leading up to the Smiths joining, Seacret Direct was a frontrunner to acquire WorldVentures prior to its bankruptcy filing.
That deal ultimately fell through, prompting WorldVentures’ bankruptcy filing.
A bitter legal battle between WorldVentures and Seacret broke out in the aftermath. Those proceedings were settled days before the DreamTrips MLM company announcement.
While I have flagged Verona International Holdings ownership, knowing who is running DreamTrips is better than nothing.
DreamTrips is Mark and Tammy Smith’s first MLM executive venture.
Read on for a full review of DreamTrips’ MLM opportunity.
DreamTrips markets three travel themed membership subscriptions; Gold, Platinum and Titanium.
DreamTrips Gold provides access to
- dining and entertainment discounts
- DreamTrips Mall; and
- DreamTrips Concierge
Discounts are provided through DreamTrips discount travel booking engine (provided by Rovia).
Rovia is/was owned by WorldVentures. Presumably they were part of the package deal sold off to Verona.
If not, who owns Rovia now is unclear.
DreamTrips Mall is an in house ecommerce platform.
DreamTrips Concierge is a booking platform for services to compliment booked discount travel.
DreamTrips Platinum adds
- access to DreamTrips Platinum experiences;
- advance access and booking for all DreamTrips;
- trip-specific upgrades;
- ability to use 20% more DreamTrips points; and
- emergency evacuation insurance
DreamTrips points are in house reward points.
DreamTrips Titanium adds, and I quote, “truly elite service, rare and aspirational experiences, the utmost convenience and the highest-level benefits”.
Retail pricing is not provided to the public on DreamTrips’ website.
Here is the retail pricing for DreamTrips’ travel memberships:
- DreamTrips Gold – $199 and then $56.99 a month
- DreamTrips Platinum – $299 and then $99.99 a month
- DreamTrips Titanium – $999 and then $199.99 a month
DreamTrips’ November 2021 compensation documentation cites a “DreamTrips Silver membership” product.
This wasn’t an option to purchase at time of publication (November 2021).
DreamTrips’ Compensation Plan
At time of publication DreamTrips do not provide compensation details on their website.
The following analysis is based on an official DreamTrips compensation document dated November 15th.
MLM Commission Qualification
To qualify for MLM commissions, each DreamTrips affiliate must generate and maintain four customers with an active DreamTrips membership subscription.
Customers can be retail customers or recruited affiliates.
Note that “Retail and Recruitment Commissions” do not fall under MLM commissions.
DreamTrips Affiliate Ranks
There are eleven affiliate ranks within DreamTrips’ compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Active Representative – sign up as a DreamTrips affiliate
- Qualified Representative – generate and maintain four customers with active DreamTrips subscriptions
- 1 Star Representative – generate and maintain six customers with active DreamTrips subscriptions, or have three active DreamTrips subscriptions on both sides of your binary team
- 2 Star Representative – generate and maintain twelve customers with active DreamTrips subscriptions, or have six active DreamTrips subscriptions on both sides of your binary team
- 3 Star Representative – generate and maintain twelve active DreamTrips subscriptions on both sides of your binary team
- Senior Representative – generate and maintain thirty active DreamTrips subscriptions on both sides of your binary team
- Director – generate and maintain ninety active DreamTrips subscriptions on both sides of your binary team, also have at least 140 customers in your unilevel team (no more than 90 counted from any leg)
- Marketing Director – have at least 400 customers in your unilevel team (no more than 200 counted from any leg), and have earned $6750 over the past three consecutive months
- Regional Marketing Director – have at least 900 customers in your unilevel team (no more than 300 counted from any leg), and have earned $15,750 over the past three consecutive months
- National Marketing Director – have at least 1800 customers in your unilevel team (no more than 600 counted from any leg), and have earned $31,500 over the past three consecutive months
- International Marketing Director – have at least 3000 customers in your unilevel team (no more than 1000 counted from any leg), and have maintain earnings of $31,750 over the past three consecutive months
Customers can be retail customers or recruited affiliates.
Each customer must have an active DreamTrips subscription to count towards rank qualification.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Rising Star Bonus
If a DreamTrips affiliate qualifies at 2 Star Representative within eight weeks, they qualify for a $200 Rising Star Bonus.
Retail and Recruitment Commissions
DreamTrips is possibly the first anti-compensation compensation plan I’ve come across.
Instead of detailing retail and recruitment commissions in the compensation document, this is all there is:
You can earn a Direct Commission for the initial sale of DreamTrips membership products.
Please see the Products and Commissions Chart in your back office for eligible product(s) and the Direct Commission amount.
The Direct Commission is paid when you’re the Enroller of a new Customer.
Retail commissions are paid on products purchased by retail customers.
Recruitment commissions are paid on products purchased by recruited affiliates at time of enrolment.
First Order Commissions (weekly)
DreamTrips pays first order commissions via a binary compensation structure.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a binary team, split into two sides (left and right):
The first level of the binary team houses two positions. The second level of the binary team is generated by splitting these first two positions into another two positions each (4 positions).
Subsequent levels of the binary team are generated as required, with each new level housing twice as many positions as the previous level.
Positions in the binary team are filled via direct and indirect recruitment of affiliates. Note there is no limit to how deep a binary team can grow.
DreamTrips tracks first order binary volume as “the initial product purchase of Customers”.
Customers can be retail customers or recruited affiliates.
Depending on how much a new DreamTrips customer spends, corresponding sales credits are generated.
DreamTrips do not disclose sales credit volume in their compensation plan material.
What we do know is that a $50 first order commission is paid out per 1.5 sales credits matched on both sides of the binary team.
- Qualified Representatives to Directors earn up to $2000 a week in First Order Commissions
- Marketing Directors earn earn up to $5000 a week in First Order Commissions
- Regional Marketing Directors earn up to $10,000 a week in First Order Commissions
- National Marketing Directors earn up to $20,000 a week in First Order Commissions
- International Marketing Directors earn up to $25,000 a week in First order Commissions
Note that retail customer sales credits can be balanced across both binary team sides to generate the highest 1.5 sales credit match available.
Unmatched First Order Commission sales credits expires after twenty-six weeks.
If a DreamTrips affiliate is not MLM commission qualified, First Order Commission sales credits expire in four weeks.
If a DreamTrips affiliate earns three or more first order commission cycles in a week, the first three of those first order commission cycles will be doubled to $100 a cycle.
Note that the double First Order Commission Bonus is not available to National Marketing Director and higher ranked DreamTrips affiliates.
DreamTrips pays residual commissions using the same binary structure it pays First Order Commissions with (see above).
Residual commissions are available to 3 Star Representatives and higher ranked DreamTrips affiliates.
Residual commissions are paid on monthly subscription fees, paid by retail customers and recruited affiliates.
Residual commissions are tracked via sales credits, with DreamTrips once again failing to specify corresponding sales credit amounts.
Residual commissions are paid whenever 3 sales credits are matched on both sides of the binary team.
- 3 Star Rank affiliates earn $8 per match, capped at $150 a month
- Senior Representatives earn $10 per match, capped at $500 a month
- Directors earn $15 per match, capped at $2000 a month
- Marketing Directors earn $15 per match, capped at $5000 a month
- Regional Marketing Directors earn $15 per match, capped at $10,000 a month
- National Marketing Directors earn $15 per match, capped at $20,000 a month
- International Marketing Directors earn $15 per match, capped at $50,000 a month
As with First Order Commissions, retail customer sales credits can be balanced across both binary team sides to generate the highest 3 sales credit match available.
Wings and Wheels Lifestyle Bonus
The Wings and Wheels Lifestyle Bonus is a three-tiered monthly bonus payment.
Tier 1 pays $200 a month. To qualify for Tier 1 a DreamTrips affiliate must
- have and maintain four customers with active DreamTrips membership subscriptions; and
- generate 1600 GV in downline sales volume a month (no more than 400 GV from any one unilevel leg).
Tier 2 pays out $500 a month. To qualify for Tier 2 a DreamTrips affiliate must
- have and maintain five customers with active DreamTrips membership subscriptions; and
- generate 4000 GV in downline sales volume a month (no more than 1667 GV from any one unilevel leg).
Tiet 3 pays $1000 a month. To qualify for Tier 3 a DreamTrips affiliate must
- have and maintain six customers with active DreamTrips membership subscriptions; and
- generate 10,000 GV in downline sales volume a month (no more than 2000 GV from any one unilevel leg)
Customers with an active DreamTrips membership subscription can be retail customers or recruited affiliates.
Note that spillover GV, i.e. sales volume generated via upline sales and recruitment, is excluded from Wings and Wheels qualification.
Regional Marketing Directors receive a $1000 a month DreamCar Bonus.
National Marketing Directors and International Marketing Directors receive a $1500 a month DreamCar Bonus.
International Marketing Directors receive up to $3000 a month as a DreamHome Bonus.
The DreamHome Bonus must be put towards a verified monthly home payment.
Additional Income Positions
DreamTrips affiliates who earn $25,000 or more in a single month qualify for an additional income position.
This position is created above the affiliate’s existing income position, effectively allowing them to earn twice on the same sales volume.
If an additionally granted income position goes on to generate $25,000 in income a month, it spawns a new additional income position.
Note that only one additional income position can be spawned from an existing income position (an additional or the original position).
DreamTrips affiliate membership is $49.98 and then $24.99 a month.
What most likely made WorldVentures a pyramid scheme is also true of DreamTrips: What percentage of “customers” are recruited affiliates versus retail customers?
The root of the problem lies in WorldVentures and now DreamTrips’ refusal to differentiate retail customers from recruited affiliates:
Customer – A person who purchases DreamTrips International membership products for personal use.
A Customer may also be a DreamTrips International Representative who purchases DreamTrips International membership products for personal use.
There’s no legitimate reason for this in the modern regulatory environment DreamTrips operates in.
Rather, it’s a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters between recruitment and retail sales.
Why am I so sure?
Because historically WorldVentures had a terrible track record with respect to retail customers.
The apex of these problems was Norway, which outlawed WorldVentures for being a pyramid scheme in 2014.
WorldVentures appealed the decision, go so far as to sue the Norwegian government.
Every appeal was denied and the case against the Norwegian Ministry of Culture was tossed in 2015.
More importantly, what we learned from the Norwegian investigation was, at the time, 95% of travel memberships were held by WorldVentures affiliates.
WorldVentures’ pyramid scheme began to collapse in 2018. COVID-19 was the final nail in the coffin.
BehindMLM last reviewed WorldVentures in September 2019.
I didn’t but could have easily just copy and pasted that compensation plan here – they are the same.
Guess what our major issue was with WorldVentures’ 2019 compensation plan was?
WorldVentures Review 2.0: Same old customers/affiliates issue
(from the Conclusion)
The Norwegian Gaming Board investigation however revealed that 95% of DreamTrips membership holders in Norway were also affiliates.
Given WorldVentures’ compensation plan hasn’t changed all that much over the years and that there wasn’t anything particular unique about Norway, it’s highly likely that figure is still fairly accurate company-wide today.
And this is a problem, because an MLM company that primarily generates revenue from affiliates operates as a pyramid scheme.
That held true for WorldVentures in 2019. It will continue to hold true till DreamTrips makes changes to its compensation plan.
Until then, statements like this from DreamTrips…
No commissions are paid for recruiting new Representatives and there is no compensation derived from a Representative’s personal
…are meaningless. It’s entirely possible to earn recruitment commissions when an affiliate is recruited with a DreamTrips subscription.
On that note, DreamTrips Titanium is priced 3.3 as much as Platinum, with a double monthly spend.
Is a “truly elite service, rare and aspirational experiences, the utmost convenience and the highest-level benefits” worth that extra outlay?
What does that all even mean?
WorldVentures in 2019 were a bit more open about DreamTrips Titanium.
DreamTrips Titanium adds access to a “dedicated concierge”, curated experiences, $2000 in charter jet credit, $1000 in charter yacht credit, a global visa service, “priority access” to “exclusive events”, room upgrades, golf course access, daily breakfast, early/late check in/out, preferred airport lounge pricing and Hertz Presidents Circle.
I didn’t add that to this review because I have no idea whether that’s what DreamTrips are offering.
Secrecy is a big problem with this new offering, and that brings us to who owns the company.
WorldVentures failed. There’s no getting around that.
Consumers and prospective affiliates deserve to know who’s behind Verona International Holdings and DreamTrips.
We know the compensation plan is the same. If company ownership is materially the same (minus Wayne Nugent), then all we’re looking at is a likely pyramid scheme with new Mark and Tammy Smith paint.
The good news is ascertaining whether you’re being recruited into a pyramid scheme is as easy as ever.
All you have to do is ask your potential DreamTrips upline how many retail memberships they’ve sold, weighed against recruited affiliates with a subscription.
Anything less than 1:1 and you’re looking at being roped into a pyramid scheme.
Again, given the Norway figures I’m not willing to give DreamTrips the benefit of the doubt. Even less so when the company doesn’t provide any official retail membership figures.
Approach with caution.