Fireflies Review: Really confusing discount travel packages
Fireflies provide no information on their website about who owns or runs the business.
The Fireflies website domain (“fireflies.com”) was first registered on January 27th, 1999. The registration details were last updated on December 17th, 2017.
Gergo Hegedus of Swiss Halley AG is listed as the owner, through an address in Zurich, Switzerland.
Other than claiming copyright of the Fireflies website, the corporate relationship between Fireflies and Swiss Halley AG is not disclosed.
On his LinkedIn profile, Gergo Hegedus cites himself as Director of Operations at Swiss Halley from May 2011 to May 2015.
From June 2015 he cites himself as co-owner and General Manager of Online Travel Support (Seychelles) LTD.
Hegedus’ Twitter profile backdates his involvement in Swiss Halley to 2012.
Online Travel Support (Seychelles) LTD appears to exist only on Hegedus’ LinkedIn profile.
I was unable to find any further information on the company or confirm Hegedus’ ongoing involvement with Swiss Halley and/or Fireflies.
In March 2017 a video titled “Mr. Urlich Marki – Swiss Halley AG. CEO (Fireflies)” was published on the YouTube channel Team Revolution Training.
Possibly due to language barriers, I was unable to ascertain whether Marki has an MLM history.
As always, if an MLM company is not openly upfront about who is running or owns it, think long and hard about joining and/or handing over any money.
The Fireflies website essentially functions as a discount travel portal. Who provides the discounted travel services is not disclosed.
If you try to book any travel deals, the website asks you to login as a Fireflies member.
Fireflies membership corresponds with the purchase of a “travel package” subscription:
- Basic – $556 (annual)
- Smart – $1668 (five-year subscription)
- Life – $3892 (99 year subscription)
Fireflies discount travel is made up of Diamond vouchers, holiday coupons and a “best price option”.
Discounted travel deals provided on the Fireflies website show these three components in combination with an additional cost in USD.
Fireflies members obtain Diamond vouchers, holiday coupons and “best price option” points when they sign up.
Additional vouchers, coupons and points can be purchased through Loyalty Packages;
- Loyalty Standard – $76
- Loyalty Plus – $1728
- Loyalty Rapid – $2112
- Loyalty Pro – $4032
As well as individually:
- Diamond voucher – $240
- holiday coupon – $23.60
- best price option – $20
The “best price option” appears to be an optional 8% discount applied if a Fireflies affiliate opts to use best price points when booking travel.
The Fireflies Compensation Plan
The Fireflies compensation plan is beyond confusing and poorly presented by the company.
I’ve done my best to make sense of it present what was understandable below.
Fireflies Affiliate Ranks
There are twelve affiliate ranks within the Fireflies compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Beginner Distributor – sign up as a Fireflies affiliate for $69
- Travel Member – generate 2000 GV
- TM Club – generate 12,000 GV (max 4800 GV per unilevel leg)
- Executive Club – generate 25,000 GV (max 10,000 GV per unilevel leg)
- Double Executive Club – generate 70,000 GV (max 28,000 GV per unilevel leg)
- Gold Leader – generate 108,000 GV (max 43,200 GV per unilevel leg)
- Gold Founder – recruit and maintain three personally recruited Gold ranked affiliates
- Platinum Leader – have at least one Gold Leader in six unilevel legs (can be directly or indirectly recruited)
- Platinum Founder – have at least one Platinum Leader in three unilevel legs or at least eighteen Gold Units across your unilevel team
- Emerald Leader – have at least one Platinum leader in six unilevel legs or one Platinum Founder in one leg and one Platinum Leader in three legs or at least thirty-six Gold Units across your unilevel team
- Emerald Founder – have at least one Emerald Leader in three unilevel legs or at least one hundred and eight Gold Units across your unilevel team
- Diamond Leader – have at least one Emerald Leader in six unilevel legs or one Emerald Founder in one leg and one Emerald Leader in three legs or at least two hundred and sixteen Gold Units across your unilevel team
GV (referred to as “qualification points in the Fireflies compensation plan) stands for “Group Volume” and is sales volume generated by retail customers and recruited affiliates purchasing available discount services through Fireflies.
Gold Units are points acquired by having Gold Leader and higher ranked affiliates in your downline.
- a Gold Leader downline affiliate = 1 Gold Unit
- a Gold Founder downline affiliate = 3 Gold Units
- a Platinum Leader or higher downline affiliate = 6 Gold Units
Note that from each unilevel leg only Gold Units generated by the highest ranked affiliate in that leg are counted.
Finally the Fireflies compensation plan also mentions additional qualification criteria up to the Double Executive Club.
Here’s an example of the TM Club qualification:
In case a distributor reaches the career level TM Club, starting from their sponsor, every distributor in their upper-line steps to TM Club level, up to the first distributor that is on a higher career level than TM Club.
It sounds like upline affiliates are automatically promoted to TM Club when a downline qualifies as a TM Club affiliate.
To me this is a bonus, so I’m not sure why this is part of each ranks qualification criteria.
Retail and Recruitment Commissions
Fireflies pay a 5% commission on the sale of Basic, Smart and Life travel packages to retail customers and recruited affiliates.
The sale of Loyalty Packages generates a 3% commission.
Note that Fireflies subtract a transaction fee from commissions paid out.
Residual Commissions (unilevel)
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.
Residual unilevel commission rates for travel packages, travel vouchers, Multi Holiday Coupons, hotel room reservations, transfer reservations, car rentals, ticket purchases for activities or travel insurance purchases are as follows:
- Travel Members earn 4%
- TM Club affiliates earn 5%
- Executive Club affiliates earn 7%
- Double Executive Club affiliates earn 10%
- Gold Leaders earn 16.5%
- Gold Founders earn 21.5%
- Platinum Leaders earn 22.5%
- Platinum Founders earn 27.75%
- Emerald Leaders earn 30%
- Emerald Founders earn 31%
- Diamond Leaders earn 32%
Residual unilevel commission rates for Loyalty Packages are as follows:
- Travel Members and TM Club affiliates no commission
- Executive Club affiliates earn 2%
- Double Executive Club affiliates earn 4%
- Gold Leaders earn 6%
- Gold Founders earn 8%
- Platinum Leaders earn 10%
- Platinum Founders earn 12%
- Emerald Leaders earn 14%
- Emerald Founders and Diamond leaders earn 15%
Note that these are coded bonuses, meaning the highest rate is paid out (the rank of the affiliate making the sale), with leftover percentages paid to upline affiliates of higher rank.
If a Diamond Leader (including Emerald Founder for Loyalty Packages) makes the sale, they receive the full 32% or 15% payable.
There is an additional bonus from the Platinum rank called the “dividing component”.
This seems to be an additional percentage based on how many affiliates are at the same rank within a unilevel team.
The explanation in the Fireflies compensation plan makes no sense (see conclusion of this review), so I’m unable to provide specifics.
Leader Generation Bonus
The Leader Generation Bonus is a matching bonus on commissions earned by unilevel team affiliates.
- Gold Leaders earn up to 5% on levels 1 and 2
- Gold Founders earn up to 5% on levels 1 and 2 and up to 3% on level 3
- Platinum Leaders earn up to 5% on levels 1 and 2 and up to 3% on levels 3 and 4
- Platinum Founders and higher earn up to 5% on levels 1 and 2 and up to 3% on levels 3 and 4
Volume paid out via the Leader Generation Bonus is only payable once, meaning multiple affiliates earning on the same generation will receive reduced Leader Generation Bonus commission rates.
Travel Contest Bonus
Fireflies affiliates can qualify for a free trip every six months.
The Travel Contest Bonus is tracked via “travel points”.
Fireflies count 1% of Travel and Loyalty Package sales and a smaller percentage of other service sales toward travel points.
How many travel points are required to qualify for a trip appears to be at the discretion of Fireflies.
Capital Share Bonus
The Capital Share Bonus is made up of 2.11% of the purchase price of Travel and Loyalty Packages.
Fireflies affiliates earn a pro-rata share of the bonus by accumulating “leader points” (direct).
- 1 leader point is awarded for each unilevel leg that generates 10,000 GV a month
- 1 leader point can also be earned on per unilevel leg that on average has generated over 10,000 per month over the last six months, even if they don’t hit 10,000 for the particular month being calculated
Personally recruited affiliates earning leader points also generates leader points for the affiliate who recruited them (indirect):
- recruited affiliate earns 1 to 2 leader points = 1 point for their immediate upline
- recruited affiliate earns 3 to 5 leader points = 1.5 points for their immediate upline
- recruited affiliate earns 6 or more leader points = 2 points for their immediate upline
Based on the two ways affiliates can acquire leadership points (direct and indirect), at least four of either must be earned and two of the other (i.e. 4 direct and 2 indirect points or 4 indirect or two indirect points).
If the above qualification criteria is met, a Fireflies affiliate receives a pro-rata share of the Capital Share Bonus based on their total leadership points generated for that month.
Loyalty Cycle Bonus
The Loyalty Cycle Bonus rewards affiliates for purchasing a Loyalty Package and convincing others to do the same.
The Loyalty Cycle Bonus is paid out via “cycles”, which appear to be tracked throughout the unilevel team.
A cycle is made when one Loyalty Package is sold on one level, two on the next and three on a third.
I believe these levels can be anywhere within a unilevel team.
There are also “small cycles” that can be earned on, through a hopelessly confusing combination of Loyalty Package purchases and “bonus positions”.
Upon creating a small cycle, a $500 Loyalty Cycle Bonus is paid out.
After payment, the paid position moves into a Big cycle according to the rules of sponsor succession, furthermore, a Bonus position is created (see later).
Completing a “big cycle” generates a $5000 Loyalty Cycle Bonus.
I believe a “big cycle” refers to the cycle qualification criteria provided above (not small cycle).
Here the Fireflies compensation plan goes on and on for about ten pages pertaining to “cycle markings” and “cycle arrangement” restrictions.
None of it made any sense to me.
$69 first year, $65 a year thereafter.
- Basic – $556
- Smart – $1668
- Life – $3892
New Fireflies affiliates can also opt to purchase the Basic package through two separate payments of $138 and a third payment of $280.
The core problem with the Fireflies and their travel-based MLM opportunity is that it’s neither attractive to retail customers or potential affiliates.
I can’t stress enough how much of a headache trying to understand Fireflies compensation plan and business model brings on.
Given the readily available nature of online travel and extreme competitiveness within the niche, who has time to sit down with a calculator and for a few hours try to make heads or tails of Fireflies’ offers?
Presented offers on the Fireflies website seem simple enough… until you realize you have to back calculate diamond vouchers, travel vouchers, other points I’m probably forgetting, keep track of how much you paid for said points and then with the USD component figure out if you’re actually saving money.
If you’re like me and value your time, no amount of stuffing around justifies this chore.
In that sense I can’t see Fireflies travel services appealing to anyone at a retail level.
On the business side of things, first and foremost selling discounts by way of vouchers is not a tangible product.
Fireflies take payment for services not yet rendered, which fuels the compensation plan.
This is a regulatory red flag.
Beyond that, the Fireflies compensation plan documentation is 58 pages long and a nightmare to get through.
The document reads more like legalese terms and conditions, the primary goal of which was obviously not to explain the Fireflies compensation plan.
At least not to any human readers.
In my compensation plan breakdown I mentioned a “dividing component” section of the plan that made no sense.
Here’s what you’re up against:
Dividing component is defined on the basis of the commissionable turnover in the Platinum or higher level distributor’s group generated by distributors who are on the equal career level, the number of the so-called dividing lines and the number of distributors whose level is the same as that of the
And don’t get me started on whatever this is supposed to be:
Unless you have a double degree in law and mathematics, you’re probably not going to be able to understand Fireflies’ compensation plan.
And if you did have such a degree, you’re probably better off pursuing other interests over marketing a confusing MLM marketing travel opportunity to likely even more confused customers.
Underlying Fireflies business model is the Achilles’ heel of MLM travel opportunities;
No incentive to generate retail sales.
Through package purchases Fireflies affiliates can buy in themselves and then just focus on recruiting other affiliates who do the same.
Perhaps the best example of this is the Loyalty cycle nonsense. You sign up as an affiliate, buy a travel package, buy a loyalty package and then get paid through cycling when recruits do the same.
Nothing beyond promised discounts is being purchased and there’s certainly no incentive to drive retail sales (of again, promised discounts).
What I suspect is the case is Fireflies is made up of affiliates who don’t entirely understand the company’s compensation plan, but do understand bare minimums on how to get paid.
Given what I was able to understand of the compensation plan, this would make Fireflies no different to other recruitment-driven MLM travel opportunities.
Given the mess the company’s own marketing materials are in, I’d say the only way to salvage the company is to entirely scrap the marketing department and start again from scratch.
Condense the compensation plan into five to ten pages, and if you can’t seriously think about cutting all the legalese crap from it.
If you can’t explain how affiliates are paid without pages and pages of disclaimers and cited restrictions, you need to take a long hard look at what you’re offering.
Then get rid of vouchers, diamond points and whatever other hoops customers need to jump through just to book travel.
What is the point of having a “best price option” other than to broadcast to retail customers who don’t have best price option access that you’re overcharging them.
Here’s a novel idea, give retail customers your “best price option” 100% of the time.
Pending drastic changes to the Fireflies MLM opportunity (read: complete overhaul), avoid unless you’re feeling like a glutton for punishment.