A selection of or most frequently asked questions.
SERVICES & FEES
Does Arbiter Travel Co. charge planning fees?
As professional consultants, we charge hourly for our services. After a complimentary phone consultation with an advisor, we charge an initial, non-refundable deposit to begin working together. Fees vary among team members and will be confirmed in the initial inquiry phase. Services are billed monthly and charged automatically to the card on file.
How many hours do you estimate my trip will take?
Every trip is unique and depends on a number of factors: length of trip, number of passengers, number of stops, itinerary changes, destination, personal preferences, etc. We will do our best to provide an estimate around the planning time required for a trip up front on request.
Do you have a minimum required budget for trip planning?
Our expertise, connections, and preferred partnerships are in the world of luxury travel and include five-star hotels and resorts, villas, and private charters. While we don’t have a minimum spend, we provide the most value for clients with a budget of at least $1,000/per person per day. While we do not have a minimum spend requirement, we are generally not a good fit for those primarily looking for travel deals.
Can you provide recommendations or concierge services if I already have my trip booked?
For new clients, we are only able to advise on your trip if we have booked all aspects on the ground. This allows us to fully control the quality of our clients’ experience on every level.
Do you book villas or rental homes?
We have access to exclusive villas and rental homes around the world, but please note we do not book with VRBO or Airbnb, as we are unable to vet the quality of homes.
Can you help with my flights?
Flights are considered a separate service, and tickets require a per-person fee for each trip booked. We are only able to book Business/First Class tickets for flights.
Can you arrange private jets?
Yes, we work with carefully vetted, exclusive aviation partners to arrange private jet charters for clients.
Can you book flights and hotels using my points?
We cannot use points for flight or accommodation reservations. However, we can apply your rewards number to gain additional points.
Can you help me with just part of my itinerary, or give me some recommendations if I’ve already started booking?
It is understood that if we begin planning a trip together, all hotel bookings for the discussed trip will be completed by the Arbiter advisor unless otherwise agreed upon.
How do you communicate with clients throughout the planning process?
To get started, we’ll talk through your trip and preferences. We will communicate with you every step of the way until your trip itinerary matches your vision. Email is our preferred method of communication, but we are always happy to set up a call to talk through details. You can be involved as much or as little as you like.
How are my itinerary and final trip information delivered?
We will send all of your travel details via email 1-2 weeks before departure. The email will include all the information you’ll need for your departure and destination, including a link to your customized digital itinerary. We can also provide your final itinerary via an easy-to-use mobile app, with all details, confirmation documents, and tips organized and easily accessible.
Will I have a 24/7 contact while I’m traveling?
We typically collaborate with local destination partners on trips so that we can offer 24/7 support in the case of an emergency. The Arbiter team can also offer assistance at [email protected]. If you are not able to reach the local partner or someone from our team, we recommend clients reach out to the hotels directly for immediate assistance.
I love to research and plan, why would I work with a travel advisor?
It is really important to us that new clients see this as a mutually beneficial relationship. We liken our client relationships to those that one might have with an interior designer—both your home and travel are deeply personal and typically somewhat large investments. As professionals, we provide a level of expertise and assurance and bring high standards to every aspect of your travel. We also love to collaborate as much as we love to curate. That said, we won’t be a good fit for every client.
Do you have access to discounted rates?
We do not have access to discounted rates. Instead, our value is in adding additional perks and amenities to VIP your stay. Sometimes, we are able to stack these perks and amenities on top of promotional rates, depending on the property.
Why would I book through you if I have AmEx?
As a VIRTUOSO and SELECT agency, our clients have access to the same (if not better) booking perks as they would through AmEx. Our membership in exclusive preferred partner programs with luxury hotel brands elevate clients’ status to a tier above any other booking channel. But most importantly, unlike a credit card company, we have strong relationships — not just with our clients, but with the hotels and the people behind them. Our personal relationships with the owners and managers of properties mean our clients are flagged as VVIP and receive preferential treatment and service throughout the experience.
How far in advance should I reach out for trip planning?
The earlier, the better. We recommend reaching out at least six months before your ideal dates of travel. For certain destinations, such as Africa or Japan, we recommend at least a year in advance. We also work with clients on long-term travel planning, mapping out travel goals and plans for years to come.
Do you book last-minute trips?
While we are happy to work on last-minute trips, please note there is an additional planning fee for trips booked within two months of travel.
Do you only work with certain hotels?
We work with all hotels, though our specialty is in 4-star and 5-star luxury properties.
What destinations do you specialize in planning travel for?
Our team has personally traveled to over 100 countries throughout the world, and we’ll make sure to set you up with the advisor that is the best fit for your particular trip. We also work with dozens of local destination partners to stay on top of the best accommodations, activities, tours, etc., in each location we plan.
Can you arrange dining reservations?
As a full-service agency, every detail—including dining reservations—is arranged as part of our itinerary design process.
Can you help coordinate trip details if we have already booked our hotels?
For existing clients who have already arranged accommodations, we’re happy to work on other elements of your trip on an hourly basis.
What if I change my mind, have to make changes, or need to cancel?
We highly encourage you to obtain travel insurance to protect your investment in case of cancellation. Before booking, we also provide all cancellation policies so you are fully aware of applicable timelines and penalties should you need to alter or cancel your reservation. If you do need to alter your plans, we encourage clients to reach out as soon as possible so we can make the necessary arrangements.
Do you book corporate travel?
While we can book travel related to corporate travel, we consider this on a case-by-case basis. Fees are determined by the headcount and scope of work. Please inquire to discuss particulars as our corporate planning process varies from that of leisure travel.
Do you book groups or weddings?
We can help with room blocks and group travel coordination for groups or weddings. Fees will be determined based on the scope of work. Please note, however, that we are not event planners.
When planning for a group, can costs be split between travelers?
While we can discuss splitting costs between group travelers on a case-by-case basis, it is always preferred for there to be a lead traveler whom we can coordinate with while planning group travel.
THE ARBITER HOTEL PORTAL
What is The Arbiter Hotel Portal?
The Arbiter Hotel Portal provides a platform for you to simply and quickly book hotels when you know exactly where you want to stay and when. When you use The Arbiter Hotel Portal, you will receive our exclusive Arbiter Amenities (complimentary breakfasts, priority for upgrades, resort credits, early check-ins, and more). To do so, you will first need to create a Virtuoso account (on a desktop computer) and select your specific Travel Advisor (for new clients without a designated advisor, you may select Arbiter Travel). The rest is as easy as plugging in your desired hotel and dates. We will be notified of your bookings so that we will be able to VIP you before arrival as usual.
When should I use The Arbiter Hotel Portal, and when should I not?
The Arbiter Hotel Portal provides you with an easy way to handle simple hotel bookings. For needs related to custom itinerary design, it is best to work with your advisor to help you explore your options, add on activities and reservations, or simply consult our expert team before you book.
Can I book a Four Seasons hotel?
Four Seasons properties must be booked directly on the Four Seasons hotel website, not through The Arbiter Hotel Portal. If you need to make a Four Seasons reservation urgently, please do so on the Four Seasons hotel website, NOT through a third-party site (i.e., discount booking engines or credit card portals). Then, forward us your email confirmation with a request for us to oversee the booking, and we’ll ensure our Preferred Partner benefits are applied.
The hotel I want to book is not listed in the Virtuoso catalog. Can you still get me perks?
If you do not see a hotel listed on The Arbiter Hotel Portal‘s Virtuoso catalog of properties, please inquire with our team so we can check the hotel amenity possibilities. It is often still possible for us to provide added perks to your reservation. This also allows us to be in direct contact with the hotel to coordinate your stay and VIP you on their guest list.