Credit Card Affiliate and Ad Disclosure

Affiliate relationships can be a sticky thing for readers.

I want to be completely transparent about my affiliate relationship with credit card companies, so I decided to put this post together to inform you about important information regarding my affiliates relationships.

Help Me Travel Cheap is a for profit blog. A big chunk of the income on this blog comes from credit card affiliate sales.  As an aside, the other major form of income for this site is direct ad sales. Sometimes you’ll see an ad block in the title, text, or sidebar.  It is possible that the said ad is there because an advertiser has paid me to place it in that position.

What is an affiliate sale?

Let’s say, as an example, you owned a credit card company and wanted to get people to sign up for your card.  Your marketing department would try and help promote that product.  One way credit card companies do that is by direct advertising (ever heard the phrase “what’s in your wallet?”).  Another way is affiliate relationships.  If you click on an affiliate credit card link on my blog, sign up for the card, and get approved, I get an affiliate payment for your application.

That’s how I make money on this site.

How can you know if a link is an affiliate link?

At one point, I thought about disclosing every affiliate link by saying “This post has affiliate links” or saying something about affiliate links in the anchor text of the link.  Those options seem redundant and ultimately an annoyance for you, the reader, and me, the author.

Instead, I’ll teach you how to find affiliate links:

  1. Any link that starts with “http://www.helpmetravelcheap.com/go/” is an affiliate link.
  2. Any link that appears to be gibberish is an affiliate link.  For example, “http://link.flex.90080823.loc_1″

Either way, here’s a tip.  Assume every link is an affiliate link.  That way there is no room for future annoyance.

Don’t affiliate links impact the honesty of your suggestions?

I’m sure on some level they do.  However, I do my best to highlight any good card offers I come across while maintaining a profitable business.  Ultimately, you, my readers, are my business. So the moment I stop providing relevant and quality information, I’m sure my business will dry up.  My concern is to help people, not just make money.

For example, I wrote about how to redeem Capital One Venture Rewards points, and I’m not a Capital One affiliate.  I wrote about the Alaska Airlines 40,000 mile sign up bonus, and I’m not an affiliate for that card.  Basically, I’m doing my best to give you the best quality information while still running a profitable business.  On my best credit card offers, I list the 75,000 American Airlines credit card offer even though I don’t get affiliate payments for that card.

Affiliate Links and Reciprocity

I think that affiliate links are actually a good way that allow us to serve each other. I do the work, and you don’t have to pay me a penny for it.  I don’t charge subscription fees or accept payment for services.  Also, I’m providing all my Travel Free Coaching services free of charge.  That’s a way to be sure you benefit if you use the links on my blog to sign up for credit cards.  By the way, it doesn’t cost you anything more to use an affiliate link compared to going directly to the web site.

Personally, when someone online introduces me to a product I like, I go back to that link and click it right before I sign up/buy because I want them to get the ‘tip’ for their work.  If, however, you don’t want to use my affiliate links, you can Google any credit card I discuss on my blog and go right to the credit card company.

Anyway, there you have it.

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