Five First-Tier Travel Affiliate Programs to Consider

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Few Website Magazine readers will be launching their own travel related services in the coming year but as the economy continues to rebound and as consumers are becoming increasingly likely to spend their discretionary income hitting the road perhaps they should.

Before entering any vertical however it will benefit you to know which are the top travel affiliate programs. As there are hundreds of programs to consider, our advice here at WM (as always) is to partner up with the biggest and most reputable brands first and venture into lesser known programs once you have established some modest revenue streams. 

The following travel affiliate programs are in no particular order: 

- Priceline, which uses Commission Junction offers a variety of travel affiliate programs for marketers to profit from selling airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and full on vacation pacakges. Affiliates can sell travel products, build their own branded travel web site or access Priceline's inventory through XML and receive modest commissions (generally around 3%). Consider profiling the cruises for an average $45 per payout. 

- Hotwire, which uses LinkShare, offers its affiliate 2% commission for hotel and rental car booking and the same for discount aire and package bookings. Affiliates can also earn $2 for every regularly priced airline ticket. The minimum monthly payout is just $10 and commissions for bookings are made within 30 days of the referral. 

- Expedia, which uses Commission Junction, enables affiliate to earn on sales of air tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages and activities. Commissions range from 2.0% to 5.5% and performance incentives are available. 

- Travelocity, which also uses Commission Junction, features similar products (air, hotel, car, packages, crusises) and pays out between 2% and 6% with cash payouts for airline tickets ($3), Cruises ($30) and travel insurance ($1). 

- Orbitz, the only other vendor using LinkShare in our list, enables its affiliate the ability to sell standard travel offerings including Air ($3 for each ticket), hotels (3%-5%), Car ($4 per transaction) and cruises ($25 flat transaction rate). Orbitz also offers 2.5% commisions on vacation packages and 5% for activities and services. 

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