Q – We worked with an agent who was in the Virtuoso Consortium for many years. We now have a new agent who is in something called Signature. Meanwhile, our best friends use someone connected to who just got them a wonderful upgrade at the Hyatt in New York.  Each of these groups seems to get their members hotel upgrades and cruise deals etc. What are the real, if any, differences? It is all pretty confusing and I understand it has something to do with commissions.

A – Each of these organizations is respected and each strives to design amenities for its guests. Signature and Virtuoso tend to do more high-end business than, which is the largest agent consortium. Signature is owned by its agent members, Virtuoso is a privately held for-profit corporation. Generally speaking, we would say stay with your Signature agent if you are happy. Working with a top-flight professional is likely to be a more significant choice than which consortium they personally support. Every one of the more than a dozen major consortium groups tries to secure the best commissions for their members.

There is one caveat. If you do high-end, private touring, and you rely on working with the very best overseas office contacts through your agent, Virtuoso and Signature are the better choices.