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Does a Sweepstakes Sponsor Have to Offer a Cash Option for a Trip Prize?

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Question: Does a Sweepstakes Sponsor Have to Offer a Cash Option for a Trip Prize?
I won a trip, but I can't take it. Does the sponsor have to offer me a cash option instead of taking the trip prize?
Answer: No. Unless it's stated in the rules, sponsors don't have to offer a cash option - and they usually don't. Many times, they've put together a trip prize package with the help of the participants. For example, a hotel may have donated the room, or the airline offered a discount in return for being listed on the sweepstakes page or for other consideration. So in many cases, it's not just a case of the sponsor buying the trip and giving it to you.

Even when that's not the case, the sponsor may have other reasons for not offering a cash option for a trip prize.

There's nothing wrong with politely asking, "Is a cash option offered instead of this trip?" But pushing any harder for cash if the sponsor says no seems ungrateful, and probably won't get you anywhere. It's one of the things I recommend you don't do when you win a prize.

So if you can't take a trip you won, and the sponsor doesn't readily agree to a cash option, simply decline the prize. It's frustrating to turn down a prize you won, but it means that the trip prize will go to someone who can use it well, and maybe you'll improve your luck with the good karma.

Have more questions about winning trips? See my Vacation Prize FAQs for answers to the most commonly-asked questions about vacation wins.

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