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Luckily for RVers, there’s an abundance of RV clubs to join. When one club falls short of meeting its members’ expectations, people can and do go elsewhere. FMCA is the latest RV club to witness members leaving faster than birds migrating south for the winter.
There’s not a singular reason for members leaving. But today, we’ll share why we canceled our FMCA membership (any why hundreds of others are as well). Let’s get started!
What Is FMCA?
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an RV membership club that began in 1963. It strives to bring the RV community together and provides various perks, programs, and other resources to help with RVing. While formally a club for motorized RVs only, the company expanded to allow towable RVs to join. The club has more than 138,000 members, including in Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain.
What Do You Get With FMCA Membership?
When you join FMCA, you get a subscription to its monthly magazine and several other perks. A bulk of the extras involve access to group rates on various programs. These programs typically are for insurance, mobile internet plans, and tires. Many RVers join for the FMCA Tire Program alone, as you can save hundreds of dollars.
Additionally, members can also access members-only communities and large in-person social events. Some members find the online and in-person community to be one of the biggest perks, as the RVing lifestyle has the potential to be rather lonely.
Why We Canceled Our Membership
After being full-time RVers since 2017, we found that we didn’t use our FMCA membership often enough. One of the big reasons we were sold on the FMCA membership was the rave reviews of the Tire Program. When we were ready to buy new tires for our truck and RV, we thought we would get some great deals.
However, when we began shopping through the FMCA Tire Program, we realized the majority of the deals were for Class A tires. Unfortunately, we ended up purchasing a total of 12 new tires for our truck and fifth wheel elsewhere. Not finding discounted tires was disappointing as we didn’t receive one of the more significant benefits offered through the program.
Another reason we opted to cancel our membership was the new changes to their affiliate program. There was updated verbiage to the contract, that in our opinion, sought to end honest testimony among their partners. Our policy as Getaway Couple has always been to partner and endorse companies that stand by their products and services and don’t feel the need to control the message.
Overall, our values no longer aligned with FMCA and we weren’t receiving enough annual benefits to cover the increasing membership cost. In our eyes, these reasons were enough to cancel our membership.
Why Others Have Canceled Their Memberships
FMCA has seen a dramatic exodus of members in recent years. Many members were disappointed in what they felt the community had become. Many former members described the elitist attitudes that seemed rampant at social events. Those with larger, more expensive motorhomes seemed higher on the social ladder than those with towable RVs.
Speaking of towables, many didn’t like the 2017 decision to allow towable RVs to join the club. This caused a great divide and likely led to some of the elitist attitudes that members witnessed at events. Less than two years after making this change, FMCA also raised its annual dues by 40%. The price increase was the final straw for some club members who chose not to renew their membership.
With families and younger professionals becoming RVers, the RVing community is becoming more diverse. However, many members felt FMCA caters too much to the retired or older demographic. They host midweek rallies, which can be more difficult for families and working professionals to attend.
It’s easy to see why members are canceling, especially when they’re not part of the club’s target demographic. If they can’t use some of the best benefits, the membership is useless. Combine that with the fact that you feel like an outcast when you do attend events, and you’ll likely have buyer’s remorse when it comes to your membership.
When the world shut down due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic, the FMCAssist benefit did as well. This benefit is for emergency medical evacuations and repatriation coverage. However, buried deep in the fine print is a pandemic exclusion.
A member posted on the FMCA forum saying she spoke with an FMCA representative after her husband died from COVID-19. She was trying to get home, but because her husband died due to the pandemic, FMCAssist didn’t apply to her situation.
When challenging circumstances happen, clubs tend to go in two directions. They either step up and help their members as much as possible, or they come up with excuses for why they can’t. This is the difference between great clubs and clubs you might want to reevaluate joining. You want to know the club and its benefits will be there to help when you need them most.
Exclusive for Motor Coaches for a Long Time
While the club was founded in 1963, they didn’t start allowing towable RVs until 2017. It was an exclusive club for motorized RVs only until this point. This exclusivity gave the community a bad reputation, and many of the senior members had pompous attitudes when it came to opening the club to other RV types. Many felt the fancier and more expensive the rig, the more pretentious the owner’s attitude toward other members.
While some weren’t happy about accepting towables into the club, many believe it was out of necessity. The club was declining and needed to adjust and embrace the growing towable community. For some, this decision was bad, and they preferred being a part of a club exclusive to motorhomes. Instead of embracing the change, they left the club.
FMCA Raised Its Prices
Two years after making a significant decision to change the demographic of the club, FMCA raised its membership fees. It raised its annual membership from $60 to $85. While this is just over a 40% increase, most members wouldn’t have a problem with it if they felt it was justified.
However, FMCA raised its roadside assistance coverage from $74 to $129 for towables and $159 for motorized units four months later. For a club that seemed to pride itself on exclusiveness and elitism, price increases were a sign to many members that the club was struggling.
Overall Club Membership Declining
When the club released its 2021 budget, it was a shock to many club members. There was a $230,000+ budget deficit. This deficit is even after terminating 15 employees and the club making other budget cuts.
The club’s president, Jon Walker, even shared the hard numbers with the club’s board members. He shared how members were leaving faster than new members were coming in. They anticipated losing 600 to 700 members in one month alone. The club having to pull the funding for FMCAssist, one of its best benefits, will likely increase the number of members exiting.
We Switched to Good Sam Club
Good Sam Club is a great alternative for those looking to leave FMCA behind. The new club has memberships starting at $29 per year and provides many exclusive membership benefits. You can even save 10% on more than 2,100 parks and campgrounds around the country. Members also enjoy discounts at Camping World and Gander RV.
The club is open to all RVers, without the pompous attitude. All RVs use fuel, and an added benefit of Good Sam Club is the $0.05 off gas and $0.08 off diesel per gallon at Pilot and Flying J. There are online communities that are exclusive to members, as well as RV tour events.
Pro Tip: We have a complete guide to the Good Sam Club to help you decide if it’s a better fit for you.
Should You Avoid FMCA?
After seeing how FMCA turned its back on its members when they needed it the most, increased prices, and struggled to pay the bills, it’s not a hard decision. With better options available to the RV community, joining FMCA anytime soon could be a gamble.
FMCA is in a pivotal time for its club. Will it recover from the issues of the past several years? Or will it join the long list of businesses that no longer exist? Do you still have your FMCA membership?