Everything you need to know about Balloon Exchanges

We're excited to make HomeExchange even easier with Balloon Exchanges.

Here is a simple introduction to this great new way to travel!

What is Passport?

Passport is the name of the program Balloon Exchanges were created from. Initially, Passport was a pilot programme for the community as HomeExchange.com was looking to reward our Members for their kind behaviour of hosting one another. This innovative, additional way to enjoy home exchanging, allows Members to earn and redeem Balloons during non-reciprocal exchanges and from there, “Balloon Exchanges” were born.

What is a Balloon Exchange?

A Balloon Exchange is a non-reciprocal exchange. You host another Member in your home and earn a Balloon when you do so. Keep in mind that you will only earn a Balloon from a Member who has a Balloon to offer. You can then redeem your Balloon by staying at another Member's home. E.g. you commit to host Member A and earn a Balloon. You can redeem this Balloon by going to Member B.

How do I earn a Balloon?

When the programme started HomeExchange.com gave Balloons to a select group of our Members to get the programme started. New Members can earn a Balloon by hosting a Member who already has a Balloon.

In the case that you do not successfully organise a Balloon exchange in your first year of paid Membership a Balloon will be awarded to you when you renew your Listing for the second year of paid Membership. Please note that if you renew your Membership ahead of time you will not receive a Balloon at that time. The Balloon will be allocated on the date that you were due to renew your Membership. Also, if you host a Member in the first year of your Membership you will not receive a Balloon upon renewing your Membership for the second year.


How do I know if I have a Balloon?

Click on ‘Your Account’ at the top right of the page and from the dropdown menu select ‘Dashboard.’ Here you will see how many Balloons you have earned and how many you have redeemed.

How do I know if other Members hold Balloons?

On the Search page, a red Balloon in the top left corner of the Listing indicates that the Member has a Balloon.

Does HomeExchange.com gift Balloons?

A select group of Members received a Balloon during the pilot program. If you were not one of them, you can earn one Balloon every time you commit to host another Member who already holds a Balloon. If it hasn’t been possible for you to host a Member by the time of your first paid renewal, after 365 days of Membership and upon renewal of Membership, HomeExchange.com will gift you one Balloon.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for HomeExchange.com to gift Balloons in any other circumstance.

Can I buy a Balloon?

No. Balloons can only be earned by either committing to host another Member who already holds a Balloon or by renewing a second year of paid membership, after 365 days of previous Membership.

How do I redeem a Balloon?

By finding another Member who would like to host you in their home. Once the Balloon Exchange is registered within our messaging system, you will redeem one Balloon.

What does hosting mean?

You provide a place to stay during a Balloon Exchange (non-reciprocal). When you host a member who already has a Balloon, you earn a Balloon. A “place to stay” can include the entire home while you’re away or it can be hospitality, meaning hosting someone in your home while you are there.

What does a one-to-one (direct) exchange mean?

One-to-one or direct exchanges are the traditional method of exchanging homes. While they can be simultaneous (at the same time) or non-simultaneous (not at the same time), they are always directly between two people (or families). Balloons cannot be earned or given for simultaneous or non-simultaneous exchanges.

Can I still do a one-to-one (direct) exchange?

Yes. The traditional exchange option will always be available to you as a Member. Balloon Exchange provides an additional travel option for your convenience.

How is the Balloon programme different and how will it make it easier to travel?

Traditional home exchanging is a one-to-one reciprocal concept. After many years of discussion, we believe our new program will be the most trusted, flexible and convenient of its kind, finally bringing true home sharing to everyone. Direct exchange, simultaneous or not, remains an option and will continue to be widely practiced.

Balloon Exchanges allow Members to enjoy another’s home, or host another, without any commitment to reciprocate directly.

Can I earn a Balloon from a traditional non-simultaneous exchange?

No. At the beginning of communication with another Member, you will need to decide if you would like to have a direct exchange, either simultaneous or non-simultaneous or a Balloon exchange.

With a direct exchange both Members benefit from enjoying each other's home either at the same time or at different times, so a Balloon is not involved.

I agreed a non-simultaneous exchange, my exchange partner has already stayed but I would rather have a Balloon instead of staying at their home. Can we change it to a Balloon exchange?

No. If you have committed to a non-simultaneous exchange and your exchange partner has already stayed at your home, you need to honour the original arrangements.

I do not hold a Balloon, but I will receive one when I make my first paid renewal. Can I promise my Balloon to another Member and stay in advance of receiving the Balloon?

No. You must already hold a Balloon when you ask a Member to host you. Balloon exchanges must be arranged in advance of the hosting to allow the Balloon to transfer.

I have hosted many Members in the past without going to their homes. Can I claim Balloons for these exchanges?

No. Balloon exchanges need to be agreed and registered in advance of the stay. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to retrospectively register Balloon exchanges.

How do I decide who stays at my home?

Same as with a direct exchange, you are free to decide to host anyone or to decline any requests. You know all those inquiries you’ve received from wonderful people, but you just weren’t interested in staying in their areas or homes? Now you can let any of them stay in your home while you go somewhere else. You will only receive a Balloon, if your Guest holds a Balloon.

Do I need to commit my home to being available during certain dates in advance?

No. You can coordinate availability directly with your guests. The more flexible you are in the communication with other Members, the faster you will earn Balloons and arrange free vacations.

How long can I stay with a Balloon?

The number of nights does not matter. The number of rooms does not matter either. Every stay and Balloon has equal value so as long as the host and you are happy with the arrangement it’s not important where and for how long you stay.

The system has been designed to only accept one Balloon per hosting. As one Balloon equals one stay, it isn’t possible to offer or accept more than one Balloon per stay.

Do all stays have equal value?

Yes. Every stay and Balloon has equal value. The duration of your stay, and the size and value of your home are not important. The system has been designed to only accept one Balloon per hosting. As one Balloon equals one stay, it isn’t possible to offer or accept more than one Balloon per stay.

Is there any additional charge for participating in a Balloon Exchange?

There is no additional charge.

What happens to Balloons if my Listing expires?

You will lose any Balloons you may have earned if you do not renew your Listing within 30 days of expiration. If you renew within 30 days, you will be able to access any Balloons you earned before your membership expired.

How many Balloons can I earn?

If you have not yet hosted a Balloon Exchange, you cannot earn or redeem more than two (2) Balloons. After you have hosted you can earn as many Balloons as you want.

How do I receive my Guest’s Balloon?

Once you have discussed the hosting in full and have decided to go ahead with the stay, you will need to officially register it. At the bottom of your message trail you will see the option to ‘Propose Exchange Terms.’

Please click on ‘Propose Exchange Terms’ and an agreement will show on the screen. Complete all of your information and select the exchange type. In this case you would select ‘Host a Member Earn a Balloon.’

Click on ‘Send for Confirmation’ and your Guest will receive the digital agreement. They need to complete their information and ‘Send for Confirmation.’ The digital agreement will then be returned for you to confirm the exchange terms.

When the exchange has been officially registered, your Guests Balloon will transfer to you and you will see a message that the exchange has been confirmed.

How are Balloons tracked?

HomeExchange tracks Balloons on our proprietary platform. You can see your eligible Balloons in your Member Dashboard. Balloons are earned and redeemed as follows:

  • Earned when you commit to host a fellow Member, who holds a Balloon via Balloon Exchange;
  • Once you have a Balloon, you can Redeem it when you commit to be hosted via Balloon Exchange.

If I have multiple Listings, will Balloons I earn be associated with the Listing I use or my Membership?

Balloons are associated with the Membership, not the Listing. You can earn Balloons when hosting a Member who holds a Balloon, at any of your Listings.

Am I obliged to host?

You have no obligation to host another Member; however, if you were hosted and stayed for free, then you should do your best to host another Member via a Balloon Exchange. However, participation in this programme is completely optional and you can choose to only do direct, one-to-one exchanges.

Do I need to leave my home? Can I have a guest stay in a spare bedroom?

As always, you are welcome to host invited guests when you are away or while you are home, provided the communication and expectations are clear.

Where will my host stay?

No need for you to worry about it. The Member you host and the home where you stay no longer have to be related.

Can Balloons be transferred?

No. Your Balloons can only be redeemed by you.

What happens if I cannot fulfil my commitment to host via Balloon Exchange?

Commitments should be treated as binding legal agreements. If you cancel a registered agreement to host, we reserve the right to terminate your membership with HomeExchange. See our Terms and Conditions.

How does HomeExchange continue to ensure trust and safety with non reciprocal Balloon Exchanges?

HomeExchange takes the trust and safety of our Members very seriously. We take steps to help ensure our Members have enjoyable and safe trips. Among others, here are a few:

  • We have over 25 Team Members on our Trust & Safety and Global Support teams, taking calls, emails and chats in over 15 languages.
  • We reserve the right to remove any Member who we do not feel adheres to our high standard of Membership.
  • We offer optional verifications through Facebook, LinkedIn and by phone 24x7x365. Credit card verifications are required.
  • All Balloon Exchanges are registered and tracked through our proprietary system.

Am I able to opt-out of the program if I'm not interested at this time?

Absolutely. There is an opt-out option on your Member Dashboard, directly under your balance of available and redeemed balloons.