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One of the pieces of mail I get with some regularity is an invitation to the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in San Antonio to stay in a one-bedroom suite on a discounted rate that is typically $99/night or less plus 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points. A one-bedroom suite in a fun and family-friendly city for under $100 night plus 10K bonus Hyatt points awarded for visiting – what a deal, right?!
Well, maybe, but the catch is that you are supposed to attend a 90 minute time-share presentation while you are there. We had actually booked a similar offer at this property a while back, but had to cancel due to unrelated events. We did accept an offer for a time-share presentation at Westin Beaver Creek a little over a year ago, and in exchange for attending the presentation we were given 10,000 SPG points that posted without incident. In this instance there was no upfront discounted stay offered, we just agreed to the presentation while we were staying there on points. I value those points between two to three cents each, so that is about $200 – $300 in value for attending the presentation (aka sales pitch).
From time to time i also hear about pretty interesting offers for many resorts in Hawaii including a 5-night stay at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Maui for around $800, plus other perks like some SPG points or resort credit, car rental certificate, or similar included in that $800 amount. That is far below the going rate for that hotel. Some of those offers don’t even require the person to attend the time-share presentation – though one will most certainly be offered (possibly with additional perks). Some are offered these offers via targeted solicitations, and others are invited by time-share owners (psst, you can ask for some invites from owners on threads like this).
Having done a couple of these myself I will readily admit that I have taken over a year off from doing them again. It’s not that the offers have gotten any less appealing, it is that it is a whole new ballgame when you have a young kid along for the ride. Typically they require that both spouses attend, so by default that means that the kid(s) come along as well. The last one I did was with a two-year-old in tow and when the “90 minute” presentation crossed the two hour threshold, my kid was way more than done, and consequently so was I. I got a bit grumpy when they showed no signs of trying to speed the process of wrapping up, even after we had gone longer than anticipated with my increasingly cranky toddler. Clearly we all lived, we got our points, and time marched on, but I’m not anxious to repeat that process in the near future. Not only is my time on vacation even more valuable than it used to be, but keeping my kid happy during a long sales pitch in a boring office would requires a higher payoff than a few points I can earn elsewhere. As she gets older, and if I need the points, I may sit through a few again…I just need longer to forget how much I didn’t enjoy the last experience.
I’m sure they all vary a little, but in general you are given some info on the available properties, shown some numbers, told how much you will “save”, be shown some pretty pictures, given a tour, etc. If you say no you will then have to tell at least one, if not two, other people no as well. The deal will probably get sweetened, and toward the very end you may be offered a pretty reasonable deal on a vacation or points to come back in the future. This offer may also be negotiable, and may be worth it…or it may not be (especially if you usually travel using points anyway). I say no to everything as my purpose was just the “free” points.
I know some people own time-shares and really feel they get a tremendous value from them (especially if obtained on the resell market), but you don’t have to truly be in the market for a time-share purchase in order to earn points from going to a time-share presentation. Of course, if you have a hard time saying no to what can be a somewhat hard sell, then this may not be a good points earning method for you.
I’d love to hear if you have gone to a time-share presentation for points and/or a great room rate – if so, feel free to include details on what you got, where it was, how hard of a sales pitch it was, etc!