Going to Vacation Ownership Pitches for 10,000+ Hotel Points and Discounted Stays

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

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!

 

 

Comments

  1. I think the sales pitches are just too much and not worth the time and effort. Would rather just do a few CVS runs! And as you allude to, timeshares are great IF you buy someone else out who fell for one of these marketing pitches and then buy them out at pennies on the dollar later when they realize what a bad deal it is.

  2. Thanks for your perspective, MP. I’ve done just one of these before and recently got “suckered” (or at least that’s how I feel!) into one with Hilton Grand Vacations in Orlando. I am regretting signing up/paying for it, but it seemed like such a good deal: 3 nights for $149 total plus a $100 Hilton gift card and 10,000 HHonor points (not that those are worth much anymore.) Still, I put myself in a corner of having to go to Orlando without X amount of months before the deal expires.

    It’s good to know that somebody with more experience in travelling doesn’t consider these a huge waste of time or humungous hassle!

  3. Timeshares get a bad wrap. I’ve owned two for at least twenty years. Traveled all,over the world. To me the turning pout was when my kids got older and I wasn’t tied to a school calendar.

  4. I’ve done 3 of them, 1 about 5 years ago (in Maui), and 2 on my most recent trip to Hawaii:

    1)Westin Ka’anapali Villas in Maui – $650 for 5 nights plus car and 7,000 SPG points – 90 minute timeshare presentation required – Not too much pressure, just told me the benefits of owning.
    2)Westin Princeville Villas in Kauai – $800 for 5 nights plus car and 7,000 SPG points – no timeshare presentation required – however, we were offered 7,500 SPG points to take a 90 minute tour, which we did. We had our 1 year old with us, and they told us if we took the tour, we could get a babysitter for free for 3 hours while we were taking the tour. My wife didn’t feel comfortable with that though, so we took her along.
    3)Hilton Hawaiian Village in Oahu – While there on a reward stay, we took a 2 hour tour of their timeshare, which we received 20,000 HHonors points for. This was before the devaluation, so it was worth it to us then. Now, I probably wouldn’t have done it. A little more pressure than the SPG one, and she was a little rude at the end when we kept saying no, but all in all not too bad.

    Keep in mind both SPG ones were on nonrefundable rates, and we had to book pretty far in advance, so if anything went wrong, we would not have gotten our money back (though you could rebook to a different anytime within 1 year of booking)

  5. We bought a timeshare week from the resale market in 2002 and we had great success exchanging it through RCI into many beautiful beachfront resorts in Mexico and Hawaii. We did a timeshare presentation during our first visit to Mexico in 2008 and the 90 min tour turned into 4 hours! It was horrible torture for us with 3 young kids. Since then, we avoid all timeshare sales at all cost. It is simply not worth the time! But we will continue to stay at timeshare resorts as we love the space and convenience they provide (much better than two hotel rooms). It definitely helps lower the cost of traveling with three kids!

  6. We actually became Marriott Vacation Club owners this way. We attended for the points, but it really was a good deal (buying through them instead of resale gives you much more flexibility which we wanted), and so we jumped and have never looked back. We even bought another week two years later when we went to Aruba on the points from the first purchase. And yes, we make it a point to attend each time we go (although I think we are done buying for a while!) because you get a nice lift to your points every time you do. If you have the Marriott credit card and be sure to use it for every Marriott-related purchase, you get a nice lift from your vacation time as well. We always also sign up for the promotions that give you free stays in category 1-4 and for the last 2 years have gotten extra vacations in Newport, RI (saw the mansions) and Washington DC (saw everything). I also did a “taste of platinum” promotion last year that boosted me to Platinum status for a year for only 9 stays. Marriott takes a beating in the blogs but if you are loyal and no how to work the system, it works very well, and I think they offer a consistent, excellent produce. Also, they always have a “kid room” for our 3 kids when we attend presentations with chocolate chip cookies and other things, so they are always very content when we attend. Now it’s a normal part of our routine when we vacation.

  7. I did a timeshare presentation @SPG 3 yrs ago with the thought it would get on their list for the nice resort special offers. After a little back and forth after the pitch I was straight forward that I was there because of the point offer. They did bring in a 2nd closer to try to sway me but eventually they relented and sent me to the back way to collect my info for the 10k. Probably about 45mins start to finish. And I wouldnt do it again. Not worth the time investment. There are much better options.

  8. I get offers for free carnival cruises which are a time share sales pitch deal. Never have gone but have heard mixed reviews.

  9. My time is far too precious to sit through a sales pitch on my vacation. When I am on vacation, I am on vacation. My husband and I did this maybe twice about 20 years ago when we were young and much poorer to get freebies on our vacation but I would rather pay for meals, rooms, etc and enjoy every minute of my vacation. Back then I don’t remember them offering points. I would never buy a time share. I agree that some folks may get a good deal if they grab one from someone desperate to get rid of one but not a one of these meetings. I know so many people stuck with times shares and many of them that never use ’em. What a waste!

  10. I’ve done Marriott and Wyndham for several free nights each. Wyndham puts you in cheap hotels and has a very hard sell. Marriott usually lets you stay in the resort itself and are not as hard sell.

    Timeshares are almost only for families and even then are rarely good deals financially compared to hotels or timeshare rental.

    At the Wyndham presentation I felt so bad for the majority of attendees who got suckered in even though they obviously did not have a lot of money. Timeshares need to be better regulated for disclosure as far as how much a week costs per year total. If we require calories be disclosed on food shouldn’t we require that often bankrupting amounts be disclosed to consumers too?

  11. There is a South Park Episode you’ll have to watch, I think titled, “Asspen”. “No, that wasn’t the presentation, that was the meeting… this is the presentation… the ski lift drops them back into yet another meeting… HILARIOUS.

  12. I just got four days three night by Hilton on the Vegas strip for $149. in return I get two dinners and show tickets at planet Hollywood, $200 future stay certificate at any Hilton, 15k Hilton points. must check in sun-Thursday and can’t take tour first or last day of stay.

  13. We will find out in September how painful it is: 6 nights Hilton Waikaloa Village, rental car, 25000 hhonors points, $200 stay certificate for $800. Presentation is 2 hours on a Tuesday. We got the exact dates we wanted, tied it to an AXON stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village and have a friend who lives in Kona who will watch our 1 yo for the time of the presentation. It will have to be really miserable to not make this a great deal for us.

  14. Mommy Points…I used to sell timeshare. It was my first job out of college. While most of what you say is true, and no one can fault you or anyone for going in for the free points (the same reason everyone else goes in for a tour), I would add that after you do it once, you shouldn’t go again, and here’s why….

    The sales reps almost always work on 100% commission, and depending on the time of the year, you may only get 1 or 2 appointments a day. If they get people like you described above, then they will not only not make money, but will soon be out of a job. It’s not really fair to the salespeople if you have absolutely 0 interest and absolutely aren’t going in with an open mind. The company offers this stuff because it is a numbers game to them, and they are just as guilty of treating their employees bad because they will just replace them, but most employees are just trying to earn a living and presume that anyone coming in is at least considering buying one.

    To me, it’s much different to get points this way then say going to buy gift cards at Office Max for more Chase points. The difference is with the Chase cards, it’s not affecting employees, it’s only affecting the card issuer/business. With Timeshare presentations, you are hurting the employee who has to give you the presentation if he/she could be spending time with someone who had actual interest. And yes ultimately the employee understands this, but again his company is the one offering the points, not the employee.

    I scheme for points as much as anyone else so Im not on some high horse, and to be fair, to go do it once is fine since you really need to experience the timeshare phenomenon for yourself….but for those of you who do this more than once, then come back and talk about how painful it is, or how you were hammered by the sales reps, that’s pretty much a scumbag move and you deserve what you get….Trust me, if you want 25,000 Hilton Honors points, just go get a Surpass HHonors AMex and go buy $5K worth of gift cards at a grocery store where you get 6x points and convert them into Vanillas, It will take you 75% less time than taking a time share tour and it doesn’t take food off of anyone’s table.

  15. Thanks to all of those who are sharing their experiences! AC, I do agree with you and I have no doubt that many of these employees get the short end of the stick. I also support not abusing them or this. That said, among those who go in with no intention of buying, I am sure some still end up buying…so it still makes sense that the more come in the more will end up buying. Heck, left alone my husband may have been one of those – it just wasn’t going to be me. Thanks for sharing and you are right this is just one of many ways to earn points (some of which are easier for sure).

  16. Few years ago my husband and I accepted an offer to Westgate Resort in FL. We went through the presentation, delicious breakfast and all, knowing we were never going to buy anything. I knew nothing of points collecting then, so the intriguing offer was a return stay, which we enjoyed for an anniversary visit. Vacationing at Westgate means you don’t have to leave the property to enjoy yourself, which was nice.

    About a year ago after getting the Hyatt card, I received an offer for the 10,000 points and a $99 stay in Key West, FL. I was ecstatic and ready to pack my bags (a 3-4 hours drive from our home to Key West). My husband said NO WAY on earth he’s going to torture himself by sitting through one of those again. As you noted, one of the requirement is that both spouses attend. So that was a dead deal.

    Incidentally, our honeymoon suite was a gift of a timeshare week and our friend only paid $100. Since then, we also took advantage of a ridiculously cheap 3 day stay in San Diego contingent upon a 45 minute presentation but when we arrive, we were spared the torture because for some reason (I forgot why), it was canceled. Much to our delight, they gave us the stay anyway.

    I wouldn’t mind going through the presentation for the points, but my husband is adamant he will never do it again.

  17. Once you go to one of these presentations they will hunt you for life. It will be non stop emails, phone calls, junk mail, etc… I never accepted any of these invitations and never will. Once I was with my family at a Hilton time share in Kissimmee, Florida (booked as a hotel but it was part of their Vacation properties) and after checking in late at night my family was woken up by a 8AM phone call from their “vacation/time share department” inviting us all for a free breakfast with donuts, etc.. in exchange for a 2 hour presentation on their vacation program. I could not believe and said I was not interested. Next morning at 8AM another call with the same story. I complained to the manager of the hotel and learned the lesson: disconnected all phones in our apartment from the wall and got no more non desirable wake up calls.

  18. We own two timeshares, Disney Vacation Club and Wyndham. Both were purchased on the resale market (We only paid closing cost on the Wyndham timeshare). We’ve enjoyed the timeshares (especially the DVC membership) but I would never buy from the developer. If you’re tempted to buy from the developer to get more flexibility calculate just how much that flexibility is going to cost you. And remember that flexibility an some other perks won’t transfer to a buyer if you decide to sell in the future. It will hurt your resale value. It’s a big part of the reason we got our Wyndham contract for free.

    We’ve done the Disney Vacation Club tour is very low pressure. But at most you’ll get a $50 Disney gift card or some fast passes. Or you may just get ice cream.

    I’ve never done the Wyndham tour but they have a terrible reputation.

  19. Good help you if you do this in Mexico. I’ve talked to people who did, and after being driven to the “future building site” far away from anywhere, when they refused to buy, were left to find their own way back. If you didn’t leave on your own, they just kept pushing. They told me many people were in tears from the pressure. I’m sure that won’t happen with Hyatt in Hawaii, but beware of non-brand name companies outside the US.

  20. Those timeshares have to be the worst deal ever because they want you to sign right away. I did one not knowing anything and when I told them I don’t make rush decisions on money matters, they became very rude.

    @A.C. I can’t see any salesperson being a victim. They know the game.

  21. OK, my experience doesn’t match yours; I just wouldn’t tar all with the same brush. We took 2 vacations at Marriott Vacation Club properties before we bought, and while they asked once when we checked in if we wanted a tour and we politely declined, they never, ever asked again. No hunting, haunting, or anything. I also was not subjected to emailings or mailings. I think Marriot may handle this differently than many places. Trust me, if it was a bad experience, I would have looked back long since and would never have purchased a second week. We have been very satisfied, and I know many others who are as well. But that doesn’t mean that folks who have had bad experiences with other outfits aren’t sharing perfectly valid concerns.

  22. I think the problem with timeshares is that you cant get rid of them. Charities will not even take them because no one wants to be responsible for the fees, especially for aging properties. I have never gone on presentation, but I doubt I ever will since I know that I am not interested in buying.

  23. I’ve done a couple of these at MVCI. Both times after 80 minutes it’s clear that they don’t intend concluding in the 90 minutes I agreed to. I remind them politely that they have 10 more minutes of my time left and that I need to be elsewhere straight away. At 90 minutes I stand up and thank them. If they want to play silly buggers they can do it with someone else.

  24. The year was 1982. We were on our honeymoon in Honolulu and got lured in by two free tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center. When we said no, the insults from the salesman started to fly…we weren’t mature enough to make important decisions, etc.
    The next day we drove around Oahu and saw the so called “condo in paradise” that was located in the middle of nowhere next a a garbage dump. Funny thing is that I really can’t remember that much about the Polynesian Cultural Center but I can definitely remember how uncomfortable it was to sit in a dingy room for two hours and be triple teamed by high pressure sales people.

  25. I had a different sort of interesting (?) experience. My then-girlfriend signed up for a presentation, and asked me to accompany her. When we got there, they wouldn’t allow me to attend (since we weren’t married, and my name was not on the booking). This was in the late 90’s, before very many people knew about buying discounted resales. I was wishing I had brought flyers telling all the attendees they could buy a resale for pennies on the dollar….that would have been sweet revenge :-).

  26. We bought 2 resale HGVC weeks on Marco Island. We love our home resort, so we bought one week to keep and one to trade. Trading has never been difficult for us. We have occasionally gone to sales presentations, all of them with HGVC. When we tell the sales reps how little we paid for our weeks, they tell us that they can’t possibly match the deal that we have.
    From what I have seen, you an get decent promo deals from HGVC, Hyatt, Starwood and Marriott. I have read horror stories about timeshare promos in Mexico and those that are not affiliated with the hotel chains.
    The timeshare users group website is a treasure trove of information about how to maximize the value of timesharing. Recognize that it is NOT a real estate investment-it is a prepaid vacation.

  27. Yes, I love TUG (timeshare users group) too. Agree that it is a prepaid vaca, definitely. And agree one should never, ever consider it with anything but a major hotel chain. So I’m vouching for Marriott, which is where we arrived after a lot of research when we decided we wanted in. So far we have been to Disney, Hilton Head Island, Aruba, and trips planned this summer to Aruba and Hawaii (the latter b/c we bought the second week). Next year we are eyeing a Colorado/Wyoming trip — with Marriott Vacation Club you can trade with Interval International so you are not limited to their properties.

  28. Last November, we went to a timeshare presentation at the Marriott Vacation Club Phuket. The offer was from Bangkok Airways for 3 nights in a 2 bd/2 ba suite with breakfast and 40 Flyerbonus points for $199. 100 Flyerbonus points gets you a one-way domestic ticket in Thailand. We do fly Bangkok Airways, so this was a pretty good deal.

  29. If anyone wants to rent a week at a Mariott Vacation Club contact me!I have to rent my week. I cant fly or vacation due to an injury what a shame i have these points i’ll have to postone to use.

  30. Don’t know if anyone will know the answer but I signed up for a wild oak ranch hyatt property in san Antonio. My husband is not too thrilled to do the presentation but will do it provided he doesn’t have to give his license/social security number… will they ask for this? the offer says if you do not meet the criteria they have set forth (income, credit worthiness, etc) you will have to pay the full rate. We meet it but my husband will refuse to give out all the personal information.. If anyone knows, please help. I may cancel if so…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *