Maximize Timeshare Ownership
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
As you may recall, I was targeted for a free two night stay at the Hyatt Wild Oak Residence Club in San Antonio a while back.
A few months ago, I received a similar call and was again targeted for a free 2 night stay at Hyatt Wild Oak provided that I attend another 90 minute timeshare presentation. In addition to the free 2 nights, I was also offered a $50 resort credit.
These deals are simply too good to pass up and depending on your tolerance for these timeshare presentations, can be a fantastic deal.
My family of 4 arrived and stayed in a nice 2 bedroom unit. It was spacious as usual and was a very nice unit. Hyatt Wild Oak ranch is one of our favorite resorts as it is quiet, close to home and have enough activities at or around the resort to keep us occupied.
We were originally scheduled to attend our presentation on Saturday, the day after arrival, but for some reason, thought it was on Sunday, the day of departure, and ended up missing our presentation. This was met with frantic phone calls indicating that if we did not show up tomorrow morning, we would be charged the full rack rate for the room.
For those of you who are curious on whether this could be a good idea, it is definitely not and will likely charge you exorbitant rates for your "free" two nights. It is not worth it to miss the presentation despite having zero desire to sit there for 90 minutes and listen to their pitch.
They miraculously found space for us the next morning and dragged my entire family to the presentation center in order to avoid being charged for the stay. The last time we visited on this particular presentation, the salesman was very nice, had a good 20 minute chat about Hyatt and how we use our points, and we left without a hassle. A very enjoyable experience and well worth it for 2 free nights in a 2 bedroom unit.
Expecting the same type of treatment, I grabbed a cup of coffee and begun listening to the same timeshare presentation that I have heard over and over again. I answered a few questions, explained how I use my points, explained how I almost never stay at Hyatt's since the exchange through Interval International is so beneficial and expected for him to recognize the non-sale potential and let us move on.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. We got the hard sell! Not the horrible hard sell like you receive in Mexico, but the hard sell, US style. He talked over and over about the new Hyatt Portfolio Program and how the "legacy" program, which we own (deeded week with the potential to convert to points) was going to be more difficult to use since the new Hyatt Portfolio members would have priority reservations and there would be little to no inventory left for the "legacy" owners.
The idea was for him to sell us the minimum amount of Hyatt Portfolio Points (this time it was indicated to be 1300) in order to make our 2 weeks "whole". Here is the initial offer presented.
As you can see, for the paltry sum of $26,000 plus $576.55 in closing costs, we could receive 1,300 Hyatt Portfolio points and make our 2 other units "whole".
Despite indicating that 1,300 was the minimum amount of points he could sell, the original sheet that he brought over was for 1,200 points. He quickly realized his error and it was replaced with the one above. It was clear that the "minimum" was whatever he wanted to indicate to that potential purchaser. If I wanted to purchase 1 points, I am positive that I could do so.
Making resale units "whole" means that instead of being restricted on your ability to convert your points into World of Hyatt hotel points, you can now make that the transfer if you desired even though the conversion ratio is absolutely horrible. The other "benefit" that was being touted was the ability to book one night stays under the Hyatt Portfolio program.
In addition to paying the $26,000+ fee to do so, you also had to pay $133 PER WEEK each and every year to allow you to make that week whole.
Overall, I thought that this was a horrendous deal. Not only is the upfront cost 13 times what I paid for my week, but the maintenance fees are extremely expensive. It is now $0.83 per point. For 1,300 points, you pay approximately $1,081 per year. As a comparison, I pay about $1,250 per week for 2,000 points. If my points were considered Hyatt Portfolio points, I would be paying $1,660 per week instead of $1,250, a sizable difference.
As I mentioned, we receive the "hard sell" this time so instead of saying no and leaving, they had their manager come over and indicate that since we owned our week for over 7 years, they had a special going on where instead of the minimum 1,300 points, they could offer me the ability to purchase just 660 points to make my weeks "whole". The cost was almost exactly half of the 1,300 point offer.
The salesman indicated that this offer was only good for today since they Hyatt Portfolio program was selling so well. They did not want these types of "offers" to be good for much longer.
I politely turned down their offer and was getting up to leave when yet another saleswomen came to sit down. We were really getting the hard sell this time.
She wanted to get our feedback on the presentation AND offer us the one time offer to come back to visit them. Here is what was presented to me this time around.
As you can see, they offered me a 4 night stay for $1,675 PLUS a $199 processing fee as well as 48,000 World of Hyatt points, World of Hyatt Discoverist status and Leisure Time Passport Program.
I thought that this was extremely expensive as with my current week, I can stay at the Hyatt Wild Oak ranch for at least 14 days (depending on season and size of room) for my $1,250 maintenance fee.
While I love World of Hyatt points, there was just not enough there to even peak my interest. The total cost of this was just too astronomical to even begin diving down into the specifics.
The one item that did jump out at me was the Leisure Time Passport Program. I have never heard of that and did some reach and found the following:
"Leisure Time Passport is a proven membership program that creates another opportunity to close the deal and optimize marketing spend. Designed to provide a seamless transition for developers who use Interval Gold or Interval Platinum at the point of sale, it includes a portfolio of year-round lifestyle and leisure benefits - excluding exchange and Interval Options. Developers can package Leisure Time Passport® membership with a return stay at their resort, and if they want to enhance their program value proposition, include a Dream Vacation Week certificate."
I do not have access to this program so I can't say with certainty that it does not offer anything, but I am fairly confident that this doesn't provide much value and potentially allows you to book a week at surplus inventory at very low demand time periods or low quality weeks. My instinct says that it is completely worthless.
I really do love my timeshares and think that it is a great way to travel with family and friends. Many of the resorts are top quality resorts that easily compare to top rated luxury hotels.
However, I hate the timeshare industry. Every time that I attend these presentations, I am shocked and dismayed at the amount of non-truthful information that is being dispensed throughout these presentations. I cannot say that they are completely lying, but most statements are half-truths, only applicable in very limited situations or are scenarios that likely will never be relevant. Every single statement that these salespeople state have some element of truth but simply do not tell the entire scenario. They have really fine tuned the pitch so that they are not lying, just not telling the entire situation.
Every time that I participate in these timeshare presentations, I realize how needed a blog / informational resource like mine is needed in order to provide more complete information on timeshares, how they work, how they DON'T work, and why it may or may not be a good vacation tool.
Timeshares work great for my travel preferences and flexibility but for others, timeshare ownership will be nothing but a constant headache and liability.
What are your thoughts on these timeshare presentations?
Generally, before you can accept the various timeshare presentation offers that include significantly discounted nightly rates, the timeshare developers want to make sure that you have sufficient income in order to be able to purchase a timeshare.
Therefore, in the fine print of most timeshare offers, they have certain income requirements that must be met.
The income qualifications can vary widely depending on the specific timeshare brand, the specific timeshare offer or the specific timeshare resort that they are selling.
In my previous post on the Holiday Inn Club Vacation offers, the minimum income requirements for that offer was $50,000.
in other offers such as the Hyatt Residence Club for San Antonio or Key West, Hyatt requires the minimum income requirement to be $75,000 per year.
For the new Hyatt Ka'anapali Resort in Maui, Hawaii, the minimum household income is at least $125,000.
For a Vistana offer that I received, the income requirements were at least $100,000.
Verification of Income
I have taken advantage of many of these types of offers. The pricing is usually fantastic and the various extra including points, resort credits, upgraded accommodations, etc. are generally too good to pass up.
I use to do these offers regularly when I was in school as it was a great way to vacation for cheap. While I would not encourage lying, I have never been requested to show any income verification. Maybe it is because I try to look the part when I go to these offers or maybe because they do not want to offend anyone, but I have never been asked for proof of income or have seen anyone being asked.
I have written about these timeshare offers before and they are a fantastic value. Depending on the person, sitting through a two hour presentation in exchange for a materially discounted vacation is a great deal. Timeshare presentations can be brutal but the vast majority of them have been pleasant and easy going.
However, I have definitely encountered plenty of horrific timeshare presentations that stretch way beyond 2 hours and they hold you hostage without giving you the promised gift. I would say that the name brand timeshares (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Vistana, etc.) do not resort to these types of antics but there can always be an exception.
Overall, the purpose of the income requirements for these offers are to ensure that you can afford the product that they are going to sell you. They do not want you to say that you simply can't afford it as one of the reasons.
If you get targeted for some of these offers, I would definitely read the fine print before accepting. You need to know what the minimum requirements are for these offers as you simply do not want to show up only to be told that you are required to pay the "retail price". The retail price will be many times the advertised offer price and it will be an awful surprise and a great way to ruin a "cheap" vacation.
I definitely do not encourage lying but the income requirements should be a rough estimate of your financial position. If you make $50,000 as an employee but get tons of perks including health insurance, car payments, housing, etc., it is probably similar to someone making $75,000 or more as a self employed person who needs to pay out of pocket for everything.
I have never been asked to show any income verifications so I would not be too concerned when booking these packages but you should be aware of the desired demographic and make sure that you meet these income requirements in some form or fashion. You definitely do not want to be disqualified from the offer and be responsible for the difference in price. It will be massive.
Have you ever been asked for income verification?
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Timeshare Offer: $199 for 3 nights and 4 days in Orlando or Myrtle Beach and 10,000 IHG Reward Club Points
I just received the following offer from IHG and Holiday Inn Club Vacations via my e-mail. It appears that this is a general offer for anyone to accept as it brings me to a standard webpage below.
4 days and 3 nights of family memories in Orlando or Myrtle Beach can be yours for only $199. Whether you’re looking to give the kids thrills at world-famous theme parks, or miles of coastal adventure––it’s your choice with this member-exclusive opportunity.
You’ll earn 10,000 IHG® Rewards Club points and an extra 10,000 points when you book by June 11, 2018. This special offer only lasts until June 28, 2018.
Myrtle Beach or Orlando—find your family’s new favorite spot. Call (888) 392-9135 to request your reservation today.
In another thread, there was some inquiries on the income qualifications to attend to these timeshare offers. According to the fine print of this offer, you must be 23 years old, have income of at least $50,000 and be credit worthy. Here are the full details:
Thoughts on this Offer
If you read the specific details of the offer, they are offering you 3 nights in either a Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida or the Holiday Inn at Surfside in Myrtle Beach.
However, they want to sell you a timeshare at Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort.
I have discussed these Holiday Inn offers before but I absolutely despise it when these offers come out and they want to sell you on a specific property but do not even allow you to spend a few days on the property that they want to sell you on to get a feel for the property. If you are actually considering a timeshare purchase at a specific resort, I think that you should at least be able to stay at the property that they are attempting to sell you on.
Buried deep in the terms and conditions are the potential range of prices. The prices of these timeshares range from $4,995 to $151,390.
That is quite the range so I would be interested to see the difference between the $5,000 and the $150,000 timeshare.
In connection with this offer, they are also giving you 10,000 IHG Rewards Club Points. As I have stated many times before, I am a huge fan of points (hotels, airlines, credit cards, etc) and think that they are a great way to travel for significantly less than the retail cost and work extremely well in connection with timeshares.
10,000 IHG Reward Club Points will not get you very far. They do have some properties that can be reserved for as little as 10,000 IHG points per night so this could be an additional free night but the quality of these hotels is not the best.
For the higher tier properties such as the Kimpton brand and Intercontinental, expect to need 60,000 to 90,000 IHG Reward Club Points PER NIGHT.
According to The Points Guy, these points are worth approximately .6 cents per point meaning that the 10,000 points is worth about $60. I think that this is a good ball park figure as a free night in the lowest quality hotels is probably worth about $60.
I have not spent a lot of time reviewing or looking into the Holiday Inn Club Vacation program. It is something that I need to do but hasn't been high on my radar. While the IHG hotel program as some very fine hotels, Holiday Inn resorts are generally not top tier properties. I have eyed visiting a couple of their resorts but have not done so as I tend want to exchange into the highest quality timeshares possible in order to maximize my timeshare ownership.
For this particular offer, it really upsets me that they cannot even offer to put you up at the timeshare that they are attempting to sell. It is not that enticing to me to put me up in a Holiday Inn property and have to shuttle me over to the property to review it. The 10,000 IHG Reward Club Points, while nice, are not that valuable and you need to have a lot more available to you to really get some fantastic value and experience some top tier hotels.
However, with all that being said, $199 for a 3 night vacation in Orlando or Myrtle Beach is definitely a deal especially during the summer months. If you do not have something already planned, this could be a good option for a cheap long weekend trip.
What are your thoughts on this offer? Is is worth it for 2 hours of your time?
I have been to a fair share of timeshare presentations. As stated before, some are friendly and informative while others are very high pressure.
Since I started this blog, I have attempted to go to more of these more out of interest than to receive any perks or gifts. My travel preferences tend to gravitate towards some of more well known brands (Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Four Seasons, etc.) so I do not get the opportunity frequently to stay at some of the larger or well known strictly timeshare properties (Shell Vacation Clubs, Westgate, Diamond Resorts, etc.).
Over the holiday weekend, I had the opportunity to stay at the Westgate Park City. If you read this blog, you should know that I am a big fan of Park City, Utah. I tend to travel there at least a couple times per ski season.
I have never been during the warmer months so when the opportunity to stay in a 1 bedroom suite at the base of the Canyon mountain for a total price of $227 PER WEEK, it was hard to pass up. This price was offered through Interval Getaways and do not require any timeshare presentations to get these prices! You simply need to be an Interval member or know someone who is.
I have stayed at this Westgate property before and I think it is a great property. The location is hard to beat as it is ski-in / ski-out and their amenities are quite nice.
I inquired myself on how to get a tour on potentially purchasing a timeshare. They did not come after me but still offered me $150 cash for attending. In exchange, I promised them 90 minutes of my vacation time. They also offered free breakfast for attending.
We arrived at the timeshare presentation center and were told to help ourselves to some breakfast. The breakfast was truly atrocious. It was barely edible with biscuits and gravy as the main entree and frozen bagels and eggo waffles as other options. I didn't touch the breakfast as even the coffee wasn't good.
This was not a good impression but I was anxious to learn more about the Westgate system. We met with a very nice older gentlemen who indicated that he was not a salesman but was rather the notary and was filling in since they had overbooked the morning presentations.
He was very nice and began giving us the overview of timeshares and various benefits. Since I know a lot about how to maximize timeshares and exchange options, I did not want to hear that pitch so I kindly requested that he explain the Westgate system.
I did a post on the Westgate system here and as you can see, it is very straightforward. It is a week based system so you buy a week and can use the week or exchange that week into other weeks, subject to availability. I requested numerous times to see current availability and to see their online portal of how this works but my requests were simply ignored. They indicated that they do not have an owner account to log into to show me which is extremely hard to believe.
I wanted to see the system as an owner and see what type of availability would show in their internal system as opposed to what I can see through Interval International. Unfortunately, I did not get an opportunity to do that.
Once we got the general overview of the system out of the way, we were presented with a standard laminated packet that indicated that cost for particular size of units and whether this would be during ski season or summer seasons.
Here are the pictures:
These were the original offers. As you can see, they offer you a "generous" 10% discount for the first visit incentive. In case it does not come through while typing, I am being extremely sarcastic.
Also, as you can see, they offer a "no-credit check" financing option for 17.99% interest (.01% less than the maximum amount allowed by law!) and broke it down into "reasonable" monthly payments.
I am a big fan of timeshares or I would not have started this blog but these prices were simply ridiculous. I was absolutely floored that anyone would purchase units at these prices.
When I was pushed whether these interested me, I told them that this was not very appealing to me. Not deterred, the representative talked to his manager and came back with the following list of pricesl
Since I was fluent in timeshare talk and knew the Westgate property, they determined that I should be treated as an owner and brought out the above "Owner Pricing". These offers are only valid for owners but would make an exception for me. (again, sarcasm).
As you can see in the above, the prices were better than originally offered by about 50%. In as little as 2 minutes, I was already getting a 50% discount.
If anything, I wanted a ski week at this property so I requested information on that. They claimed to have "found" a ski week at the Owner Pricing and offering the following:
I was offered a ski week for $64,331 that comes with maintenance fees of almost $1700 a year. WOW!
When pushed on whether these prices were attractive, I politely declined and used the excuse that I did not like the week based model (this is actually true) and preferred a points based timeshare model. After a few more back and forths, they realized that a sale was not happening at our table and told to us to proceed to the gifting area for our $150 cash.
It appeared that some other people were about to purchase one of the units which I think escalated the desire to get us out of the room to avoid squashing their deal.
We were in and out in just about the 90 minute mark.
We proceeded to retrieve our $150 cash and we were on our way to go enjoy the mountains.
The presentation wasn't too painful and the representatives were nice. However, I was absolutely floored by these prices. Most timeshares do not have any resale value so the fact that they were offering units for about $100,000 meant that some people were actually buying these units. Even at the Owner Pricing, these prices simply do not make any economic sense. The maintenance fees alone were higher than most timeshares.
Out of curiosity, I did a search on ebay to see what these units were selling for on the resale market. Take a look!
The prices go from $0.01 and a $350 incentive payment to the Buyer to $9.00. This is significantly different than the selling price of $100,000.
As stated above, I rented a holiday week at this property for $227 for the week! No ongoing fees or financing options! I have seen plenty of weeks at this Westgate property for much less than the annual maintenance fees of $1700! Even ski weeks at this property become available for a few thousand dollars at most.
I really do think timeshares are great ways to travel and you can really travel for very reasonable costs. After attending this timeshare presentation, I was truly stunned at the system. While I know that the timeshare system is completely broke, I could not believe that these systems were preying on the uninformed to keep making tons of money.
Overall, I was taken aback by the offered prices. The economics of timeshare ownership at these prices do not make any sense.
The Westgate Park City is a very nice property and already have a few weeks booked for during next ski season. Instead of paying these prices, I was able to exchange my points into these weeks for a fraction of the offered prices.
Timeshare ownership is not for everyone and at these prices, they are for no-one. Timeshare ownership can make sense as I get a tremendous amount of value out of our weeks but you need to learn, understand and figure out the way to maximize ownership.
Do your own research and understand the systems, resale prices, resale penalties and exchange options before you commit. There are plenty of ways to enjoy timeshares without owning and will go into some of those options in other posts.
What have your experiences been? Please leave comments below.
Hilton Grand Vacations Timeshare Presentation Offer: $249 for 3 days / 2 night package in New York City
I have spoken about various vacation packages that many timeshare developers offer in exchange for agreeing to sit through a timeshare presentation.
I was recently targeted for a 3 Days / 2 Nights vacation package with Hilton Grand Vacations for a trip to New York City. This offer expires May 31, 2017.
The package being offered is for an upfront fee of $249 plus tax (total) in exchange for the following:
Interestingly, the offer indicates 5,000 bonus points but the fine print indicates that guests will receive 15,000 bonus points.
Guests will receive 15,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points (valued at $100), a $100 Spend a Night on Us certificate, and a $100 Elevated Rewards card.
If interested, I would definitely call and see if you can get the higher bonus points. 15,000 bonus points is not a ton for use at a Hilton but is definitely a good amount.
As with all of these types of offers, there are various restrictions. This include income requirements and state of residence requirements. Additionally, if married, both spouses must attend.
Additionally, you cannot participate in this offer if you have participated in a sales presentation at the New York City property within the last year or at any of the Hilton Grand Vacation properties within the last 6 months.
This particular offer indicates that accommodations will be offered in a standard hotel room at a Hilton Honors portfolio hotel. The fine print does not say whether this will be a Hilton Garden Inn or a Waldorf Astoria. I am guessing that it will be at a lower quality property but two nights in New York City will almost always cost more than $249 per night.
Per the details, the prices of the deeded weeks range from $8,490 to $377,300.
As I argue in many other posts, timeshares are great provided that the initial purchase price is reasonable. Purchases on the secondary market will be exponentially less than purchases from the developer. In most situations, you will save thousands by buying on the secondary market and is generally the recommended strategy. Buying directly from the developer could be necessary in very limited situations such as if it is a new resort or you actually want to go to a specific resort year after year for the same week. Buying resale will generally be 70--90% off the developer prices with many timeshares being sold for $1.00.
These timeshare offers are generally a fantastic deal but they do require 2 hours of your time to sit through a presentation. These can be easy going or can be very difficult.
If you are thinking about taking advantage of this offer but not attending the timeshare presentation - JUST DON'T. Per the fine print:
You must attend a two hour timeshare sales presentation in order to participate in this promotion. If you do not meet the qualifications of this promotion or attend presentation, the difference between the special package price and the currently published nightly rate for the applicable resort at that time, plus premium costs and taxes, may be charged to your credit card.
Basically, they will charge you the going rate for the entire package which will be much more than the $249 fee.
In other posts, I will discuss some general strategies for handling these timeshare presentations but I generally find that these can be very informative.
Each timeshare system is complicated so these types of presentations and offers can be worthwhile to learn about the systems and get some great mini-vacations for cheap.
I would never recommend buying during these offers despite their likely strategy of offering "deals only good for today" or other types of "limited perks" for purchasing today.
You can buy a timeshare anytime you want - GUARANTEED, at prices for a fraction of their going rates.
The offer link below seems to allow anyone to book so if you are interested, go for it. Unfortunately, the link does not provide a phone number or show the available dates. It seems as though you need to purchase the offer and then a specialist will call you to confirm everything and book your accommodations.
Will you be doing this offer? Please leave comments below if you are and where they are offering to put you up.