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?
Hyatt Residence Club Owners: Opportunity to Book Properties Using New Portfolio Points (Daily Nights Available)
If the timeshare world could not get any more complicated, Hyatt is in the process of rolling out a new Hyatt program called the Hyatt Residence Club Portfolio Program.
Here is an overview of the new program.
The new Portfolio Program is different than the legacy program in that it has become an all points based system. Instead of purchasing a week, you purchase points where you can redeem those points for night stays.
I will do a detailed post on the differences soon but one of the key differences and huge benefit of this program is that ability to book properties for as many nights as you want rather than being handcuffed by the legacy program of only allowing you to book 2, 3, 4 or 7 night stays.
The tremendous benefit of this new program is that the nightly rates are reasonable with the exception of Saturday night.
The exchange grids for the new program are included here but for the purpose of this post, here is the exchange grid for Aspen Colorado.
As you can see, the amount of points vary by dates and whether it is a Sunday through Friday night, Saturday night or 7 night stay.
For example, if you want to stay in Aspen for January 7 through February 3 in a Studio, it would cost you 70 points per night for Sunday through Friday and 260 points for Saturday night. The Saturday night stay costs about 4 times the amount of points.
Therefore, if you elect to stay Sunday through Friday, it would cost you only 420 points (70 x 6 = 420) or 680 for the week or as many days as you want where you can simply add the point requirements together based on the day of the week.
Essentially, this new system will have tremendous value if you can avoid staying Saturday nights.
Access to the New System
I think it is fair to say that the new system has some benefits as well as drawbacks but current owners who do not purchase Portfolio points will not have the ability to book under this new system.
However, one of my readers (thank you Cindy!) alerted me to a potential anomaly which may or may not be permanent.
It appears that current owners who have not purchased into the Portfolio program are given the option to book properties using Portfolio points ONLY when using LCUP points.
LCUP points are limited club use points and only allow you to book 60 days out. These are very restricted points as opposed to CUP or Club Use Points that allow you to book 12 months or more (maybe) in advance.
As you can see from this screenshot, even though I am not a Portfolio Program member, I am given the opportunity to reserve a one night stay in Aspen for only 75 points.
Out of curiosity, the same one night stay booking directly with Hyatt would cost $579 before taxes and fees which look to add another $93.26 to this reservation for a total of $672.26.
I do not know whether the ability to book Portfolio Program properties with LCUP legacy points is intentional, an error or simply a way to introduce legacy owners to the Portfolio Program by getting rid of last minute inventory. Remember, LCUP points only allow you to reserve 60 days out.
In any event, the ability to book one night stays and the ability to book six night stays without a Saturday night can given you tremendous amount of value in the new Portfolio Program.
In terms of whether you should book using the legacy LCUP points or using the Portfolio Program, it will simply depend on the desired length of stay and which program / points gives you the best value.
A big thank you to Cindy who alerted me to this update! I encourage all readers to reach out if you have specific questions or comments! It helps me generate content that you want to read and gives you answers (I hope) for your questions.
The Hyatt Residence Club is undergoing a momentous change in the way that their program is structured. Instead of a hybrid system where you have a deeded week that you can either use or convert to points, the new system will be solely a points based system.
I have discussed the various rumors of the program here.
I had the opportunity to review the new program which is being called the Hyatt Residence Club Portfolio Program.
I wrote up an overview of the program here. There are still many questions to be answered but this overview provides some good information on the program.
If you have additional details or thoughts on the program, please leave your comments below.
In other posts, I will go through some of the pros and cons of the new system