Posted by William Charles on August 24, 2017
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Published on August 24th, 2017 | by William Charles

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Getting Free Stuff from Timeshare Presentations

This is a guest post written by The Timeshare Guru. He has previously written ‘Economics of Owning A Timeshare‘ ‘Benefits Of Owning A Timeshare‘, ‘Complete Guide To Renting Timeshare Properties On The Cheap‘ , ‘An Introduction To Timeshare Offers‘ & ‘Timeshare Strategies‘. If you like those posts or this post please check out his site. 

As you can see from my previous posts, timeshare ownership is a controversial topic. Some love their timeshares and others have had horrible experiences with them. While my goal is to educate people on how to maximize timeshare ownership so that you can travel well, timeshare ownership is definitely not for everyone. Purchasing timeshares directly from the developers can be extremely expensive. There are a few reasons for this but one of the major reasons is that it requires a lot of marketing money to get people to learn about timeshares.

Timeshares have a horrendous reputation, I’ve talked about how the word “timeshare” has become a four-letter word. Due to their horrible reputation, developers have been changing their use of timeshares and now offer “vacation clubs”, “memberships”, “fractional ownerships”, “residence clubs”, and other creative names despite them all being a “timeshare”. In this post I’ll be talking about how you can get free stuff from timeshare presentations.

Large Marketing Budgets

One benefit to customers is that timeshare developers have very large marketing budgets. It requires a lot of money to get potential buyers to attend timeshare presentations. As a result, timeshare developers have many tools at their disposal to entice you to listen to their presentation.

Types Of Offers

Back in my college days, I attended a few of these timeshare presentations. As a poor college student, any freebies were highly beneficial and needed. One of my first timeshare presentations was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We were offered free breakfast, a Mexican blanket and a bottle of Kahlua. After that presentation, I thought I had won the lottery!

These days, I would never attend a timeshare presentation for those gifts. However, there are plenty of gifts that I would gladly take in exchange for 90-120 minutes of my time. In this post, I wanted to explore some potential gifts and freebies that timeshare developers are known to offer in order to entice attendance at their presentations. Most of these types of freebies are only given in person and not available online.

Online / Direct Mail Offers

I previously discussed here how to get targeted for vacation packages that the timeshare developers offer. Depending on their vacation package offers, it can be very worthwhile to commit and sit through the timeshare presentation. Online timeshare offers or direct mail timeshare offers generally offer you a significantly discounted vacation package to travel to a property. These are the type of offers that I previously discussed above. These can be targeted via e-mail or arrive in the mail. Some even call you on your phone. Some offers are generally available online and you can book them directly to those that qualify.

For example:

I constantly look for these offers as they can be a great way to travel for cheap. Most times, the accommodations will be in a 1 bedroom or even larger condo and cost much less than a hotel room.

On-Site Offers

Other timeshare offers are generally provided on-site. Most times, when I travel to a destination that have timeshare properties, there are people around that attempt to get vacationers to sit through a presentation at the property.

Types Of Gifts

Timeshare offers can be very lucrative. They can offer resort credits, hotel points, Visa gift cards, concert tickets, slot play, show tickets, activities, discount passes, Disney passes, Universal passes, dining offers, spa treatments, souvenirs, alcohol, golf green fees, additional vacation packages, Sea World tickets, and more.  Most times, the types of gifts will be directly related to the activities available within the area of the timeshare.

For example:

  • Las Vegas, there are regularly offers for free concert tickets, resort credits, free slot play, vacation certificates or show tickets.
  • Orlando, they generally offer Disney tickets, fast track Disney passes, vacation packages, Universal tickets or more.
  • San Antonio, they generally offer Sea World tickets, Schlitterbahn tickets, vacation packages and others.
  •  Hawaii, they generally offer luau tickets, dining credits, snorkeling tours and more.

Hotel Points

As I have mentioned in other posts, in addition to timeshares, I am a big fan of miles and points. For those timeshare developers associated with major hotel brands, I have been offered plenty of free hotel points for attending a presentation. I have been given Hyatt points, Hilton points and Marriott points. The amount varies per offer and program but they have offered sizeable amounts that gets my attention. Depending on the amount, getting free miles or points can be great, especially if you use them wisely.

Resort Credits

Resort Credits can also be a very valuable benefit that are frequently offered by the developers. For those timeshares associated with a hotel, they will offer various amounts of resort credits that can be used throughout your stay for any and all charges at the hotel. These can be used for dining, spa treatments and various other items that you can charge to your room.

Finding The Offers

The thing with timeshares is that you probably do not need to go out to find them, they will find you! Some timeshare promoters can be aggressive and they will come to you but those within the major chains tend to less aggressive and you actually may need to inquire yourself.

Hotels with Timeshare Components

Most timeshares that are affiliated with hotel brands actually have timeshare units within or close by the hotel property. Hotels that have timeshare components will generally have booths located throughout the property or a separate area that will discuss their timeshare offerings.

Hotels that have timeshare components want to target the hotel guests that are paying high nightly rates and show them the amount of additional space that they can get through timeshare ownership as well as the “potential” economic savings of owning rather than vacationing at hotels.

There are a ton of hotel properties that have timeshare components. Just off the top of my head, here are few good ones that have both a hotel and a timeshare component:

  • Marriott Frenchman’s Cove in St. Thomas
  • Marriott St. Kitts
  • Hyatt Hill Country in San Antonio
  • Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe
  • Marriott Newport Beach, California
  • Park Hyatt Beaver Creek
  • Marriott Kauai Lagoons
  • Hyatt Centric Park City
  • Westin Maui Resort and Spa in Ka’anapali

There are a ton more as this is a fairly common arrangement. If you are staying at a hotel that has a timeshare component, I would definitely ask about timeshare ownership (if they do not find you first) and see what they are offering.

Negotiating Your Gift

Many times, you can negotiate your gift. If they offer you one item, inquire about something else that you may find useful. Many times, the offers are interchangeable so if you prefer a Visa Gift Card over a resort credit, you can likely ask and receive it without an issue. Also, many times, you can try to negotiate upward on what they are offering. They usually have some limits to what they can give you but I would definitely encourage trying to get as much out of the offer if you are willing to attend.

Depending on their demand and potential sales quotas, they could have significant leeway to give you additional items to attend.

Conclusion

I have been to my fair share of timeshare presentations and some are good, some are bad and some are truly horrendous. Some can be easy going while others put intense pressure on you to purchase. Giving up a couple of hours on vacation to get these gifts can easily be worthwhile and allow you to do activities, have luxurious meals, do spa treatments or other things that you normally would not do on vacation or would not want to spend money on. Other times, vacation time is precious and I would not want to give up my time to attend these presentations.

The key is to be aware of these offers and see what they are offering. You could be surprised! If you do attend, make sure to do research on the program before committing to anything! The timeshare presenters will generally tell you anything you want to hear in order for you to commit. The issue is that many times, their statements are false or half-truths so do you own research, understand the programs and understand purchasing options before ever committing on the spot!

I am a big fan of my timeshares and get tremendous value out of them but not all timeshares are equal and not everyone wants to or can navigate the systems or be as flexible with travel plans as most timeshares require.

What have you been offered? Have you been successful in negotiating any original offer? Make sure to comment below! Thanks again for Doctor of Credit for their continued support! 

Note from Will: Big thanks again to The Time Share Guru for this series of posts. If you haven’t already, check out their site.

 

 

 



40 Responses to Getting Free Stuff from Timeshare Presentations

  1. Brian C says:

    Going to my first one for my birthday this year in Novemeber. Just used the upside deal to book our flights. We got offered 15,000 wyndham points and a 3 night stay at different properties in Vegas for $229 and a 2 hour presentation (they also offered a $200 GC instead of the points, i preferred the points). WIsh i had seen this first, would have tried to negotiate a better deal

    We chose the Linq in Vegas, it looks good. 4 star property.

    We are looking forward to the trip. The prices per night for the rooms were around $150 or more so it looks like a good deal on the surface. That being said, i thought they had told us taxes and fees were inlcuded, and now it looks like they are not. and we will be paying $100 – $150 in taxes and fees. So total hotel stay will be more like $325 – $400 total, for 3 nights at the Linq in Vegas and 15,000 Wnydham points, and we have to attend a 2 hour presentation.

    • PJ says:

      I’ve stayed at the Linq, surprised to hear it is 4 stars. It’s not bad my any means, I’d stay there again, but I’ve stayed at many 4* properties, and the Linq is not one. Then again, it may have just been my tower, the others could be nicer.

    • Joe says:

      Linq used to be Imperial Palace and is actually more of a bottom tier hotel (almost every hotel is 4+ stars because of the amenities) compared to others on the strip. It’s renovated however so should be more clean. I’ve seen this hotel go for $50/night sometimes so I’m not sure if it was a good value.

    • Tony says:

      Agreed, Linq is probably one of the bottom tier properties on the strip. Sorry to say, but it looks like they got you on this one.

      • Brian C says:

        For the nights i am going, the prices were about $120 – $150 a night. Got good reviews on google. I guess we’ll see. I have found a good amount of complaining if any issues comes up goes a long way to getting additional free points.

        the other options were the flamingo, harrah’s, and the valley. I might be able to change to one of the others (not sure if its possible but maybe). Valley reviews are terrible. Harrahs and the flamingo seemed to be slightly lower in quality according to reviews then the linq so we went with that.

        • PJ says:

          Those hotels are worse than the Linq imo. I have heard they redid some of the rooms in the Flamingo, but the Linq oversold when I was there last year, and my friends had to stay at the Flamingo for a night. They described it as a scene out of a 1970s adult film

        • MBP says:

          You will be fine at the Linq compared to those other options. If you like the city, try to concentrate your gambling at either CET (who owns the Linq) or Mlife casinos and you should get some good teaser offers for rooms. Enjoy your trip.

    • I’d contact them to try and get the $100-$150 in fees and taxes waived if you were told they would be.

    • Chuck says:

      I did this one. On the phone the guy told me the Paris Hotel was one of the places I could stay. Afterward when I called to book they told me it wasnt. I adamantly told them that the sales guy said it was. They went back and listened to the tape recording of the call and sure enough the guy said the Paris was an option. They honored it so I basically got three free nights there. Anyway, if you are sure he said no taxes and fees challenge them to listen to the phone conversation and maybe it will work out like mine did.

  2. kurtis says:

    How do you think it would go over if I brought a laptop and worked while the presentation was happening?

  3. PJ says:

    I’ve done a timeshare before, I think I got a $200 giftcard and the free 3 night stay.

  4. Gman says:

    I have only been to one timeshare presentation. By time it was over I was half suicidal and realized that I wasted all that time for. $50 gift card and 3 day hotel stay that later turned out to be useless. 3 hours out of a vacation day practically kiled one day of a 4 day vacation. I paid for that day of vacation and killed to listen to a washed up car salesman for 3 hours.
    Time is money and you pay to go on vacation so losing time is losing money.
    Never again.

    • Always make sure the the offer is worth it. The 3 day vacation packages that they offer are usually riddled with terms and conditions so be careful taking those.

      Hotel points, Resort Credits, Visa Gift cards and those other items with immediate value should definitely be considered first to determine if your time is worth it.

  5. Pam says:

    I actually love timeshare presentations in Mexico. One time we did two different ones and received spa treatments, golf, free internet upgrade and $200 in credits. Makes for a cheap vacation. When we tell them we have 4 timeshares and are maxed out we always get out in 60-90 minutes. I would not do one without getting $200 in credits and a spa credit though.

    • Awesome! What do you own? I get tremendous value out of my timeshares but am always interested to hear how others use their timeshares. Send me an e-mail if you don’t mind.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Pam says:

    We just bought a 6 night stay in Maui for $699 that included points and free car to listen to presentation. I think it’s a great way to travel cheap! We will back it up to our Maui timeshare time and get 2 weeks

    • Amerikop45 says:

      Where did you find the $699 offer?

      • I imagine that Pam was targeted for such an offer. Those types of offers can be extremely valuable. Westin justed opened up a brand new timeshare property, the Westin Nanea. It is supposed to be stunning. If you can grab an offer to stay there, $699 for 6 nights and a car is fantastic. For Interval International members, I have seen weeks offered for under $1000 for 7 nights which is unheard of.

        • Steve says:

          We also did the Maui Resort and Spa Timeshare offer for the reduced rate plus Avis Rental Car for $798 this past February. Got the 5,000 starwood points. Found out we wouldnt even have to sit through the presentation if we didn’t want to but they were offering 13,000 additional Starwood points so we sucked it up and wasted 2 hours. They’re very persuasive but it was way too expensive.

          I would do it again.

  7. I took the bait and attended a presentation at the Westin Ka’anapali earlier this year. It turned out to be a painless couple hours in exchange for a great hotel rate, free rental car, $75 resort credit, and 7000 SPG points. I wrote about it in some detail here: http://www.windbagmiles.com/2017/02/26/time-to-share-my-timeshare-presentation-experience-at-the-westin-kaanapali/

  8. Grant says:

    I wrote about my timeshare freebies here: http://travelwithgrant.boardingarea.com/2016/10/21/profiting-from-2-timeshare-presentations-in-hawaii-secret-attend-but-do-not-buy/

    Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Maui, Hawaii – vacation package for $498: 6 days / 5 nights in a villa studio, 5,000 SPG points, and a 6 day Avis car rental + sunset catamaran ride for 2 after attending timeshare presentation
    Hilton Waikoloa Village in Kona, Hawaii – 40,000 Hilton Points for attending timeshare presentation

    Thinking back, I might have been able to get more Hilton points at the second presentation

  9. Robert F says:

    I’m an outlier, especially on this thread. Based on what I’ve heard from friends and seen in the movie “Queen of Versailles”, I would find the sales pain factor too high to bear. I’m also terrible at negotiating prices (e.g. new car purchase) so that’s probably related.

    But I also think people aren’t considering the true costs of this “work”. If you’re blocking out half a day of your vacation to snag a $200 gift card, you’re roughly working for $50 / hour. So if you make less than $100k / year, great; you’re making a higher wage than you normally would. But in any case, you’re still working while on vacation. And depending on your point of view, you’re either leaving the sale with “a fun story” or a bad aftertaste. For me, it would be the latter.

    • It’s good to know if a deal isn’t for you. I think $200 is on the low side for 2 hour presentation, I think it’s usually $200 + discounted stay or other benefits but as always YMMV.

  10. Some sales presentations are completely brutal and I would not attend for almost any amount of money or gifts. However, there are plenty that I have been to which have been very laid back, informative and frankly pleasant.

    My view and opinion is that the major hotel brands that have timeshares (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Vistana/Starwood) have the least pressure.

    The timeshare only companies (Westgate, Shell, Diamond, etc). can be more pressure filled.

    The independent timeshares outside of the US are generally the most intense and I personally generally shy away from those.

    • Robert F says:

      Well that makes a lot of sense; I suppose the hotel chains can’t afford to alienate their customers. I never thought I’d read “laid back” and “timeshare presentation” in same sentence!

      Incidentally, “Queen of Versailles” is about the rise and fall of Jackie Siegel and David Siegel, owners of Westgate. You should check it out; I think it’s on Netflix.

      • I have seen it. A very interesting movie. He made an absolute killing selling timeshares! Definitely a recommended movie even though it continues to perpetuate the horrendous reputation of timeshares.

  11. scott says:

    I’ve gone to two timeshare presentations. Never again. One was in Vegas to get free tickets for Penn & Teller and a free buffet. While it did save us some money I think I would have rather paid full price for everything than go through that hellish presentation. Wasted several hours of a nice vacation.

  12. Mimi says:

    DH and I prefer cash at TS presentations in certain states that averages $200 per couple for a 90 minute guaranteed presentation. We make sure the invite indicates 90 minutes max and we’re out of there. So far, the travel presentations are the easiest and some don’t even last 90 minutes.

    We did one in Jamaica and accepted tix to Ocho Rios for all three of us. It wasn’t a high pressure sales presentation, we were just firm that it’s not for us. Now, the adventure of conquering the river was priceless but it’s one thing I’ll never do again; those who’ve been there should know why ; )

  13. Jeff says:

    Went to a Wyndham one in Orlando many years ago for free Disney tickets. I would never go again due to the high pressure sales. One tip- have your own transportation so you can make an exit when you’ve had enough. We took their free shuttle bus and were literally stranded for 4 hours when it was supposed to be a 2 hour presentation.

  14. Christine says:

    Just sat through a two hour one for Wyndham in Seattle. Super easy to get out of. Got $100 and a 7-night stay at one of their properties in Mexico, FL, or S.America. Taxes will be $15 a night. Worth my time

  15. Daniel M says:

    I’m a timeshare owner with Marriott Vacation Club Asia Pacific, and thanks to the recent quasi-merger of the individual Marriott Vacation Club programs, I now have access to all the US/Caribbean properties and basically the entire world – not just Asia Pacific.

    If anybody wants to stay in Phuket, Thailand, I can refer you for a completely free four day three night stay at Marriott Vacation Club Mai Khao Beach Phuket. The unit is a two bedroom suite (sleeps 6 including the sofa bed) and full kitchen/laundry. The offer also includes complimentary airport roundtrip transfer. All you have to do is sit through a 90 minute presentation, and Marriott is not a hard sell. PM me on Flyertalk at LHS323 if you want a referral.

  16. Byron says:

    Went to a Hilton presentation in Orlando this summer. Got 3 free nights, free movies, internet while there, then a free Hilton night over the next year. Just listened and said NO. Then NO, then NO. Pretty painless. Wanted something like $81,000 financed to some low monthly rate. NO. We only pay for hotel when it is a better value than using points, or needed for semi mattress run, otherwise we stay in nice places for free. Just me, but I would rather pay as I go. Their propositions just don’t fit me.

  17. Leonel says:

    Melia Hotels, during at stay in Dominican Republic we were offered a 7 night stay at one of their All Inclusive properties in the Caribbean and Mexico along with a buggie tour and two shirts. It was 80% laid back tour and presentation then 20 % like 20-30 min of high pressure but and is a BIG BUT the hotel stay is USELESS because it did not included the MANDATORY all inclusive supplement of $115 per person per day which for the available dates is more than the hotel price for 2.

    • This is the typical “gotcha” for some of these vacation packages. You need to review the fine print before thinking that they are valuable. A free 7 night trip sounds great but they fail to disclose these extra fees which definitely does not make it a “free” trip.

  18. John Stewart says:

    I’ve gotten as high as $400 in Pesos in Mexico. Well worth the effort of saying no, no, no, no, no, no…

  19. John Stewart says:

    Better than the ATM.

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