Posted by William Charles on May 12, 2017
Misc

Published on May 12th, 2017 | by William Charles

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An Introduction To Timeshare Offers

This is a guest post written by The Timeshare Guru. If you enjoy this post then make sure to check out their site. I’m a newbie when it comes to these offers, so I’d appreciate readers sharing their thoughts/tips/best practices in the comments as well. 

Introduction

It is no secret that timeshares have an awful reputation. When I mention timeshares, most people immediately believe that they are scams, awful deals or only for retirees. Most people are usually introduced through to the world of timeshares while on vacation and agree to attend a presentation for a couple of hours in exchange for money, free meals, points, activities or some other perk.

If you have been to these timeshare presentations, you know that they can be brutal. High pressure sales tactics, being passed to many different salesman before you can claim your gift, and being stuck in these presentations far longer than your agreed time commitment. These high-pressure sales tactics are definitely one reason that timeshares have such a bad reputation.

Despite the reputation, in my opinion, timeshares can be a terrific way to travel in luxury accommodations for very little cost while having tons more space than a typical hotel room if you understand the systems, are flexible, plan far in advance (1 or 2 years) and have a vacation style where you normally stay in one destination for at least 7 days.

Sample Offers

Regardless of whether you think timeshares are great or if you think they are a scam, the offers that you can receive to sit through a sales presentation can be extremely valuable. These types of offers generally come via e-mail or snail mail and generally offer a very reasonable package deal of 2 or 3 nights where you pay a small upfront fee (generally $200-$300) for accommodations in a one or two-bedroom timeshare unit in exchange for agreeing to sit through a timeshare presentation. Many times, you can receive also receive hotel bonus points for attending these types of presentations.

For example, I have recently received an offer from Hilton where, for a $249 upfront fee, you can receive a 2-night stay in New York City in a Hilton hotel in midtown, receive 5,000 Honors points, and receive two $100 vouchers, just for sitting through a sale presentation. You can’t argue that this is not a very valuable offer. The vouchers and points are basically worth the upfront fee of $249 and the nightly hotel rate usually will cost upwards of $249 per night if not much, much more.

The Hyatt Residence Club lists offers on its website where you can receive a 1 bedroom for 3 nights for $199 (total) at the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in San Antonio, Texas. Rates at this property can be as much as $400+ per night during high season.

All the major hotel brands have timeshares including Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham, Four Seasons, and Starwood (the timeshares are now called Vistana). All of these timeshares developers provide similar type of introductory offers. Some of better than others but most offers are very valuable and can be a wonderful way of getting a cheap vacation and even profiting from the experience!

How To Get Targeted For Offers

If you wanted to get targeted for these offers, I highly recommend requesting information from the developers. You can request information online and most will immediately contact you. Be honest that you are inquiring about potential ownership and wanted to learn more. Ask if there are any offers for you to experience the properties.

Some will offer deals immediately and others will target you down the road based on the information that you inputted such as state of residence and annual income. They want to make sure that you earn enough to afford a timeshare, I’ve personally never been asked to verify this information.

Here are some good starting points for requesting information:

Once you get on their mailing list, I find that you will start receiving various offers to participate in these vacation offers. Generally, they prohibit you from getting the offers more than once per year but each timeshare is different so you need to read the fine print.
The “catch” of all these offers are that you need to sit through the sales presentation. Sales presentations can be pleasant and informative or they can be a high-pressured sales event where they hold you hostage for hours beyond the agreed time commitment. Most timeshare presentations offered by the main companies listed above can be decent since they have a brand to protect.

Warning & Precautions

Nobody goes into a sales presentation wanting to purchase a timeshare. They know that so they have responses to every single excuse on the book. In my experience, I have found that there are a few good tactics to use to end the presentation quickly.

  1. The Truth: Tell them that you have no interest in purchasing a timeshare and only came out for the benefits. Most salespeople are commission based so they may not want to waste their time on a definitive “no”. Many times, the salespeople are professional and appreciate the honesty. This isn’t always the case so be prepared with some pushback or attitude.
  2. Travel Locations: Timeshare salespeople are very cunning in crafting responses to all potential reasons not to purchase. However, one thing that can be difficult is for them to invent timeshare locations. When they ask you where you want to travel, you can tell them: Bora Bora, Tahiti, Alaska, Denmark, Perth, Australia, and Dubai to name a few. There are timeshares all over the world but if you name a few of these places where there are no timeshares, it can be a difficult comeback to try to get you to buy one where there are no timeshares in all your desired vacation spots. It is kind of hard to say, “purchase a timeshare even though you can’t use it in any of your desired travel locations”.
  3. Research: You can also inform them that you are simply learning about timeshares and will not be purchasing anything today. You can tell them that you have appointments with various other timeshares and will be evaluating all the programs. They will likely indicate that the offer prices are only good for today and if you leave you cannot receive the same offers. Fine – don’t be fooled. You can always buy a timeshare anytime you want – GUARANTEED!

Timeshares have various issues but depending on your vacation style, in my opinion, timeshares can be simply awesome! They are not for everyone and there are many different systems, types of timeshare ownership, ways to exchange and nuances for each program. Regardless of your thoughts on timeshares, the offers to participate in a timeshare presentation can be immensely profitable for as little as an hour and a half of your time.

If you are interested in learning more about the intricacies of timeshares, please take a look at my blog. I’m sure that you will have many questions so please reach out and I will answer them and help you navigate the world of timeshares!

Thanks again to the Timeshare Guru for this guest blog post. My advice is that if you’re easily influenced or suspect you might fall victim to high pressure sales tactics to just give these a miss. They are very good at making these offers seem like an exceptional deal and are used to ‘travel hackers’ trying to game the system. 



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Lisa
Lisa

I did this once. I travel with a handicapped adult. The timeshare folks could not ensure handicapped accessible rooms. Therefore, the argument was closed. Same argument should work for others, even if it doesn’t actually apply. And maybe (unlikely) word would make it’s way back that more should be done to make more rooms handicapped accessible. (And no matter what one says, a room with a tub instead of a shower is NOT handicapped accessible.)

Greg T
Greg T

We have a timeshare in Branson that is for every other year and has been a good deal for us as we have made good use of it with the flexible date plan. I would tell people never buy from the company selling them but buy it from someone wanting to get out of their timeshare. You can get a much better price that way.

This is the first year we will probably not be able to use our place in Branson since 2005. Can you suggest the best way to advertise and find someone who would want to use it? I want to offer a 1 bedroom condo for $400 for a week and a 2 bedroom condo for $700. I was considering using airbnb.

Christian
Christian

I am actually interested in going to Branson this year. email me at bock at imap.ch

Sam
Sam

I did a timeshare presentation with IHG, and they put us up in a different holiday inn Express. Wasn’t a big deal, and was actually a pretty decent hotel, but I’ve read many accounts of people being put up in lousy places and expected to make their own way to the timeshare property

Tom
Tom

True, but sometimes this can also work to your advantage. I attended the IHG presentation in Orlando, but I had no interest in staying at their resort in the middle of nowhere, so I found a cheaper property near downtown Orlando and they approved me staying there instead. A win/win, since the purpose of my trip involved attractions in the downtown area anyway.

Hin
Hin

Same thing happened to me but it worked out really well since I got the IHG points for the stay even though I didn’t have to pay for the room.

Renee
Renee

@Hin, did the IHG points, you received for that, count towards elite status?

S Smith
S Smith

Seems if you’re invited to a certain property and then switched, you have the perfect easy exit. “How can I have confidence in your product when you can’t even put me in the hotel that I was expecting? No thanks”. But it doesn’t need to be that dramatic, tell them you’ll need time to think about it and you’ll be in touch if interested. They’ll tell give you the today only special and you tell them you need time. They’ll throw in one more deal of a lifetime and say it’s not fair to the other suckers-er-guests to give you extra time and you point out that the others may not have been offered the same discounts, that’s not fair either. You’ll think about it and be back in touch, you’re not making a decision now. Game. Set. Match.

And if you choke under pressure and start signing stuff, tear the shtuff up!

Dan
Dan

I love the timeshare presentations for the free stuff. We were in Vegas and attended Hilton and some other company. Hilton was REALLY EASY. When I told the rep, I was not interested, he certainly changed attitude to being a dick and calling me a cheapskate, BUT we were out of the there in 20 minutes (instead of 2 hours).

The other company did make us listen to them for the full promised time, but no more.

I have no reservations about attending more of them.

Nobody should ever purchase a timeshare though. It is a horrible deal. In reality, those people have to pay you to take it, because of maintenance fees.

TomT
TomT

I have attended about a dozen timeshare presentations in my life; four of them (2 still coming) within a 12 month window. Hilton packages have given me the best value. Shell presentations are not worth your time in my opinion.

You can almost always receive a presentation package offer from one of the hotel chains if you simply call to confirm or inquire about your booking, as long as you are a member of that hotel’s loyalty program. In the last six months, I’ve been transferred to a presentation package offer from Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Windham.

Also, you can almost always get a better presentation package offer by negotiating with the person at the call center. Tell them anything that will make it sound like you are about to say “No”, such as you can’t make any type of purchase without your spouse, you need to know the exact date you can get the package, or that you already have vacations planned out for the next 12 months. That has worked for me multiple times, resulting in things like a $100 reduction on the presentation package price or an added benefit like a free luau for two.

One more caution for readers who might think about actually purchasing a timeshare: look online to see how many people are trying to get out of their lifetime contract by selling them for as little as one dollar to avoid the never ending annual maintenance fees.

John K
John K

My wife and I have two young children and we love using these timeshare “opportunities” as small trips that basically pay for themselves. I’d add Choice Hotels as another option – their vacation partner is Bluegreen Resorts. Additional requirements for these: typically there is a minimum age and income requirement. We first got in touch with these by calling into hotel loyalty 1-800 numbers and being offered a sales pitch. I caught on that I could call in to Choice Hotels or Wyndham Group pretty much whenever I wanted and I would be made the same generic offers – get a free or reduced stay for 4 or 3 days depending on locale and for attending a presentation. Be sure to ask if these offers are refundable or changeable. Hilton offers these packages in a similar fashion but their deals are non-refundable. Wyndham and Choice (Bluegreen vacation resorts) are both refundable for the first 15 days, and they will typically let you make a booking as far out as a year initially. Always call back in and ask for a better offer during the refundable period. Tell them you’ve had a better offer elsewhere or are simply no longer interested. You can get all of the following: – A gift card equal to or slightly more than the cost of your package (example: cost $149, card $150; cost $179, card $200) – Improved accomodations (a cabin or townhouse instead of a room, the corner room with the jacuzzi tub instead of a regular room, better view, etc.) – If working with a hotel partner, a “stay the night on us” voucher worth $100. T&C: voucher good from date of presentation typically for 6-12 months after. Must call ahead to schedule. Will reimburse up to $100 for one night stay, not including tax/resort fees, so typically shoot for a room close to $100. – More time to schedule. They usually start with a 6 month window, you can get it extended for free to 12-18 months typically. They would usually charge extra for this service. BEFORE YOU GO IN, give yourselves a pep talk that you aren’t interested and why. They will be friendly and nice and tell you whatever they think you want to hear to make a sale – and your game is to always say no with a smile. Bring a copy of the state regulations on timeshare… Read more »

Aahz
Aahz

No offense to TTG, but I found your comment much more useful and informative than his post. Thanks, John K.

lawnmowerman
lawnmowerman

I love a nice segway.

Joe
Joe

Does one have to be married to take advantage of these offers?

John K
John K

The offers I’ve had:

did not require you to be married,

but if you are married, you must both attend the presentation.

…I assume so you can both sign the contract if you buy.

Justin
Justin

No. In Vegas once I was approached about one. Screened for my income which was adaquate. I considering doing it, but since my gf didn’t live at the same address with me they compensation offer was only for me. For that one, marriage wasn’t important but for the second person they had to be a household member.

Aahz
Aahz

Can you elaborate on what you mean by “screened for my income”?

Lela, Frugal Nellie
Lela, Frugal Nellie

In my experience they just ask you what your annual income is, no proof. I had a nice rep on the phone practically eluding to the fact that it was approximate and one could lie if they want to. He said something along the lines of “of course you have at least 50k of income, right? We won’t require any proof…” That was IHG (Holiday Inn) hotels. I was promised that I can extend as long as I like before making any reservations and can switch to any of 8-10 properties around US at any time. I got 4 nights free for equal reimbursement in $ expected at the time of the stay and a $100 choice hotel cert too. I got all my upgrades on my first phone conversation, though I spent about 45 min on the phone really honestly being on the fence about it. I haven’t actually used my stay or gotten my money & vouchers yet so I can’t report on that. That offer was received when I called into IHG for a separate question. I received an offer after that for a separate hotel group- possibly as a spam call, but passed because the locations were so similar to the first offer and it wasn’t a full 100% reimbursement.

MoreSun
MoreSun

Recently got our last night free at a Marriott Vacation Club in Hawaii for listening to the 90 min pitch (alternatively could have had 20,000 Marriott points or $125). No interest in purchasing a timeshare. They stuck to 90 mins for the pitch and then passed us to the hard pitch person who was pretty short after we made it clear we weren’t interested. Everyone was pretty nice. (I think they are such a huge operation there it was a waste of time for them to keep pitching us.)

Ken
Ken

My wife and I recently attended a timeshare presentation in Hawaii for a cat 7 SPG resort. Great deal where we paid $800 for 5 nights stay, a bonus of 5,000 spg points, plus buy 1 get 1 free helicopter ride ($250 value), and $200 credit for a rental car. We love to travel so the conversation probably led them to think we were an easy target. We eventually said that our parents are about retire and would need financial help from us and that a $60,000 timeshare (lowest one they had in Hawaii) w/ $3,000 annual maintenance fee is not for us right now. The guy, as nice as he could, kept insisting it’s more reason to buy this timeshare. One, so we can escape the stress of spending all our money on supporting the parents. Two, so we can take our retiring parents out on vacation and they’ll love us more. Three, its a great deal! Laughing inside, we still didn’t budge…

They then sent in another closer with a less expensive offer of $40,000 timeshare outside Hawaii, we still declined. Then the manager came in to offer us an even lower $20,000 timeshare with limited dates, we still declined. Then they offered to bring us back to the resort for only $3,000 for another 5 night stay… no thank you!

It took almost 1.5 hours of our time, but I feel we made out like a bandit on this.

Suresh Nivin Gopi
Suresh Nivin Gopi

Wow, that’s gutsy of you. Most people would not want to go through 3 hard selling salesfolks 🙂

Shonuffharlem
Shonuffharlem

How did you get such an amazing initial offer?

Ken
Ken

Not sure why I was targeted but I’ve only been a member of the spg program for 8 months when that happened. I received a letter invitation for that Westin resort promo.

MontyFC
MontyFC

What are the typical privacy policies of these timeshare companies? I once attended a timeshare in Vegas and the company sold my info to several other companies and I kept on receiving junk mail and calls for a while.

I know you can easily opt out for banks and other financial institutions and stop them for sharing your info to their partners. Is it as easy with these timeshare companies as well?

Treesha
Treesha

Just assume they will sell your information.

Abey
Abey

Thanks for this post William. This is very interesting. I never went to a timeshare and i stayed far away from accepting one since i watched an episode of King of Queens (Slippery slope) which is hillarious. But hey maybe its not as bad and i should reconsider for the free stuff after all i have been sitting through 2 hour annoying movies before to satisfy the gf so i guess i can do it.

alex
alex

Great post.

Here is my experience with Wyndham:

By phone I was offered three nights at Pier 2620 in SF for $179 upfront, with a $200 amex GC after the sales meeting and a $100 voucher to any Wyndham property worldwide. Pretty sweet eh?

The sales meeting was scheduled by phone before check in and they were flexible on the exact date of it. It would be held at the Wyndham Canterbury, and they would pay me $20 for transportation from my hotel.

The meeting was fine, lasted only about 1 hour, and the sales person was generally OK to deal with. They coughed up the $200 gc, travel compensation and I was on my merry way.

I would highly recommend this.

The Pier 2620 hotel was fantastic and the bill was suppsoed to be about $1,100 for the three nights.

They allow you to do this deal once every six months, and you can buy multiple packages at a time with the agent by phone!

Lela, Frugal Nellie
Lela, Frugal Nellie

Sweeet! Great info! Thanks for letting us know exactly how repeatable this is!

Alex
Alex

I’m glad it’s useful. If you call the car rental companies, hertz in particular, they will sometimes route you to Wyndham vacation club. That’s how I originally found out about this deal.

El Guapo
El Guapo

You could not get me into another timeshare presentation for anything under a 1,000 value. I guess my tolerance for avoidable sales presentations is just too low. I start to feel bad for the salespeople, thinking about the series of bad life choices they must have made to end up on the other side of the golf cart, waxing poetic about the great exchange opportunities for their “owners.”

The Timeshare Guru

All, Thanks for the comments and thank you to Will / Doctor of Credit for agreeing to post my article. You can see from the replies that timeshares have a mixed reputation. They are definitely not any type of financial investment but definitely can provide some reasonable or cheap weeks for vacation in some very nice properties and locations.

There are many travel hacks to get great weeks but it requires a bit of time and effort to learn the systems.

Feel free to reach out for questions or further comments!

The Timeshare Guru

John K
John K

Thanks TTG! Great collection of info you provided. You listed a couple groups I didn’t know about – will definitely have to check them out! 🙂

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