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Timeshares have gotten such a bad rap that
timeshare “vacation ownership” companies are getting more aggressive in their advertising and desperate with their offers.
For years, timeshare companies have offered bonus points and/or a cheap stay somewhere in exchange for sitting through a timeshare presentation, but these offers have generally been targeted to individual members. Now, we are seeing more hotel-timeshare partnerships offering “preview” packages to all hotel loyalty members.
For example, last November, Choice Privileges members were offered “80% Off 7-Night Resort Stay”: $499 for a 7-night stay at a Bluegreen Vacations property plus a $100 gift card and 10,000 Choice points. I took advantage of that offer and suffered through a timeshare presentation for the cheap vacation.
Hilton ran a similar offer in May, and now it’s back again for bookings in July. As reported by Doctor of Credit, For purchases now through July 31, you can purchase a 3-night stay in either Las Vegas or Orlando for just $199. Plus, you’ll get 25,000 Hilton points. At current TPG valuations, those 25k points are worth $150.
If you value Hilton points the same, that’s like getting a 3-night stay in a popular destination for just a “net” of $49. Even better, you have 12 months from the purchase date to redeem the package.
The catch? You have to agree to sit through a timeshare presentation. Or, as Hilton Grand Vacations would like to phrase it:
As part of your vacation package, you’ll attend a two-hour Personal Preview and sales presentation where you’ll learn how you and your family can enjoy the many benefits and privileges of vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations.
And the terms and conditions don’t end there. Here’s a quick recap of the most important items from the Details of Participation:
- Must have “possession of a major international credit card.”
- Must not have completed a similar promotion within the last year at the “property or properties promoted in this offer” or within the last six months at any other Hilton Grand Vacations properties
- Couples who are married or living together must both attend the presentation
- “Offer valid one per family only” — although a family isn’t defined
- “No groups, consisting of more than one couple traveling together, permitted.”
- All other charges, sales taxes, expenses, and the cost of travel aren’t covered
- Holiday, high season or weekend rates may apply
- Bonus Hilton points aren’t awarded until after the presentation is completed
- $19.95 charge applies to each reservation change made up to 30 days of arrival.
- Changes to reservation dates or arrival date within 14 days of arrival will cost “the equivalent of one night at the currently published rack rate.”
- And, if you don’t qualify for the promotion or attend the 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.”
As far as where you’ll stay, that’s not as clear. The details say you’ll stay at a “Hilton Grand Vacations Club resort or a Hilton portfolio hotel chosen for its quality and location.” You’ll get a “standard hotel room” and can bring up to four people.
From my experience with Bluegreen Vacations, it seems timeshare salespeople realize that participants are expecting the hard sell, and now employ new techniques to try to get people to sign on. For example, the salesperson tried to guilt-trip parents for not taking their kids on more vacations and used overly inflated prices for comparable vacations to show what a “deal” owning a timeshare can be.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this promotion, make sure that you’re armed with as much data as you can going into the presentation. Check prices that current Hilton Grand Vacation timeshare owners are selling their ownership stake for online. And remember not to take anything that’s said at face value. We called out our salesperson for multiple false statements and pushed for proof when benefits were exaggerated. In the end, he almost seemed relieved when we decided to leave.
Featured image courtesy of Hilton Grand Vacations Suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village
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