Time Shares –
As someone that loves to travel, I have seen the benefit of a time share. Paying a huge amount of money up front followed by an annual fee doesn’t make much sense to me. That doesn’t seem to stop time share companies for reaching out to me on a constant basis.
Every week I get calls from two to three time share offers all promising a lot of great travel for a very low purchase price today. Most of the time these appear as scams. The offer goes like that. “Because you previously stayed at Hilton, we are making a special offer to you that will allow you to travel to Mexico or the Dominican Republic for five nights for xxx.” XXX being some low dollar amount which seems to change every time. Then they ask if I have a major credit card and I am between 25-50.
At first the offer seems pretty good so I listen for a few minutes, but time and time again the offer just does not sound compelling. For someone that travels a lot and likes to stay at a particular hotel chain I can frequently find great deals at the location of my choice for a low price per night.
Most of the time the offers are for really basic hotels or resorts. When you actually go to book, the name brand resorts that they promoted on the initial call are ones with huge upgrade fees, which can make the deal fall apart.
For example on the offers I have been getting recently when I mention I prefer Starwood, they say that they offer Westin and Sheraton resorts. When I asked further, they hint that there may be a small upgrade fee for these properties. I heard one offer that was three nights all inclusive for $350 investment. When I asked what it would cost to stay at the Westin I was told it would be an additional $200 per person per night. Right away the $350 becomes $1,550. I pulled up the Westin webpage and I could book a paid stay there for about $225 per night or $675. No deal.
When I resist they frequently throw in bonus trips and a “Free cruise.” Each of those bonus trips require sitting through a 90+ minute high pressure presentation. And then they say there is a small fee for taxes and fees per night.
The cruise offer is pretty generic and they say it is valid on Royal Caribbean or Carnival. The offer does not include port charges and fees. When I have asked for the terms and conditions, many of the popular ships are not included such as the Oasis of the Seas and the taxes and fees are very expensive. The ships offered can frequently be purchased for about the same price as the “port charges and taxes” that the time share company charges.
Most of the time the deals just do not make sense to me. I have received more generous offers but generally they require those additional time share presentations.
I have attended a couple presentations a few years ago and they were really high pressure and they would not take no as an answer. At the time the average initial buy in for these time shares was between $10,000 to $50,000 with annual fees between $1,000 to $2,000. Recently I have heard that the initial investment is pushing $100k+ now.
To me being a points and miles enthusiast, paying these fees make no sense as you can stay in much nicer places using points that you earn with manufactured spend and get a much better experience without the need to make the annual stream of payments.
Perhaps for someone with a family that always likes to go to the same place each year, buying a time share second hand where the initial investment can be a few hundred dollars maybe that is a different story.
What are your thoughts on time shares?