My Hilton Timeshare Experience: What To Expect, Questions To Consider
This Hilton timeshare experience is a guest post from one of our Facebook group moderators: Husni Almoubayyed.
When my wife and I recently decided to visit Myrtle Beach, we had no idea that we would end up going to a timeshare presentation offer. Most people are aware of those timeshare offers where you get a heavily discounted stay, on the condition that you spend a couple of hours listening to their representative try to sell you a timeshare property. Our trip was not one of those — it was a typical stay at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, where we redeemed points at a rate of 50k per night for 3 nights (a very rare domestic 0.9c per point value).
On our last night, we got a call in our room asking us to go to the Experiences Desk (Concierge) to earn some Hilton points. We went, and it was the typical “listen to me tell you about a timeshare offer for 500 points” that they sometimes do over the phone. We also received a local “experiences” card that offered 10% discounts at the hotel’s restaurants and bars, as well as some other local restaurants that we already wanted to try out. The card would have saved us a decent amount had we had it on our first night. It made me think that I should have headed for the Concierge first thing and asked them for any offers or local discounts they can provide. I plan to do that from now on at hotels that have a Concierge desk.
The Timeshare Presentation Offer
The concierge at the Hilton offered us to visit a nearby timeshare property (Ocean Enclave by Hilton Grand Vacations), around a 15 minute drive from our hotel, and sit through a 90-minute presentation to earn 80k Hilton Honors points (or get a $200 Visa gift card). We took the points (of course), as it seemed to work well in our schedule. We scheduled the presentation between our check-out time and our flight time the following day.
Ocean Enclave was also on our way to the airport, and it is in the city center of Myrtle Beach. Thus, it was an opportunity to spend some time in that area as well. I was pretty pleased with the offer, as it did not seem to distract from our stay, and it was essentially a little over a 50% discount on our stay. Looking back, I think we could have asked for more, especially since HGV is currently offering what looks like an identical stay to ours that includes 25k points, all for $149+tax.
The Timeshare Presentation Experience
This was my first experience going to a timeshare presentation, and I was not sure what to expect. However, I was confident that we wouldn’t be swayed. After all, it would take a really long time to burn through all our Hilton Honors points, and we don’t have a need to stay at a condo when traveling.
The first half of the 90 minutes was a PowerPoint presentation introducing the program (which was oddly fun and not as dry as one might expect). The second half was a tour of the property and some Q&A. The experience was pretty relaxed–a lot more so than I expected (especially having read how some presentations, albeit with other brands, can be aggressive). We never felt uncomfortable or pressured–but, to be clear, these representatives are some of the best salespeople I have seen in my life. They make everything sound like an amazing deal, and sure enough there were people signing contracts on the spot that I would bet did not go there thinking they would.
We were offered to purchase the equivalent of around a week at peak season at a high-level HGV resort in a studio for $25k plus around $1k annually in HOA fees (not fixed). The nice thing about the HGV program is that you get a fixed amount of ClubPoints per year that work at any of their 88 resorts (and hundreds of partner resorts). The point redemption rates are fixed and will never change, as they are part of the contract–unlike Hilton Honors points that get devalued from time to time.
After the principal is paid, the HOA fees are the only thing that needs to be paid annually, and they typically go up over time for a range of factors (inflation, age of hotel, utility costs, etc). The first time we declined the offer, they threw in a number of points as a sign-up bonus that were equivalent to 7 years of the program–a sizable bonus for sure! When we declined this offer as well, we were offered a week at a resort in a number of domestic HGV locations, including Hawaii, Las Vegas, Orlando, and others–a value around $1500–to be completed within 18 months. The cost of that week would be deducted from the principal if we decided to buy a timeshare at that time.
We declined this offer as well, as it did not seem to be a great value, unless you were intending to indeed buy the timeshare. Either ways, these offers further proved that there is always more they are willing to offer. Finally, we were asked to complete a short survey (How do you rate the representative, how do you rate the hotel, why did you decide not to purchase, and would you consider HGV again?) The 80k points then posted to my account within an hour or so–much quicker than Mark’s experience from a couple years ago.
Questions to Consider at Your Presentation
So you heard the presentation, and they are waiting for your decision? Here are some questions to help you make sure you did your research before you act. Alternatively, if you feel shy about declining their offers, you can use these questions to justify that.
Will you use it?
Do you need a kitchen when you travel? Will you miss staying at the Waldorfs, the Conrads, and the Ritz Carltons of the world? There is an option of moving HGV ClubPoints to Hilton Honors points, but at an abysmal rate. If you want to maximize the value of a timeshare, you really need to use the resorts offered.
Are you actually interested in the properties offered?
They showed us a couple of amazing properties, but it seemed like every time we asked about something, they would go back to the same 1 or 2 properties. If you don’t want to go back to those same places every year, sit down and sift through all the destinations you are interested in first.
What is the fair value of the timeshare?
The most important question I asked the representative was, “If I wanted to sell this property back, how can I do that, and how much would I get for it?” The representative’s answer was that HGV would present me with a buyback offer, but if I found a better offer elsewhere (and only then), I could go ahead and sell it to someone else. He also said that HGV would probably offer around $8k for the property they were trying to sell to me for $25k.
Taking this at face value (and ignoring the fact that some timeshares sell on eBay for $1), that means the true value of the property is closer to $8k than $25k. Furthermore, nothing stops me from trying to find a current owner and offering them, say, $10k. Of course, there is a chance that none of the owners want to sell, and you would lose out on sign up bonuses and financing options that way, but that is worth investigating. Plus, those added benefits are likely not worth the 200% up-charge. It was right after this question that the representative realized that he won’t be making a sale. He didn’t make any effort to push further, thanked us for our time, and moved on to the next presentation.
I learned a lot about timeshares and more through my Hilton timeshare experience, and here are some of my takeaways for the future:
-Are you staying somewhere with a Concierge or an Experiences desk? Stop by early on and ask for any local discounts or offers. You never know what they might be able to offer.
–Always ask for more when dealing with timeshare offers. Even if you think you have a good deal, there is likely a better deal waiting for you to ask about it.
-The Hilton timeshare experience with HGV was a lot less pressure than I expected, but of course your experience might vary. It is important make sure you do your research in these situations.
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The reality of Timeshares:
I was under the impression in order to get out of the presentation, you need to bring a gun!!!
i would imagine the people you saw “signing contracts” were actors planted to sway you. I experienced something similar in Mexico where they were popping bottles of champagne around us as people signed deals
$1,500 for a 1, 2, or 3 br in Hawaii woulda been a nice deal (negotiable with the rep). It’s easy to use hotel points for condo lodging for 1 couple in Hawaii but start booking 2 or 3 couples & the value of timeshare for space, cost, amenities, & logistics becomes apparent. Most of those deals are also only good for a yr, so even more value. They will also negotiate a free car rental and more free points.
I did a similar presentation right before the pandemic. The numbers did not make sense. They use fuzzy logic to try to convince you that you should spend a lot today (25K, 40K, whatever they can get) but you have to pay that today (or finance it). When I told the rep that I already get 7-9 nights free per year from my credit card spending and FNCs, he said that is a good deal. It’s always a better deal on the secondary market if you truly want a timeshare. All the freebies come out of their crazy markup. And if you buy, you have lots of other costs over time (yearly maintenance fees, booking fees, change fees, conversion fees). And you can’t get out.
I got 100K points a couple years ago and just kept saying No. Points posted quickly. They also knew we had been several years ago and said No then too. I will gladly spend 90 min. of my time for 80K points. I try and think of these bonuses and what I have to spend for the discounted room as equivalent to a new credit card bonus and annual 1st year fee.
HGVC timeshares have better value than a lot, but there are still quite a few that you can grab for under $2,000 purchase price and at least right now HGVC is one of the few major systems that doesn’t punish resale owners by reducing flexibility or benefits.
Take the bonus, leave the timeshare!