Over my adult life, I’ve been to several timeshare presentations. But the Club Wyndham timeshare presentation and the gift was the worst. Actually, I consider it a timeshare scam.
Bob and I were at the Grand Prix of Long Beach and Club Wyndham had a booth to spin a wheel to win a prize, including a 7-night vacation. Initially we walked right past it but then we thought, what the hell, we might win the vacation. Well you can guess what happened…we won the vacation. This wasn’t our first timeshare presentation so we knew what we were getting into, or at least thought we knew.
Our “Free” 7-Night Vacation from the Wyndham Timeshare Presentation is Nearly Impossible to Book
When we spun the wheel at the Grand Prix booth, the Club Wyndham representative lead us to believe we could use the prize at any Wyndham at any time, anywhere around the world. We “won” our “free” 7-night vacation certificate after spinning a wheel but we later learned that most people have to pay $75 to attend the presentation to get the certificate.
After we spent 2 hours at the presentation we were handed a piece of paper outlining the rules of using our 7-day vacation. Reservations can only be made within a 30-day window and only at properties listed on Resort Vacations Certificates’ website. We searched a few random date ranges within 30 days but most of the properties required payment of $200-500 for 7 nights. The few that were actually free were really low budget in terrible locations on very limited dates.
The only free property available in the entire state of California is the Knights Inn in San Bernadino. The cost per night on the Wyndham website is $65/night. This is not somewhere to spend 7 nights especially when you think you are getting a stay anywhere in the world, like Paris! I feel bad for the people at the presentation who actually paid $75 for this nearly worthless piece of paper. What a scam!
Lots of Timeshare Presentations Have Great Gifts!
Bob and I have got a free dinner, carriage ride and riverboat trip in New Orleans. On the Big Island in Hawaii we got a round of golf and a helicopter tour over Kilauea volcano, which I nearly vomited during but the views were amazing. We did a tour of Newport Coast Villas in Newport Beach, California for a $200 gift card. And we got four free nights on the Strip in Las Vegas and a free vow renewal at one of those cheesy chapels after a presentation for Tahiti Village in Las Vegas.
Why I Think Timeshares are a Bad Deal
Timeshares might be good for some people. I know one couple who bought a timeshare because otherwise they wouldn’t bother to take a leisure vacation but since they have an annual maintenance fee they “force” themselves to go on vacation. (If you are reading this blog, you probably can’t imagine forcing yourself to travel.) I have a relative who has owned a timeshare for several decades and uses her week to treat her adult kids and grandchildren to a week in Florida each year together in a 3-bedroom unit.
The Wyndham deal they offered us after 90 minutes of fluff presentation, was an $11,000 “investment” for an amount of points that can book 7 nights in most locations anywhere in the world and a maintenance fee of $1,400 per year. To break even on the maintenance fee alone we have to stay in a place more than $200 per night! We never pay that much money for a hotel!. (Well, we spent $470 per night for a safari that included all meals and 2 game drives per day. I wrote a post about this organized safari camp and about our much better and cheaper experience doing a safari on our own.)
Two Weeks Later…We Used our Wyndham Points from a Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus
Ironically, before attending the Club Wyndham presentation, we already booked a 4-night vacation at the Wyndham in Park City, Utah. We spent 15,000 points per night to stay in Park City, which is a really poor use of the points since a room was only $125 per night but we had to use the points because they were about to expire. Three times during our stay we were approached to do a timeshare presentation. It was a hassle!
Wyndham Club Owners Weren’t Happy
In the evenings, we sat around the fire pit chatting with Club Wyndham owners, all of whom said they wish they hadn’t bought it. We stayed for free from a credit card sign-up bonus and even if we had paid 7 nights at $125 per night it would be less than half the annual maintenance fee.
Lesson Learned about Timeshare Presentations
Next time we get the great idea to score a free gift by wasting 90 minutes in a timeshare presentation, I’m going to verify the value of the gift and read the small print in advance. In the past we have scored some great deals but not this time. Actually, it left a sour taste in my mouth for the entire Wyndham company. If we do another presentation, I’m going to set the alarm on my phone and when the-90 minute requirement is up, I’m going to say, “I’ve met my end of the deal now please give me my gift.”