Why I Would Never, Ever Buy A Timeshare

Why I Would Never, Ever Buy A Timeshare

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I recently wrote about how Solaz Los Cabos (which is a property with both a hotel and timeshares) suddenly and mysteriously closed down last week. An interesting discussion emerged in the comments section about timeshares. Several readers asked why I never write about timeshare deals, or what a great value they can be.

In this post I wanted to share my take on why I’d never consider buying a timeshare. It’s just my opinion, and I invite readers to help me understand what I’m missing.

What is a timeshare?

To start, I wanted to briefly share the concept of a timeshare. While the exact details vary significantly, the idea is that you purchase fractional ownership for accommodation at a resort:

  • You typically buy a certain type of unit (one bedroom, two bedroom, etc.) for a minimum of one stay per year
  • At some properties you purchase a specific week, and in other cases you have more flexibility
  • Some properties exclusively have timeshares, while some properties have a combination of timeshares, residences, and/or hotel rooms
  • Timeshares are typically valid for extended periods of time — some might be valid for 20 years, while others are valid “forever”
  • You usually pay a large amount upfront (which can be financed), and then you pay an annual maintenance fee
  • For many timeshare programs, there are opportunities to “trade” your timeshare for a stay at a different resorts; fees and opportunities for doing this vary

Those are the very basics, though hopefully that’s a useful summary for those who aren’t familiar with the concept.

My childhood timeshare guilt

I have a confession to make, because to this day I have timeshare related guilt. I grew up in Tampa, and when I was a young kid I managed to convince my parents that we needed to get a timeshare.

More specifically, we got one of those deals where you could go to Orlando for a long weekend for a small amount of money, and just had to attend a timeshare presentation. Of course the presentation made the concept sound amazing.

A week in Orlando every year for the rest of our lives, all at an affordable cost? What could possibly go wrong? We were told what a fantastic investment timeshares are. We were told how we could trade our week for destinations around the world. We were told how hot the timeshare market is, and that if we ever wanted to sell our timeshare, we could probably do so at a profit. We were told that the timeshare could be handed down forever, and that this would be the greatest gift we could ever give children and grandchildren.

Well, fast forward a few years. As it turns out, while 10 year old me thought vacationing in Orlando every year for a week would be the funnest thing ever, that feeling didn’t last. Exchange options were extremely difficult, and my dad spent 10 years trying to get rid of the timeshare. He couldn’t even give it away for free, and just have someone take over the maintenance fees.

Eventually he paid a company to take it off his hands and transfer it to someone else. To this day I feel guilty about that, and have committed to never even considering a timeshare.

The argument in favor of timeshares

A reader left the following comment on my post about Solaz Los Cabos, which I think basically sums up the argument in favor of timeshares:

Timeshares are a phenomenal investment. Even if you hate the idea you can’t argue that the room cost is way way way cheaper in comparison to inflation. I have yet to meet someone who owns a timeshare who USES it who doesn’t love it.

And I think that statement is mostly fair. A timeshare can represent a great deal if:

  • You want to vacation in the same place for the same week every year for the rest of your life, and for the rest of your ancestors’ lives (for those timeshares that are valid “forever”)
  • You have 100% faith in the owners of the timeshare, including that they’ll stay in business, that they’ll continue to maintain the property in its current condition, that they won’t increase maintenance fees disproportionately, etc.

Why I don’t think timeshares are worth it

There are a variety of reasons I’d personally never consider buying a timeshare, which I’ll outline below. Let me acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I’d welcome timeshare owners to correct me on any points I’m wrong on.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all timeshares are created equal, and I’m sure some do business more ethically than others. However, I think the below points are generally true.

The sales process is ridiculously sleazy

The only timeshare presentation I’ve attended as an adult was at Solaz earlier this year, and I was basically forced into it. To be clear, I didn’t book a special timeshare rate or anything, but rather had redeemed points. During check-in I was directed to a room (allegedly an “art museum” that they show all guests while checking in), but then they badgered me and wouldn’t let me leave until I agreed to attend a presentation.

I find everything about the process of selling a timeshare to be sleazy at best, and predatory at worst. They use very pushy sales technique out there to get you to agree to a commitment that will last 20+ years (or in some cases forever):

  • They try to get you to drink alcohol
  • They’re outrageously pushy, and use the “good cop” and “bad cop” approach
  • They try to pressure you to make a decision right away, and claim you’ll never get this deal again, and you can’t get it once you leave the presentation
  • Some staff pose as guests to pretend that they’ve just made a purchase, to get other people to do the same
  • The whole pricing model has no transparency — when you say no to the price for one week, they offer to throw in a second week at no extra cost, then offer to lower the cost even further, etc.
  • They lie through their teeth — once you’ve made it crystal clear that you’re not interested, they pretend that something just became available that minute that’s cheaper, and when you say no again you’re directed to someone else who claims to be soliciting feedback on the presentation, but then tries to sell you again
There’s no transparency with timeshare pricing

Why would anyone voluntarily want to do business with such jerks? A timeshare presentation makes me yearn for interaction with a cable or cell phone company.

Below is a real timeshare sales staff meeting clip — this isn’t a parody. The strategy is to convince people selling timeshares that they’re saving lives, because people who vacation more are less likely to have a heart attack. Therefore timeshare salespeople are like doctors, nurses, and firefighters. Right.

Contracts are ridiculously one-sided

Airline contracts of carriage are extremely one-sided. Airlines hold all the control, and consumers have very little control. But the sad reality is that you don’t have an alternative, because all airline contracts are that way, and there are many situations where you can’t avoid flying.

Timeshare contracts are equally one-sided, except they’re a much bigger commitment, and they’re easier to avoid. Generally speaking:

  • Timeshare contracts don’t guarantee how much your annual maintenance fee will increase
  • Timeshare contracts don’t guarantee in what condition the complex will be kept
  • Timeshare contracts don’t give you an “out,” so you’re stuck paying maintenance fees for as long as you own your timeshare (whether that’s 20 years or “forever”)
  • If there are financial issues with the timeshare company, you’re in big trouble
  • While you own something when you buy a timeshare (a theoretical week every year, or whatever), in reality you don’t really own anything

Timeshare properties are solely motivated by hoping to sell more timeshares to more people, since there’s no incentive to take care of existing clients, since they’re already on the hook and don’t have an out.

I think the current situation at Solaz Los Cabos is the perfect example of how shady timeshares are:

  • Solaz has mysteriously closed, yet isn’t communicating honestly to owners about what’s going on
  • Solaz is offering either to refund the maintenance fee for the upcoming year (which in no way addresses what you paid to buy the timeshare to begin with), or to put you up at a significantly inferior “sister” property — neither of those offers are acceptable
  • Timeshare owners are truly powerless in these situations, and it seems to me like any financial problems at a resort will only be exacerbated when there’s a timeshare involved, given the complicated ownership structure
I’m sure Solaz timeshare owners aren’t too happy right now…

Your travel options are highly restrictive

In theory I can see the draw of buying a timeshare if you plan to go to the same property year after year. Personally I don’t know where I want to live in five years, let alone where I want to vacation then, since life circumstances are constantly changing. We all evolve over time, and I’d think that also applies to travel preferences.

One thing I often see promoted about timeshares is how you can “trade” your week for a stay at another property. However:

  • For many of the places people really want to travel to, this can be harder than finding the most sought after first class mileage award ticket
  • There’s typically a further exchange fee, sometimes even greater than the annual maintenance fee

Committing yourself to play this unnecessary game for decades to come just seems silly to me.

I wonder what Solaz will look like in 20 years (or if it will exist)

The math doesn’t add up to me

For those who talk about what a great “investment” timeshares are, I’d say that:

  • This generally doesn’t factor in time value of money, since you’re pre-paying for your vacation two decades from now — how much could the initial amount be worth in 20 years if invested properly?
  • You’re not really factoring in the risk — the risk of maintenance fees going up, the risk of financial problems for the developers, the risk of your lifestyle or preferences changing, etc.
  • Timeshare properties often also sell stays by the week to fill rooms, and that pricing is often similar to the maintenance fees you’d otherwise pay; after we attended the Solaz timeshare presentation and they knew we weren’t interested, we were asked if we wanted to return for a week to “experience” the timeshare for a greatly reduced cost
  • If you’re maximizing miles & points correctly, there are plenty of ways to get awesome deals on hotels
I’m happy largely using points for hotel stays

Where there might be value with timeshares

I do think there are timeshare opportunities on the secondhand market. There are lots of people who have success picking up timeshares for next to nothing as others try to drop them, and in those cases I believe there could sometimes be value for timeshares for some types of travelers.

Of course that’s not how most people buy timeshares — rather they buy them directly from the developers during a high-pressure sales pitch. But for those who invest a lot of time into researching, I suspect there are some opportunities.

Bottom line

While I absolutely believe that some people get a good value out of timeshares, it’s simply something I’d never consider. Perhaps it’s partly because of the guilt I feel from my childhood of convincing my parents that an Orlando timeshare was a good idea.

But personally I find timeshares to be the least appealing accommodation concept out there, and everything about it feels slimy to me — the sales process is sleazy, you’re entering a one-sided contract often valid for the rest of your life, and the only motive of timeshare properties is to sell more units, rather than take care of existing owners.

While I’m all for getting a deal, to me timeshares are the wrong kind of deal-chasing — you’re paying a lot of money upfront for a lot of uncertainty. Maybe there are some opportunities on the secondhand market, but otherwise…

Where do you stand on timeshares?

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  1. Jim Baround

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and not say you know very little about timeshares, and instead say you need to retitle this to Don’t Buy a Timeshare From A Developer.
    I get my timeshares on the resale market, often paying $0 out of pocket. For around a $500 a year maintenance fee and $200 exchange fee I regularly get two bedroom units in Hawaii at Westins and Marriotts (the nights also...

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and not say you know very little about timeshares, and instead say you need to retitle this to Don’t Buy a Timeshare From A Developer.
    I get my timeshares on the resale market, often paying $0 out of pocket. For around a $500 a year maintenance fee and $200 exchange fee I regularly get two bedroom units in Hawaii at Westins and Marriotts (the nights also count towards my Bonvoy status).
    I would encourage you to drive your readership to articles about timeshare resale. Yes, owning a timeshare is not a financial investment, and yes timeshare salespeople are shady (although most of the tactics you mention in particular only happen in Mexico and not in the US).

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ Jim Baround -- The secondhand market point is a good one. I updated the post to reflect that. I should have differentiated between those buying direct from developers, and those buying from others.

    2. John

      Hi Jim,
      I agree. You need to understand the system and it can take time because information can be confusing and there are some timeshares that are useless.
      I have been trying to understand how to get into Marriott resale but I don’t understand it well. Currently I own Hilton and I love it.

      Could you please share the key item to consider? I like the fact it count towards Bonvoy status.
      Thank you,

    3. Hilton Experience

      I too own through Hilton and thus far find value in it as you are really only using "points". We primarily use it for Hawaii (I like the condo set-up with kitchen and laundry as I have teens!). However, we have tried several other locations as well and this Thanksgiving (since Hawaii is full) we will stay in Myrtle Beach as a new location for us and sight-see. Was not well-educated and bought through the...

      I too own through Hilton and thus far find value in it as you are really only using "points". We primarily use it for Hawaii (I like the condo set-up with kitchen and laundry as I have teens!). However, we have tried several other locations as well and this Thanksgiving (since Hawaii is full) we will stay in Myrtle Beach as a new location for us and sight-see. Was not well-educated and bought through the developer at too high a cost, however am exploring very cheap, substantial point options in the secondary market so that we can use it more often. A timeshare that is a single location for a specific week would not work for us, the flexibility that Hilton offers is a good option and I am recognized as a Diamond member when we stay.

    4. DiscoPapa

      Agree with Jim. While I don’t own a timeshare, in preparation for a presentation down in Orlando, I did a good bit of research ahead of time. There are some significant deals to be had on the secondary market, especially when you consider the offer given at the sales pitch!

    5. DeePee

      Right with you on this one. Never buy at peak real estate or at retail. Not a fan of timeshares myself, but distressed real estate? Yes, please!

    6. Samuel

      @ Jim Baround-- where do you find these types of deals on the resale market? I would never pay for a timeshare outright but have considered the resale market as you, and others have suggested. Would love to hear more about your experience and any tips you may have be able to provide on things to look out for... TIA.

    7. Rob

      Agreed, some of the bigger timeshare programs on the *resale market* after doing research can be unbelievable value - Hilton’s program in particular is super flexible and treats resale owners very well. I have enough points to stay for over 6 months in a large studio or one bedroom in 60 properties world wide, not even counting conversions into RCI, all for about $4k a year in MFs over 5 deeds that I paid 5%...

      Agreed, some of the bigger timeshare programs on the *resale market* after doing research can be unbelievable value - Hilton’s program in particular is super flexible and treats resale owners very well. I have enough points to stay for over 6 months in a large studio or one bedroom in 60 properties world wide, not even counting conversions into RCI, all for about $4k a year in MFs over 5 deeds that I paid 5% of retail. There is also a huge difference been US timeshares (actually deeded) and Mexico (not deeded). Deeded they can’t just do that - they are still run by Boards from members.

      That said, folks should do a lot of research before buying any long term financial commitment, including and especially a time share, especially if you can only take trips 1 or 3 specific weeks a year.

    8. iamhere

      Could you share related resources as regards to Marriott related second hand timeshares? Thanks.

  2. Michael

    I don't think you should feel too guilty about "convincing your parents" to buy. If the parents were gonna buy they were gonna buy whether or not you were there -- it's a ludicrously effective sales process. Maybe leaning on you worked, but leaning on something would have worked.

  3. David

    What Jim Said. This is a poorly informed article that is biased around your limited experience. While there are certain elements of truth in that article, there are absolutely ways to do Timesharing properly and as a compliment to a robust points strategy. In addition, you neglected to discuss that timesharing can provide you a very different vacation experience, since if done correctly, you will have access to upscale condos (1 or 2 bedroom with...

    What Jim Said. This is a poorly informed article that is biased around your limited experience. While there are certain elements of truth in that article, there are absolutely ways to do Timesharing properly and as a compliment to a robust points strategy. In addition, you neglected to discuss that timesharing can provide you a very different vacation experience, since if done correctly, you will have access to upscale condos (1 or 2 bedroom with kitchens) that are far superiors for families on vacation than a hotel room.

    So yes, buying from the developer is lunacy but taking the time to educate yourself on a major life purchase (plug for the TUG forums, they are far and away the best place to learn) and learn about the resale market can open up great value if done correctly.

    1. snic

      AirBnB, VRBO, etc also provide you with "access to upscale condos (1 or 2 bedroom with kitchens) that are far superiors for families on vacation than a hotel room." But without a lasting financial commitment, and without any restrictions on where you can vacation. (That said, I don't know anything about the secondary timeshare market, which supposedly could provide you with the same kinds of properties at better rates.)

    2. Rob

      Yes they do, usually at 2-3x the price vs MFs, and hit or miss on service and have to do a ton of Reseach on each and every vacation for your location. I think those two are better for last minute bookers and resale timeshare for people who plan 6-24 months out. I use both.

  4. Kevin

    I own several timeshares that I paid at most, a few hundred dollars in closing costs… I keep trying to convince myself to dump them until I keep getting outsized value in trades… and I extend another year…. Getting a 2 bedroom ski week at the Hyatt in Aspen for $200/night (total cost to trade into) for a week is just not possible with points…..or even better, two 2 bedroom Thanksgiving week units at a...

    I own several timeshares that I paid at most, a few hundred dollars in closing costs… I keep trying to convince myself to dump them until I keep getting outsized value in trades… and I extend another year…. Getting a 2 bedroom ski week at the Hyatt in Aspen for $200/night (total cost to trade into) for a week is just not possible with points…..or even better, two 2 bedroom Thanksgiving week units at a Marriott in Park City for the cost of the exchange fee (less than $300) because the trading company just gives you free certificates for being a member…. soon I will dump them once the usage or value disappears from my horizon
    (And we stop skiing!!)
    Right now, the rental market in certain areas is really high and on one unit I’ve doubled the out of pocket cost in rental income to a very happy renter, used that to pay our $1,400 in out of pocket cost for Aspen and now that unit is free for the year
    But yeah the deals are there with just a little research, no different than learning the miles and points system that we so eloquently game!
    :)

    1. Another Lump

      "$200/night (total cost to trade into) for a week is just not possible with points"

      Really? I can do it for exactly $0/night. You obviously have no clue how to accumulate and use points, or more likely you're just another disgusting timeshare shill.

    2. Kevin

      Hmmm… try getting getting a 2 bedroom ski week at the Hyatt in Aspen on World of Hyatt points…. That’s right! You can’t… because they don’t offer it

      Gotta love the personal attacks on these threads…. Ben, why do you allow it?

    3. Kevin

      I had to look up what “shill” means… yeah, definitely not employed in that industry or the travel industry at all… since World of Hyatt points are a currency, I’d love to see an example of a 7 night redemption in a 2 bedroom at the Hyatt in Aspen for less than $200/night
      Shoot, maybe I’m wrong here

    4. Abey

      Kevin do fill us in on how to get these deals !!

    5. Kevin

      Abey
      Unfortunately, I don’t have a blog
      But TUG is a good place to start in the research… so many on there that are way smarter than me…. I read threads on there for months and months before diving into my first $1 purchase on eBay
      I find Interval to be a great exchange company (in my experience)…. During the pandemic, they dumped several free week certs into my account that I...

      Abey
      Unfortunately, I don’t have a blog
      But TUG is a good place to start in the research… so many on there that are way smarter than me…. I read threads on there for months and months before diving into my first $1 purchase on eBay
      I find Interval to be a great exchange company (in my experience)…. During the pandemic, they dumped several free week certs into my account that I definitely used… (they simply charged an exchange fee to use)
      I get that it’s definitely not for everyone
      Peace all and happy traveling!

    6. Keith

      I can’t speak for Aspen specifically but I’ve gotten free rooms at Whistler, park city, etc during ski week. And I paid nothing for it.

    7. pstm91

      While $200/night in Aspen is certainly a phenomenal value, the catch here is that you have to stay at the Hyatt... Would be one of my absolute last choices there.

  5. Another Lump

    Timeshares are disgusting, they prey on the financially illiterate, naive, and those too weak to say no. My parents also fell prey to this scam and learned the hard way. There is simply no logical reason for anybody in any situation, no matter their travel habits, to buy into a timeshare. It is 100% always a bad decision that will be regretted, full stop. Sure, if purchased on the resale market it's cheaper, but the...

    Timeshares are disgusting, they prey on the financially illiterate, naive, and those too weak to say no. My parents also fell prey to this scam and learned the hard way. There is simply no logical reason for anybody in any situation, no matter their travel habits, to buy into a timeshare. It is 100% always a bad decision that will be regretted, full stop. Sure, if purchased on the resale market it's cheaper, but the current owners are happily dumping it on you at that price for a reason: because you too will come to regret it and look to get out.

    If you take the money you would waste on a timeshare and invest it properly, you will have more money to enjoy much longer and higher quality travel experiences for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you optimize your points and miles strategy.

    Just don't do it.

    And no hotel is going to "force" me into listening to a timeshare preso I didn't agree to. I'd make a loud scene and start making calls if they tried. Don't be a pushover.

    1. Steve

      Pretty naïve to think people will take money and save/invest it properly rather than buy something with it, especially considering we are congregating here on a website that highlights the benefits that credit cards give responsible people like ourselves due the massive number of financially irresponsible people. Thankfully the internet and more inormation exists now making their practices a little more reasonable as people arent as likely to fall for their tactics. All that said...

      Pretty naïve to think people will take money and save/invest it properly rather than buy something with it, especially considering we are congregating here on a website that highlights the benefits that credit cards give responsible people like ourselves due the massive number of financially irresponsible people. Thankfully the internet and more inormation exists now making their practices a little more reasonable as people arent as likely to fall for their tactics. All that said i will never even consider staying at any property where there is a .01% chance of a presentation. Even if every tripadvisor review says no pitch made if there is still a possibility i am out and will pick another resort.

  6. Lines_aviation

    Is it fair to compare timeshares to NFTs, large upfront costs, no real demand to buy them, and it's not really clear whether what you own is actually going to exist in the future.
    Obviously not something I intend to buy in the future, tying yourself down financially long term to an unregulated market is never a good idea - just look at what's happened to cryptocurrencies over the last few months.

  7. K.M.

    I got a job at a time share resort in the sales department and quit after a month. I hated it. Oh man reading your article brought back some bad memories haha.

    1. JoshB

      Please share some of the tactics/cynicism from the other side, if you're willing.

    2. K.M.

      Hey there. I forgot to mention that I was an associate at the welcome desk so I wasn't actually selling the timeshares but I did sit through a presentation while I was training. It was typical pushy sales tactics to convince the visitors to sign up on the spot. But just sitting through it made me feel uncomfortable because I was thinking about being in their spot and being pressured to do something I'm not...

      Hey there. I forgot to mention that I was an associate at the welcome desk so I wasn't actually selling the timeshares but I did sit through a presentation while I was training. It was typical pushy sales tactics to convince the visitors to sign up on the spot. But just sitting through it made me feel uncomfortable because I was thinking about being in their spot and being pressured to do something I'm not confident about. First there was a sales person and another person who I think dealt with the contract. He was just as pushy. That experience gave me a bad impression of timeshares in general and I just couldn't stay motivated to greet people who I knew would be deceived in to buying something.

    3. JoshB

      Thanks. I can understand how demoralizing that must have been.

  8. LM Thompson

    I agree with every point you have made. I manage my 83 year old mom’s Marriott timeshare that she has had for 25 years and it is a total beating. We are currently in the process of trying to figure out an exit strategy so this “vacation” issue doesn’t pass on to the next generation.

    Does anyone have a reputable exit firm they would recommend working with?

    1. Michael Carter

      No one can be forced to inherit a timeshare. Any lawyer will tell you that. Also, if you don't have a loan, just walk away from the maintenance fees. The fees aren't loans; they're simply usage fees (just like a gym membership) so no credit hit.

    2. Dominic

      Which Marriott property is it? That is going to matter a lot in terms of what your options are...

    3. Rob

      Go to TUG, free, and 10x better advice than an exit company.

    4. Andrew

      Can you help with a tug link, as there are many fakers and SEO results polluting a TUG search .net, .com bbs...

    5. Shane

      They are so easy to get out of as long as you don't want to make money. I imagine that there would be a line of people that would take it off your hands for nothing as long it's a week ownership and not a club. The most you would have to do is is pay LT Transfers several hundred dollars to transfer ownership to the new owner and they may be willing to split that or pay for the transfer themselves. Pretty easy. I'm doing it myself right now.

  9. Tennen

    @Lucky (or anyone else, for that matter), how did your parents get rid of their timeshare? We're stuck with SEVERAL we inherited from parents, and it's been a nightmare to get anyone to touch them. :-/ "He couldn’t even give it away for free, and just have someone take over the maintenance fees." OMG, that's our experience exactly.

    If they had consulted with any of us (one was even in real estate at the time)...

    @Lucky (or anyone else, for that matter), how did your parents get rid of their timeshare? We're stuck with SEVERAL we inherited from parents, and it's been a nightmare to get anyone to touch them. :-/ "He couldn’t even give it away for free, and just have someone take over the maintenance fees." OMG, that's our experience exactly.

    If they had consulted with any of us (one was even in real estate at the time) prior to their purchase, we would've told them it was a bad idea...

    1. Rob

      You did not have to accept the timeshares at inheritance time

    2. Shane

      Very easy to get rid of owned weeks. Do not use an exit company. Generally rip offs and scams. TUG Facebook Group and website tugbbs.com will help you for free or a $15 membership fee. I joined but there's still a lot of access if you don't. If you transfer ownership no one will hassle you about your "inherited" weeks.

  10. Kyle

    This site is so f'ing boring now. Like, what is even the purpose of the homepage? We still gotta click through to the blog. Please go on a trip, post a review, something! Lame ass recycled credit card reviews and points buying opportunities. Get back to why people keep coming here...luxury reviews so we can see how we want to spend our points. Otherwise, this place will just fade out. I know I definitely don't check in every day now like I used to.

    1. Jacob

      He literally went to Greece last month and it was one of the most drama filled interesting trip reports in recent memory…?

    2. Joe

      Go visit TPG
      They would love you as a reader

  11. DenB

    It's pretty clear that there are two separate Timeshare experiences (sleazy high pressure sales, and well-researched resale) just as there are two ways of staying at expensive hotels: well-researched Points and Miles, or lamb to the slaughter. Ben has got a new convo going here, which has aroused a mild interest in the potential of a bargain. Obviously buying a new timeshare during a sales presentation is like paying for everything with Debit and paying...

    It's pretty clear that there are two separate Timeshare experiences (sleazy high pressure sales, and well-researched resale) just as there are two ways of staying at expensive hotels: well-researched Points and Miles, or lamb to the slaughter. Ben has got a new convo going here, which has aroused a mild interest in the potential of a bargain. Obviously buying a new timeshare during a sales presentation is like paying for everything with Debit and paying cash for First Class air travel, without providing a loyalty number to earn points. As with our Point/Miles game, the premise is to prey upon the misfortunes of others ;-), but sadly the victims in the timeshare racket are the dupes that bought them, instead of large corporations. Caveat Vendor

  12. Bill

    Same reason I would never own a second home….I can vacuum my own rugs, make my own bed, look out the window and see the exact same scenery at my primary residence year after year after year. When it’s “vacation time” that means new location, new scenery, new experiences, and being waited-on 24/7. No thanks.

    1. snic

      Uh, the people I know who are wealthy enough to have a second home pay someone to vacuum their rugs in both homes... and they can spend the entire summer at the beach rather than just a week. While still travelling a lot.

    2. Lukas

      Agreed! I get that some very or ultra rich do it, but for me as a somewhat well-off but still ”normal” individual, it’s just not worth the hassle, headaches and running costs. If someone doesn’t make my bed and serve me breakfast in the morning, it’s not vacation (for me). If I need to do my own maintanance work, or even think about it, it’s not vacation (for me). Same with Airbnbs, RVs, camping, etc - it just doesn’t come across as ”vacation”.

  13. DuaneU2

    "You want to vacation in the same place for the same week every year for the rest of your life, and for the rest of your ancestors’ lives "

    I think you mean descendants' lives, not ancestors.

  14. Regis

    "In the case of an owner’s death, a timeshare becomes part of that owner's estate, and thus, the benefits, investment, and obligations attached to it are passed onto the next-of-kin or the beneficiary of the estate..." (From Westgate resorts).

    Ben, you are lucky your dad was able to get rid of it, lest you would have inherited it, which would have been poetic justice.

    Ahh, the beauty of timeshares: not only you are on...

    "In the case of an owner’s death, a timeshare becomes part of that owner's estate, and thus, the benefits, investment, and obligations attached to it are passed onto the next-of-kin or the beneficiary of the estate..." (From Westgate resorts).

    Ben, you are lucky your dad was able to get rid of it, lest you would have inherited it, which would have been poetic justice.

    Ahh, the beauty of timeshares: not only you are on the hook for life for $$$$, so are your descendants.

    The only way timeshares are sold are under the extremely high pressure and manipulative sales tactics Ben described. If timeshares had any value, one would be able to sell it under normal conditions like you sell and buy anything else.

    1. Gaurav

      I'm sure Westgate wants you to think of it that way but I highly doubt it would be legally enforceable to foist off obligations to someone else.

  15. HawaiiDreaming

    I was like you 15 years ago. But, we are disney nuts. We rented disney vacation club rooms for a couple of years and quickly realized we wanted to go to disney world multiple times a year when our children were little. I researched all of the major timeshare programs and it seems that the DVC value increases whereas all other timeshares decrease in value. We bought a small contract almost 15 years ago and...

    I was like you 15 years ago. But, we are disney nuts. We rented disney vacation club rooms for a couple of years and quickly realized we wanted to go to disney world multiple times a year when our children were little. I researched all of the major timeshare programs and it seems that the DVC value increases whereas all other timeshares decrease in value. We bought a small contract almost 15 years ago and it has been a wonderful blessing for our family. We got an email from the company that we purchased the contract on the secondary market (I would never buy from disney because the price is much higher). They were offering to buy our contract back at a price 50% higher than we bought the contract for 15 years ago. You can easily get 3 times your annual dues if you want to rent your points. As you mentioned, all timeshares are not created equally. We still vacation other places during the year. We don't exclusively go to disney world.

    1. Chasgoose

      DVC is an example of one of the good ones but only if you realistically think you will want to go to Disney World once every 1-2 years.

    2. CZ4EVER

      Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is one of the good ones, although even for DVC I recommend buying on the secondary market rather than directly from Disney. One very nice thing about Disney's timeshares is that it is trivially easy to rent out your DVC points for 2-3X as much as your annual maintenance fees, either by using one of the several sites that act as rental agents or doing it yourself via Facebook or similar....

      Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is one of the good ones, although even for DVC I recommend buying on the secondary market rather than directly from Disney. One very nice thing about Disney's timeshares is that it is trivially easy to rent out your DVC points for 2-3X as much as your annual maintenance fees, either by using one of the several sites that act as rental agents or doing it yourself via Facebook or similar. My family has only visited once in the twelve years since I bought (quite a few) DVC points -- every other year I've rented out the points for a nice paycheck.

  16. Harry

    The best advice I got before heading to Cabo for our honeymoon was to stay away from timeshare presentations. It seems the worst of the worst is there. We almost got held against our will unless we obliged to a presentation. Interestingly, we were at the cabo port when another person was trying to lure us to a presentation. At first, he offered dinner cruise tickets, then $100 cash. Eventually, he offered us $300 cash....

    The best advice I got before heading to Cabo for our honeymoon was to stay away from timeshare presentations. It seems the worst of the worst is there. We almost got held against our will unless we obliged to a presentation. Interestingly, we were at the cabo port when another person was trying to lure us to a presentation. At first, he offered dinner cruise tickets, then $100 cash. Eventually, he offered us $300 cash. makes you wonder how much they are getting. We still walked away. The stress of sitting through these presentations simply isn't worth it even on the resale market. The only 'timeshare' that seem to work well is with Disney. Those seem to appreciate over time but I don't go to disney enough to bother looking into to.

  17. Santastico

    Timeshares appeal to families who are not travel savvy and thus do not want to have to deal with stress of it. I have a family of friends from Brazil that bough a timeshare in the US and they love it. They deal with a local representative that speaks their language and helps them to get the rooms they need, availability, choosing the right location, etc… They also get the “feeling” that it is cheap....

    Timeshares appeal to families who are not travel savvy and thus do not want to have to deal with stress of it. I have a family of friends from Brazil that bough a timeshare in the US and they love it. They deal with a local representative that speaks their language and helps them to get the rooms they need, availability, choosing the right location, etc… They also get the “feeling” that it is cheap. They won’t venture in looking for anything else that is unknown to them. They are happy with it.

  18. Jesse

    You're way too nice. Had I been in your shoes, I'd have firmly told them to shove it (well, my actual wording would have included the F word) and would have immediately demanded my room key. If they persisted, then I would have called the police. It's nothing less than harrassment. I've had similar situations where I was a paying customer at a hotel/resort and they tried to force me to listen to a presentation. It's a disgusting tactic.

  19. Stephen Morrissey

    We stayed at The Fives Oceanfront - Puerto Morelos last November (2020).
    Great hotel, great service and delicious food.
    Problem was, before we even checked in, we got clobbered with the "it's not a timeshare" pitch.
    Twenty minutes of me repeating myself, "no,no, no" finally did it.
    Had a wonderful stay after that nasty introduction to the place.

  20. derek

    I got free Disney World tickets for attending a session!

  21. philwupdx

    Ben, I agree 100% with all of your points. My partner and I "owned" a timeshare in Lake Havasu, AZ for several years. We visited a couple of times and after awhile decided that we really didn't want to spend all of our vacation time in that same location. Additionally, the maintenance and exchange fees, which we could handle financially, became money dumped down a drain. We decided to sell and quickly realized the almost...

    Ben, I agree 100% with all of your points. My partner and I "owned" a timeshare in Lake Havasu, AZ for several years. We visited a couple of times and after awhile decided that we really didn't want to spend all of our vacation time in that same location. Additionally, the maintenance and exchange fees, which we could handle financially, became money dumped down a drain. We decided to sell and quickly realized the almost impossibility of doing that. Most worrisome, however, was the idea that holding onto this property meant my daughter and her family would eventually be involuntarily burdened with this property and the problems we were experiencing. Finally, we paid a company $6500 to take it off our hands. Never again with any company!

  22. JustSaying

    Long ago I bought a Disney timeshare that included free admission to the park. Every year we would fly from DC to Orlando stop at the Commissary on the way to the beautiful accommodations and then stay a week getting in the park early coming back to the pool for mid afternoon breaks and then back to the park for evening fireworks! My family had a blast. Then when my kids got too old to...

    Long ago I bought a Disney timeshare that included free admission to the park. Every year we would fly from DC to Orlando stop at the Commissary on the way to the beautiful accommodations and then stay a week getting in the park early coming back to the pool for mid afternoon breaks and then back to the park for evening fireworks! My family had a blast. Then when my kids got too old to enjoy Disney I sold the timeshare on the secondary market for a profit. You just need to know what you're doing!

  23. Irene Parker

    I have heard from over 2,000 timeshare members and owners after I started reporting on timeshares in 2016. I've heard from too many buyers infuriated by deceptive sales. There is an oral representation clause in the contract that will likely dismiss any complaint that begins with "The sales agent said." Four buyers had to declare bankruptcy, one a 90% disabled veteran, one who found out 7 years after filing for bankruptcy the developer never foreclosed....

    I have heard from over 2,000 timeshare members and owners after I started reporting on timeshares in 2016. I've heard from too many buyers infuriated by deceptive sales. There is an oral representation clause in the contract that will likely dismiss any complaint that begins with "The sales agent said." Four buyers had to declare bankruptcy, one a 90% disabled veteran, one who found out 7 years after filing for bankruptcy the developer never foreclosed. With no value, it was an abandoned asset. I have been receiving reports that developers are going to get more aggressive pursuing defaulting members, rather than just foreclose on the points. Westgate, according to court documents as stated by their VP of Mortgages, has an approximate 30% default rate. I loved our timeshares for 30 years, but hearing daily from families financially harmed or ruined has changed my attitude. Financing a timeshare at 12.99 to 17.99%, with no secondary market, is a recipe for financial ruin should you experience an adverse life even. No one who understands this would ever finance a timeshare.

  24. Eskimo

    The first rule of timeshare is: almost everyone do not need a timeshare.
    The second rule of timeshare is: almost everyone do not need a timeshare.

    Eskimo's timeshare for dummies.

    Have less than 2 kids? Skip timeshare immediately.
    The good deals are for 2BR+, buy them on secondary market.
    You have a 10 year window to maximize your timeshare.
    Your kids will love it from age 6 - 16. And will...

    The first rule of timeshare is: almost everyone do not need a timeshare.
    The second rule of timeshare is: almost everyone do not need a timeshare.

    Eskimo's timeshare for dummies.

    Have less than 2 kids? Skip timeshare immediately.
    The good deals are for 2BR+, buy them on secondary market.
    You have a 10 year window to maximize your timeshare.
    Your kids will love it from age 6 - 16. And will hate it afterwards for the rest of their lives (i.e. see @Lucky)
    Sell it after 10 years for whatever price, it's useless now.

    Now for people who call nasty stuff about timeshare. It's not much difference than owning a 2nd house.
    You are literally buying a 2nd house, 3rd house etc.
    Your houses have upkeep and taxes you have to pay either you stay or not, same way your timeshare does.
    Do you think owning a 2nd home gives you better value than a hotel? Not for everyone.
    Some would argue you can rent out your 2nd home. Well, timeshare is like you own 1/1000 of your home, so if someone rents out their 2nd home for $200 a night, your 1/1000 cut is 20 cents!!!!!!
    You also get the downside of having to share 1/1000 rather than your own.
    Think of family of 4 sharing 1 bathroom in the morning vs Your personal private bathroom.

    Buying from developer's are technically not a bad thing. But because there are too many owners out there who should not be owning timeshare at the first place is selling below market value. Hard sales pitch yes, but this is no different than car dealerships.
    No different than people who can afford a used Chevy Malibu ended up with a brand new full option Cadillac Escalade off the lot. 1,000 miles later they have to return the Escalade at 70% the cost. Same with timeshare, secondary market is flooded with 30% off Escalade deals.

  25. Jeremy

    I’m surprised someone who loves Hyatt has never looked into owning in their system. I’m just an anecdote, so this is one data point, others may have different experiences. I bought at Wild Oak Ranch on eBay for less than $4k and own a 2200 point unit. The cost is minuscule compared to the nightly at the resorts we’ve used that include 2BR weeks at Kaanapali on Maui, a 2BR multiple times skiing at Main...

    I’m surprised someone who loves Hyatt has never looked into owning in their system. I’m just an anecdote, so this is one data point, others may have different experiences. I bought at Wild Oak Ranch on eBay for less than $4k and own a 2200 point unit. The cost is minuscule compared to the nightly at the resorts we’ve used that include 2BR weeks at Kaanapali on Maui, a 2BR multiple times skiing at Main Street Station in Breck, at the Mountain Lodge at Beaver Creek and through Interval exchanges at Marriotts in Vail. We also use our home resort because who doesn’t like to stay in a condo and spend every day floating in the lazy river while the kids are on water slides? They never want to leave. It isn’t a hotel so there is no apples to apples, but I have stayed in the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek for a full week in a 2BR with a full kitchen for less than what 2 nights would cost in the hotel room down the hall. When you experimented with living in hotels for awhile it might have been more tolerable with a few timeshare weeks peppered in there to have some serious space. Anyway, I’m but one data point. I’m sure plenty of people buy into standalone timeshares with little flexibility from a developer and live with lots of regret.

  26. Dustin

    I attended the timeshares presentation in Las Vegas 3 months ago, I agreed with you about their sales pitch. They pushed hard for me to say yes but I stood on my feet and said no many times. You are right you will pay for the uncertainty for the rest of your life instead utilizing that money to pay for a hotel room or a Airbnb wherever you want to go. I don't want to...

    I attended the timeshares presentation in Las Vegas 3 months ago, I agreed with you about their sales pitch. They pushed hard for me to say yes but I stood on my feet and said no many times. You are right you will pay for the uncertainty for the rest of your life instead utilizing that money to pay for a hotel room or a Airbnb wherever you want to go. I don't want to go to the same place, and the same week every year. I have to pat myself in the back for not getting in a one-sided contract of buying a timeshare. Great article!!!!

  27. Donna

    One has to wonder if Airbnb and vacation home rentals have dealt the final death blow to the timeshare industry that they so richly deserve.

  28. echino

    Yes, you are missing a huge travel hack. Buy resale only, for next to nothing. Take time to research the points, like Hyatt HRC points or Vistana StarOptions. It's a steep learning curve, but once you "get it", you can extract unbelievable value from timeshares, like booking two bedroom oceanfront Hyatt Kaanapali for $250 per night (your all-in cost). It's a big travel hack and I am surprised that your blog does not cover it.

    1. staradmiral

      $250/night does not sound like a deal to an avid points and mile travel hacker. I prefer $0

    2. echino

      Check the paid rates there. $2,000 per night. And usually sold out.

  29. D.A.

    I buy my timeshares at the county property tax foreclosure sales for typically just a few hundred $ (the back taxes due), then trade the weeks or sell them. If the maintenance fees get to expensive years out, I walk.

    1. Regis

      How do you walk? That is the whole problem with timeshares, you can't walk away from it.

  30. Jacob

    NOBODY should buy a timeshare from a presentation.

    However… buying resale from Hilton or Marriott can make a lot of sense. With both of those programs you aren’t attached to a specific hotel but rather can book anywhere in the world. With the Marriott program you can even book Marriott hotels which is really nice. With Hilton you can book Disney hotels which is neat.

    With either program resale you can buy contracts for maybe...

    NOBODY should buy a timeshare from a presentation.

    However… buying resale from Hilton or Marriott can make a lot of sense. With both of those programs you aren’t attached to a specific hotel but rather can book anywhere in the world. With the Marriott program you can even book Marriott hotels which is really nice. With Hilton you can book Disney hotels which is neat.

    With either program resale you can buy contracts for maybe $1 and then are only faced with the yearly fees. When my wife and I are done churning this is our plan.

  31. James S

    I got roped into a presentation in Mexico. We got a free breakfast and snorkel cruise out of it.

    But the math made zero sense to me. Theyre like "youll only pay $1,000 a year (plus the massive initial fee) and Im like...thats really expensive. We were staying in an Airbnb in Playa del Carmen with 2 bedrooms and a private rooftop hot tub for like $40 a night.

  32. Ceejay

    I just tell the salespeople I embezzled a bunch of money and have to report to prison to start a 23 year term soon and they stop talking to me. I enjoy the free hotel nights and drinks though!

  33. MoGreen

    I love timeshares , they are amazing , but , I love renting other people's timeshares , would never, ever , buy one myself.

    You can always find a timeshare for rent , for at most the annual maintenance cost , on sites like Redweek . Have stayed at a few Four Seasons properties, 2BR. 2BA with a full kitchen for $200-300 a night , and when you have a family there is no better deal and you are not locked in to a contract until you die.

  34. Dominic

    Full disclosure, I work for the largest Timeshare company in the world (Marriott Vacations Worldwide). That out of the way, there are certain situations where a timeshare makes sense. I bought one when I started with the company 21 years ago (when I was 22 years old - and I got 35% off). This property is in Ko'Olina (30 minutes west of Honolulu). I have never been back (though I want to change that soon)...

    Full disclosure, I work for the largest Timeshare company in the world (Marriott Vacations Worldwide). That out of the way, there are certain situations where a timeshare makes sense. I bought one when I started with the company 21 years ago (when I was 22 years old - and I got 35% off). This property is in Ko'Olina (30 minutes west of Honolulu). I have never been back (though I want to change that soon) but rather I trade it into points every year, and those points score me some pretty great ski-in-ski-out accommodations with 3 bed/baths, etc for the whole family. We love the Grand Residence Club (Lake Tahoe) at the base of Heavenly right near the gondola. I pay $1400/year in fees all in. To rent this 3bed unit for a week would cost me 10x that much! And sometimes I have enough points leftover for a boys trip to Vegas (The Grand Chateau is a hidden gem on the strip). We get a 2bed/bath and have had nothing but great times there over the years. Timeshares are certainly not for most people, but for some, it really can make financial sense. :)

  35. Creditcrunch

    What’s more worrying is somehow all the adverts I am seeing on OMAT are about buying timeshares or timeshare related, I don’t pretend to understand advertising algorithms but it’s very bizarre

  36. Pauls98

    I've been a timeshare owner since the early 90's with a points based company that has numerous properties in the US and other countries. I have never paid an exchange fee. My unit in Sydney had the same dishes and packets of spices as the unit in Vancouver BC as the unit on the Oregon Coast, etc. Maintenance dues do continue to rise but I get great value out of my points. I can choose...

    I've been a timeshare owner since the early 90's with a points based company that has numerous properties in the US and other countries. I have never paid an exchange fee. My unit in Sydney had the same dishes and packets of spices as the unit in Vancouver BC as the unit on the Oregon Coast, etc. Maintenance dues do continue to rise but I get great value out of my points. I can choose anything from a studio to a 3 bedroom with enhanced amenities. I can roll over points from this year to next and borrow from the following if I want to do some crazy long trip or reserve a huge number of units. I organize a family reunion every other year and use my points to house 20+ people with each family getting their own unit, 1 to 3 bedrooms. I figure their cost based on how many points I spent and what my maintenance dues are. Generally comes in at about $40/person/night for a fully equipped unit with a washer and dryer. Clubhouse with games and pools and hot tubs and often a BBQ on your patio or deck. What I do tell people is that it will be the worst financial decision they could make if they don't use it. Use it to the full extent and you'll probably get good value out of it. And, I 100% agree: High pressure jerks are often across the sales table from you. I have increased my ownership points over time to be 'right-sized' for my needs. They call and try to sell me more and I always say no cuz I have just the right amount for my needs.

  37. Byron

    I like going to these things and saying NO. Got 100,000 Hilton points for sitting through one of these last July. We were not happy with their covid policies and told them we just wanted to go. They were not wearing masks and no shields between them and us. We got the 100K points. They also knew every timeshare presentation we had been to. Kinda creepy.

  38. pstm91

    All of the responses defending Timeshares are basically saying the same thing; that they are right for some people who do their extensive research. That misses the point on why Timeshares and the companies selling them are awful. 99% of people are not savvy travelers and are easily swindled by these deceptive/predatory sales tactics. Those are the people these companies are targeting, and that is the problem. It would be one thing if it were...

    All of the responses defending Timeshares are basically saying the same thing; that they are right for some people who do their extensive research. That misses the point on why Timeshares and the companies selling them are awful. 99% of people are not savvy travelers and are easily swindled by these deceptive/predatory sales tactics. Those are the people these companies are targeting, and that is the problem. It would be one thing if it were a "few bad apples," but that is a industry-wide approach.

  39. Jr

    Many years ago, I travelled with my mother to Oahu on vacation via staying with friends in the SF Bay Area. At the hotel we were told by the day tour sales guy that if we attended a timeshare promotion we could get a half price day excursion to the big isle. Quite a saving! We were given a ticket to attend at I think the rain forest cafe with free breakfast. So we did.

    Many years ago, I travelled with my mother to Oahu on vacation via staying with friends in the SF Bay Area. At the hotel we were told by the day tour sales guy that if we attended a timeshare promotion we could get a half price day excursion to the big isle. Quite a saving! We were given a ticket to attend at I think the rain forest cafe with free breakfast. So we did.
    It was like a cattle market. Hundreds of vacationers crammed in. We were treated to a promotional speech with slides, a film etc. As we munched on a substandard breakfast, sales people circled like vultures doing their sales routines. We were handed basic paperwork to fill in etc. Of course I read the small print saying timeshare purchase only open to US and Canadian residents. Naturally we kept saying no to the high pressure sales people, but please could we have the voucher allowing us the half price excursion. It took a good hour before they realised not just we didn’t want to buy but could not - being UK citizens. One sales person was particularly angry and demanded why we didn’t say this in the first place. I pointed to the basic paperwork in his hand we had completed that clearly stated we were from the UK! At this point his chest deflated considerably and we received our voucher for the excursion, and sent to the excursion booking desk. We got our excursion to the big isle for the following day - and i have to say a great trip! Aloha airlines and a super tour guide!

  40. Pam

    It takes time, effort, & tenacity to understsnd their best use, just like with points & miles. They provide incredible oppprtunity & variety but only armed with full knowledge & an open mind.

  41. Kim

    I agree with Jim. I too buy on the secondary market and have had great success. For $235 I spent one week at a Marriott in Oahu right on the ocean. This was January of this year and I know it was during COVID but for $34 a night I could not have been happier. I would only ever buy on the secondary market. I also tend to buy quality (Marriott) so I have good trading value.

  42. Noel C.

    A lot of what you describe is typical of sales in Mexico. I do find the US sales (my experience is with Marriott and Hyatt) to be less sleazy. My thoughts are that there are deals to be had, but you have to be flexible and organized. I bought a 2br Marriott "lock-off" many years ago. Each year, I "lock-off" that unit, despot it with Interval when they are having a matching promotion and turn...

    A lot of what you describe is typical of sales in Mexico. I do find the US sales (my experience is with Marriott and Hyatt) to be less sleazy. My thoughts are that there are deals to be had, but you have to be flexible and organized. I bought a 2br Marriott "lock-off" many years ago. Each year, I "lock-off" that unit, despot it with Interval when they are having a matching promotion and turn my 1 week 2 bedroom into 2 weeks in a 1br and 2 weeks in a studio. If I am flexible and diligent in looking for trades, I can often turn the 1br or studio back into a 2br. I pay fees along the way, but think I still come out ahead. With the maintenance and all the dip fees, I probably spend about $2500 ($1500 maintenance, $1000 conversion fees) a year but am getting 4 weeks in Hawaii, Aruba and other great destinations. Marriott discontinued the lock-off and then gradually switched to an all points model and are aggressive in trying to get me to switch to a points program. This tells me, they adapt their program once their users figure out ways to come out ahead. They are not innovative, just trying to find new ways to screw people, but there are great ways to screw them back.

  43. Shane

    I could write pages on this, but the long and the short of it is, if you like being able to take vacations in a lot of different places, you're flexible, a good planner, and you like one or two bedroom condos, with a couple bathrooms, a living room, a full kitchen, and resort amenities, instead of hotel rooms, for no more than maybe $500 a week if you are flexible, and plan it right,...

    I could write pages on this, but the long and the short of it is, if you like being able to take vacations in a lot of different places, you're flexible, a good planner, and you like one or two bedroom condos, with a couple bathrooms, a living room, a full kitchen, and resort amenities, instead of hotel rooms, for no more than maybe $500 a week if you are flexible, and plan it right, then time shares are for you. If you're willing to do the work. There is a system and it can be hacked.

  44. John O’Connell

    We had a timeshare for ten years at the Highlands Inn in Carmel when we lived an hour and a half away. Then we moved north, close to the Canadian border which turned use, twice a year, into an additional two days on each end. After two years the novelty of inclement weather over the Cascades and Siskiyous and driving through Seattle and Portland wore off and we were ready to sell. HAh! There was...

    We had a timeshare for ten years at the Highlands Inn in Carmel when we lived an hour and a half away. Then we moved north, close to the Canadian border which turned use, twice a year, into an additional two days on each end. After two years the novelty of inclement weather over the Cascades and Siskiyous and driving through Seattle and Portland wore off and we were ready to sell. HAh! There was no secondary market for this glorious location in a year. We ended up “giving” the two weeks back to Hyatt/Marriott to get out from under the escalating maintenance fees. Gifting to children? HAh! Try giving those maintenance fees for the next fifty years to a forty year old with two children. We are glad to be free. An aside: we would go to at least one “owners” update which was a combination update and sales pitch. The notion of “what a great value this is” was dispelled by my wife when she said to the presenter, the property is worthless if you can’t sell it and you won’t buy it back.

  45. Mickey

    My parents have had one in princeville Kauai and love it. Others here have talked about hacking free weeks in exchange- but they hack the best ocean view units by virtue of knowing all the workers for decades. Not all units are created equal and hand picking the very best has a ton of value.

  46. John Richard Stewart

    Having owned 12 timeshares over my life I can give some insight.
    1. Buy resale, never from a presentation. I actually got mine as payment for bills owed to me which I had little to no chance of collecting.
    2. All my timeshares were registered in a LLC, with no assets.
    3. I could walk away with no liability.
    4. I never stayed in the actual timeshare, but space banked them...

    Having owned 12 timeshares over my life I can give some insight.
    1. Buy resale, never from a presentation. I actually got mine as payment for bills owed to me which I had little to no chance of collecting.
    2. All my timeshares were registered in a LLC, with no assets.
    3. I could walk away with no liability.
    4. I never stayed in the actual timeshare, but space banked them in tradingplaces.com getting 1 exchange and 2 bonus weeks per week space banked. 3 for the 1 maintenance fee.
    5. My exchange costs are $169 and bonus weeks are $239.
    6. I'm down to my last timeshare in South Africa, where the SA Rand has a fantastic exchange rate and my maintenance fees are only $325/year.
    7. If there is ever a major assessment, I can just walk away, without liability.
    8. I have often traded space banked weeks for construction work around my house.
    9. I have a 2 bedroom in Myrtle Beach next June, but usually, you have to be EXTREMELY flexible because the peak travel time, Summer, has little or no availability. We're retired and can travel in the off-season, so for us, this works out great.
    Summary. You can get weeks on the secondary market for little or no cost. Set up a LLC for ownership. Find a low maintenance fee. Be flexible and travel off-season. NEVER BUY ANYTHING at a presentation. We go frequently if we have lots of extra time and want the premium offered. Our last one was in Cancun, where we got $400 (USD) in pesos (8k NMP). Better than going to an ATM ;-)

    1. jeffk

      You certainly know how to play this system for your benefit. My hat is off to you. I wrote the post following yours and I am an expert at the points and miles game and have been for decades. I too have traded wonderful vacations with friends of mine who are contractors for their labor on a number of occasions. Around 2008, I made a deal with a contractor friend to rehab my entire 1200...

      You certainly know how to play this system for your benefit. My hat is off to you. I wrote the post following yours and I am an expert at the points and miles game and have been for decades. I too have traded wonderful vacations with friends of mine who are contractors for their labor on a number of occasions. Around 2008, I made a deal with a contractor friend to rehab my entire 1200 sq foot villa in Florida so I could sell it easily in the economic downturn that was going on. I offered him and his wife a trip anywhere in the world they wanted to go in business class round trip and free hotels for up to three weeks. They chose to fly from Fort Myers to Tel Aviv on Air Berlin (which no longer is in business). And then fly back on Air Berlin with a stop over in Dusseldorf. I put them up in a Sheraton on the beach in Tel Aviv and at a Hilton in Dusseldorf. I showed them how much that would cost in real money and they jumped at the opportunity to exchange labor for this trip. I have done similar things a couple of other times as well for big trips. One time I traded a dog trainer a certain number of visits for a trip she wanted to take to Colorado Springs. She was happy to make the trade. I loved reading about your expertise though and the fact that you always have a legal "out" as an LLC. Who knew? Not many people I bet.

  47. MikeFreebie

    The resale opportunities are not as good as you think. They’re usually terrible. One common clause in those restrictive contracts is “right of first refusal,” which means that the developer (or current complex owner) has the right to purchase that deal at the terms the current owner and buyer agreed to. If someone wants to dump their property for $0, or let’s say $2,000 the developer exercises their right and makes the purchase at that...

    The resale opportunities are not as good as you think. They’re usually terrible. One common clause in those restrictive contracts is “right of first refusal,” which means that the developer (or current complex owner) has the right to purchase that deal at the terms the current owner and buyer agreed to. If someone wants to dump their property for $0, or let’s say $2,000 the developer exercises their right and makes the purchase at that price.

    This is the the singular most profitable opportunity for developers because it’s much cheaper to reclaim those Unit Weeks and sell them again with high-pressure, high-commission sales teams that it would be to go acquire more land and build new properties. Reselling what you’ve previously owned is a gold mine. That’s the reason the required maintenance fees are pretty close, but a bit under, what you’d normally pay for a room in that area at that time of year anyway. That keeps the lump sum sales fees low on the resale market so the developers can keep buying their inventory back.

    The real opportunity is to RENT on those websites from the current owners. Many people offload their week with a listing price of the maintenance fee. If the owner can’t use it, anything they can collect is better than nothing, so you can get great deals and have the option of going anywhere you want. I’ve been doing this the last few years with young kids since that full-size kitchen is a lifesaver.

  48. jeffk

    I am a senior in the points and miles game big time for decades now. We travel 1st class with all hotels paid for, all over the world on points and miles for decades. We were staying at a Wyndham resort property at National Harbor in DC a few years ago in order to gamble at the MGM Casino there. We used Wyndham points to stay free. This property was also a time share property...

    I am a senior in the points and miles game big time for decades now. We travel 1st class with all hotels paid for, all over the world on points and miles for decades. We were staying at a Wyndham resort property at National Harbor in DC a few years ago in order to gamble at the MGM Casino there. We used Wyndham points to stay free. This property was also a time share property and they offered us a ton of points if we would attend a 1 hour presentation for a time share.....and they would give us a free breakfast. So, yes, we decided to be mooches. This was the first time I had decided to do this and I thought, why not, I would just set my watch and walk out after an hour. What a negative experience. At an hour I got up to walk out but my wife (who is way nicer than me) felt I was being disrespectful and told me to sit down. But, after the 3rd or 4th "manager" sailed through the office trying to close the deal, she had even had it. I had to get up in anger and loudly cause a scene. I had to order her to stand up as well as she felt she had to be polite. When I got loud and aggressive, they finally let us walk and gave us a piece of paper to give to the exit person so we could have it stamped to turn in on line to Wyndham to get our points put in our account. My wife told me afterward, she would never go again, no matter what amount of points we would get. She drew the line at that! Why in the hell anyone would ever spend that kind of money for so little is beyond me. But they make one hell of a business. I worked in federal law enforcement and decades ago I was involved with the Jim and Tammy Bakker (Christian Televangelists) fraud case, that in part, involved "time shares".

    The income from their satellite network allowed the Bakkers to purchase a total of 2,300 acres of land for a new venture -- a 500-room hotel and water park complex they called Heritage USA, located in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

    Bakker had always been fascinated by Walt Disney," he said, 'Why can't we have a Christian version of Disneyland?"

    Bakker asked his followers to give $1,000 for "lifetime partnerships" that would entitle them to an annual three-night stay at the Heritage Grand hotel, but this would be one of the first of many cracks in the Bakkers' empire.

    The problem was, there were way too many people giving $1,000, not nearly enough hotel rooms. That is what the fraud was.

    He sold more than 66,000 lifetime partnerships in the Heritage Grand, which amounted to way more than 100 percent occupancy in that hotel.
    Hence, his "time share" scam unraveled and he went to prison. Of course, his sex scandal with his young church worker also became public (with that young woman later being taken in by Hugh Hefner and posing in Playboy) and a whole bunch of other financial crimes.
    So, the message again is.........(and I say this jokingly of course)......don't buy time shares!

  49. Randy Shroy

    Most of your points are well taken. I have owned four timeshares (two in each location) for about 30 years. A couple of rules - do your homework first. NEVER attend a sales presentation - no matter what goodies they may dangle in front of you. I've been asked to when trading to another timeshare (directed to the desk to pick up my parking tag) and I've told them I have four and am "maintenance...

    Most of your points are well taken. I have owned four timeshares (two in each location) for about 30 years. A couple of rules - do your homework first. NEVER attend a sales presentation - no matter what goodies they may dangle in front of you. I've been asked to when trading to another timeshare (directed to the desk to pick up my parking tag) and I've told them I have four and am "maintenance fee poor". One suggested rule - if you want to buy - buy within a day's drive of your home - many want overseas or HI and then need the transportation to get there all the time. Make sure the week (if its a week deed - not points) is at a time you desire and may possibly make it easier to discard in the future if you desire. I picked up one in December at the beach for all the Christmas festivities. Check to see if the Timeshare has a deedback program where you can be assured you can return it in future years if you tire of it. Always check with Timeshare Users Group (tug.com). It has saved many people thousands that were ready to buy at a presentation and it has a robust resale area among its subscribers. They give you everything straight so you can make a sound decision. If you decide to trade - focus more on whatever high quality timeshare available anywhere - not a specific destination. Find all the interesting sights and things to see around it and you'll be much happier. Finally - you are never buying in hopes of making a profit (you won't) - you are buying as an investment in the travel that you yourself find rewarding. Oh - and talk to those you plan to put in your will first to see if they are interested in having your timeshare. If not specified - you are the owner and when you die no one can force your family to continue maintenance payments if not wanted.

  50. Bobtut

    My wife and I purchased two timeshares in the secondary market for $2,500 each from someone who paid $30,000 each. These two purchases worked well for many years. We were able to get a two bedroom condo for a week on each of them for the maintenance fee of a combined $600. Great deal a net $300 each for a condo instead of $75-100 a night for just a hotel room at the time. But...

    My wife and I purchased two timeshares in the secondary market for $2,500 each from someone who paid $30,000 each. These two purchases worked well for many years. We were able to get a two bedroom condo for a week on each of them for the maintenance fee of a combined $600. Great deal a net $300 each for a condo instead of $75-100 a night for just a hotel room at the time. But over 15 years or so our annual maintenance fee for the two of them grew to over $2,200 a year. That was the first problem, then we had to pay an additional $200 each to exchange them for other locations. So now we’re up to $1,300 a week for each one. Still not too bad, as hotel rooms were now $100-200 per night but the exchange process was complicated and very time consuming (hours and hours trying to get what, when and where you wanted) resulting many years in taking basically whatever we could get as opposed to what we wanted. So after years of going places we never heard of and arriving in a place that hadn’t been updated in 20 years and others with bad beds. Once we got a master bath that had only a jacuzzi bath with a hose-spray device to shower with, but it wasn’t attached to the wall and there were no walls or shower curtain, really bad! So finally the process became so frustrating and time consuming that we decided to sell. Well we thought, we ended up selling one week for $800 less the $500 commission we netted $300. The second one we returned to the timeshare company at no cost to us using a program they called I think “Ovation” and yes we were giving applause to them for taking it back. Overall we had many great vacations, however the facilities were about 50/50 good, never great to awful. The end result is that you couldn’t give me a time share for free today-Oh, but we did that too, with pretty much the same results, we ended up giving it away to a friend that absolutely felt they had to have it regardless of all the disclaimers we gave them. Today with VRBO and AirBnB I cannot think of one reason to own a timeshare when these two companies allow you to rent anywhere in the world, when you want and where you want at pretty reasonable prices.

  51. Morgan

    Great article Ben! Thanks, would have never considered a timeshare anyway but now especially not and will never be staying at the Solaz either.

  52. Happy thoughts and Pixie Dust

    Disney Vacation Club is a fantastic timeshare program for Disney fans and families that plan to visit Disneyland, Disney World, or Hawaii (Oahu) at least once every other year. Direct sales from Disney are no pressure, but the best deals are found on the resale market. DVC contracts have consistently appreciated in value over the past 30 years, typically beating inflation by at least 1% annually. The Grand Californian in LA has appreciated almost 7%...

    Disney Vacation Club is a fantastic timeshare program for Disney fans and families that plan to visit Disneyland, Disney World, or Hawaii (Oahu) at least once every other year. Direct sales from Disney are no pressure, but the best deals are found on the resale market. DVC contracts have consistently appreciated in value over the past 30 years, typically beating inflation by at least 1% annually. The Grand Californian in LA has appreciated almost 7% annually since it went on sale 12 years ago. There is a huge demand for rental points so it’s easy to turn points into cash at a rate of 2-3x annual fees. Bottom line, DVC lets you stay at Disney’s top resorts for ~$250-$350/ nt in a studio depending on season and resort when cash rates at the same hotels are $600-$900/ nt. Savings easily 50-70% and very easy to get out by selling on the resale market. Contracts also expire in 21 to 49 years depending on resort, so even if resale goes away you’re not stuck forever. There’s no way to stay at a Disney resort on points or free night certs. DVC is the best way to save on Disney’s deluxe resorts… just buy resale and don’t finance the purchase.

  53. KingBob

    Look at that annual maintenance fee on the price sheet. That alone works out to be $180/nt. When you add-in the clean-up fee and your upfront cost, it's even more. You can surely stay at that same resort for less than $180/nt.

  54. Flieger

    I do not believe, and firmly so, that anyone other than the sellers make any money in this game. This is the shady art of selling nothing for something.

  55. Mh

    It's amusing. All the people saying 'you're wrong about a timeshare" are actually saying you're right.

    Their consistent only argument is they bought something at a distressed sale afterwards. But that goes for anything! It's more they're saying ebay is good, rather than timeshares are good.

    Timeshares are what is sold at the presentations, and the few I was bribed to attend I had a similar experience as you describe, and calculated it's a...

    It's amusing. All the people saying 'you're wrong about a timeshare" are actually saying you're right.

    Their consistent only argument is they bought something at a distressed sale afterwards. But that goes for anything! It's more they're saying ebay is good, rather than timeshares are good.

    Timeshares are what is sold at the presentations, and the few I was bribed to attend I had a similar experience as you describe, and calculated it's a waste of money, despite their idealised comparisons.

    Now the fact some people are desperate to sell, so sell below the value doesn't make them a good product - obviously the opposite. It just means you can get a bargain from something sold cheaply - but that's true of anything.

    Even at 0 value, I have no desire to take them up as the maintenance fees, exchange fees, extension fees, lack of flexibility, limits on sites and locations and even the properties themselves make them a bad deal. But hey if you're that guy that loves to go the same or limited places, be restricted where you stay and when and how long, then in that very restricted set of circumstances you may make a saving. But anyone else, don't waste your time and money.

  56. Claus

    I wouldn‘t take a timeshare even for free. You take unlimited financial risk in exchange for the promise of a 1-week hotel stay per year. Downright crazy.

  57. erie

    We own a timeshare with a small company with point system and we just have enough to stay solid one week each year = our maintenance fee is NOT outrageous. We bought it 17 years ago and mostly use our points in Los Cabos properties which also operates as a hotel for anyone can book via their website or Expedia etc. For high seasons (winter thru spring), our typical room (1 bed room ocean view,...

    We own a timeshare with a small company with point system and we just have enough to stay solid one week each year = our maintenance fee is NOT outrageous. We bought it 17 years ago and mostly use our points in Los Cabos properties which also operates as a hotel for anyone can book via their website or Expedia etc. For high seasons (winter thru spring), our typical room (1 bed room ocean view, about 1200 sqft) goes for $350 to $650 per night on hotel sites. Since we bought our points from original timeshare company (it’s been a several different companies bought this timeshare company ever since… one of big ones was DRI), we never pay any fee for our stays and we can book shorter mid week stays, a smaller or larger unit, including penthouse as long as we have enough point allocations to cover. IMO, most people who are not happy with timeshare is who bought so many points (or weeks) without realizing how much annual maintenance fee would be increased by owing more. We have just enough points for us to use for our typical stays (a few long weekend type stays / yr or a whole 7 day once a year), and our maintenance fee has been about $1200 a year. For us, staying 4 nights in the resort for free (except for annual maintenance fee) where I would have to pay $1400 to $2600 per stay without timeshare points, it’s like taking free vacation twice a year. I have used exchange program (II) and stayed at different properties from different timeshare companies a few times and I feel those properties are pretty much mixed bag. If someone could purchase a timeshare with credit card charge (for the points sake and paid off) or if it’s mortgaged but paying off early, and with realistic amount of ownership points for potential uses / maintenance fee, one could find a sweet spot in timeshare, too. BTW, we went to the timeshare presentation for a free $50 Nordstrom gift card when we bought this timeshare. We still go to “owner’s update” type sales meetings during our stay if they offer usage point discount or a decent food and beverage credit etc (our last offer was free Covid test for 2 and airport return transfer), but we never have bought additional points. We set a timer for the promised meeting duration (normally 1 to 1.5hrs) as soon as we sit down with the sales person and when the time’s up, we walk away.

  58. Alain MIllett

    While I agree with everything you said, if you like the resort where you
    Bought and have wonderful holidays they can be a great lifestyle investment.
    We bought a studio at Peninsula Beach Resort in Bali in 2001, on a 25 year lease.
    We got week 19- which is early May and suits us perfectly.
    We paid $13000 AUD and our annual maintenance fee is around $520 AUD.
    Over the...

    While I agree with everything you said, if you like the resort where you
    Bought and have wonderful holidays they can be a great lifestyle investment.
    We bought a studio at Peninsula Beach Resort in Bali in 2001, on a 25 year lease.
    We got week 19- which is early May and suits us perfectly.
    We paid $13000 AUD and our annual maintenance fee is around $520 AUD.
    Over the years we have had lots of bonus weeks, we even had a couple that were free, so most years we have a 2 or 3 week stay.
    We love the lifestyle there for relaxing and socialising , and have made many friends there with both staff and other members.
    It’s like going home to family every year.
    If you do the financials it’s not a good deal, you can get a room somewhere for half they price, but it does not have the atmosphere !!
    We have also had bonus weeks in other resorts some for $99 a week.
    That is the real
    Bonus .
    With Covid we have not been for 2 years the resort is closed , we had a 4 week stay booked and paid for in 2020, but when we can travel again we will get to use it .
    So we are happy with our purchase but I have heard lots of bad things aver the years.
    For the owners it’s a licence to print money

  59. Colleen

    I 200% agree, but not for the reasons you list. As an fractional owner (a nice way of saying timeshare) at the Calistoga Ranch, I used our six weeks there every year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Part of the ownership structure included a hotel. It appears that the hotel owner and manager, Auberge are sorts, MASSIVELY under insured us. Like $100 million less than the bylaws required.

    We didn’t find out about it...

    I 200% agree, but not for the reasons you list. As an fractional owner (a nice way of saying timeshare) at the Calistoga Ranch, I used our six weeks there every year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Part of the ownership structure included a hotel. It appears that the hotel owner and manager, Auberge are sorts, MASSIVELY under insured us. Like $100 million less than the bylaws required.

    We didn’t find out about it until Calistoga Ranch burnt to ashes in the Glass Fire. Now a lawsuit against Auberge has been filed.

    You are putting yourself a huge financial risk when you buy into a timeshare. You cede control over to those who might not have your best interests at heart. Even a name like Auberge which carries a reputation of luxury and excellent customer service, can screw you over to save a few bucks.

  60. Mike

    I went on a timeshare presentation in Miami and New York and they used all of those tactic you mentioned
    I just kept say NO NO NO
    Plus I had to remind them their 120 minutes was up 30 minutes ago more than once
    Terrible sales tactics

  61. Lance

    I agree with your premise and examples. However, you should remove the references to "fractional ownership" as those are a different kind of property ownership. In the case of a fractional ownership, you have deeded interest in the home, the land, and the association and you can get an actual mortgage (at prevailing mortgage rates). There is a board that makes decisions on staffing, expenses, and capital investment.

    As a traveler who would never touch...

    I agree with your premise and examples. However, you should remove the references to "fractional ownership" as those are a different kind of property ownership. In the case of a fractional ownership, you have deeded interest in the home, the land, and the association and you can get an actual mortgage (at prevailing mortgage rates). There is a board that makes decisions on staffing, expenses, and capital investment.

    As a traveler who would never touch a timeshare, we researched fractional ownership to death. In our part of the country, it was the best answer for us to owning 1/5 of a lake home with zero responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep all for less than the cost of property taxes each year. It's not the right answer for everyone, but our property has appreciated 28% in less than five years... there's only so much lakeshore to go around.

  62. askmrlee

    Pre-Covid I went to a Travel show where there was a company that specialized in getting you OUT of a timeshare. That's all you need to know.

  63. askmrlee

    And Costco Travel even has a disclaimer on its vacation packages advising you to AVOID the sales presenations. I'm sure a member or two complained to Costco Travel and wanted a refund for their vacation package after getting a timeshare.

  64. bill

    my in laws had timeshares in Caribbean....week 49 & 50, every year...and every year they traded it in to the bank and we went elsewhere... actually went to Orlando (sorry Lucky) two years for the kids to do the Disney pilgrimage back in the 90's. Maybe he swung a sweet heart deal but it worked for them. Now he knew they were scams and was involved in real estate but somehow he made it work....

    my in laws had timeshares in Caribbean....week 49 & 50, every year...and every year they traded it in to the bank and we went elsewhere... actually went to Orlando (sorry Lucky) two years for the kids to do the Disney pilgrimage back in the 90's. Maybe he swung a sweet heart deal but it worked for them. Now he knew they were scams and was involved in real estate but somehow he made it work. We even did a few weekends to try out timeshares and they faithfully went to the presentations and simply walked out.

  65. RayFlyer

    Have attended three 'presentations' in Las Vegas for timeshares (aka vacation clubs). After several 'No Thank You" and new offers, one finally equated the purchase to a large quantity of hotel points. Did the math and put the value at around $2K with a purchase price of around $18K! Bye. Thanks for the coffee & donuts.

  66. CJ

    Having been in the hotel business at properties that sold timeshares, I can unequivocally tell you that timeshares are no bargain. Now that most developers have moved into points based systems versus owning a dedicated week, the points are nearly impossible to use, and owners get talked into purchasing more and more points. Those who speak highly of the timeshares that they own are generally embarrassed to admit that they would dump them in a...

    Having been in the hotel business at properties that sold timeshares, I can unequivocally tell you that timeshares are no bargain. Now that most developers have moved into points based systems versus owning a dedicated week, the points are nearly impossible to use, and owners get talked into purchasing more and more points. Those who speak highly of the timeshares that they own are generally embarrassed to admit that they would dump them in a heartbeat if they could.

  67. Liz

    Ben's comment - You want to vacation in the same place for the same week every year - for 18 years we vacationed with another family (we both had only children) So there were 4 working parents' schedules to coordinate - so spring break in Cabo every year worked out perfect for us. We also took tons of other trips during the summer - but it was a godsend to have 1 trip every year...

    Ben's comment - You want to vacation in the same place for the same week every year - for 18 years we vacationed with another family (we both had only children) So there were 4 working parents' schedules to coordinate - so spring break in Cabo every year worked out perfect for us. We also took tons of other trips during the summer - but it was a godsend to have 1 trip every year pre-planned. We owned at Hacienda Del Mar - which partnered with Sheraton. We upgraded only one time - a 2 bedroom every other year instead of a 1 bedroom every year (and a nicer unit) Over 20 years this worked well for us. Sorry to say we are now Solaz owners, as the same owners as HDM they bought out our HDM contract and we got a beautiful unit in return which we were able to visit once and I traded 3 weeks into Third Home so I actually will not lose for 3 years. Trading our unit into Third Home is much easier than RCI with HDM and I now have 10 keys to stay 1 or 2 more weeks somewhere. So up until last week I was a long term happy time share owner. But hearing that the Montage and Viceroy are also closing (but not for a year or 2 like Solaz) I am curious if the same builder was involved. I wonder if the Surfside collapse had anything to do with this BTW the maintenance fee annual increase is capped in the contract.

  68. Eskimo

    Seeing how comments blow up, I wonder how many are timeshare sales rep in disguise defending their industry.

  69. Matthew

    I have owned time share for seven years, and my experience is pretty good. The properties where I own are ski in and ski out Breck, and buying with the developer gives access to day use, discounted rates on last minute vacancies, and point exchanges through the Interval network. All of which my family and I have used extensively. The properties themselves are gorgeous, and friends often join us to spend time with us on...

    I have owned time share for seven years, and my experience is pretty good. The properties where I own are ski in and ski out Breck, and buying with the developer gives access to day use, discounted rates on last minute vacancies, and point exchanges through the Interval network. All of which my family and I have used extensively. The properties themselves are gorgeous, and friends often join us to spend time with us on weekend getaways or day use on Sundays. We are big skiers and have stayed in winter and exchanged into winter in Vail, Park City, and Beaver Creek multiple times. One year I rented a winter week and the proceeds after expenses were triple my HOA. The sales/owner update meetings are generally low pressure because sales people often see owners upgrading their ownerships.

    The downside is that you really need to USE the timeshare to get the benefits out of it... The costs aren't going anywhere.

    Resale is always an option, but what you want may not be out there. No one is giving away Park Hyatt Beaver Creek winter weeks for $1 as an example.

  70. Wayne

    Having owned 4 anytime weeks from a big developer I have to agree with what you are saying in the long run. At the beginning the amount being paid for maintenance was far less than the cost of the points I gleaned over the first few years. Eventually it became more costly and tried to sell them. Fortunately, I did not pay some lawyers ( a profession of which I belong) to take over the...

    Having owned 4 anytime weeks from a big developer I have to agree with what you are saying in the long run. At the beginning the amount being paid for maintenance was far less than the cost of the points I gleaned over the first few years. Eventually it became more costly and tried to sell them. Fortunately, I did not pay some lawyers ( a profession of which I belong) to take over the timeshares. Instead I found a well known real estate company in Orlando to list them and eventually sell all four of them for me. Strangely enough the highest price I got (not nearly what I paid) was for my timeshare in Mexico.
    Now instead of paying maintenance I buy points directly whenever I find myself short and save a lot of money.

  71. Eileen Bobo

    My husband and I were duped into getting one of these timeshares back in May of 2021. All we want is to get out of it. Are there any suggestions that don't involve paying a third of what we paid to get into this mess? They wouldn't let us leave to discuss it. I'm sorry we fell prey to the schemes and scammers. Of course there is no way to reach the developer.

  72. iamhere

    Sounds like a pyramid scheme. The success of the sales is based on sales to more people.

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Another Lump

Timeshares are disgusting, they prey on the financially illiterate, naive, and those too weak to say no. My parents also fell prey to this scam and learned the hard way. There is simply no logical reason for anybody in any situation, no matter their travel habits, to buy into a timeshare. It is 100% always a bad decision that will be regretted, full stop. Sure, if purchased on the resale market it's cheaper, but the current owners are happily dumping it on you at that price for a reason: because you too will come to regret it and look to get out. If you take the money you would waste on a timeshare and invest it properly, you will have more money to enjoy much longer and higher quality travel experiences for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you optimize your points and miles strategy. Just don't do it. And no hotel is going to "force" me into listening to a timeshare preso I didn't agree to. I'd make a loud scene and start making calls if they tried. Don't be a pushover.

Jim Baround

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and not say you know very little about timeshares, and instead say you need to retitle this to Don’t Buy a Timeshare From A Developer. I get my timeshares on the resale market, often paying $0 out of pocket. For around a $500 a year maintenance fee and $200 exchange fee I regularly get two bedroom units in Hawaii at Westins and Marriotts (the nights also count towards my Bonvoy status). I would encourage you to drive your readership to articles about timeshare resale. Yes, owning a timeshare is not a financial investment, and yes timeshare salespeople are shady (although most of the tactics you mention in particular only happen in Mexico and not in the US).

Jacob

He literally went to Greece last month and it was one of the most drama filled interesting trip reports in recent memory…?

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