Why Timeshares (Typically) Don't Make Sense

Timeshares are usually an arrangement for you to purchase a share, or a piece, of a resort (sometimes access to a portfolio of properties) to use at least once a year.

There are two parts to a timeshare talk:

  1. The invitation to view the timeshare talk
  2. The timeshare sales pitch

For most people, I think it doesn't hurt to accept the invitation to view a timeshare talk, especially if they're offering rewards that benefit you in return. 

Important: If you are easily persuaded, or you buy things on an impulse, DO NOT ATTEND A TIMESHARE TALK.   

Why Timeshares (Typically) Don't Make Sense

1) Liability marketed as an asset

If you look on sites like eBay and search for timeshares, you can see tons of listings for $1. The listings are from people who signed up for a timeshare and want to pass on the liability to someone else.

image via   ebay  .  com

image via ebay.com

Taking a closer look, there are yearly maintenance fees associated with owning a timeshare. You'll also need to pay the closing cost and resort transfer fee due at the time of sale. 

via   ebay  .  com

If you are interested in purchasing a timeshare, you're better off buying one from eBay to avoid the initiation fees.

2) Devaluation

With timeshares, you're paying a fixed fee every year to visit one property. Some companies have moved on to a points model so you can visit any property in their portfolio, but there are tons of restrictions associated with using points.

Points devaluations routinely happen, and this is also pretty common in the credit card game.

The difference is that with a credit card, you can cancel if you're not happy with the rewards. However, with a timeshare, you're stuck in a lifetime contract.   

3) Negative expected value

Even if you buy a timeshare for $1 online, I feel like you can find a better deal for vacations using online deal sites. Bonus: You won't be locked into a lifetime contract.

For the points savvy, this is especially true if you a free-night card setup. For example, if you have the Chase Marriott, Chase Hyatt, and Chase IHG cards, you effectively get three anniversary nights for free (one from each card) as long as you are a cardholder. 

4) Dirty sales tricks

Timeshare sales agents will use every trick in the book to try and close the deal. Each sale is transactional, so you'll never see them again.

I attended a sales pitch in Las Vegas once...

I tried using my phone to do more research during a sales pitch, and they told me to put my phone away and not worry about it. Because you know, you can trust everything they tell you. Just imagine all the vacation opportunities!

At the end of the presentation, the saleswoman told the audience about a story of how her mother had cancer, and she wore her mother's ashes in her necklace to keep her close. Her only regret in life is not buying a timeshare to spend more time with her mother. Seriously.

I'm not a fan of sleazy sales tactics, and more often than not, emotional triggers are one of them.  

Reasons to attend a timeshare talk

Although I disagree with many sales tactics and buying a timeshare, I think it's fair game to accept the offer to attend. Most sales reps on the phone will pitch you to attend a timeshare talk to "check out the new property with no pressure to buy."

That's exactly what I plan on doing. Touring the property and not buying. Below are a few offers I've received to attend a timeshare. 

"Listen to timeshare talk" offers:

1) In-person in Vegas

  • Free/discounted show tickets
  • "Free future nights" (tons of restrictions)
  • Random perks (usually little value)

2) Over the phone Hilton/Hyatt/IHG/etc.

  • You pay $x now for discounted nights
  • You do the timeshare talk while you're there (i.e., 3 nights in Vegas for $200 all-in)