Timeshares Are Wholly Inappropriate Investments for Anyone
Image Courtesy: Marriott

Timeshares Are Wholly Inappropriate Investments for Anyone

I was in Maui, Hawaii last week and had an opportunity to pick up a few hotel program points by attending a 90-minute timeshare presentation. Since I could use the hotel points for my next Hawaii trip, I scheduled the presentation for the middle of the day when it was too hot to stay outside.

It was my first timeshare presentation, and it will be my last.

As I began listening to the spiel, the first thing that I discovered is that major hotel chains have sales pitches refined to an art, especially when it comes to this product. They put the strongest salespeople imaginable in front of you, and they deliver the strongest possible sales presentation.

Yet, no matter how strong the salespeople are, the reality is the reality.

First, these places are not that nice. The timeshares in Ka’anapali in Maui are not at all exclusive. In fact, they aren’t even places where I would want to spend a single night; the hotels in Wailea are.

Second, these programs are terribly structured, limiting your options and obligating you to vacation in a certain way and time and at a certain cost.

Third, you are buying into a point program, and one that isn’t very good. Buying loyalty points very rarely makes sense and should never be done without a specific redemption in mind, and they can be devalued or rendered worthless very quickly. More importantly, you can get into a better point programs that generates better and more flexible rewards with your loyalty to Starwood/Marriott or Hyatt and by opening and by using the right credit cards.

Fourth, you don’t even need to know how to run an Excel spreadsheet to realize that these are just terrible investments.

At the end of my sales presentation, the salesman opened up and said that he would never recommend that someone with hotel status who can rack up a substantial amount of points with that chain each year should buy into this program.

Bottom line: Do not buy hotel timeshares. They are point programs. Get the right credit cards and use them.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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