Are Timeshares Worth It? I’ll Tell You About My Experience in Hawaii

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Thanks to a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Wyndham hotel points, my mom and I were fortunate enough to make a trip to Kauai.  We transferred our Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for the flights and stayed at the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu using Wyndham points (although that’s now a Marriott hotel).

My favorite use of the rewards I earn with many of the best credit cards for travel is to vacation with family.  And what better place to relax than Hawaii?

What was particularly interesting about this specific trip though, was that it was my mom’s first experience taking part in a timeshare presentation.  It took a LOT of convincing to get her there.  But after the fact, I’m pretty sure she was happy we’d done it because we both got a free cruise around the Na Pali Coast, Kauai’s most well-known feature!

I’ll share our experience in case you’re ever presented with the opportunity to attend a timeshare presentation.

Attending the Timeshare Presentation Got Us 2 Free Tickets to a Boat Tour of the Stunning Na Pali Coast

Attending a Timeshare Presentation In Hawaii

On the second day of our trip to Kauai my mom and I were wandering around downtown Koloa just perusing the shops and grabbing a bite to eat.  At some point, a man approached us asking if we’d like two free tickets for a boat tour of the Na Pali Coast.

Having attended a timeshare presentation before, I knew exactly what he was up to.  But I let him give us the spiel.  We weren’t on any strict itinerary, but I had looked at the cost of various island cruises and knew that they were pricey.  So again, I wanted to see what he had to offer to decide whether it’d be worth our time.

He eventually divulged that he was, in fact, out there to get folks to attend a timeshare presentation.  I asked him when it was, how long it would take, and what they were offering in return.  My mom and I enjoy going to open houses in our hometown, and I told her we could just pretend this was another open house – but we’d get a free cruise out of it in the end!

She was hesitant, but I signed us up anyway.  The presentation was at a nearby resort and it was scheduled to start at 9:30 am.  I figured that would give us plenty of time afterward to still enjoy our day.

What Happened During the Presentation

We decided to walk to the resort from our hotel because exercise helps when you’re faced with a potentially stressful situation. 😉 I reminded my mom that I’d done this before and that the way to survive was to politely say “no” to everything.

Notice I use the word “survive” there.  And I’m not kidding!  Sometimes you feel like you’re swimming with sharks when you’re surrounded by high-pressure salespeople.

During the presentation, they showed us a slideshow of the property and then took us on a tour to view a couple of the rooms at the resort.  I must admit, I wasn’t impressed at all.  And I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, “Why would anyone want to vacation here?”

After the tour, they broke the group up and sat us down at individual tables.  A sales rep then came over to go cover the ins and outs of purchasing a timeshare.  This is when things got a little uncomfortable.  They’d decided that they were going to target my mom and push the sale on her.  Maybe it was her age?  Whatever it was, I ended up having to intervene and basically walk her out of the room.

All in all, we spent just shy of 2 hours there but left with meal vouchers for a nearby seafood restaurant and 2 free tickets for a Na Pali Coast snorkel and sightseeing tour.

If you check prices online you can see that these sorts of tours easily cost $165+ per person.  And including the meal vouchers, we easily saved over $400! 

Was It Worth It?

Meh.  This particular presentation was more intense than others I’ve attended before.  And I feel slightly guilty for subjecting my mom to it.  But the math still works out in my opinion!  So I’d say it was a success.  I can assure you we’d forgotten all about the pushy salesman when we were cruising through the turquoise blue water watching the dolphins pass by!

Have you ever attended a timeshare presentation?  I’d love to hear about your experience below!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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1 year ago

I own a Disney vacation club timeshare I had to sell part of it when I divorced. Received all our money back from Disney on that portion with no problems. I have sat through blue green timeshare presentations for free nights in New Orleans and yes they wanted us to buy but we were out in an hour. You are not a prisoner get up and walk out.

1 year ago

The best way to get these guys to leave you alone is to insist that you can’t sign anything that is not reviewed by your lawyer first.

1 year ago

Everyone should be informed about this. Buying a timeshare is easy. Selling it is another story. I bought my timeshare 20 years ago and have made good use of it. Wyndham will not resell my timeshare even though they have a deed transfer department. So I am stuck with the property w/maintenance fees for life. Unless you can find a lawyer or someone to actually buy your timeshare. There are alot of scammers out there saying they will do it for a fee. Watch out. You will end up paying more than what you payed for the timeshare.

1 year ago

My experiences with time share sales presentations are right on target with yours. However we usually do them because of the benefits they offer to sit through them.

1 year ago

Another thing about Timeshares everyone should know about. Buying timeshares are really easy. BUT, trying to sell i

1 year ago

Before paying full price check out the resell market! I paid $150 for one. But attending the presentation I wouldn’t waste my time in Hawaii that’s 2-3 hours you can be doing something else. I have done them and also declined them. If the gifts are worth it and it’s not far and I’m honest say I own 2 and not looking for more.

1 year ago

Which one was it?

1 year ago

I would not recommend ever going to a timeshare presentation. We knew better but got hooked into it. We were presured and told false information to sell it. We said NO several times but with the untrue info we were told, we bought into it. You can not re-sell them, you can not even give them away. You heirs get them when you die even if you do not leave it to them. I regret buying. I am looking for a way out, but with all the scams out there, I don’t know what to do.

Reply to  Brcky
1 year ago

Try Timeshare Users Group

Ed. C
1 year ago

The first one we went to was probably 35 years ago. Been to several since then and have received some very nice cost savings (FREE) on activities we were planning on doing anyway.

The number one rule is learning to say “No” and sticking to it. And don’t take your credit cards or check book!

Rebecca O’Brien
1 year ago

If your idea of a timeshare presentation is “being in a shark tank” then I don’t care how much money you saved on a trip or a meal is it worth it? You wouldn’t get me voluntarily into a shark tank for any amount of money. And I most certainly would not put my parent through it to save a buck. However the saddest part is that if you go into something with a closed mind you’ll never really see what the true value is that you could have saved if you would have actually paid attention and listened. So a waste of time on a beautiful Hawaiian vacation for you and what sounds like some added stress at least for your mother. If you can’t afford the vacation perhaps you shouldn’t go. I on the other hand use my points for my airfare my rental car and my resort and then I have my money to pay for my sail and my seafood not from a buffet..Because I listened to the spiel and realized how much sense it made and how much money I could save vacationing because I listened to the presentation and realized how much sense it made and how much money I could save vacationing every year.

1 year ago

I didn’t just attend the discussion. I bought one. The short of it is after paying it off and paying maintenance fees for 8 years the place went bankrupt. The maintenance company stole the maintenance fees,did not pay taxes, was running a drug cartel out of one of the rooms, and there was a hole in the roof so big a car could fit through. I had to hire an attorney to get out of the contract and 6 months later am still in litigation. The investor was left with a 7 million dollar loss. The investment cimoant was run by Middle Easterners. Beware!

Mike R
1 year ago

Really? You’re going to title your article about the value of a Timeshare, but only refer to one presentation? The title should be renamed to “Are Timeshare PRESENTATIONS worth it?”.

Two hours… you got off pretty good. I’ve heard of (and been to) others considerably longer than that.

I went on one in Mexico where they promised breakfast, lunch, 90-minute presentation, and a full-day use of the resort amenities. The ride to the resort was about 30 minutes. Breakfast was very good and had plenty of time. The (high pressure) presentation was about 2.5 hours by the time they ran out of options to try to get us to buy (we already owned a timeshare elsewhere.) Then came the part where we could use the resort and that the ride back is at 9pm, or we could go back on our own. We spent about 40 minutes at the resort, had their lunch, then walked about 20 minutes down the beach to a small town for the rest of the day. The ride back was only about $10.

Maybe we’r got $60 in food and drinks, but i don’t think even $500 is worth sitting through those high pressure sales presentations.

1 year ago

Over 75 of them all in Mexico helps pay for our trips ! Just recently got back from Cabo they are 17 days May 2500 $ cash

1 year ago

Shouldn’t this be ‘are timeshare sales pitches worth it’s?

1 year ago

Marriott is the best vendor out there. I own 2 red weeks. Their Chase credit card really adds up free hotel stay points. However, i met a guy involved in timeshare resales and if I’d known ahead of time i would have bought from him. Why spend 40000.00 when you can get the same for 4000.00? Only difference and it is a big considerstion is that you will not be able to exchange time for points. That flexibility factor is a big one if you have a family. Check it out. Greg

Mike R
Reply to  Greg
1 year ago

Absolutely! Toy can pick up timeshares on the secondary markey for practically nothing. After our friends bought one for $25k, i showed them the same exact one (same property, same size, etc) for $200 including accumulated points.

Anyone buying a timeshare needs to completely understand they are not an investment. They are simply pre-paid vacations that may or may not save you money.

There’s an annual maintenance with each unit, plus maybe exchange fees, plus maybe membership fees… and then understand to plan ahead and be flexible.