During my customary pre-trip research, I was determined to find a lower price than the obscene $160 + tax per person Regular Season ticket charge for a 1-day Universal Studios Park to Park ticket. With tax, both tickets came to $340.80. I used this $341 as my start point and searched to see if I could do any better. Realizing we were staying at the Four Points by Sheraton International Drive, I called them up. They had a designated desk just for Universal tickets, and had the option of discounted tickets in exchange for a timeshare presentation! The presentation would be about 20 minutes away by shuttle, at the Sheraton Vistana Resort
Upon arriving, I inquired with the timeshare agent, but apparently there was little negotiation. The price to the timeshare company was $157, with an additional $75 off, coming to $239. I pushed to see if there was anything else I could get, such as the Sheraton Umbrella or more discount. The agent called someone at the resort, and got authorization for an extra $25 discount in the form of a Visa Gift Card after the presentation. This was a final discount of $127. The selling agent was quite helpful, and the interesting point of the timeshare form was that you must be a fluent English, Spanish, or Portuguese speaker. They must have a large number of Portuguese-speaking residents or tourists.
For us, a timeshare presentation for $127 is about average, but it was useful to mitigate the cost of Universal Studios.
Total Gifts: $127 + Sheraton Umbrella (priceless)
Presentation Experience: Sheraton Vistana Resort, Orlando
A nice and friendly driver picked us up promptly at 9:40 for our 10:00am presentation at the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando. We arrived just after 10:00am with all of our luggage, as we were moving to the Hyatt Regency. There was some complication/confusion at check in, as we assumed we could store our bags. They finally stored it behind the Checkout and Gift counter, and we went to the main presentation conference hall to await or selling agent.
Additionally, he was a mix of extremely interesting characters. His family comes from hospitality and medicine, and he was previously a boat captain that visited many, many countries! Regularly travelling to various island chains in the Carribbean, he enjoys a very fun-filled life. Of course, this was only based on what he shared with us.
The presentation aspect was pretty standard, except for a cool light-up wall with all the Sheraton Timeshare properties on a world map. There was a model unit walk-through, which was decent – the quality was similar to that at the Grand Chateau in Vegas, and slightly better than the Tahiti Village property. We then returned to the conference area, answered more questions, and looked at some price options. As I mentioned, it was hard to justify the maintenance fees at this current stage in our life. $700 for 1 bd. for a week, each year, is a “meh” proposition, let alone counting the initial purchase price.
We could parry the benefits offered quite easily. The conversion from StarOptions (that’s what they call their timeshare points) to Starpoints was low. The “Gold for life” sounds good – but I currently have Platinum and the Starwood American Express. One of the benefits of the SPG AMEX card is getting Gold by spending $30,000 in a calendar year. At the current rate of churning, that’s somewhere in late March each year.
We tried to keep it two hours and were (mostly) successful. It was about an hour and a half when the selling agent brought in a closing manager. He asked general “how did we do” questions, and if there was anything they could say to get us to close today. I declined respectfully, and they brought us to a cubicle for one more customer service check.
The lady in the cubicle had a closing offer of a vacation and starpoints, worth roughly $800 (to me) due to my point generation ability. The vacation was in Orlando – and after a week I could not see myself coming back for a long while. It was priced more than three times its value to me, and so we declined and went to check out. The manager and closing lady were more pressure than the selling agent, and so those were the only two points of contention with this presentation.
Gifts & Checkout
At check out, they inquired if we had received the discount tickets already. I could have lied for more tickets, but that would be unethical. One hiccup was they had no record of the $25 Visa gift card being promised, but I had the form and so we got it without too much trouble. We collected our bags and waited 10-15 minutes for the same shuttle and nice driver to take us to the Hyatt Regency. The umbrella we picked up in the morning before getting on the shuttle.
I was about to say it was the best experience by far, but the Sheraton Vistana timeshare presentation was the only the best one by a little. The closing pressure was a bit much, but better than our experience at the Marriott Chateau in Las Vegas. However, the Sheraton collection was small, with a large purchase price and maintenance fees. I would attend the presentation again in the future for the gifts. However, unless they improve their portfolio, the purchase would be hard to justify.
Featured image from Starwood Vistana website of their beautiful property. Article includes affiliate links may provide me a commission. Thank you for considering supporting my blog.
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