Sit through a presentation, get a great freebie – Getting free stuff, no matter how small, is always nice. However, the thrill-factor of scoring a bargain goes way up when the item is decidedly considered “big-ticket.” Vacation packages and hotel stays are two of those items.
It’s no secret that vacations are expensive, especially for families traveling together. Even if you manage to avoid paying for airfare by taking a road trip, hotel prices can add up quite a bit for multiple day stays.
Many families compromise on hotel quality in order to save money but you gotta admit that there’s something special about staying in highly-rated, sparklingly clean and comfortable accommodations with a host of guest-service amenities.
So, how can you possibly stay at a resort or hotel for free? Well, you’ll either have to pile up points as a frequent customer, or get creative.
Free hotel stays from “points” are elusive
The folks at Motel 6 may try their best, but it’s still not the same. Points programs for nice hotels are good to have but it takes a whole lot of paid stays to be able to eventually maybe get a one-night freebie.
Settling for discount hotels may be a necessity from time to time, but wouldn’t it be nice to break up the bleakness once in awhile with a stay in a fancy resort or high-end hotel — for free? That’s actually possible with timeshares, but you have to know how to play the game.
In exchange for a couple of hours of your spare time, you can stay in brand new resorts or even luxury hotels at a huge discount or free of charge, sometimes with extra perks like complimentary meals or show tickets thrown in. Here’s how:
You’ve seen the mailers. They’ve probably gone directly into your “file cabinet.” Those elaborate sales pitches for the luxurious townhouses or exotic resorts that you know you’ll never visit are quite ubiquitous.
Even if you’ve never gotten one by mail or email, you’re no doubt familiar with the routine – come see our lovely property and we’ll give you a prize just for coming to check it out and giving us your opinion.
Marketing companies willingly give you all kinds of perks as part of their strategy to show their Timeshare properties to as many people as possible. The amount of money paid by the small percentage of people that DO buy, makes it well worth the effort for the companies to give away a ton of freebies and discounts.
Of course, the presenters for these timeshares don’t just want your opinion; they want your money. Like car salesmen, they work on commission, so they won’t give you freebies without putting up a fight!
*New: $50 off coupon for CheapOair!
Not only can you get discounted or free hotel rooms in places like Las Vegas, Orlando, Hawaii and Manhattan, but depending on the marketing company that’s offering the deal, you may also be able to land free tickets to Disneyland, free tickets to see a Broadway show or free $100 gift cards!
Timeshare freebies: So, what’s the catch?
To get your freebies, you simply have to attend a sales presentation in which you’re given information about the timeshare or vacation rental property.
In general, these kinds of presentations last for about an hour and a half and are often quite entertaining and interesting. After it’s over, you’re free to leave without any obligation to buy anything, but the catch is you have to leave! Your time is money, so if you get stuck for 3 hours, suddenly that $100 freebie isn’t such a great deal!
Still interested? If you’re planning on a vacation to a certain location anyway or if you’re interested in finding out more about an area, why not Google “timeshare tours offering free stays” for that location and see if you can sign up for a tour that coincides with the dates that you’d like to travel there.
- Here’s a sample google search: “timeshare tours offering free stays disney“
Just make sure you do a little research before signing up for a “tour.” Read online reviews and make sure you don’t connect with any unpopular timeshare companies or shady businesses.
The most popular timeshare locations include Disney (Lake Buena Vista), Aruba, Hilton Head, Las Vegas, and Hawaii, so searches for those areas should yield good options.
Have an exit strategy
Keep in mind that you will have to be firm in declining the company’s offer to actually purchase a Timeshare because the salespeople do tend to be aggressive. Leaving a presentation can be harder than quitting match.com, so confirm with the staff when you arrive how long the presentation will take and set the alarm on your phone or watch.
Let the salespeople know that you’re on a time limit and that you have to leave after the allotted tour or presentation time. This should help in making sure that you get out of the meeting without too much fuss.
You should also have a reason ready for why you won’t be buying a timeshare. One suggestion is to say that your financial situation has changed since planning the vacation, and now it’s not in your budget.
Another creative idea to get out of a timeshare presentation is to have a friend call you or send a text at an exact time with “urgent news.” Maybe they can pretend to be your babysitter informing you that one of your kids just threw up, or that she’s locked out of the house.
Get creative here, but don’t be over the top or insulting! Don’t put up with a salesman going well beyond the advertised presentation time, and don’t forget to ask for your freebie on the way out!
- Related: How to attend a timeshare presentation just for the free gift – lifehacker.com