Marriott Vacation Club is offering free Marriott points in exchange for sitting through an online presentation about their timeshare program. Couples have the opportunity to receive up to 20,000 points, while single individuals can earn up to 10,000 points.
My family and I spend nearly three months on vacation. That may seem to indicate that we spend an enormous amount of money travelling, but in reality we spend a fraction of what an average family pays because of deals like this.
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Marriott Vacation Club Offer
Complete a 90-minute online sales presentation via telephone and desktop/tablet computer with a Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI) sales professional and receive up to 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
- 20,000 points for couples (15,000 for premier time slot)
- 10,000 points for singles (5,000 for premier time slot)
Offer Terms & Conditions
- This special invitation is presented to you by Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc. d/b/a Marriott Vacation Club International (“MVCI”).
- Annual income of $100,000 or more is required to be eligible for this offer. This offer is for residents of, and participating from, the United States, including the District of Columbia, but excluding Delaware and Maine.
- Tablet or desktop computer with internet access and audio and video activation at the time of the appointment is required to participate in the overview and to receive Marriott Bonvoy Points.
- Persons who are also not eligible for this offer include: (i) those who have taken a virtual sales presentation within the last 6 months with the MVCI corporate direct sales office; (ii) those who have an MVCI contract pending or on hold; (iii) Owners who have delinquent maintenance fees or are in foreclosure; (iv) Owners who have purchased within the last 90 days; and (v) MVW associates.
- Only one gifted Marriott Vacation Club Destinations Ownership Program review per household, individual or couple, if married or similarly committed.
My Experience with the Marriott Vacation Club Sales Presentation
I attended the sales presentation in late 2023 and received the points in my Marriott account as promised in the offer. The presentation itself wasn’t as high-pressure compared to other ones I have been to and ended the virtual meeting unscathed.
The most important lesson for anyone doing this is learn to politely say “no” and come into the presentation with the confidence that you won’t give in to a compelling salesperson. Most of the representatives are excellent at convincing you that they’re offering “a deal of the century”.
If you’re interested what the sales pitch is, this is essentially the gist of it:
Pay a fixed amount upfront in exchange for a number of points (these are not Marriott points but timeshare points) per year, forever. The cheapest package is $33,200, which, in return, gives you 2,000 points per year. That comes out to $16.60 per point.
Those points can be redeemed for any of their timeshare properties worldwide. The amount of points required varies, depending on the place, the room type, the season, and the day(s) of the week. However, the costs in points for a specific room at a particular location will never go up: a 1,000-point room will always be a 1,000-point room.
In addition to the upfront buy-in cost, you’ll also be assessed annual fees. Currently, the annual fees include a maintenance fee that’s currently $0.68 per point ($1,360/year based on the cheapest package mentioned earlier) and a resort fee of $320 to cover the program.
These fees aren’t fixed and are subject to price increases, but the salesman wasn’t able to relay what the rate of increase would be – he stated perhaps 1%-2% per year for the resort fee and that the maintenance fee has only been risen 2x-3x since 2010.
Overall, you’ll spend a minimum of $1,590 a year in fees plus an initial upfront payment of at least $33,200 for the privilege of being a member of the Marriott Vacation Club.
Once they get a feeling that you’re not going to bite, they’ll bring another person called a closer who can offer additional Marriott Bonvoy points, a price reduction in the base package, and/or lower maintenance fees to incentivize you to buy a timeshare package.
Breakeven Point for Marriott Vacation Club?
For those who are still intrigued by this Marriott timeshare proposal, I’ll leave you with my own analysis on a property my family recently stayed at to find out what the breakeven point is (the time it takes to recoup the costs of the timeshare vs paying for the stays without being a member of the timeshare club).
One of the resorts I stay at costs $1,200 for three nights. This rate is available to the public directly on Marriott.com and on third-party booking engines like Expedia and Travelocity. As a member of the Marriott Vacation Club, the same three nights require 1,300 points, which would cost $21,580 (based on the upfront cost of $16.60 per point), for a difference of $20,380.
Crazy, right? Of course, the idea of a timeshare is that the total out-of-pocket cost will be less over time. The first year is ridiculous because of the upfront fee. Remember, you get 2,000 points every year, so the “cost per point” will go down significantly after the first year.
The first step in figuring out the breakeven point is to determine the cost per point I need to target to equal the cost that’s available directly. In my example, we can calculate this by dividing the retail price of the resort ($1,200) by the number of points needed to reserve it through the timeshare (1,300), which comes out to $0.92 per point (1,200 divided by 1,300).
Next, I did some mental gymnastics to find out my breakeven point is 15 years: 15 years x 2,000 points per year is 30,000 points. Take 30,000 and divide it by the $33,200 upfront fee results in $0.90 per point – close enough to the $0.92 per point that we’re aiming for.
It would take a little over 15 years of being a timeshare club member for the average cost per point to drop to the same level as the publicly available retail rate.
That’s without factoring the annual maintenance and resort fees, which would be an additional $23,850 (15 years x $1,590)!
This is clearly a bad deal. If that’s not enough to convince you, just look at all the Marriott Vacation Club members trying to sell off their points.
The Bottom Line
Timeshare presentations like this Marriott Vacation Club are great opportunities to get free points and hotel stays if you can stand your ground and don’t end up buying a timeshare package. It’s one of the ways I save money on my vacation trips. There’s also a nice offer from Wyndham that gives you both free points and a heavily discounted stay at select locations.
I received 20,000 Marriott points by attending with my wife, which I conservatively value at $0.0075 per point, or a total of $150. It can be worth much more than $150 depending on the Marriott hotel you redeem the points at. For instance, I used them at the Ritz Carlton in Vienna, Austria, where typical rates run more than $500 a night.
However, if you’re a person who can be influenced by a persuasive sales pitch or is uncomfortable with saying no a few dozen times, then I wouldn’t recommend getting into a high-pressure environment where you may not be making the best decision. Others who have succumbed to this usually experience buyer’s remorse at some point, and it’s difficult and costly to get out of a timeshare.