Before departing Honolulu for the North Shore, I was walking around the Ala Moana shopping center just 2 blocks from my hotel in Waikiki. It’s claim to fame is the world’s largest open-air shopping center. Besides being quite big, it’s also nice with standard stores that you’d find in any American mall, but also upscale options like Saks On Fifth, and local Hawaiian stores as well. I actually like going to shopping malls (supermarkets, electronics, and others) to see the variety of stores compared to my state and the prices of goods.
While making the store rounds, I found the management office and inquired about debit (gift) cards. It turns out they do sell them, but only in the form of Amex. I didn’t even inquire about the amounts that were possible, as I lost interest fast. Not far from the office were two hotel booths, Hilton and Marriott, each with a boat load of staff. I walked over to see what they were selling.
Once I was at the first desk, and even though I knew the answer already, I asked what they were selling. They weren’t directly selling timeshares but setting interested parties up with times to meet with someone who would pitch the sale. I asked how it all worked and if there were incentives for setting up a meeting. For anyone attending a presentation, the standard offer for those without Hilton status was 20,000 Hilton Points, up to 40,000 for Diamond members. I tossed over the story that I was Platinum at Marriott (not quite true) and asked to be status matched, which was accepted immediately. I could choose the day and time for the presentation, and better yet it took place at the Hilton Hawaiian Grand Vacations location which was just 2 blocks from my hotel. Presentation were set to be 90 minutes or less.
I had never been to a timeshare presentation, but had no interest in the investment. They seem to be geared towards couples or even groups of people, all that like to travel. Well I like to travel, but it was still a no go for me. Before I left for Hawaii, some friends had attended a similar timeshare sales presentation roughly 5 years ago and had been given a nice bonus. I tried calling SPG and Hilton before departing and inquired about the possibility of attending a timeshare presentation, but my interest wasn’t received well, and no incentives were thrown my way either. So I thought that might be the end of things.
The presentation started a few minutes late and I drew surfer band guy. He called me buddy, dude, and bro during out time together. One of my favorite lines of his was “after you travel for the next 2o years, what will you have to show for it…pictures, memories…is that it?” I held back a laugh as he launched into his sales pitch. He kept trying to make small talk and ask me personal questions. I told me that small talk is pretty boring and that I wanted to get into the numbers. So we did!
He queued up his electronic tablet and also jotted down some numbers on paper. He tried to minimize increasing HOA costs in the future, and when I did the math of how much it would cost me per visit at my current traveling rate, I was left with $2,000 per trip. With some adjustments in timelines and amount of trips that amount could decrease, however in the end, I didn’t have an interest in a timeshare and the math put me even further away a green light. He also made some claims about how much demand they saw for timeshares during 2007 to 2011, which I thought was probably an outright lie.
After the timeshare “presentation” ended the surfer band guy left the room and an evaluator came in and asked me how it went. The possibility for feedback was kind of nice. I was given a certificate for the 40,000 HHonors points, and was allowed to leave only after an hour of talking. 40k Hilton points isn’t amazing, but a goal of mine is to have enough of their points for 4-5 nights in an overwater bungalow in a tropical local. I’m most of the way there already and one of the new Amex Hilton cards will push me over that mark. The best part of the event was probably the fresh mango juice!
I also inquired about a Marriott timeshare presentation while in Honolulu, but was only offered 5,000 points, mainly because I was a single person. Couples were offered 10k. Either way, that’s less than a run to Simon Mall with either the SPG or Marriott cards, so I passed. The Marriott presentation was also a 20 minute drive outside Honolulu too, and kind of on the way to the North Shore, but not really.
I haven’t MS’d on this trip (even though there’s a Simon Mall near Honolulu), but did manage to earn some points on the trip without inconveniencing myself. I noticed that Safeway supermarkets sold $500 VGCs too, which almost had me give that a try. There are also some other stores in the area that are MS friendly on the mainland, and I’d guess they are here too, but I didn’t have the mojo for it.
I’m at the North Shore now. After 4 hours of surfing today a little south of Pipeline, I’m exhausted. It’s much better here than in Waikiki. Mahalo