Beautiful resorts. Check. Nice amenities. Check. Friendly staff. Check. Respectful associates. Yeah, not so much.
I love going on vacation to our points based time share resorts, WorldMark by Wyndham. WorldMark started out small and under the Trendwest umbrella. There were only so many resorts to choose from. So when Trendwest sold out and Wyndham bought out WorldMark, the possibilities of so many destination vacations were endless.
The view from this trip’s unit
The trouble is, this is a point based system. My husband Jim and I bought in at 6,000 points which is close to a week’s stay depending on the place and time. We added 2,000 points more so that we could get a week’s stay per year. We were good until 2007 when we met with the first Wyndham sales associate and found ourselves almost doubling our points. A year or so later, we tapped out at 20,000 points and have stayed there since then.
Yet every vacation we go on, we are pressured at check-in time to attend an “owner update” presentation. There are new things to learn, the associate proclaims, or things are changing. They throw in an incentive for you to go as in a pre-loaded credit card for about $100.
Having done these owner updates before, my husband and I know that yes, you are presented with new things about the resorts and how to use your points or the wait lists or bonus times. You are encouraged to take notes (but beware, these notes will be used “against” you later). You score candy if you answer the presenter’s question correctly! These group gatherings are meant to pump you up and be all about Wyndham and vacations. Rah rah rah!
Reality check comes right after the group meeting when you splinter off with your spouse or significant other and meet the sales associate assigned to you. You are in a noisy room full of little round tables, sometimes with music playing in the background. Chatter ensues. The salesperson looks at your notes. What is your dream vacation? for example. We answered Australia. Salesperson asks how much money we think such a trip would cost? Of course it’s lot of money. Of course we have a meager amount of points to be able to buy in to Australia.
Honestly, this is a good vacation timeshare, but like everything else, the more you want, the more you need to spend. The points you use come back again on your buy-in anniversary date. You can use your points for other things like food, airfare, cruises, rental cars, excursions. So if you have 50,000 points and spend them all in 2015, you’ll get them back in 2016 to use again.
Jim and I are on a fixed income. If we bought more points, we’d be sacrificing something else in our lives. The sales people don’t listen to you. They keep trying all angles to get you to buy more points.
The only reasons we attended the “owner update” were because we had an extra day this time to attend plus the check-in person promised us it would only be for sixty minutes. He even wrote out a voucher that we could present at the owner update! We got free gifts coming and $125 to boot.
Well of course it wasn’t sixty minutes. The lady at the seminar check in desk did not even blink at our sixty minute promise voucher. Instead, we were there for three hours! Three hours! And we were badgered. The young gal who was our sales associate was fairly new and begged us to let her “practice” her knowledge on us. Believe me, she was not wet behind the ears. I believe her newbie claim was just another sales tactic. I know we had to have said “we don’t want to buy anymore points. We’re happy where we’re at.” – at least twenty times.
Then the saleswoman asked us to just fill out a quick credit check so she could earn $50. By doing so, this brought in the manager (car sales tactics, anyone?) and we were pressured all over again. They don’t see this as pressure, but I sure do. It was ridiculous. I see the Wyndham mission posted all over the room, and the part about Wyndham striving to be respectful is a slap in the face. Respectful? Yet you’re trying to get senior citizens to go into debt for vacation points they may never use? Of course they have an answer for everything. Well, they say, if you can’t use it, you can hand it down to your children.
When we told the saleswoman we enjoy using bonus time and only paid $50 a night to enjoy an impromptu visit to the beach, she took that and used it against us. “Look, if you can spend $200 to come down on bonus time, you can put that same $200 on a payment for more points so you can use those points for more trips and amenities.”. I just wanted out of there.
As we were finally standing ready to leave, the saleswoman next to us who happened to also be the owner update presenter, heard us talk about the promised sixty minutes we were given. “Oh, come on,” she chided, “you’ve done this before. You know what’s going to happen.” Yes, we knew in the past we were stuck with sales associates, but the guy at check-in gave his word to us that it would only be sixty minutes.
This is a con game. It makes for a bad experience all around. Of course my chronic migraine was on high alert and zoomed in on me for the rest of the day. I felt so disillusioned, angry, upset and DISRESPECTED yesterday that I had nothing left in me. I was depressed to the point of wanting to go home last night, so instead I went to bed at 7:30pm. Thanks, WorldMark/Wyndham.
Disclaimer: This post is about my experiences with the sales tactics of Wyndham and are my opinions only! Also, I always write in the surveys about how much I dislike the whole ” owner update” part of our WorldMark stays. Nothing changes.