Read about our decision on the Timeshare Prize here.
Do you ever get that feeling that you don’t quite know if you’ve been snowballed or not…but you suspect that you have? Let me pose the scenario to you.
On a Friday last fall, I became a willing guinea pig for my readers and attended something I had always been curious about: a Timeshare sales pitch. For those of you who missed out on that experience, check out my article Selling a Timeshare to the Wall. In a nutshell, the property was sub-par, the salesmen used a 3-prong, pressurized sales strategy, and I finally earned my freedom to leave three and a half hours later minus a Timeshare and with my prizes in hand: a $40 American Express Giftcard, a trip for two to Las Vegas for 3 days and 2 nights with roundtrip airfare and the hotel included, and a trip for two for 5 days/4 nights to a choice of several Caribbean locations with hotel included (you supply your own airfare).
The $40 gift card was great; I used it to fill up my tank and to purchase a pack of wine coolers for the weekend. I attempted to sell the Caribbean package on Craigslist, but it did not pan out. No big deal. What I did walk away with that was certainly worth my 3.5 hours was the Las Vegas trip.
Paul just turned 30 in August, and at the time of the Timeshare we had decided that we wanted to celebrate by taking a weekend trip to Las Vegas and having ourselves a good ol’ time in the dazzle and sparkle that can only be found in the middle of Nevada’s desert (oh, and by looking at the earth in space; apparently Las Vegas sticks out like a sore thumb from there as well). Besides, we had a free trip coming to us anyway, so why not?
There were several more barriers to get through in order to get this trip, and I diligently filled out all of the paperwork involved. We selected three dates that were not within 10 days of a holiday, and started on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, and were at least 60 days apart from one another, and were not within the next 14 days. Then I gave a deposit of $100 to cover taxes on hotel and airfare, which seemed reasonable. Then I waited for a travel agent rep to call me to do the official booking.
Nina from Casablanca Express was my contact. In her chipper and quick-talking voice—as if she were about to rip off a band-aid in order that I may not feel the pain until afterwards when all of my nerves had a moment to catch-up—she explained to me that I had four options. It turns out that 99% of people do not choose to go through with their 3 day, 2 night trip after they hear all of the restrictions, and she was sure that after I heard these restrictions, that I would choose against it as well.
So without further ado, the following are the four options we were given. Please vote in the comment section below which one you think we should choose, and then I will reveal the one we chose in Wednesday’s article.
- Use the prize. You will get 3 days and two nights in Las Vegas; however your flight will leave between 6:00-10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, and between 6:00-12:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Your hotel will not be on the strip; it will be either at the airport, or a hotel called Wild Wild West, which is located at truck stop (Happy Birthday, Paul!). You are coming from Houston, and so most likely there will be stopovers/layovers. There will be no shuttle service to pick you up from the airport, so you will need to pay for your own taxi.
- Upgrade. For $483 for the two of you, you will be removed from the restrictions. Your flight will leave Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon or evening. Your hotel will be on the strip in a luxury tower room. You will have free shuttle service back and forth to the airport. You will get two free tickets to a magic show by Mac King (she assured me I should google him and he’s ultra-famous and sought after). You will get buy-one-get-one-free dinner at the Blues House, and several other restaurants.
- Get there yourself. Pay for your own flight there, or perhaps you have some frequent flyer miles you can use. If you do this, we will upgrade you for free to a hotel on the strip, plus refund part of your $100 deposit.
- Go to South Padre Island. Drive to South Padre Island, and we will pay for your two nights’ hotel stay in the Ramada, which has a four star rating. You will get free breakfast both mornings. (At this point I asked if we would also receive part of our $100 deposit back, and she was baffled—no one had asked her this before. I explained to her that if we chose this option, we would be getting ourselves to the Island, and Casablanca would not be purchasing airfare, so we should be refunded part of the $100. She simply said “they are not going to do that”. Is “they” the Timeshare mafia?)
- Get a Refund. We will mail you a check for $100.
As crazy as it may sound, this conversation actually did occur, and I tried to use the same language as she did in the descriptions above. Once again, I’d love to hear your votes (and thoughts) in the comments below!