Is 25,000 Marriott Points Worth 90 Minutes of Your Time?

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I could tell that the e-mail was a trap, but I just couldn’t resist the part about 25,000 bonus Marriott points…

At first glance, it seems like a pretty good deal. For £279 you could receive:

  • 3 nights in a 2-bedroom apartment in Marbella, Spain
  • 4-day rental car from Sixt, including CDW insurance and unlimited mileage
  • 25,000 Marriott Rewards points (potentially worth £150+)

The dates in question aren’t ideal for the beach, but that £279 price would apply to:

  • 1 November, 2018 until 7 April, 2019
  • 27 – 30 April, 2019

Of course there’s one small problem…  This is one of those promotional offers that comes with the requirement to sit through a 90-minute presentation on Marriott Vacation Club timeshares. If you are interested in reading the fine print, you can click here.

I’ve never sat through such a presentation, but I’m told that there are three potential outcomes:

  1. You suffer through a high-pressure 90-minute sales pitch with no respite, but make it out alive
  2. You make it clear at the beginning that you won’t be buying a timeshare and the salesperson decides not to bother with the heavy pressure
  3. You actually sign up for a timeshare on the spot

Number 3 is why it is a condition of such offers that your partner attends the presentation with you.  So no easy excuse of “I have to go away and discuss it with my partner…”

Of course, since most people would also need to include transportation costs to get to Malaga, this isn’t a particularly straightforward way to earn 25,000 Marriott points. But I’m also tempted… if only to grill the salesperson about 5-night Travel Packages under the new Marriott loyalty programme, as those are notionally only available to Marriott timeshare owners.

How about you? Have you ever sat through a timeshare presentation to get a cheap holiday or some bonus points? Let us know…


  1. Ziggy says

    I’ve sat through a lot of these and the pressure exerted varies considerably. If you need the points it may be worth 90 mins of your time.
    There are two things you should do/bear in mind:
    1) Keep then to their word that the presentation is only 90 mins long – some try to drag this out past 2 hours
    2) Remember that nothing you hear at the presentation should give you reason to buy what they’re selling. Marriott has some fantastic Vacation Club properties but if you want to own a week at one you’ll save thousands (possibly tens of thousands) by buying the exact same unit/week on the resale market. Forget what the sales person tells you regardless of how tempting you may think the offering is – whatever you’re offered is almost certainly vastly overpriced….even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Interesting insight. Cheers.

      I didn’t even realise there was a legal secondary market in Marriott timeshares. I don’t suppose even a vastly reduced price makes them worthwhile as “travel hacking” investments.

  2. Tilly71 says

    As an update to a previous article you wrote on Etihad, statements over on FT yesterday that the EY lounge at LHR to close soon and taken over by No.1.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Interesting. I can certainly understand why an airline in cost-cutting mode might not want to operate a stand-alone lounge for 3 daily flights.

      Are there any other third party lounges at T4? I can’t remember the last time I flew out of there…

      • Jane says

        Plaza Premium T4 is IMO best arrivals lounge at Heathrow. I frequently do T5 to T4 Plaza arrivals lounge then Hilton Garden Inn. Prawn cocktail, mini fish and chips and chocolate desert washed down with tipple or three of your choice – far better experience than the cramped lounges at Hilton T4 and Hilton T5.

  3. SlapHead Brian says

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find it quite jarring that “blue chip” brands like Hilton, Marriott etc offer these dubious value, hard-sell time share options. A number of Hilton hotels even have commercial space dedicated to them.

    I appreciate it’s a hard-nosed capitalist world out there and these “brands” are franchised to oblivion, but it still strikes me as fairly incongruous that on the one hand they’re aiming to be global leaders in hospitality, while simultaneously (basically) ripping people off with an age old sales scam.

    I have never been to one of the talks, but once got a handful of Hilton points for being heavily pressed over the phone. Frankly at the end of the call, having had every single sales tactic imaginable deployed on me, the points were scant consolation for the time and mental energy expended.

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