As avid travelers, we’re always looking for the best way to travel. From quick weekend road trips to far-off destinations, we like to experience the areas we’re visiting. As a general rule, we stick to hotels or camping when we’re out. The appeal of renting private apartments or homes from an owner has crossed our minds, but so have the safety concerns.
At the beginning of this year, we stayed at a friend’s timeshare while traveling for a conference. To say the experience was nothing like what I expected would be an understatement. The prices were almost too good to be true in a city like Las Vegas, along with the amount of space we had—our rooms were full suites with kitchens and laundry and made us feel like we had a legitimate home base to go back to after long and busy days.
But this wasn’t what a timeshare is supposed to be like, right? For years, the term timeshare was a dirty word in our family, and I’m sure for other people alike.
Who could blame us? Burned in our minds was the image of timeshare companies trapping people in a dark room and showing them presentations until they bought outdated properties.
On our trip back in January, we learned that it’s the old idea of timeshare that is outdated. And in fact, several major brands have entered the market and allow owners to enjoy flexible travel options. Just a few examples are the ability to stay at different locations throughout the nation, internationally and even at affiliated hotels.
One major player is Hilton Grand Vacations. We had a little experience being guests of a timeshare owner, but we wanted to know more about how Hilton Grand Vacations works. To better understand what vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations looks like, we interviewed Kassi P., a Hilton Grand Vacations owner.
With all of the different vacation options, what attracted you to Hilton Grand Vacations?
I’ve been a Hilton traveler for as long as I can remember. What I love about the Hilton portfolio of brands is the consistency that I get while traveling. When we heard that Hilton had a timeshare program, we were more open to the opportunity because of the great experiences that we’ve had traveling with Hilton throughout the years.
Is there a cost-benefit to owning a timeshare compared to renting while you travel? If so, What is your favorite benefit?
I definitely think there is a cost-benefit to owning a timeshare. Before we purchased our Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare, we typically spent a good amount of money on hotel stays while traveling, with the occasional ability to use points via Hilton Honors™.
However, after hearing about how Hilton Grand Vacations works, we realized that we could invest in our travels and eventually pay off future stays by joining. And the best part is you also get to stay in incredible locations and properties, with the added benefits of a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and extra space!
Do you find locations that fit your lifestyle or different properties geared towards families or others towards millennials/couples?
I honestly think each property can work for each travel style (i.e., family vs. couple). However, as a couple without kids right now, we tend to travel to more urban locations such as New York City and Las Vegas.
One of our favorite travel destinations is NYC—as we call it our home away from home. West 57th Street by Hilton Club is absolutely gorgeous, and actually, where we decided to become Hilton Grand Vacation Owners and where we stayed the night before we got engaged. But truly, wherever you go, you can make the trip your own because of the ever-growing list of Hilton Grand Vacation travel destinations.
With the flexibility of the locations and the properties, where is the best place you have traveled to with Hilton Grand Vacations?
For us, I’d have to say the best place that we’ve traveled to so far has been the Big Island [Hawaii]—specifically staying at Hilton Grand Vacations at Ocean Tower at Hilton Waikoloa Village.
The property was incredible, with so many things to do onsite, from snorkeling in the resort lagoon to a wide variety of dining locations and even having a Kona Tap Room to try a ton of Kona Brewing craft beers. But on top of that, you really can’t beat the location. It’s right along the Pacific Ocean.
This trip was memorable for us, our honeymoon, and it was all of the in-between moments that we hold dear to our hearts, like watching perfect sunsets, stargazing from our balcony and so much more. I highly recommend staying there.
Did you have misconceptions about timeshares before you bought at Hilton Grand Vacations? If so, what made you change your mind?
Honestly, when we initially went into the presentation – my husband and I were convinced that we’d go in, politely listen and then say, “thank you, we aren’t interested.”
Like many, we thought having a timeshare meant buying into one location, having a fixed week, etc. But after we realized that Hilton Grand Vacations has a ton of travel flexibility, the wheels started turning. We also realized, very quickly, that we were already spending a fair amount of money on travel. Because Hilton Grand Vacations offers so much flexibility in terms of where you can travel, it seemed like a no-brainer for us to decide to purchase.
What misconceptions do you wish people would reconsider about owning a timeshare?
I think the biggest misconception is the lack of flexibility. We heard it immediately from our families after we mentioned that we purchased a timeshare. But after explaining how Hilton Grand Vacations works and that this isn’t your typical “purchase a week at one property” program, it started to click for them as well.
How do you feel Hilton Grand Vacations is different from other properties on the market?
I think one of the most significant differences is the quality that of your ownership. Like I mentioned previously, the Hilton name truly stands for quality service. Every time we stay with Hilton Grand Vacations and the Hilton portfolio of brands, we’re getting that quality service and consistency. For us, that is a big contributing factor for why we continue to travel with Hilton Grand Vacations.
Was there a specific reason you considered purchasing a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare?
We weren’t looking to purchase a timeshare when we did. The main reason we even moved forward with the presentation is that I had purchased a travel package to NYC. I figured, why not buy a travel package to visit one of our favorite places, when all we have to do is listen to a presentation.
During the presentation, we had this “aha” moment that moving forward with a timeshare may actually be in the cards for us. We saw it as an investment in our future—we’ll travel for the rest of our lives, and this is something that we can continue to grow into as we eventually have a family, etc.
What do you think is the best benefit of owning a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare?
Personally speaking, one of the best benefits of owning a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare is the fact that it keeps us accountable for taking time off to relax and travel. We both tend to work a lot of hours—so having a timeshare that we’ve already paid for encourages us to plan vacations and get away.
It puts our minds at ease that we can continue to travel to some pretty incredible places—and it truly feels like home, especially with all of the fantastic amenities in Hilton Grand Vacations’ studios and suites.
How often do you get to use your timeshare and how does it work? Is it on a point system or by locations?
Currently, we own what I’d like to call the base level timeshare—3,400 ClubPoints every other year. Every even year, we get a new allotment of points that we can use to travel with Hilton Grand Vacations. The beauty is the flexibility. Even though we have a “home property,” you can use your points at any Hilton Grand Vacations property in the world.
Believe it or not, we haven’t even stayed at our home property yet, though it’s definitely on our list. To book, all you have to do is log in to the membership website and see how many ClubPoints its “costs” for the length of your stay. This “point cost” varies based on location and time of the year you plan your trip.
If you’re flexible with travel dates, it’s worth traveling during off-seasons, as point values tend to be lower. Which means you maximize your points to travel more (or staying longer!).
So, the real answer is, it depends on the type of trip you’re planning. We’ve been able to take a big trip with more points or shorter trips throughout the year—breaking up our allotment (or even rolling over points to use the next year).
Please tell us the best part about being a Hilton Grand Vacations owner and why our readers should consider it?
One of my favorite things about being a Hilton Grand Vacations owner is how we can continue to grow with this program. We’re in the best package for us right now, and it suits our travel style, especially since we’re also Hilton Honors™ members.
Aside from that, we love that we feel like we’ve invested in our future travels. We love exploring, and vacations will most definitely be part of our lives forever! As Hilton Grand Vacations continues to grow and expand into various parts of the country and world, we look forward to exploring new places for years to come.
If you’re looking for a great deal on a Getaway – Hilton Grand Vacations has 3 night Get aways to Orlando and Vegas for only $199!