During my customary pre-trip research, I was determined to find a lower price than the obscene $160 + tax per person Regular Season ticket charge for a 1-day Universal Studios Park to Park ticket. With tax, both tickets came to $340.80. I used this $341 as my start point and searched to see if I could do any better. Realizing we were staying at the Four Points by Sheraton International Drive, I called them up. They had a designated desk just for Universal tickets, and had the option of discounted tickets in exchange for a timeshare presentation! The presentation would be about 20 minutes away by shuttle, at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (first link here).
Upon arriving, I inquired with the timeshare agent, but apparently there was little negotiation. The price to the timeshare company was $157, with an additional $75 off, coming to $239. I pushed to see if there was anything else I could get, such as the Sheraton Umbrella or more discount. The agent called someone at the resort, and got authorization for an extra $25 discount in the form of a Visa Gift Card after the presentation. This was a final discount of $127. The selling agent was quite helpful, and the interesting point of the timeshare form was that you must be a fluent English, Spanish, or Portuguese speaker. They must have a large number of Portuguese-speaking residents or tourists.
For us, a timeshare presentation for $127 is about average, but it was useful to mitigate the cost of Universal Studios.
Total Gifts: $127 + Sheraton Umbrella (priceless)
PRESENTATION EXPERIENCE: SHERATON VISTANA RESORT, ORLANDO
A nice and friendly driver picked us up promptly at 9:40 for our 10:00am presentation at the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando. We arrived just after 10:00am with all of our luggage, as we were moving to the Hyatt Regency. There was some complication/confusion at check in, as we assumed we could store our bags. They finally stored it behind the Checkout and Gift counter, and we went to the main presentation conference hall to await or selling agent.
The selling agent was a very nice, late-20s, white guy. He was very laidback, especially after he realized our familiarity with the program, loyalty status, and travel habits.
Additionally, he was a mix of extremely interesting characters. His family comes from hospitality and medicine, and he was previously a boat captain that visited many, many countries! Regularly travelling to various island chains in the Caribbean, he enjoys a very fun-filled life. Of course, this was only based on what he shared with us.
The presentation aspect was pretty standard, except for a cool light-up wall with all the Sheraton Timeshare properties on a world map. There was a model unit walk-through, which was decent – the quality was similar to that at the Marriott Grand Chateau in Vegas (review here), and slightly better than the Tahiti Village, Las Vegas property (review here). We then returned to the conference area, answered more questions, and looked at some price options. As I mentioned, it was hard to justify the maintenance fees at this current stage in our life. $700 for 1 bd. for a week, each year, is a “meh” proposition, let alone counting the initial purchase price.
We could parry the benefits offered quite easily. The conversion from StarOptions (that’s what they call their timeshare points) to Starpoints was low. The “Gold for life” sounds good – but I currently have Platinum and the Starwood American Express. One of the benefits of the SPG AMEX card is getting Gold by spending $30,000 in a calendar year. At the current rate of churning, that’s somewhere in late March each year.