Q. What are Owner updates? What can I expect?
A. Whenever you check-in, you might be offered the opportunity to go to an Owner update. They say it’s to learn about new changes or to address a “problem with your account”. Rest assured, you are not missing anything if you choose to say no. Any new updates are announced on the My Club Wyndham website and through emails. If there is a problem with your account, you’d get a letter in the mail. If you are concerned, you can call the reservation planning line and ask to speak to owner care. Owner care doesn’t make a commission, so they will give it to you straight. The directory is also a good place to get answers.
Some go to the update to “learn” about the program or get “answers” to their questions. Most of what the salespeople will say will have some grain of truth to it. Keep in mind though, they make commissions (don’t believe them if they say they don’t). Their job is to sell at the update. They don’t get a paycheck if you don’t buy points. That’s a strong motivator. Top that off with the fact that timeshares are notoriously hard to sell, and you are bound to run into some that have no issues crossing lines. This issue is not exclusive to Wyndham. It’s not even exclusive to timeshares. Every salesperson who makes a commission has a motivation to lie. Whether they do or not, depends on the person. Unfortunately, some are very good at seeming like they are honest. Unfortunately, that hurts the salespeople that are in fact, honest people. This means you have to walk in there, knowing that no matter how nice they may be, they could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What they “teach” you at the update could be total lies, half-lies, or mostly the truth. Also, know there are details they will purposely leave out because they do not reflect the image, they are trying to draw for you. If you are not looking to buy, do not let them make you think a $20,000 impulse buy is a good idea. Have the will power to say no, even if they make it seem like the most logical thing to do and a killer deal. If you do want to buy, don’t take any of the first 5 or 6 offers they throw down. If at any point during the update, you don’t feel comfortable, stop the negotiations. There are sales offices at every Wyndham resort, plus you have telesales where you can buy from the comfort of your own home. No need to sit through an update.
Here are some common tactics used at updates, that I hear people relay on the Facebook groups.
Your maintenance fees will increase by an insane amount next year – This tactic is commonly used to convince you to switch from deeded to CWA, or CWA to deeded. More commonly it’s the first, but occasionally you’ll get a sales rep who will try to get you to trade a deed for one resort, for a deed at another resort. There are a couple of reasons why they cannot make this claim. First, the HOAs of each resort decide their own maintenance fees, not Wyndham, so they have no way of knowing what the budget will be. Second, the proposed budgets do not come out until around October. If they are not an owner, they do not get a copy. Even if they show you something that looks like a budget proposal, don’t buy it. Even if your maintenance fees did triple, consider the cost of the new points you have to buy to switch, as well as the additional fees on the new points. I think you will find it will take quite some time to make up for your upfront costs in the form of maintenance fee savings. Pro Tip: Never let the salesperson do the math for you. They have a Ph.D. in fuzzy math, and you’ll just get even more confused. Sit down and do the numbers by yourself, without the salesperson watching.
Another Pro Tip: When you get there, set your alarm for the required amount of time you have to be there. Set it to the loudest volume and most annoying tone possible. When It goes off, get up and tell them their time is up. Do not let them keep you. If they “lost” your driver’s license, tell them you are done speaking with them and would like to speak to the manager of the people who were supposed to be safeguarding your license. Let them know you will be contacting Owner care. If they persist, tell them their time is up, and that is that. Do not argue with them. Just ignore them if they keep talking. It’s rare you’ll get one that desperate, but if you do, be sure to call owner care to make a complaint.
Your CWA points are junk – They like to try and convince you that your CWA points won’t let you see everything and that deeded owners will have more availability than you. The short answer is, in the ARP window, sometimes deeded has better availability and sometimes CWA does. It depends on the resort and time of year. In the standard booking window (10 months from check-in), CWA and deeded owners have equal access and can see the same inventory. Also, if you had deeded points, they would be telling you deeded is junk and you need to go to CWA.
There is this problem with your account and the only way I can fix it, is if you buy more points – They will make up some flaw in your account and say Wyndham will only allow you to fix it if you buy more points. When this happened to me, the guy was actually right, that there was an issue with my account. I called Owner Care and got it fixed for free. No need to buy points. In most cases though, if you call Owner Care, they will tell you there are no issues.
Your PICs are expiring and you have to buy more points to renew them – If you have PIC express, those do expire after 5 years. If you have PIC Plus, they never expire. If you are unsure what you have, log on to the owner’s website and click on “My Ownership”. When you get to that page, you will see a list of contracts. Your PIC Contracts will either say PIC Plus or PIC Express. If they say PIC Plus, they will not expire and he/she is lying or mistaken. If they say PIC Express, they will expire after 5 years. You have to purchases points to renew. Buying 49,000 points through telesales is the cheapest option at the moment. The resorts often require a higher point purchase at a steeper price.
Resale points won’t get you the good rooms – I booked a three-bedroom presidential at Bonnet creek with my resale points. I can honestly say, that qualifies as a “good” room. The fact is, contracts have the same booking rights as retail owners do when it comes to Club Wyndham resorts. You will have to read my article on the differences between retail and resale, but in a nutshell, resale can get the same rooms at Club Wyndham resorts.
Resale points have higher maintenance fees – Resale points have the same maintenance fee rates as retail points at the same resorts. An owner with a 105,000 Panama City contract that they bought on eBay, will pay the same maintenance fees as someone who bought that same contract direct from Wyndham. It would be more accurate to say that a lot of the contracts available on the resale market have high maintenance fees. However, those maintenance fees are the same maintenance fees that owners who bought directly from Wyndham would pay. There isn’t a higher rate for resale owners. The key is to make sure you don’t buy a high maintenance fee resort unless you want to own at that resort.
VIP point requirements are going up. You need to buy points to meet the new requirements – Back in 2012, they increased the number of points required, to be VIP Silver and Gold. They are doing it again in 2020. They are now telling some owners, that if they want to remain in their VIP level, they have to buy enough points to get them to the new levels. For example, a gold owner who owned 700,000 points, was told that Gold is going up to 800,000, so they have to buy 100,000 points to remain gold. This is not true. When they upped the levels back in 2012, they grandfathered in current VIP owners, so they retained their status. They are doing the same thing again with this next round of increases. You do not need to buy more points to keep your VIP status.
If you don’t accept this deal, you’ll be blacklisted and your points will be no good anymore – This couldn’t be further from the truth. Wyndham is not going to blackmail you into buying anything. Calmly say ok, you’ll talk with Owner Care about that, and make sure you have their name. Get up and walk away.
Wyndham wants owners to be happy with what they own. If they are unhappy with Wyndham, they are not going to buy more points. If no one files complaints with Owner care, they don’t know the scope and size of the issue. I don’t believe Wyndham condones some of the more unsavory tactics used at updates. In fact, some of the tactics these salespeople use might be borderline illegal. Wyndham doesn’t mess around with the law. If you feel a salesperson is being unethical and/or breaking the law, you need to report that salesperson, or it will continue. It’s easy to assume that no one will listen to your complaint. If only one person complains they might not take it seriously, but if a dozen people share the same story, that’s going to grab someone’s attention. However, if those dozen people don’t report it because they think they won’t take it seriously, nothing will happen.