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  1. baf99

    baf99 TUG Member

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    Location:
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    Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort
    I’ve seen quite a few threads on rescinding the sampler but I really haven’t seen much about whether or not it can be a good deal. After declining to purchase points at a Diamond sales meeting I was offered the sampler. I declined that as well, but got an offer that I could think about it for a few days and get back to the “closer”. It’s been more than a few days at this point and I am no longer at the resort but I’m still wondering if I let a decent deal get away. The deal is the same as what others have reported: 20,000 points to be used at the “top 50” resorts within two years. When I said I had a lot of banked weeks and using the points within two years might be a problem I was told that at the end of two years I could extend for no additional fees.

    Here’s a bit of a summary (all based on verbal description of package):
    • 20,000 points is 3-4 weeks in Hawaii or 4-6 weeks in the continental US. I did specify I would book a 1BR.
    • For $129 per week I could upgrade the 1BR to a 2BR
    • All fees, including parking are included
    • Package states that points must be used within 2 years but I was also told (I know verbal doesn’t count) that I could extend for one additional year with no fees
    • The person offering this package did not state that I could book back to back weeks but she did imply it by saying I could use a week on Maui, then Kauai and Big Island. Not explicitly stated they are in a single trip though, and she didn’t include two weeks at one resort
    • I was not told that I had to attend a sales presentation, but I assumed I would have to go to at least one
    • I was not shown a list of the resorts available to me, but Ka’anapali Beach Club was specifically mentioned in the example vacation
    I purchased a similar package from Hilton (7000 points for $1700 usable at a limited number of resorts which I used for a week in a 2BR at the Lagoon Tower) and I thought it was a decent deal. I couldn’t exchange my timeshare for something similar and I would pay much more to rent it. So if 20,000 points can really be used for three weeks in Hawaii or 4+ weeks in places like Sedona or Tahoe it could work for me.

    So, as stated above, my question is does it really work the way they say it does? Are there any other pitfalls that will come back to bite someone who takes the Sampler Package? One thing I’m wondering about is if the expected usage (3-4 Hawaii weeks or 4-6 continental US) was based on off season or if I would really get that much time at near peak season. I usually don’t like peak season at most locations due to crowds. There are a few places I make exceptions, though. Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts on the Diamond Sampler please let me know.
     
  2. tschwa2

    tschwa2 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    A few in SC, VA and FL, a single resort in NC, MD, PA, NY, UT, ME, WI, and TN plus Jamaica and the Bahamas
    I think they exaggerated how much time you could get with 20,000 points. I can't find the chart but I am guessing 10-14 days in Hawaii and to get 4 weeks in the US, it would have to be off season for all of the weeks. And I wouldn't count on being able to upgrade to a larger size for $129 per week.
     
  3. applepie

    applepie TUG Member

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    Diamond Resorts US Collection
    There is a sticky that Chemteach posted. It's the second one down when you click on the Diamond Resorts forum link. It contains the Club Points guide that will tell you how many points to stay at each location. One of the cheaper places I remember seeing for Hawaii was 5,500 points to stay at an affiliate resort -- Papakea during high-season or even high-season. But, from what I understand from FB and other posts I've read, the affiliates may have very limited inventory available. I believe the cheapest at Ka'anapali Beach Club for a 1 bedroom scenic during mid-season is like 6,500 for a week, and Point at Poipu is 8,500 points for the cheapest place. Look at the points guide or reservations directory to see what you can get and then double check on forum to see if those places are all actually able to be booked. It would suck to buy it and then find out that the affiliates have only 5 or 10 rooms each available in inventory and that those rooms get snagged quick and aren't even available.
     
  4. tschwa2

    tschwa2 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    A few in SC, VA and FL, a single resort in NC, MD, PA, NY, UT, ME, WI, and TN plus Jamaica and the Bahamas
    Found an older chart that actual points should not have changed. Not every resort is eligible to be used with the sampler. I doubt affiliate resorts are eligible. There is no off season for Hawaii so only high and prime.
    https://tug2.net/timeshare_advice/DRIReservationsDirectory.pdf

    In the US the 4-6 weeks looks like it is based on off peak. Using mid season a 1 BR usually goes for 5500 to 6000 points, so in mid season you can get a little over 3 weeks.

    In Hawaii an ocean view in high (not peak) is 8500 so a little over 2 weeks.
     
  5. nuwermj

    nuwermj TUG Member

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    I have seen posts in other forums where people have found value in their Sampler purchase. But you should be very careful and very sure it fulfills your needs before you sign. I have read many comments by people with the Sampler who claim the excerpts above are either misleading or wrong.

    Ka’anapali Beach Club is not typically in the list of available resorts. They use a nearby hotel.
    Sampler inventory is exclusively weeks owned by the developer so there is a common problem of no availability for desired dates.
    Some have claimed that the sampler's points chart is inflated relative to the owner's chart values.
    A sales presentation is required for every reservation.

    Be very, very sure before you sign.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 4:13 PM
  6. awa

    awa TUG Member

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    We did the sampler like 6-7 years ago now and at that time you had to wait 6 months between reservations. You couldn’t go back to back.
     
  7. clifffaith

    clifffaith TUG Member

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    And I don't think the reservation could be for longer than a week, and like others said you could find yourself in a nearby hotel. But I imagine it depends on availability and who is helping you make a reservation.
     
  8. bobpark56

    bobpark56 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We have had 3 sampler packages...2 for 15,000 points each that we enjoyed and had good value from, and one (the most recent) for 20,000 points that we rescinded, as all was not what they said it would be, and they would not put what they said in writing. The first 15,000 got us 6 nights each at Lake Tahoe and San Luis Bay Inn. The 2nd 15,000 got us 17 nights at Ka’anapali Beach Club, while locking in prices at about $3 per point and providing credit we used for points purchased in Hawaii. So, yes, Sample packages can be good deals, but not all of them are. You need to read the offer carefully and decide if it fits your needs/desires.
     
  9. baf99

    baf99 TUG Member

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    Thanks for all the responses. If I wouldn't be staying in the Diamond resorts it wouldn't be worth it to me. I know for some of the Getaway types of promotions they do they use nearby hotels, but those are usually steeply discounted trips from what I heard. And you know that you are going to be at a different location and will have to go to a sales meeting. At least some people I spoke with who were on such a trip said they knew. But the whole purpose of buying points would be to stay at the Diamond resorts. They did state that it was their "top 50" Diamond resorts. Of course, I wouldn't base anything on the verbal assurance of a timeshare salesperson.

    If I could even get three weeks in Hawaii at Diamond resorts (or two Hawaii weeks with enough left over for 10-14 days in a US resort) it might be worth the monetary cost since counting maintenance fees and exchange fees I probably paid an equivalent amount per week for my two weeks at The Modern and thought it was a good deal. But if it's only about 10 days it's definitely not at the same price point as my timeshare. Also if I couldn't use the weeks back to back even at different resorts it wouldn't make sense for Hawaii. I could travel at any time, but I'd prefer to only have one air fare.

    Since I came home without contacting them, I had pretty much decided to not purchase. But I figured if it was something good they would always take my money if I contacted them. Not happening. Thanks again everyone. I would still do the HGVC one again, though.
     
  10. baf99

    baf99 TUG Member

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    @bobpark56 I replied before I saw your post. Thanks for the info. If I find myself at a Diamond resort in the future (and I might since I exchange off and on through Grand Pacific) I might consider a sampler. But as you said, I will read carefully. And if the contract doesn't match my needs and what the salesperson described, no deal. In the meantime I will look at the points chart to see if I could make it work out.

    Actually, when I read some of the other posts about limited term points memberships I started wondering if maybe Diamond was looking toward a more sustainable business model for the future. It's still pricy, but it's not forever. Maybe that could be their tagline.
     
  11. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    We bought a sampler package one time because it provided value for our next trip to Hawaii. We looked at that package an alternate to renting a condo. We made sure the package was good for the location we wanted to go to.

    As others have mentioned, the package isn't good at all resorts. There could be some seasonal restrictions as well. So it's important to make sure that you know where and when it can be used, and the number of points required to stay in those locations.

    Someone upthread mentioned about Diamond possibly putting people up at the resort next door instead of the Ka'anapali Beach Club. That would probably be Ka'anapali Shores. We've stayed at both, and actually preferred Ka'anapali Shores.
     
  12. clifffaith

    clifffaith TUG Member

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    KS is no longer a Diamond affiliate, so I'm guessing no more putting folks there. We were disappointed when it was removed because we thought we'd try it sometime.
     
  13. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    We liked it because:

    1. All of the rooms had a nice ocean vliew.
    2. Parking was a lot easier there. In fact, IIRC there was no parking charge at KS.
    3. Insted of having a ridiculously oversized bathroom, there was an actual, functional kitchen.
     
    clifffaith likes this.
  14. nuwermj

    nuwermj TUG Member

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    Ka'anapali Shores was dropped from the Diamond portfolio. I've seen multiple recent reports that the Sampler's accommodations on Maui are at Royal Lahaina Resort.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 10:25 AM

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