Help Me with the Math

December 7, 2008  

Today’s topic is less about innovation and more about critical thinking.

I am in Florida in a timeshare I bought a couple of years ago through the Hilton Grand Vacations Club (HGVC). Although I bought it on impulse rather than logic, I have been taking full advantage of it and am glad I purchased it. Today, I had a chance to step back and reflect on my “investment.”

This morning I attended a sales pitch from the good people at HGVC. I currently own the lowest point allotment allowed, so they wanted me to increase the number of points I get each year.

For the bargain rate of $10,000 down, a $1,000 closing fee, and $500 a year (extra) in dues/taxes, I can get an additional 2,300 points per year.

I told the nice saleswoman that so far I have not been able to use the points I already get.

Her response was, “That doesn’t matter. For $69 a year, you can convert your unused HGVC points to Hilton Honors (HH) points, allowing you to stay in Hilton Hotels anywhere.” Each HGVC point is converted to 25 Hilton Honors points (2,300 HGVC points = 57,500 HH points). She continued to tell me that she converts half of the points she gets each year into Hilton Honors points, because it is such a good bargain.

I think that she and I have different definitions for the word “bargain.”  Here’s why…

I had a choice of parting gift for spending the hour in the sales pitch: either a restaurant voucher, a theme park discount coupon, or 20,000 Hilton Honors points.  Each are said to be worth $100.

If 20,000 HH points are worth $100, then 57,500 HH points are worth $285. Yet, the total cost to get these 57,500 is $569 per year (dues, taxes and conversion) PLUS the $11,000 down (buy-in and closing costs).

Call me crazy, but this does not sound like a bargain to me.

P.S. My gripe is only with the conversion to HH points and not the overall program.  My experience to date with HGVC has been quite positive.

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