Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Las Vegas II

We saved our pennies to go and purchase our timeshare the following year of our wedding trip. Instead of driving, we flew from DFW to Las Vegas. When we arrived at the Marriott's Grand Chateau, we checked in and went to our room. Our mouth's just dropped open and we were speechless. We went through the tour the year prior but it somehow paled in comparison. Take a look at the pictures of this trip and you might get a feeling of how we felt.

I thought I had Amy sold the year prior but now that she had a year to think on the whole deal, she was having second thoughts. We read about the Marriott time shares other people experienced. Some were horrible and some were great. We went through the presentation / sales pitch the second time and I was still sold and Amy still argued that it was not a good thing to do. But I begged and begged, and Amy caved in and we actually bought into it. Amy told me I was dead meat if this didn't pay off and we couldn't go wherever we wanted when we wanted to. As we walked out you could almost hear the sales people saying "Suckers". That's a joke and as I tell more of our time share stories, you can decide if we were suckered or if it was a smart purchase.

The real value in a timeshare, in my opinion, is that it forces you to take vacations and in taking vacations you get quality time with your family/friends. You are forced to take vacations because if you do not, then you are just throwing money away.

Here are the details of the timeshare purchase:
  • Trade based - trade your Marriott timeshare for another's in another location. To be able to trade to another location (Marriott to Marriott), it would have to be available before you could get it. There are high usage times where you most likely would not be able to book what you wanted. In fact the first thing we tried to do was book New York. It was impossible to get it we were later told because people who purchase in that location do not bank it for trade. Its not perfect by any means but try to get a condo in New York and see what happens.
  • Since Las Vegas is a prime location, we figured it would be easier to get what we wanted when we wanted
  • With a large amount of Vacation Club points, we could take big vacations such as London, Hawaii, etc.
  • The entire 2 bedroom condo can house eight (two families).
  • Fees: Yearly maintenance fee, a fee to trade in toward a non-Marriott location, a fee to use the company to get a non-Marriott location. Lock-off fee (splits the one week in the 2 br condo into 2 weeks - one in the main side and one in the smaller side)There are others as well but those are the main ones. Sounds horrible doesn't it. It really would be if I showed how much each fee was. By the time we took our vacation we probably could have done it with our own money for the same price but not for a resort this nice. These vacations are for a full week.
  • Points are accumulated each year based on what you have purchased. The room is big enough to split in two (lock-off). You could take 2 one week vacations by splitting the room or exchange your week for Marriott reward or vacation club points. You use the points to take vacations far away (out of the country or in tropical locations) possibly including airfare.
  • There are over 50 Marriott locations to trade for.
  • Purchased property is deeded so that it can be willed to your children or whomever you like.
  • Share with family members; they go on vacation in your place as a gift.

Chris Angel Believe show Since we had been to Las Vegas a year prior and did most everything, we took it easy this trip. We would go around gambling and having fun being together. We watched Amy's favorite magician at the Chris Angel (Mindfreak) Believe show and sat close to where his Mother was sitting in the audience. It was a cool show. We went through Madame Tussauds Madame Tussauds and laughed and had a good time taking pictures with all the different wax characters. We saw the Blue Man Group and they brought out a bowl Blue Man Group of Cap'n Crunch and handed it to me to hold along with a flashlight while they performed out in the audience. That was awesome... until they took it all back ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Las Vegas I

When Amy and I first started dating, we lived together for a while and got to know each other better than we already did. After about a year, we decided to get married. We planned a week long trip to Las Vegas and set a date and time to have it performed at The Little White Wedding Chapel. The vacation/marriage/honeymoon trip was packed full. Our trip would take us from Mesquite, Texas through New Mexico and Arizona to the Grand Canyon and then on to the border of Arizona and Nevada through the Hoover Dam and then into Las Vegas. We also planned a couple of shows we wanted to see and booked our stay at the Stratosphere.

We enjoyed the sights we passed along the way. It was early December and the Grand Canyon Arizona Grand Canyon was very cold. Our pictures of the trip tell a good bit of the story. After the Grand Canyon, we traveled back down and further West and drove over the Hoover Dam too late to see it. We arrived in Las Vegas around 10pm. We drove down the strip with lights in our eyes. We found where we would be staying while we were there. We could not check in this night though so we decided to stay at the cheapest place we could find. We drove away from the strip and found a Motel 6. When you are low on money its a great price but you definitely get what you pay for.

We checked in the next day at the Stratosphere Las Vegas Stratosphere and deposited our luggage in our room. I wanted to make our wedding day real romantic. I was able to step away from Amy a few minutes and went to find a good florist in the area. I asked the florist if it would be possible to deliver a 100 red roses and they said they could. I had never tried buying this many roses before and when I found out the price my hopes of making our wedding day real romantic faded so I decided I would buy a much smaller amount of roses.

On our wedding day a limousine took us to The Little White Wedding Chapel. Las Vegas The Little White Wedding Chapel Amy was dressed in a pretty blue dress and was so beautiful. When we arrived we were ushered into a room and waited for our turn to get married. A Hawaiian man performed the ceremony. Pictures were taken after we put on each other's rings and kissed. We bought Amy a real pretty Helzberg ring before coming to Las Vegas. It is a one carat Masterpiece diamond surrounded by another set of diamonds that add up to one carat. It is the prettiest ring I have ever seen. We were driven back to the Stratosphere where we went straight to our room and got comfortable...

The rest of the trip was a blur. We travelled back to the Hoover Dam to get a better look at it. Arizona/Nevada border Hoover Dam We walked until our legs hurt each day. We gambled in many places and did pretty good for ourselves. We planned to spend so much each day. On the first day we won enough to use for the next day and didn't have to use any of our gambling money to play. We were approached each day by people wanting to sell time shares. We went to a few of them and got free shows or gambling money.

One in particular was a Marriott presentation. Marriott was in the beginning stages of building their Grand Chateau. Las Vegas Marriott Grand Chateau The first tower was complete and they were working on the second tower. We were given the sales pitch and showed the property. I was sold. It would give us one week every other year that could be split so that we could vacation in many locations around the world every year. Amy fought me, fearing the horror stories of time shares. I could see the value in it though. This location was prime and we would be able to trade locations with ease. In the end she agreed to spend a little money up front to come back and stay a week in one of the condos to see if we liked it at which point we could purchase......