Over the past few years I've enjoyed using my Marriott points at one of the three Marriott Vacation Resort locations in Spain. Being able to do this has been one of the drivers for me to maintain my Platinum status over the last six years.
However, this year I've been unable to book a single night in an apartment/villa on points at any of these destinations. They have been stubbonly unaviallable all year.
Can I ask if this is a temporary policy change or permanent?
As has been articulated on these pages in the past, there is - from a reservations point of view - a nearly 100% difference in room status and availability between a hotel and a timeshare resort:
Prior to any reservations received for a particular night, a hotel is essentially empty that night.
Contrast that to a timeshare resort in which all time intervals have been sold: ---- that resort is essentially full for that night unless and until an owner trades away his/her ownership week --- which then creates a vacant and available week for which a reservation can be made.
Current owners of more popular timeshare resorts trade away their weeks far less than less desirable resorts. (Thus the "demand" thermometers in the Interval International resort catalogs).
No matter how you are paying for it -- with points or cash ---- the same dynamics apply and explain sparse availability at many timeshare resorts.
Sparse availability suggests that rooms are occasionally available. As I say, there has been no availability for over 8 months, not a single villa across three resorts. I check 3 or 4 times a week.
In previous years it has taken a little patience to get a booking but never more than a couple of weeks.
I thought perhaps the reservation mechanism had changed?
I agree with you! I have been attempting to get a reservation at the Spain villas with no success. Then, I even tried all of the vacation villas (not just in Spain)- starting with 1 night stay until June 2012 with no success. There was absolutely nothing avail in any of the villas for even 1 night. That seems a little strange. When I was making my reservation for villa near Disney in 2011, there were other villas avail in other countries, USA, Spain etc. I can understand low availablity but this is different.
Has anyone heard anything else.
Thanks for any input!!
Greetings - here is what I've validated. MVW properties continue to participate in the Rewards program and have made no changes - in practice or policy - in terms of accepting redemption reservations. Availability at any single unit may vary from year to year based on owner activity among other things, and the way countryjim explained it is tops! There are Marriott resorts, and of course, numerous AC properties that are new to the selection pool - perhaps one of those would suit your needs... In the meantime, we'll have someone reach out to see if they've forgotten to load their inventory into our systems (unlikely, but hey, stranger things have happened in this crazy world).
I have encountered similar issues. However, it turned out it's a problem with the Flexible Date calendar. Search for specific dates and you may get a different answer than what the Flexible Date calendar shows. In other worlds, the Flexible Date calendar is often wrong. The Flexible Date calendar generally shows not available, but that may not be accurate. Search for specific dates (uncheck "My dates are flexible") and you may find some openings that are not shown on the Flexible Date calendar.
Simply put, the calendar is almost useless when using rewards points for many Vacation Club locations.
Hey Bigmike - I've asked our digital team to check in to the flexible date calendar functionality. And our MVW group is again looking into whether or not redemption dates have been properly loaded into our reservation system. We asked them to look at it a couple of weeks ago when this thread started, and all seemed well.
Not that it's any consolation, but I am not having much luck with finding availability of associate rate or friends & family rate either. All industry analysts state that travel is surging this summer and by the looks of things, I believe them...
To be clear - the flexible dates calendar returns different results than the standard search. As an example, Marriott's Playa Andaluza in Spain (since the original post was about Spain) - the flexible dates calendar shows no single day check-ins using Reward points available in July. However, when a single date is searched for, July 12 or July 30 are both good examples, then the standard search results show rooms available for reward points. So it's not necessarily that there are no rooms available, but rather that the flexible dates calendar is not accurate.
Hope this helps the original poster. And I hope Marriott fixes the defective flexible dates calendar as it is a nice feature (if it worked).
Hi everyone - from what my flexible calendar expert friends tell me, it does appear to be working properly although I recognize it's not helping you find dates you want. It seems that the MVW properties are particularly blocked because of owners filling up weeks and this is especially true in Spain. However, there are AC and Autograph hotels in that region that have availability:
Other MVW properties do show up in the calendar, like Orlando:
The calendar can be restrictive because it requires all the days you are searching to have availability. So if you need 3 days, like in the example above, but you had started on Wednesday you wouldn't have gotten any results. We recognize the frustration with this but given how rates get set and loaded we aren't able to offer accurate day by day pricing -- it's always tied to length of stay.
They wouldn't even test to see if they can reproduce the issue with the previous examples provided? The calendar does not work for most (~10) of the Vacation Club locations that I've tested, although it does work for a select few (your example is one). Searching for a single day in July, results in no days available at Marriott's Playa Andaluza, as shown below. However, there are some days available using Rewards Points, the night of July 13 as an example, is shown below. (My Rewards Number has been removed from the images.)
The issue is real and Marriott should admit to the defect with their website.
Shows that the night of July 13 is available.
bigmike - it's not that they wouldn't check the hotels you were referencing but the only one mentioned was the Playa Andaluza and now that July 30th has no redemption availability it's hard to troubleshoot the issue. I will tell you that the calendar should show what a regular redemption search result gives you if you are searching for 1 night stays. But MVW does have different redemption rules than other brands and I think that's partly causing them to not appear on the calendar. If you want to provide me with some other specific examples we can continue to look into it. Especially if you are seeing it with other brands. Thanks so much.
It seems as though they didn't want to be bothered with a defect. It would have only taken a few minutes of basic IT Quality Control to spot the issue. Perhaps you could spend just a few minutes to review the defect. It's really not that difficult to identify. Dee_UK identified a good example.
I originally noticed the issue searching for a room at Newport Coast Villa's - look there is availability Nov 14 to Nov 20 (yes, I do have a rewards reservation for those dates, despite the fact that the calendar still shows they're not available):
No single nights available in November, yet above are several examples to the contrary:
I think you will find another factor will greatly impact availability of Marriott timeshare resorts. I have owned MVC resorts for over 20 years. When I purchased at Royal Palms, I was given an option to trade my week for 110000 MR points. When I did this, the timeshare week became available to Marriott for point redemption. Since that time, the value of these points has diminished substantially. However, Marriott has not increased the number of points it offers for me to give them my week. Why should I give Marrott my 2 bedroom condo at World Center (or any other MVC resort) when all I can get in exchange is 5 nights in a Courtyard. Since I own several MVC resorts, i previously used the MR point option every other year. Many other MVC owners did the same thing. However, I won't use this option in the future unless Marriott provides me more points. To add insult to injury, Marriott would charge me 240000 points to use that same week. I doubt you will find many owner will trade their week for Marriott Reward points in the future, so there will be very few weeks available for MR point redemption.
The reason why you are seeing the discrepancy in the examples provided (Playa Andaluza and Newport Coast Villas) is because the only rates available are with a points upgrade (which shows up in regular search results). By design, upgrades are not returned as part of the flexible calendar results - it only shows standard redemption rates. Perhaps we need to consider enhancements to it in the future to show upgrade rates as well, but it is not currently broken.
Thanks to everyone for also shedding some light on why MVC redemption nights are harder to find. Owner nights do play a big part in it.
While I love making reservations online, we have thus far always made our "big spend" points reservations by calling the elite reservations line, and most always about a year out. We are thankful that thus far, we have always been fortunate to get what we want, and the options, standard vs. points/cash upgrades have always been spelled out very clearly and concisely. This is for both Cat. 8 hotels and MVCI stays with MR point redemptions, and after many such redemptions now, so far, so good! Here's to our continued success and keeping the lucky streak intact!
Defective by design? Calendar clearly states "Not Available for Check-in" which of course is incorrect. Color coded as "Redemption not Available", clearly incorrect. However, if it stated "Standard Redemption Rate not Available", that would be accurate. At a minimum add a label that indicates something like "upgrades are not returned as part of the flexible calendar results - it only shows standard redemption rates". What is the downside to consistency with the search results?
I'm new to this website, so hopefully I'm posting this in the right place. Like the others, I'm also having a hard time booking a week with points at the Newport Coast Villas. Based on the previous posts and replies, I think I understand why, but my question is -- do you (or anyone) have any indication on when more units will be released? I'm looking to book a week around Christmas this year -- is that a really busy time when most owners use their timeshares at that location? Just wondering if you can give me a sense of how busy that property is during Christmas, and when I might have a better chance of booking a unit using points. So far I've only been able to book one single night on points -- I need 6 more!
Thank you so much.
chickawang - welcome to Insiders, we're glad to have you! Unfortunately I don't have any information to help you determine when a hotel may open more rooms. Seasonality would play a role and so I'd imagine during Christimas week may be particularly tough and they may never open more rooms. Plus you have the additional challenges of MVC units and their owner weeks which ultimately may be more in demand during holidays. I wish I could provide more guidance or "secret" insights....
I continue to be fascinated by this thread --- primarily because I am a 5 weeks owner overall in 3 MVCI resorts (Desert Springs Phase I, Kauai Beach Club and Maui Ocean Club). All three say they are consistently among the highest-demand resorts in the system.
My family is here at Maui Ocean Club this week where the rooms control manager told me today that MOC is running 99+% occupancy. What this means is simple: If few owners trade out, that leaves minimal or no inventory for folks wishing to trade in or make paid reservations (whether by points or dollars).
See my reply early in this thread contrasting the opposite reservation dynamics that exist between a hotel and timeshare resort. To wit, a timeshare property at which all time intervals have been sold is essentially 100% occupied until and unless an owner trades out of it ---- whereas a hotel at which no reservations for a particular night have yet been received is essentially empty until and unless reservations for that night are made.
Availability of timeshare resort rooms that are available for a reservation has nothing to do with whether you plan to use dollars or points. It has everything to do with owners relinquishing their time period in exchange for another resort or travel experience.
I couldn't agree more with your assessment. While recently investigating property stays on Maui for next Spring, I noticed that none of the MVCI's had ANY availability on points or cash for all of March and all of April. My assumption was simply, as you said, that they maintain a full house of owners, and I didn't bat an eye at it.
Actually, availability of timeshare resort rooms do have something to do with whether you are purchasing using dollars or points. Take the Newport Coast Villas, for example. They will accept a paid reservation using dollars, but not an award reservation over the same dates. So, while it might seem reasonable/likely/understandable that the reason you aren't able to book a reservation at a timeshare property is due to owner occupancy -- it isn't. They will accept paid reservations, but will not allow you to redeem points. That's the question I would like answered -- when will those paid rooms be available for award reservations?
I'll try to answer. I believe you and Countryjim are both correct. With MVCI properties, the first and foremost factor in determining availability is owner occupancy. If a Vacation Club property is sold out to ownership, and if no owners reliquish their time as Countryjim pointed out, there is no occupancy availability. If they do relinquish their time, then I would suppose one of two things would happen: either the timeshare would go into a timeshare owner exchange pool where it could be traded, or else it would be flagged as available rental inventory. IF it is put into rental inventory (and I think that's a big IF), it may be available to reserve with points, but as has been discussed over and over (and over) again on Insiders, only a certain percentage of rental inventory is earmarked for point reservations. Once the the reservation threshhold of rooms/villas earmarked for point reservations is met, then there are no more available for points, even though the hotel/resort still may have rooms/villas available for cash reservations. To answer your specific question above as to when the rooms available for cash reservations will be opened for award reservations, I don't think they necessarily do become available for points reservations, and if they do become available (another huge IF), it would be at the descretion of property management. So to summarize, once the inventory of rooms available to reserve on points has become taken or reserved, there is no possibility of getting a room on points (even though rooms are available to reserve for cash), unless a points reservation is cancelled (which of course, does happen).
Here's another point to consider. In recent times, some of the newer Vacation Club properties have not sold out their inventories, as they were still in the process of building expansion. For instance, the Vacation Club at Newport Coast has been expanding for over 10 years. They only recently have become completely sold out (to my understanding). So during expansion years, I would imagine that as new villas came online, they would be available to rent while they were waiting for buyers, and earlier on (before becoming sold out) there was much more availability. As an example, when my sister moved back to CA from Sydney for a 3 year assignment, she rented an MVC villa at Newport for almost four months during the winter while searching for permanent lodging in the Newport area, but could only be accomodated on a limited basis, as ownership sales and occupancy grew during Spring and Summer. Now finally, the location is sold out, which makes it harder to find weeks to reserve on points. It's possible that the same held true for the MVC's in Spain (for dee_uk's question), as building expansion becomes complete and ultimately the property becomes sold out, reserving on either cash or points becomes more limited.
I am curious, and I would ask this question to dee_uk also, how far in advance do you try to book your points reservations? When we reserve Cat. 8 properties on points, we always book out one year in advance (as far in advance as the system will allow). Thus far, we have always been met with success, but for a location like Newport Coast or the coast of Spain or Hawaii, where the weather is nice pretty much year round and demand is high, it can be rough. There are very few rooms (if any) available for points.
I don't know if this helps shed light on anything, but I just thought I'd throw out a try.
The bottom line for you (and all of us, really) is to get that reservation that we all want, and I hope that somehow it is able to work out for you.
Pluto and every/anybody else on this thread:
So wouldn't it make sense to have a "last minute" PointSavers program for the MVCI properties as well as all Marriott brand hotels? If properties limit point rooms, I get it. They believe they can sell the other inventory. Go for it. BUT, let's say there is short time on empty villas or rooms. The odds start to say these will go empty. Everyone loses. If Marriott added a page to Marriott.com that listed last minute cash/points availability at discount, this inventory may get used. The property has guests, the employees get work, the MR member gets a nice stay. Everyone makes out.... just sayin'.
What no one mentioned is Marriott's Destinations, a point program for owners. The required pts changes from season to season and from day of the week, etc. They already have a program in place to fill low season days. I think what Marriott wants is for us to buy points if we want to stay in the timeshare units as opposed to renting them. I heard that when Marriott owners give their units to Marriott in exchange for pts, Marriott used to rent them but now puts them in the destination program.