I am thinking about getting a Platinum week at Hilton Head but am concerned with the trading aspect if this as we love to travel all over the place. What has been your experience in regards to trading lets say Hilton Head Platinum for Vail (in the winter), Aruba (in the summer), etc in the MVC at those locations. Any informative comments are most welcomed.
My wife and I purchased a Marriott timeshare in Palm Springs about 14 years ago. If I had to give an honest answer, I’d say it’s been a mixed bag. First and foremost, Marriott is a class act and we have not had any problems with them or the property. The major frustration has come with the exchanges. When we purchased we had one baby and it was easy to exchange in those days because the industry was so small. Today, we can only go away during school vacation and it becomes nearly impossible to get an exchange with a resort that is in high demand during that time. We currently have nearly two dozen exchanges on request with Interval International and the requests are now two years old. Our requests are mostly for the Caribbean since we live in Florida. We also attempted to get Colorado and Utah during the winter for some skiing, but you can imagine how that went. Another problem is that we are nickel and dimed. Each time you want to reserve with Interval we run up against hundreds of dollars in fees (annual renewal, foreign exchange requests, the list goes on). Another thing to watch out for are maintenance fees. When we purchased we paid about $300 a year, now it’s closing in on $1000 and assessments will probably be staring down on us as the property ages and needs to be refurbished. With Marriott, the maintenance is due January 15th, and you know how difficult it is to shell out any money right when the holiday credit card bills come due. There’s also property tax to consider. One more thing, it’s getting pretty darn expensive to fly to a vacation spot these days, so add that into the mix. Flying 4 people to Aruba for a week at the timeshare can easily cost over $2k. If it sounds like I’m totally negative, I’m not. We have had some very memorable family vacations in very deluxe accommodations and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Would I do it again? Probably, but with the expectation that exchange aren’t as easy to come by as the sales people make it out to be.
First, I think you should buy where you go most often. However, aHilton Head Platinum Week is an extremely powerful trade. I would say more powerful than Vail overall. I If you plan far enough in advance, I think that you should be able to get the exchange into Vail. Summer in Aruba, is not the busiest time there...winter is, so, I wouldn't worry about Aruba.
Just a note, that Hilton Head Platinum, you can trade for 125k points every year. I think that is pretty good, for myself that liks the points.
I'm very confused by the replies here that state "powerful trade" or "more trading power". Am I just not using the system correctly? I have a week at Palm Desert and when I deposit it with Interval I'm placed on the same waiting list for an available request as the next guy. I also take exception that Aruba is easier in the summer since it's low season. I've had a request in for a two bedroom property in Aruba for the summer of 2007 & 2008 (second week in June till third in August), none of which became available. I'm about to place a request for 2009 and probably won't get that either, in addition to a dozen other Caribbean properties. Also, I go onto the Interval site about every 2 weeks to look at availability for the coming year and unless I want to go to Arkansas in January, it's pretty much slim pickins'. To make matters worse,a rep from Interval calls me every few weeks to tell me "they are still looking to fulfill our request".
Are there tricks of the trade that I'm just not using?
If you buy a platinum week, the most expensive option, you will probably be able to trade. I own a platinum week on Ft. Lauderdale beach and have traded for Park City, Curacao, Key West.
We also own at the Marriott Vail. There are 3 buildings there (used to be 5 but two pulled out since they wouldn't pay for upgrades). There is one high end building (evergreen). Douglas and Birch are not as upscale. But we aren't in the condo much. There is a shuttle to the gondola which is nearly as convenient as ski in/ski out. We can always trade Vail for anywhere. There are resales that are less expensive, but if in ski season, give you great trading value. I would suggest you consider buying a ski week instead of Hilton Head and you will have much better trading success. A Vail ski week in Birch during ski season will range $10-!5K. Others are more expensive.
We just returned from a week at Marriott's Barony Beach in Hilton Head. One of our favorite properties on the island for our purposes. On a rainy day, we sat through one of the pitches from the sales group there, and were told that HHI owners return to use their units over 87% of the time. And we have learned through experience that unless you own there, (we do not), you will have an extremely difficult time to trade in. The HHI properties trade very well in Platinum season, so I don't think you could go wrong with your purchase. Whether or not you decide to go through Marriott, where last week an Oceanside unit in Barony was selling for $34,000, or the private resale market, where you can get Oceanfront for $30,000, is something you would have to weigh given the points value. Good Luck!
I can tell you that I have owned Marriott Fairway Villas for 6 years and I have only stayed there once using my week. We have exchanged every other year and have not had any problem getting what we have wanted. We've traded into Hilton Head (Barony Beach), Aruba (Surf Club, which we now also own), Orlando, Williamsburg, Myrtle Beach. And I would not categorize Fairway Villas as a Prime location. I do own Platinum, which gives me decent trading power.
By trading power, that means that not all Marriott weeks trade at the same level. For instance, a Platinum week in Hawaii will have a LOT better trading power than a Bronze week at one of the ski locations. When a request is made to II, it is not really done on a first come first serve basis. Your deposited unit is ranked against everything else that is in the list. That may not seem fare, but it is a reality, and seems fare to the person that owns the much more expensive week. Remember though, MVCI owners get the 25 day priority window. I would guess that many deposits are taken by other MVCI owners most of the time.
For a lot more info about trading practices, I'd recommend going to tugbbs (I hope I'm allowed to say that). :)
MikeGFLA, I'll share with you my experience and a story around supply & demand that made complete sense to me when my wife & I were investigating which property to purchase through MVCI. We originally had looked into properites in Hawaii, Vail, and Park City. What we found was the following.
1) Hawaii - While it's a beautiful tropical paradise, it's climate effectively makes it available 365 days a year (supply). It's also a beach property which is one of 28 that MCVI currently offers and 1 of probably 1000's of beach timeshares worldwide. Also, imagine how many miles of prestine beach destinations there are worldwide (I'll come back to this later).
2) Vail - While we really enjoyed this property, it's wasn't a "true" ski-in ski-out property so the logistics of getting to and from the lifts were less desirable for us on a "relaxing vacation". However, it is a ski resort which is only open during a small window of year for peak season (demand). Also, as we live in Florida, the altitude got to us a bit while we were there.
3) Park City (Marriott Mountainside) - Absolutely fell in love with the property and convenience of a true "Ski-in ski-out" resort. You literally put your skis on outside the gate and ski downhill to the lift. Again, like Vail, a very short window during peak (platinum) season so demand is high. Also, the base and summit altitudes were much closer to sea level then Vail so the altitude didn't bother us near as much.
So my overall point is this. If like us, you are primarily concerned with trading value over time and don't plan on vacationing in the same location every year, I would look at purchasing a ski resort platinum week if you can get one. It's basic supply & demand principles. Everyone who wants to vacation at a ski resort in the Northern Hemisphere has about a 3 month window to do so compared to a 12 month window at most beach resorts. Additionally, there are much fewere ski resorts worldwide then beach resorts so now you have the power of a high deman property with limited availability and timeframe during peak season. Conversely, if you have a platinum beach resort, it might prove difficult to trade for a preferred week at a ski resort.
My wife and I have since traded our week at Marriott Mountainside without issue for a week in Ko Olina (twice), Tahoe (once) and Lake Tahoe (once). We've also though of how cool it will be when the Winter Olympics come back to Park City and we're right in the heart of things. Not to many Olympic beach destinations out there. :-)
So I guess my point is, while you may spend more up front for a ski resort compared to a Platinum week in HH. If you're looking for long term trading value for you and your family (keep in mind some properties are deeded), it's likely a wise investment to get a ski resort week as you rarely will encounter problems exchanging it for other ski resorts and virtually any beach property.
Hilton Head is beautiful. We go there and have stayed at a couple of the MVC resorts. We bought our MVC in Maui strictly for the trade and have always gotten what we wanted and usually an upgrade for what we were offering. Marriott's name carrries some clout with the trade
The sales reps when we bought ours told us that they would recommend Hilton Head (not Orlando) as the trade values were very good.
Those looking to purchase now need to be careful when listening to the sales pitch that involves Marriott Rewards. Starting January 15th, Marriott is changing the schedule. The result of this new "enhancement" (their words, not mine) is the devaluation of up to 60% for some award levels over the current schedule.
Don't let the salesforce con you into thinking that with the points you can check into a Marriott resort for a week instead of occupying your home resort. With the new schedule, it will be more like a Courtyard for 3 days.
3 BR Platinum Hilton Head has excellent trading power for all your target exchange destinations across seasons. Here's why:
Vail Streamside has Studio, 1BR and 2BR villas. Your 3BR villa gets you a 2BR villa plus the option for a Studio or 1BR villa at a very deep discount like $200 or less for 7 nights. Note: Marriott's Streamside at Vail does NOT participate in Marriott Rewards. http://www.marriottrewardsinsiders.marriott.com/topic/Insiders/Elites-Screwed-Streamside/13000003095&#msg13000005976
Aruba has 2 Vacation Clubs, the Aruba Ocean Club and the Aruba Surf Club. The Ocean Club has 1 BR and 2BR villas, but the Surf Club has 3 BR villas and 2 BR villas with a 1 BR lock-off unit. In Aruba you have the exchange power to get a 3 BR villa or a combination as outlined for Vail Streamside.
Platinum gives added 'exchange power' for a coveted Week 52 vacation experience in Vail or Aruba This is the week between Christmas and New Years - a very popular time for vacations.
Hope this helps.
This may be water over the bridge, but prospective buyers should be aware that Marriott's Streamside at Vail including the Birch, Douglas and Evergreen vacation clubs are not currently participating in the Marriott Rewards program.* While this may not affect the trading exchange power through Interval International, Streamside owners do not currently enjoy the added flexibility to Trade for Points.
In the recent assignment of Marriott Vacation Club resorts to a Hotel Category, Streamside at Vail is excluded. If I understand this correctly, it means that owners and Marriott Rewards members cannot redeem the Pointsaver award, Redeem 4 Get the 5th Night Free at Birch, Douglas or Evergreen at Streamside at Vail.
* MVCI owners may confirm this at My-VacationClub.com (Login required)