I'm hoping for some help. I purchased 2500 points through the Marriott Vacation Club program on Saturday in Vegas. I have until Wednesday to cancel if I want (Nevada state law) and I'm looking for some advice. I paid $29,000 one time fee and will pay $1500 per year in maintenance fees. I believe my cost was 11.62 per point. I have no idea if that's a good deal or not. I'm only 33 years old and LOVE to travel. I'm really looking for a good investment for my life and time away from my stressful job.
I'm not worried about the $29,000 as much as I am the maintenance fees that will continue to increase. Does anyone know at what rate they increase each year...on average? Am I crazy to have done this?
Who can tell me about points rolling over? Can they roll over year over year? There are going to be some years that I can't take a big trip. Thoughts?
I'm just looking for some sound advice. Thanks so much in advance.
The word "investment" here can be used very differently, depending on the person. To you, investment may mean something just worthwhile. For another, it means an opportunity-cost advantage. If you mean the latter, though, almost certainly the points are not an investment. If you include the $29,000 as part of the investment that could have gone into something else, you can almost always prove that you would have done better by just renting the room. For example, 7 nights at the grand chateau at the peak (except xmas week) is roughly 2500 points for a 1-bedroom suite. The same period booked through marriott.com with AAA can be $1300 (I know, since I have it booked in that period for that). Even without AAA, I could have had the booking for $1500. Let's even take that higher figure--its the SAME as you pay each year. The $29,000 up-front fee gets you nothing. Now, you may find other resorts are available where you can get some value (e.g., Aruba) from the up-front investment, but the break-even period will generally be 15-30 YEARS, and that means you put money out up front that you could not use for other things.
My advice is to pull the plug. Put your 29,000 into an interest bearing account and each year add $1500 (inflation adjusted) that they charge for maintenance into the same account. Use this account for one week of prime accommodation at any property you like, my math says that in 30 years when you are my age, you will still have your $29,000 plus interest and have gone on the same amount of vacations. The other thing to consider is as you go through life, things change and it affects your travel priorities (kids, aging parents, job, etc.) Many of my friends went along with the time share "investment" and inevitably were not able to use the time for one reason or another and lost most of their investment when they tried to sell out.
So call me biased to never buying a time share and I echo the thoughts provided by others. I have friends who bought Marriott (and other) time shares 15 or more years ago when kids were little, they wanted the larger 2 bedroom options that most of the time share properties offer and now all I hear is 1) kids don't want to go on vacation with mom and dad anymore, 2) the annual fees keep going up faster than inflation with no accountability, 3) the program point exchangeability has deteriorated, 4) swapping weeks isn't easy or takes too much time and points/money and 5) resale's are not really fair or equitable, you never get anything near what was paid (even with lower up front $ 15-20 years ago and factoring in inflation) + if you don't use Marriott to resell the buyer doesn't get your status and bennies and Marriott pays maybe 10% on the dollar to you and then takes a large markup to re sell, non of which is shared with or benefits you. Would you buy a house or condo knowing that the only person you could re sell it to was the original seller who would tell you what they would pay for it so they can reap a large profit on your back?
I have travelled extensively for 20 years, have built up many points in Marriott and other hotel programs, as well as airlines and rental car companies. My kids are still below colleage age and still love going away with me and my wife, and I know that in the next few years that will change. I use points or cash and point options and go where we want, when we want. As an example, we are going to Hawaii over Christmas 2015. 10 days, points usage plus cash will be all in about $1,000. I didn't have to buy a time share, and get to keep my locations flexible. We have done peak season trips every year to many locations around the world, and if I didn't have points, I paid cash, and I can promise you that is always $2,000 or less. So all in, I don't see the benefit of a time share. If you are curious, go to the website called the "Timeshare users group" (acronym is TUG) and look around and see what people who own timeshares are saying. There is even a sub group for Marriott timeshare owners. I for one think its not a great deal, but to each their own, so good luck with whatever you decide
Contrary to other reports - somewhat negative - I can attest to our continued use of MVC "Destination Points" - not "time share"- which we purchased in 2012, at less than $10/point, without regrets. Since I'm lifetime Marriott Reward Platinum, with accumulated reward points,and continuing to travel, I had reservations about the validity of MVC, and we took over a year and several visits to VC presentations before enlisting. However, my wife and I have put our points to good use, and have recommended the system to others. The MVC value (cost/night), I believe, is enhanced if you take advantage of the two-three-bedroom units by bringing other family members, or guests, along with you, and preparing most (all) your meals at your villa, and using the points in "low season" are less costly than during the "peak seasons" (particularly at beach locations). For instance, we've reserved five nights at Hilton Head Harbour Club Villas in January for only 350 points - if we were to pay for these spacious villas it would cost us over $1,500 - and if we tried to book them during "peak season", they would require over 2,500 points, assuming you could even book them. We've got a two-bedroom villa booked at Myrtle Beach, SC, for first week in June, and our family of 8 will be staying for five nights. To stay in the nearby Marriott Resort Hotel with rooms for this many peopr, or renting the villa, would cost over $3,000, not counting costs of food outside villa use.
Personally, we would never use our MVC points for a cruise, or most other promoted attractions.
The annual maintenance fees we paid have not escalated each year, and this year's fees have been waived since we referred a friend to MVC, who bought into the Destination Points program. Also, we charged our initial costs of points to our Marriott Visa charge card, and our maintenance fees are charged same way each year, so we receive multiple Marriott Reward points on our Marriott Visa Signature credit card. Also, we're credited a nights' stay on our Rewards program for each night in the villa.
You can borrow points from the next year's "bank", and you can also "bank" them forward, I believe for two years, so you don't have to use them all in your calendar year if you can't travel, but I believe you have to call MVC to make arrangements for these options. Once you book a reservation you have up to 61 days in advance of your stay to cancel it without any loss. I would suggest going to the MVC website and look up the benefits.
You can sell your Destination Points back to Marriott, or transfer them to a family member, and every year the cost/point increases, so in this respect, it is an "investment", in my opinion. At the current rate of interest growth in most institutions - if you can find one - within a few years, I'd suggest your $11.62/point will be of higher value than your initial payout. Personally, I believe the "Destination Points" program is a more flexible plan than the traditional "time share" at a designated spot, but others might think differently.
My son bought into an international "time share" (with annual maintenance fees) several years ago, and each time he and his wife have accessed these, they've seldom stayed in the place due to inadequate upkeep (poor facilities), and have since dropped the time share. *I don't believe you'll ever experience this with Marriott VC since they are continually upgrading/renovating each facility every 3-5 years.
First, I am a happy MVC timeshare weeks and Destination points owner. That being said, I cringe when people refer to buying MVC as an "investment". I do not see it as a financial investment, but an investment in my annual vacations. Some people buy cabins in the mountains and go the same place for vacation, and spend a lot of time maintain the cabin while there. They pay insurance and taxes annually, that go up every year. Some people spend 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars for mobile homes and travel all over North America (mostly). They pay insurance, taxes and maintenance that go up every year. I originally went with MVC because I could convert the weeks to MR points, which do not expire (They are subject to inflation, just like money). Because my wife and I can not always get away. One of the prime benefits of MR points to me is the Marriott Travel Package where you can trade points for 7 days of hotel time (choose your category) and transfer points to most major airlines on a 1:1 ratio. (Awesome deal!) I did 120,000 points, twice, with Southwest airlines and each time qualified for their free companion pass, which is good for the balance of the year you do it and the FULL following year. My wife has 3 years of free flights and I used SWA (MR) points for 2 of the 3 years. It took me a couple of years to become comfortable with all the things that I could do with MVC, but it has been well worth the effort. Yes, maintenance fees go up, very regularly, but they are to maintain class A properties in class A condition. I don't like paying the maintenance fees every year, but I have come to see it as just prepaying my vacation for the year. I will note that as you get more Destination points, you will get more benefit. Unfortunately, you will be limited with 2,500. I have the equivalent of 13,500, but I made incremental purchases over about 5 years as I became more comfortable with the program.
First, great Insider knowledge here! Hopefully this is what you were looking for workaholic2015. If you have any additional questions, I'd be glad to help.
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