I just recently stayed at the MVC in Orlando, I only picked this hotel because the Orlando World Marriott was booked out, at the time of my arrival I requested a status upgrade and was told that the Vacation club does not do upgrades. My question being is this normal for the MVC properties? At the time of booking i had requested a room overlooking the pool and pond area and was given a room in the back corner overlooking the golf course and the adjoining housing development, kind of the opposite of a room upgradeOrlando. Other than that the place was nice and we enjoyed our stay.
Compliments of our MRI expert bejacob;
This information is listed under the terms and conditions of Marriott Rewards. Here's the snippet on upgrades.
Note the last line. Disappointing as it is, Marriott does make this clear on their website. As for the breakfast, that benefit is not available at resorts (most Vacation Clubs are categorized as resorts).
While there might be a better way of communicating that benefits normally available to Golds and Platinums aren't granted at MVC, the information is out there. It is unfortunate that we have to seek it out. I agree with you that it's a surprise (not a good one) to find this out upon arrival. That's one great feature of Marriott Rewards Insiders. Learning from others what to expect at certain brands and properties.
I have no doubt others who are unaware of how MVC properties work will be glad you posted this message.
ks77 nailed it. MVC doesn't do upgrades. Ever.
Folks from the MVC do reach out in advance and will ask for preferences (golf view, lake view, low floor, high floor, etc.) and try to accommodate. Depending on the number of VC owners at the time of your stay, it can feel like preferences are ignored.
I had two recent stays at VC properties (Orlando and Hilton Head). I booked a "courtyard" or "city" view (read parking lot) and requested a lake view in both cases on a high floor. Both properties said my preferences were unavailable yet in each case I ended up on the 3rd or 4th floor (out of 5, I think) with a lake view. So preferences are reviewed and if such a room is available it will be granted. I've been fortunate so far mostly because I chose less popular times to visit. During the peak season, I would expect owners to receive preferential rooms over those of us who book by the day or even week (paid or points).
So it is possible to get a better view that the room booked. Just don't call it an upgrade. MVC doesn't do upgrades.
I'm not a MVC owner, but have stayed at two properties - on Hilton Head, and last August at the Grande Vista Resort in Orlando. I think bejacob's summary is accurate and helpful, as he always is. I don't know if it would work generally, but keep in mind that these vacation properties have check in/check out days, when a massive turnover occurs and check in time is late afternoon so they have time to clean the units. We arrived at the Grande Vista early, well before check-in time, and found a helpful desk agent, who helped us get a desirable unit by calling housekeeping as units were made available. We even drove over to one to check it out, didn't like it, came back and waited for another to become available. Might be worthwhile to try this, as I'm not sure every unit is specifically assigned beforehand.
MVC spun off from Marriott a few years ago and therefore are no longer are part of Marriott. The properties are owned by timeshare week owners at the resort, or by the MVC trust owners who buy trust points to use the MVC resorts. Most of the villas (especially during popular seasons) are used by these owners. Therefore, they receive the highest priority for villa locations. Some resorts also have different views (Ocean Front, Ocean View, Garden View) that required higher investment. For this reason, non-owners who rent through Marriott are at the bottom of the pecking order. I think MR platinum and Gold members receive priority over other non-owners, but you can't expect the same benefits that you receive at true Marriott properties.
Another issue you may encounter is that check-in time is typically 4pm, with checkout at 10am. However, there is not a resort fee or parking charge at most MVC properties. You probably didn't have to pay for parking during your Orlando stay, while those in the Orlando World Center resort are charged $25+ for parking. I think you will find the MVC resorts to be very nice properties and most 1-2BR units have full kitchens and laundry facilities.
superchief1 makes some great points about what is included at MVC properties. Not having to pay a resort fee or for parking can really add up in some places. The full kitchen as well as numerous grills located on the grounds can help reduce the cost of dining at restaurants every day.
One other benefit non-owner guests get is daily housekeeping. Owners do not get this during their stay unless they make arrangements with the property.
These locations can be great alternatives for MR members. However if you're looking to be treated based on your Gold or Platinum status, you'll be better off at a traditional Marriott property.
True, MVC properties do not upgrade, have late check in/early check out and dining options are lacking compared to full serve Marriotts, but they have some advantages. It is hard to beat the extra space, a full kitchen and washer/dryer in your unit, especially if you are traveling with kids. They also have activities such as fitness classes, kids craft sessions, movies etc that aren't found in most regular hotels.