I went to a Vacation Club presentation this past weekend and am thinking of joining the club. If anyone has any dos or don'ts I would be interested in hearing them. Currently I get 2 weeks of vacation a year. Because of this I am thinking about the 2,000 points a year level. Any advice feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Well shelleyinsc You came to a good place to do that research, there are a lot of MVC owners and former owners and timeshare haters on here that can give you some input. My advice is to use the search engine of the site (it is not very good) and seek out the other posts on this subject. There are a lot of variables in your choice that you need to consider, like, where you are in life, how likely is that to change?, are you seeing it as an investment? why did you go to the presentation in the first place?, what are the alternatives?
As you get advice or read others input take into consideration where in their life cycle they are. For example someone like me who is recently retired may see MVC as a great thing, because I like to travel and it is a great travel vehicle, the places are really nice and i have nothing financially to worry about.If I was younger but had hindsight that i have now, i would be less inclined because of the long term nature of the deal and the difficulty to get out of it. Life has the inevitable challenges, kids, new jobs, loss of jobs, change in location of jobs, aging parents etc. With each of these comes a short term crisis and often that years vacation plans go to the back burner. However your commitment to MVC is permanent.
I would say that MVC will work for you if you can afford it. But recognize that you are not saving money and it is not an investment, well a good one anyway. Good luck.
Thank you! My husband and I are middle aged and our daughter recently left the nest. We are interested in the Vacation Club as it will allow us to go to different places vs a traditional timeshare. I know the cost up front is a bit much and we'd only be able to go 2 weeks a year at most. That is why were were thinking the 2,000 points. If I am doing my math correctly it looks like that once the joining fee is covered that is is basically BOGO vs standard hotel stay. Is that what others are finding? I have found a few threads but most are the traditional timeshare or have a lot more points/level. Thank you again!
I have been a Marriott vacation club owner for almost 10 years as a week & point owner. Keep in mind – not only is there an upfront fee – but you will also have to pay an annual maintenance fee. I am not 100% sure how it is calculated – but mine looks to be around $0.55 per point.
The second thing to keep in mind is where you are planning to stay most and what kind of accommodations you would need (Studio, 1 Bedroom, 2 bedroom, etc) – to determine how many points you would need.
Marriott’s Shadow Ridge rates run from 1,175 points/ week for a studio to 2,450 points/ week for a 2 bedroom.
Conversely – Maui Ocean Club would run you 2,175 points/ week for a studio to 3,375 points/week for a 2 bedroom
You can bank and borrow points – so those more expensive locations can be saved for – but knowing your primary destination will determine if 2000 points will be enough for you to do an annual trip without having to bank or borrow.
As peymanagement stated – this should not be viewed as a financial investment. I feel that those who hate timeshares are those who look at it as such. Yet if you have the means and factor in the annual maintenance fees into your retirement picture – I think the program is worthwhile. MVC has done a good job of expanding their portfolio and adding other options for vacation club points.
We have been owners for over 15yrs. Beside MVC locations there are other activities being added every year. Cruises, private residences, adventure tours and others. We own two weeks in Maui (could be extended to four by separating lock-off) and can go every year. What we have elected to do, since the points system was enacted, is to go to Maui every other year and try out other locations or activities mentioned above. We have gone on two European river cruises, one with Ama Waterways and this last summer on Viking. The Viking cruise was just amazing. We extended our vacation by using Marriot hotel reward points to stay at the Marriott Budapest and downtown Amsterdam properties. As mentioned, you can't think of this as a real-estate investment, but a investment in vacationing with one of the best vacation chains period. If you get the Marriott Visa Rewards card, sign up for Marriott Rewards and do your research you can work these three items to maximize your vacation experience. As a MVC owner you can also get discounts for hotel stays and can use your Marriott hotel rewards points to rent MVC timeshares at reduced rates / points.
Many posts on this subject over the years. I would suggest searching this site using various search strings. It may be tedious, but there are a lot of good responses, especially after the transition to points. Also, check put TUG, Timeshare Users Group, www.tug2.com. I started with MVCI weeks and was very happy. I transitioned to the points program and think it is great. I do not think you can beat the flexibility of the MVCI program. (I also own Vistana (Starwood/Westin) times shares and believe the MVCI is much more flexible. A key point to recognize is that the more you own the greater the benefits. My guess is that 2,000 points will feel very limited.
That is such a tough question - because of all the options you have for vacation club points. You can use your points towards resorts, hotels, cruises, sailing trips, events, guided tours, house rentals and a few things I am sure I am forgetting. But if you were only looking at just staying at a Vacation Club resort - then we can look at the numbers to stay in a two bedroom villa at the Marriott's Maui Ocean Club.
A two bedroom villa currently costs you $599.00/ Night or $4,193.00/ Week
That same Villa would cost you around 3,400 vacation club points/ week
So if you are paying $10.00 a point - your initial investment would be $34,000.00
Your annual maintenance fee at $0.55/ Point would be around $1.870.00
These are just Guestimates - but 13 years in Marriott's Vacation Club cost would be around $52,700.00 while paying for the same trip for 13 years would be around $54,509.00 at todays rates.
This is why vacation club should not be viewed as a financial investment. Instead I have always viewed it as an enhancement in my qualify of life. I work a lot - and being a timeshare owner really gives you an incentive to take that annual vacation. More importantly - I have built my portfolio over time - so I can travel the world when I retire - when I will have the time but maybe not the income.
Thank you! That helps a lot. Is there anything that I should be doing now to help with all of this? I have seen a few mentions fo the Marriott credit card and that I could use it to pay my maintenance fees. Does the card help if you are staying at a Vacation Club as part of the Vacation Club. I think I read where I can use Vacation Club points towards hotels but not hotel points towards Vacation Club.
Oh what a slippery slope you are traveling – welcome to the world of points and elite status.
Marriott Vacation Club (VAC) and Marriott International Inc (MAR) - used to be one company but they split some time ago. That being said - they are still closely tied together and there is benefits if you’re a Marriott Vacation Club owner – to also be enrolled in the Marriott Rewards Program...
If you have not registered in Marriott Rewards – you will want to do that first. It is free and once enrolled you will get stay credits and reward points for stays and purchases.
Second – Marriott just purchased Starwood resorts. The programs are currently separate – but will merge in 2018. So once you have your Marriott Rewards account set up – you will want to create a Starwood Rewards account and have it tied to your Marriott Account.
Once completed – you will be able to earn Elite Nights and reward points for every stay and purchase at a Marriott or Starwood Property. There are three different elite levels (Silver, Gold and Platinum) and benefits and perks with each level. Reward points can be redeemed for merchandise, hotel stays or travel vouchers.
The Marriott Rewards Credit Card – allows you to earn elite Nights and reward points faster. What many vacation club owners do is pay for their Vacation Club Points and their annual maintenance fee with their Marriott Rewards Card since they get 5x the point value for every dollar spent. There is an annual fee – but you also get one night Hotel credit on your anniversary every year.
shelleyinsc, you can sometimes redeem MR points for MVCI properties, depending on the dates needed and the property. And you can only redeem timeshare points for certain MR properties, although you can always convert timeshare points to MR points when/if you want, although the conversion rate is not that favorable. You're better using timeshare points for timeshares when you can, instead of converting to MR points. And as one of the other posters mentioned, timeshare owners can book timeshares at a discounted rate if not redeeming timeshare or MR points. That is, you can book MVCI units for their regular nightly rate, minus a special discount that timeshare owners may get. Whether the discount is available and what percentage depends on the property and dates. But I've seen up to a 40% discount which is very substantial. A couple of examples: We booked Crystal Shores in February (high season) for 55,000 MR points a night which got us a 2 bedroom villa with 2 baths and full kitchen and a magnificent view of the ocean. The room would have rented for $799 had we not used points, so I considered that a good redemption. Another example: we rented a hotel-type room at the MVCI BeachPlace Towers in July (low season) with a city view (i.e., the smallest and cheapest unit possible - like a regular hotel room with a microwave, mini-fridge and sink), and the property upgraded us to an ocean view. The regular rate was $129, and with the timeshare owner discount we only paid $77 which was dirt cheap.
I have also "built my portfolio over time". Start small, find out if it works for you. Also, as you sit thru more sales presentations you will get a feel for the process. Currently I turn most of my VC Points into Marriott Reward points and spend 3 day weekends in Marriott hotels. On Jan 2, 2017 I will do a Marriott Travel Package and will get 120,000 Southwest Rapid Reward Points for 120,000 MR points, a great exchange rate. Because of having more than 110,000 RR points, I will also get a SWA free travel companion pass for my wife for the "balance of the enrolled year" (2017) and the "full following year" (2018). That is the best travel deal out there as far as I am concerned. Since most of my MR points come from my VC points, I see this as a benefit of my MVCI ownership. When we retire we will be able to spend most of the summer out of the Phoenix desert heat by staying at MVCI resorts. Great flexibility on how you can use the program.
I've been Lifetime Platinum for several years, travel internationally, have accumulated sizable reward points, but we still joined MVC in 2012, buying into the "Destination Points" program, rather than designated weeks at a particular property. We live on East Coast so we have opportunity to drive to some of the premier MVC properties, such as Hilton Head, SC: Another Memorable Marriott Vacation Club Week
And, we recently returned from week at Oceana Palms, near West Balm Beach, FL.
While it is expensive to join now - more so than several years ago- don't give into their first offer should you attend one of the meetings. If you're considering at least 2,500 points they'll likely give you discount if they think they will lose the sale! Tell the sales agent you'd like to think about it and get back to them; next phase, they'll bring in the sales manager to "sweeten the pot".
While to us it is an "investment", as others have stated, and something you can leave your children, since it's deeded property in which you're investing, the best thing we've found is that it's a great program for taking family, or friends (as you can see in above earlier post), particularly with the two-three-bedroom properties. This is not possible even with adjoining, hotel rooms, where you might utilize Marriott Reward points, especially when you have access to some 1,800 square feet of living space like Harbour Club in Hilton Head.
Depends on where you want to go and what type of a Marriott property you stay at. Hotels range from 10k point per night up, so you could get say 8 free nights or 1 free night. The credit card also gives you a free night each year which if you can use, easily pays for the annual fee.
If you decide to sign up for the credit card, you might see if you have any friends that currently have the Marriott credit card. There is a promotion going in which one can refer friends to sign up for the credit card. If you then signed up off of the referral, you'd get the 80k bonus points if you spend 3k in the first 3 months and whoever referred you will get 20k bonus points for your signing up.
One issue that wasn't discussed is purchasing points and timeshares on the secondary market which is significantly less expensive than buying from Marriott directly; you still will be paying the same maintenance but the initial cost is less.
TS on secondary market cannot be enrolled in DP program but can be used to exchange thru Interval; we purchased our 2nd TS at the Aruba SC for a third of the cost of our first TS. Aruba has a lockoff so you get a two bedroom for two weeks choosing this option
DPs are also sold on the secondary market averaging $6.00-$6.50 per point
Hope this helps
Thank you! I went to TUGS and saw that there were a few DPs available. One looked like a good deal until they mentioned a $7,000 fee by Marriott. Any idea what this fee is? Also, is financing available for secondary market or would I need to find financing with a local bank...I went to a presentation last weekend and when they (Marriott new market) showed me the numbers the sheet had a 13.99% interest rate. The program I like that, but that made me want to run! I have also thought about going traditional TS for one week and year and getting points for a second week via Interval. I have heard a few people say "Interval" what is that exactly? I buy a week say in Hilton Head and exchange it for a week in Vail? Sorry for all the questions, just want to get the most bang for my buck. My husband and I are in our early 40s. We have the income now to pay these high fees in hopes of having vactations in 20 years when we retire...
Interval is a different timeshare company aggregator that has a very, very large pool of available properties from different timeshare companies, including the MVCI properties. The Interval membership is separate from your MVCI points and basically gives you a week at any available Interval property. Interval International | Resort, Timeshare, Exchange, Getaways, Vacation
PS - Most of the Interval properties are not as nice as the MVCI properties. They aren't as likely to have the stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, etc. Some of the Interval properties are very nice, such as the MVCI properties and some of the other well-known brands such as Sheraton, Hyatt, Omni, etc. Some are independent properties that are less fancy and less upscale. But there are lots of options all over the world, so it's a nice add on to the Marriott program.
We have points. No, they were not cheap. Yes, we bought from Marriott and not on the secondary market. So far we have used them at Ko Olina, Crystal Shores, BeachPlace Towers, Sabal Palms, Royal Palms, Aruba Surf Club (all MVCI timeshares) and Renaissance Harbourview Hong Kong (not a timeshare - a traditional hotel). We love the timeshare units, especially the ones with full kitchens and washer/dryer units. We save a lot of money by eating some meals in the room and by bringing half the clothes and just washing the ones we bring. We plan to redeem more points again in Hong Kong at either the Renaissance, the JW or the Ritz-Carlton. The hotel redemptions aren't as good a value as the timeshare units, but we value the flexibility. We don't want to be tied down to one location, so it is a huge benefit to us to be able to use the points at non-timeshare properties. Destination points can also be used for cruises, airplane tickets, and vacation packages for things like a safari or hiking the Inca Trail, etc.
We also received an Interval International membership with our MVCI purchase, so we get a week at an Interval property in addition to our timeshare points, and we usually get a couple of accommodation certificates with Interval per year as well (those are limited time offers where you can get a week at an available Interval property for a fee of about $259 for the entire week).
We did not buy as an investment. There are annual maintenance fees. We bought as a way to incentivize us to take some family trips we wouldn't otherwise take, and since the points do eventually expire, you do have to use them at some point within a 3 year period. So it does get us out there into the world which we enjoy. This year we're going to Australia!
Our annual fee is somewhere around $1700. The annual fee depends on how many points you have. We have 3,000 points annually. How many nights you get for that amount of points depends on where you are staying, the dates you select, and the size of the unit you select.
We tend to vacation during high season, so we usually end up with about one week for our points. For example, we did a 1 bedroom unit at Aruba Surf Club for a week this year for our points over the President's Day holiday which is one of the busiest and highest cost times for Aruba. If you tried to book one of the Marriott properties on Palm Beach (the Stellaris or one of the timeshares) paying the regular rate during that week it would run about $700-800 a night.
So you're basically prepaying your vacations for about the next 10 years, and after that it maybe turns out to be a good deal because you've gotten enough value out of the program to offset the initial cost, even considering the annual fees.
If we selected properties during low season, we could stretch it out quite a bit. For example, the ski properties are dirt cheap in the off season. If you wanted to visit a MVCI in Colorado or Utah in the summer, you could get a fantastic unit for very few points. Some of the timeshares offer hotel-room type units without a full kitchen and washer/dryer and those are less points as well, for obvious reasons.
If you choose a hotel rather than MVCI then it's more points per night/week: for example, I would only have gotten about 5 nights at the Renaissance Hong Kong for my points, and less that that at the JW and RC because those are more expensive properties. But we like the flexibility and are more interested in using the program when and where we need it rather than maximizing value.
You get your point allotment each year, and you can borrow from the next year or bank unused points into the next year, so you get some flexibility on when you can use the points. You do eventually need to use them within the 3 year period, or they will expire. That's when you might want/need to use for a hotel stay or non MVCI redemption. You can also convert to MR points but the conversion rate is not very favorable.
The Interval International membership is an additional 1 week at an Interval property (which includes the MVCI properties, subject to availability) and there is an additional modest fee of about $259 per week to redeem the Interval week.
Lots of people will tell you not to buy from Marriott directly as points or weeks are cheaper on the secondary market. Some will tell you not to buy at all because it's cheaper to rent from an existing MVCI owner. We chose to buy because we could afford it and didn't want to mess around on the secondary market trying to figure out the rules, etc.
We purchased with the MR Visa and got a boatload of MR points for doing so. We were in a position to pay off the credit card right away without interest, so that option worked great for us.
If you buy from MVCI it is a deeded interest in the Marriott Land Trust which is a real estate interest in Orange County, Florida. So you get a deed and it's a real property interest. We deeded ours into a trust, and when we die the interest will go to our children who will then get the points but also be responsible for the maintenance fee.
The points needed for nights at the properties do not go up from year to year, but the calendars are adjusted each year so that you need more points over holidays and high season times than other times of the year. So President's Day week is going to be moved around a few days from year to year and points needed will be higher that week depending on which day it falls on in the calendar year. In other words, the points are always going to range from low to mid to high season and points needed for each season stay the same, but the actual days on the calendar that are considered high season might move around a bit to match up with the date that the holiday falls on for that particular year. The maintenance fee can and does increase over time.
I have to put in a plug for Park City, UT, during the off season. There are two wonderful MVCI properties there, and the downtown is very charming. There is plenty to do during the off season, including excellent hiking and mountain biking. It's amazing to me that you can stay off season very cheaply, but come ski season be prepared to pay 10X as much. I guess people really like skiing!
I didn't even think about packing just a few outfits and wash/dry. Good point! That will help with airline luggage fees too. My husband and I both cook while on vacation with one meal out.
The MR Visa Card...how much of the purchase could you put on the card? Just the downpayment or your monthly loan as well? Was told we could put 30% down but had to pay monthly for the rest. Interest rate on the sheet he gave us was 13.99% which scared the **** out of me!! We would need to finance, but 13.99?!!! Yikes! I'm currently getting less than 4% on all of my other loans...
We put the entire purchase price on our MR Visa, but of course you need a pretty healthy credit line with Chase to do that. Then we paid off the next month in full as the interest rate on the MR Visa would have been higher than the interest rate if financed through MVCI or a bank loan. If you want/need to finance, MVCI offers financing or you could get outside financing with a bank loan if you could find one with a more favorable interest rate. We didn't discuss or investigate financing as we knew we could pay off the Visa right away.
PS - at the time of our purchase, we had two Chase credit cards: the MR visa and one of the United airlines visas. I do recall calling Chase and moving some of the United credit line over to the MR visa so that we had enough available credit to charge the entire purchase on the MR visa. Chase is good about that.
We recently went to a presentation and what we were offered was if we put 30% and financed the rest at their horrible 13.99% for 18 months we would get extra points. It made me laugh out loud literally that they were trying to present it as such a great interest rate and everyone was taking them up on it! You can absolutely charge it all and pay it off or finance yourself to avoid their "special" rate.
I don't think so because the loan would have to be secured by the property. Here is an article that might help, although I can't guarantee it's correct or current: Timeshares and Tax Deductions | RedWeek
You're getting some good advice here. But augment it at TUG, which is a site expressly for this purpose.
Bottom line: you are going to want to know everything about everything before you even see someone from sales again, so you can ask very specific questions-- and you know what to ask in the first place.
As a separate data point, I personally do not own; however, have stayed in many. A long time friend bought one well before the points changes, etc. and I have stayed at that 'home' unit many times. I have also booked others to use as an alternative to hotel space in certain locations. My experience at all of them as a *guest* was well run, well maintained, clean, safe environments. My friend has never had an issue other than trying to use her points before expiration and inability to ever successfully work out an Interval stay-- but I was not the person handling that, so I can't say why that was (other than she is likely a last minute booker).
Let me jump in here for a minute. My wife and I have owned at Palm Desert since the 90's and purchased some points to supplement the once we get for that unit. You mentioned that your daughter is out of the house, which is a good thing (for more than one reason). That means that you don't have to deal with the dreaded school vacations, an annual rite when reserving is nearly impossible. Take it from me, I have 20 years of experience on that front and it was frustrating as heck. But now that my wife and I are empty nester's and I'm self-employed, we can travel on a whim. And do.
The problem we are having is that now that we are in our 50's, we don't find most of the resorts in the Marriott portfolio very enticing. Until we have grand kids, Orlando does not appeal to us at all. That leaves Hilton Head, which is a good destination, just not every year. However, this year we have found a saving grace in the new Pulse collection and we did stay a week in NYC in October, which was fabulous. I realize that the new line is in its infancy, but I'm hoping that they obtain properties world class cities such as London and Paris as those are better suited to our travel habits than San Diego and Washington DC.
Just my two cents.
mikiegfla, have you used points in the explorer program yet? It's got the London Grand Residences and St. Ermin's Autograph Collection hotels in London as part of the program. It's definitely more points for these hotels than for the typical MVCI but it does provide flexibility. I used the explorer club program in Hong Kong and it took 625 points per night at the Ren. It might have been a better deal just paying cash, but I had some destination club points that were going to expire so I figured I'd rather use them for a trip I was going to take for sure instead of trying to cram in a last-minute stay somewhere that I wasn't planning on. I might do the same for an upcoming trip to HK and mainland China and possibly another trip to Singapore. Also, the Interval International exchanges have lots of options, although I don't think those properties are usually as nice as the MVCI ones.
Very true about vacation time! I looked at my point value for going to Vail, Colorado. If I went Dec 2-22nd Sunday-Thursday a studio is 75 points a night. If I went over winter break...375 a night (Sunday-Thursday). As for Orlando and Hilton Head, I agree. When I went to the original presentation it at HHI I was thinking "I could come here for a few nights..easy" but then as I think about the club membership fee I think really $25,000 for HHI? I wish there were more places within driving distance for me OR cheap(er) flights. I fly out of Charlotte so the major cities are within my grasp such as Chicago, Seattle, NYC, as well as typical tourist spots like Nassau. I have often wondered if the price of flying to Vail (for example) would offset the savings of having the club as I would have to fly to Denver then rent a car, etc. I do not fly for work so I do not have a lot of airline miles.
Apt observation about being able to drive to some of these Marriott resorts. This was big factor for me when I bought into the Marriott Vacation Club. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and am fortunate to be able to drive to Marriott resorts in South Lake Tahoe ( 4.5 hours), southern California and Nevada ( ~8 hours).
Great comments on this thread so I'll add mine. We bought 7k points and they allowed us to pay on Marriott Visa over 4 installments (in 2+ months), so we got 350k MR points. Plus a bonus of 525k MR points and a free return trip to Vegas. I think if you buy during your trip they offer more. The Interval program opens the world, and a 1-bedroom anywhere in peak season is 3,000 vacation points, so we plan on numerous Europe trips. Hopefully they add more "city" trips in the US as right now it's limited to 5-5 markets. Set up in a Trust and we can pass on to our daughter when we stop using vacation points. I'm glad we did it and it forces you to take vacations. Good luck.