STAY AWAY!!! I've been a Marriott owner since 1988 and had no regrets UNTIL I JOINED THE DESTIONATIONS PROGRAM. I am accustomed to converting timeshare to Marriott Reward Points in December. When I tried to convert to Destinations, I'm told the deadline is September. Thus, I joined in 2014 and, as yet, have not been able to even submit points. Nonetheless, Marriott has no problem in charging me annually for the program (in addition to charging me for the MCVI program). Unless you have a lifestyle where deadlines for points programs are your most important responsibilities, stick with MVCI. You can use the Rewards Points for airlines and easily rent a condo online from Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) - and probably cheaper too!!
I agree 100%. We regret the large purchase we have made in the Destination Points. We own 3 units at the Grande Ocean Resort in Hilton Head, SC and we have been owners for 22 years. That program is much easier to navigate and insure you receive your full value. We are at the "highest" level in the Destination Points, but based upon the inability to get anything confirmed you would think we were at the bottom. I would also add that the annual maintenance fees on the Destination Points is excessive to say the least.
I joined back in October and have no regrets. I will save the cost to join in less than 2 years with the savings in fees. I need to use up weeks that I put into Interval and have made 2 reservations this year through Interval and then used points to add a day to the beginning of each week. I own 2 weeks at Canyon Villas and can only turn them in Marriott Reward points every other year. The unit I can not turn into MR points this year I turned into DC points and I am planning on renting out the points to hopefully cover the annual maintenance fee. Vacation Club was flexible before and it is more flexible now.
Hi, I'd have to say mixed reviews. No complaints about the upfront cost of conversion, I owned two weeks and paid $600 I believe it was back in December. I'll get value out of the "bonus" points I'm using for 2 nights in Ft. Lauderdale later this year, plus save on the interval membership fees as others have pointed out.
My issue is with availability. The plan itself is flexible... but unfortunately for me, with 4 kids in 3 different school districts, my schedule is not. I am looking for peak week availability and having a lot of trouble finding it. I guess what I really don't like is the 2 year expiration window on destination points... when you have to book 12 or 13 months in advance to get decent availability, it's really not a long window at all. After spending no less than 6 hours on the phone with the vacation advisors, I finally got something satisfacatory for 2012 that fits my schedule. I couldn't even drop my own reserved week and rebook it using points (I thought that would allow me to at least get another year on the points...) because the points go back to owners before they go to points users.
I also REALLY wish there was searchability online... it's so much easier to click around and see your choices than to try to talk them all through with the VA's. They are well trained but still.,.,
Perhaps if I were a retiree or had a much more flexible schedule, I'd be happier. I feel like I have a part time job making sure I get the most value out of my points.
I love the Destinations program. It is a cost-saver and - because I am an original "weeks" owner - I get the best of both worlds.
I agree that having villa availability on line - at least for viewing - would be very beneficial.
I understand from the Destinations CSRs that Destinations points availabillity and transactions will soon be viewable online.
I only have the Destinations Program and would never have it any other way. I simply love the flexibility it allows. I've spent as few as 1 night in a MVC in Aruba and as many as 21 nights in Marriott Desert Springs Villas II. If a person values being flexible, the Destinations Program is the only way to go.
As a destination points owner you can really work the points and get a nice vacation. If you stay only five days say Sunday to Thursday points are far less. You can go some where close stay in another Marriott for the weekend to see the sites in that area and always come back for another five days. Check out the schedule. If you don't travel during peak times you really can make out.
I don't mind moving. When I do road trips I move. So, I can just pack up and go to a nearby city for a couple of days in another Marriott. I can go to Hilton Head and go to Charleston. Not a problem for me. I travel by myself. Have learned not to buy tons of food. I eat out most of the time and I travel in a 22 inch suitcase! I do not pack like half the people I see!
We joined the new Destinations program when it was first offered in Summer 2010, at Timber Lodge in South Lake Tahoe. We paid $ 595.00 to join and own one Platinum week at Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert. For us, it really wasn't with the expense for the following reasons:
1. Still have to pay $ 165.00 per year (points maintenance ?)
2. The 2 year time period comes up quickly, as depending on when you sign up and deposit, it actually was less than a 2 year time frame for us.
3. We were sold on the flexibility of breaking up a week, by taking 2 or 3 days at at time. We live in Northern California and there is only the Timber Lodge in South Lake Tahoe, as a Vacation Club. In Southern California, there is only Newport Coast Villas, which is a great property. We ended up going on RedWeek.com and purchased a pricey week vacation from a private owner, since we could never get the property through the exchange program. California has over 30,000,000 residents and there is a lot of Marriott owners all looking for prime locations, during prime weeks.When we tried to stay in a nice hotel in the Napa area, the points were only able to be used mid-week, with black out weeks, which was disappointing. Then the 2 night point value was almost equal to our full week 2 bedroom/2 bath in Palm Desert.
4. We thought it would great to save up a couple years of points to take a trip to Europe. Our home resort value is around 3050 points per year and we would need 3 years of points (9,000 points needed) to make such a trip. No problem, we would save them up, but therein lies the 2 year expiration period !
We enjoy owning our Marriott timeshare, but it really does require managing it like a part time job. We just locked off our 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit in Palm Desert and relinquished both weeks. Someone will enjoy our weeks, but we are nowI waiting and waiting for a request to come through. If we put in a request for a property outside of Marriott, we still need to pay the exchange fee to Interval International. In summation, if you own multiple Marriott weeks, the $ 595.00 may provide you with a significant savings.
For us, the value of Destinations Points comes in being able to trade out of season for more days than taking our one week in season. For example, we love Palm Desert in October, when the summer heat has calmed down, the nights are cooling off, and the pools are still warm. Instead of seven nights in February (we're red season), using points rather than an exchange we can have ten nights in October for the same points value. Keeping an eye on the season cut-off is really important. For example, we were able to get extra days in St. Thomas by asking for a check-in during early May instead of late April. Just a thought.
My husband and I have owned multiple weeks for almost 10 years and only last year succumbed to the pressure to buy into this program (after attending FOUR presentations, hearing varied interpretations of how the program works, hearing dozens of contradictions, and reading hundreds of complaints on various online sites). We did it for the "no exchange fee" policy, and were dismayed to discover that returning to the same places at the same times of the year that we'd enjoyed through ownership and Interval exchanges cut our actual stay time (nights in each unit) by 28-50 percent. The seven-night exchange to Palm Desert in Feb. through Interval became five nights once the unit was converted to points. AND...you do know that there is an annual "membership fee" which is equal o about two exchanges through Interval. For those of us who always have to fly to a destination, it's exhausting and a waste of money to return to our Canyon Villas property for a mere five nights. Granted, not all property owners have to factor in work schedules, cost of airfare and car rental, travel time etc. when booking, and the new program may suit them just fine if they want 3-5 day getaways. But, the new program seems to have significantly depleted the pool of 7-day stays available, and that seems unfair to those of us who 10, 15, and 25 years ago were told, "You'll always have..."
I also hate that Marriott has so many deadlines...must deposit by...must use by...and that points don't have the three-year use window that weeks deposited with Interval do. Also, on the plus side as long as I mentioned Interval: I have to say that Interval International's staff has become even more customer-service oriented and has come through for us with some nice perks like upgrades from efficiencies to one-bedroom units and "bonus weeks" for early deposits. They also call occasionally to let us know what the inventory looks like for our pending requests so that we can decide periodically whether or not to change or add to our request list.
So, a month ago I paid almost $300 in annual fees for the new program which I have no intention of using this year or next; and, if I could, I'd demand a refund and deal exclusively with Interval. We like so many other older owners loved MVC, touted it to our friends and relatives, and are disappointed with the way the program was handled from the beginning. It's a financial win for Marriott at the expense of some of its most loyal and long-term customers.
In general, my wife and I are "less than pleased" with our Destinations experience. Customer service has been a HUGE disappointment, with the process to resolve relatively simple issues being repeatedly passed from "pillar to post", being put on hold for extensive (30 minutes or more) periods, argumentative staff, etc. After speaking with friends who are clients of other timeshare programs (and who receive much higher value for their investment), we would not make the same decision to sign up. We've been Marriott timeshare owners for 20+ years and there seems to be a big disconnect between the consistent, high quality of MVC facilities and the onsite staff (all available to our friends who participate in "non-Marriott" programs) vs. (in our experience) the Destinations "Customer Service" staff and problem-solving processes. It makes one wonder if Marriott is managing the Destinations program or vice versa.
Another thing I really like is the fact that I travel alone and I can now just book a studio and really get tons of vacations. Plus Interval. I have the weeks program Platinum. So, I can deposit my weeks there and get free weeks. But, not entirely free. Have to pay exchange rates. But, still a deal. Got a great deal in New Orleans.
WE joined when the Destinations option when it was first announced----and have no regrets. It has given us much more flexibility with absolutely no downside. Using either points or weeks - whichever works to our advantage under the circumstances of our calendar and time/travel constraints - has given us the best of both worlds! And, the updated MVCI website is flexible and phenomenal. Kudos to all! Jim Engwall