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Starwood FAQ - if you are new to Timesharing or Starwood, start here!

Discussion in 'Vistana Signature Experiences (formerly Starwood)' started by DeniseM, Jan 24, 2008.

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  1. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    Welcome to the Starwood Board! :hi:

    We've put together some of the most common questions to introduce you to the Starwood System. After you've had a chance to look at it, please let us know if you have any other questions!

    For more detailed info. please click on the link at the bottom of the FAQ and check-out the other links posted at the top of the forum.



    1) I just bought a Starwood Timeshare from the developer and I'm having second thoughts - what should I do?

    While you are still in the rescission period, you should rescind - a completely legal way to get out of your contract & get your deposit back. Be sure you follow the directions in your sales packet EXACTLY and within the time limit stated in the instructions. Then you can do your homework and make a decision without any pressure. If you decide you want the original deal after all, it will still be available next week, next month, and probably even next year, and you can negotiate a better deal that you will be comfortable with! Complete info. about rescinding.

    2) What are Staroptions?
    Staroptions are the exchange value of a Starwood timeshare within the Starwood Vacation Network. Each timeshare is assigned a Staroption value by Starwood, and Staroptions can be used for exchanges to other Starwood timeshares. Staroptions cannot be used outside the Starwood network. (A Staroption chart is posted in the Owner Resources sticky.) ​


    3) Can I buy/sell/rent/barter/deposit Staroptions or use them in any other way besides an SVN exchange? -
    NO​

    4) Can I roll Staroptions over to the next year? -
    Starting in the fall of 2011, 4 & 5 Star Elite Owners can roll their Staroptions over to 2012. Starting in 2012, all Staroption owners will be able to do so.​

    5) Can I borrow Staroptions from the next year? -
    Yes, but you have to pay the maintenance fee for the next year in advance, and the Staroptions can only be used for reservations made 90 days out. ​

    6) Can I combine Staroptions from developer and resale purchases in the same SVN Acct. and combine them to make reservations?
    YES​

    7) What are Starpoints?
    Starpoints are Starwood hotel points & they can be used for hotel stays, airfare, and other purchases from the Starwood Preferred Guests Program. Starpoints do not transfer with any resale.

    a. What are the rules for converting to Starpoints?
    Regular owners can convert their timeshare to Starpoints every-other-year - there is a $99 conversion fee and you must pay your maintenance fee before converting. The earliest you can convert to Starpoints is Oct. 1, of the year before the use year, and the latest you can convert to Starpoints is March 31st, of the use year. (A Starpoint chart is posted in the Owner Resources sticky.)

    b. Elite Owner Conversion?
    * 4 & 5 Star Elite owners do not have to pay the $99 conversion fee and they can convert to Starpoints every year.
    * 3 Star Elite owners can convert as late at July 1.
    * 4 & 5 Star Elite owners can convert as late as Oct. 1.​

    8) If I buy a Starwood timeshare, resale, can I exchange it for other Starwood timeshares using the Starwood Vacation Network? -
    Only if you buy it at one of five "Mandatory" Resorts.​

    9) What do Mandatory and Voluntary mean?

    a. If a resort is Staroption "Mandatory," it means that when the week is sold to a new owner (resale) the Staroption value of the week transfers to the new owner, and the new owner has the right to exchange his timeshare in the Starwood Vacation Network. These resorts are Staroption Mandatory:

    * Harborside at Atlantis
    * Vistana Villages (Bella and Key West phases only)
    * Westin St. John (Virgin Grand - Hillside only)
    * Westin Ka'anapali & Westin Ka'anapali-North
    * Westin Kierland Villas

    b. If a resort is Staroption "Voluntary," it means that the Staroption value of the week DOES NOT transfer to the new owner when it is resold, and the new owner DOES NOT have the right to exchange his timeshare in the Starwood Vacation Network.​

    10) If I buy a voluntary week, resale, can I pay a fee and buy into the Starwood Vacation network? -
    NO​

    11) What does it mean to requalify/retro a resale?

    In simplest terms:
    a. Someone purchases a Starwood Timeshare, resale, at a voluntary or mandatory resort.
    b. Then they purchase a timeshare directly from Starwood.
    c. As part of the negotiation for purchase, Starwood requalifies/retros the resale week, giving it all the rights/benefits of a week as if purchased directly from Starwood, which allows it to count towards Elite Status.
    *For all the details, see the "Yes you can requalify/retro as a Direct Sale," sticky. ​

    12) Can I deposit a resale/developer week with an exchange company?
    Yes - both resales and developer weeks can be deposited.​

    13) How do I deposit a Starwood week with an exchange company?

    Interval International (II) - In August of 2009, Starwood and II changed the depositing and exchanging rules and procedures. Here is a walk-through for depositing and exchanging your timeshare.

    Independent Exchange Companies - Reserve a popular week at your home resort exactly as you would if it was for your own use. Contact your independent exchange company to complete the transaction. You do not have to ask Starwood's permission, or even notify them of your intention to deposit the week with an independent exchange company.​

    14) If I can't use my week this year, can I rent it, trade it, deposit it, or let friends or family use it? -
    YES​

    15) How do I make a reservation with Starwood?

    The earliest you can make a reservation at your home resort for your deeded unit size & season is 12 mos. from your desired check-in date.

    That means if you own a 2 bdm. lock-off, at 12 mos. out, you can reserve:
    1) The whole 2 bedroom unit or
    2) Just the 1 bdm. side or
    3) Just the studio side

    To make a reservation at your home resort, call owner services - (888) 986-9637, during the Owner's Preference Period, 12-8 mos. out from the date of arrival. OR - make your reservation online at www.mystarcentral.com

    Best practice: Call exactly at 12 mos. out at 9:00 a.m. ET.
    OR - make your reservation online, 12 mos. + 1 day before check-in, at 12 midnight eastern at www.mystarcentral.com

    To make a Staroption exchange
    , call owner services 8 - 0 mos. out from the date of arrival. OR - go online at 8 mos. + 1 day before check-in, at 12 midnight eastern at www.mystarcentral.com

    Reservations for less than a full week can also be made 8 - 0 mos. out, if available.

    Reservations canceled within 60 days of the check-in date, can only be used to make future reservations at 60 days out from arrival date and Starwood may charge a cancellation fee. Reservations cancelled within 60 days, cannot be converted to Starpoints, or rolled over to the next year.​

    16) What is an Elite Owner?
    An Elite Owner owns multiple Starwood timeshare units and receives "perks" from Starwood based on his Elite level. These units must have been purchased from the developer, or requalified, to count towards Elite Status. Elite Member Perks

    17) What do all those acronyms and abbreviations mean? -
    It can be confusing! Check out David's List of Starwood Terms.​

    18) Can I advertise/request a rental/exchange/purchase/sale on the TUG Starwood Board? -
    No, but TUG does have a Classified Ads page and a Direct Exchange page, for this type of offer. You can also offer/request rentals on the Last Minute Rental Boards. On the LMR Boards you may ask no more than $100 a night and check-in date may be no more than 45 days from today's date.​

    19) Can you summarize the difference between owning a 1) DEVELOPER unit and owning a 2) MANDATORY resale and a 3) VOLUNTARY resale unit?

    If you buy from the developer:
    •You will pay top dollar - and lose 50-95% when you walk out the door
    •You can convert your week to StarPOINTS (hotel points) - a poor value most of the time - sometimes valuable for Europe or special airline deals.
    •You can trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
    •You can make a reservation at your home resort
    •You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co. (Interval Acct. is included in your SVN membership)
    •You will pay a yearly SVN membership fee of approximately $130
    •Counts towards Elite Status.

    If you buy a mandatory resort - resale:
    •You will pay less - but still a significant price (thousands of dollars for a high season week - much less in Florida)
    •You can't convert your week to hotel points.
    •You can trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system using Staroptions.
    •You can make a reservation at your home resort
    •You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.
    •You will pay a yearly SVN membership fee of approximately $130
    •Does not count toward Elite status, but can be requalified.

    If you buy a voluntary resort - resale:
    •You can often get a week totally free
    •You can't convert your week to hotel points
    •You can't trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
    •You can make a reservation at your home resort
    •You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.
    •You will not pay a yearly SVN membership fee
    •Does not count toward Elite status, but can be requalified.


    For in-depth information on these question and more, please see the Starwood Article posted here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
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