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Buy both resale and Westin Flex?

Discussion in 'Vistana Signature Experiences (formerly Starwood)' started by Workcanwait, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Workcanwait

    Workcanwait Guest

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    My husband and I travel several times a year, generally 3-4 night trips to AZ, CA, Cabo, Carribean. We have 4 kids but in teens and 20s so travel with us maybe once a year and getting less frequent. Typically we like 4-5 star resorts and have decent flexible income. Never have considered a timeshare until we went to Westin Kierland and heard about Flex program which intrigued us quite a bit.

    Have been researching quite a bit and understand concerns about buying from developer. Is it ever a good option? Considering buying resale Westin in HI and a Flex program through Westin - developer said they will retro the resale property and with explorer program and buying flex program can get around 600,000 SPG points.

    I’ve slways steered away from timeshares but now very intrigued about this and trying to make a smart decision. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. KevSki

    KevSki TUG Member

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    Vistana will retro a resale with a developer purchase, but you need to bring in $20,000 new money. One way to offset that 20K is to purchase resale mandatory resorts and trade them back to Vistana. Vistana will credit you 80% of the original purchase price. We did this several times and found a few SVV units for $1 each. There's another similar thread floating around here with more opinions that you should read.
     
    grab likes this.
  3. byeloe

    byeloe TUG Member

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    Don't buy flex. Buy a mandatory resort, where you would like to travel if possible. Then you can use your home resort or the staroptions when you don't go to your home resort. If you buy resale in Maui then you would be better off renting out you unit instead of usingthe staroptions, since your maintenance fees are higher
     
  4. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    I would not buy Flex - it's more expensive, and it's voluntary, which kills the resale value.

    "Voluntary" means that the deed loses it's Staroptions when you transfer it to a buyer.

    As mentioned above, it's a much better value to buy resale - at a mandatory resort.

    "Mandatory" means that the deed retains it's Staroptions - even when purchased on the resale market.

    There are 5 mandatory resorts, but only two of them are considered to be cost effective Staroption purchases, because the maintenance fee is too high on the other 3:

    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 - high maintenance fee & transfer fee

    * Vistana Villages (Bella and Key West phases only) - cheap or free to buy but higher MF that Kierland

    * Westin St. John (Virgin Grand - Hillside only)- high maintenance fee & transfer fee

    * Westin Ka'anapali & Westin Ka'anapali-North- high maintenance fee

    * Westin Kierland Villas - Lower maintenance fee than Vistana Villages, but higher buy-in.
     
  5. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    +1

    A mandatory resort such as Kierland will retain much of its value; Westin Flex loses 90+% of its value immediately. Add to that that there is no reason to retro a Hawaii property; one uses or rents Hawaii properties because virtually every trade is a trade down.
     
  6. okwiater

    okwiater TUG Member

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    Flex is not a bad product if you like and see yourself traveling to most of the resorts in the portfolio. The primary downsides are that you will pay a premium maintenance fee but will not have deeded ocean view or oceanfront in Hawaii, and the value of the ownership on the resale market will drop to about one tenth of the developer price. That said, if you want to travel to Palm Desert, Scottsdale, and Hawaii on a regular basis during the highest demand weeks (or for 3-4 night trips as stated), picking up a resale Westin Flex is not a bad move. I would not fork over $20k+ to the developer as part of a trade/purchase deal though.

    For your stated goals, I don’t think it’s necessarily the wisest move. Note that the Cabo property is part of Westin Aventuras, not Flex. So you would not be able to get there with a resale Flex ownership.

    If you’re somewhat flexible with your travel dates and can plan in advance, you might be best off with a mandatory resale ownership, something like Westin Kierland or Westin St. John Virgin Grand phase. This would give you access to AZ or the Caribbean on a deeded basis, and StarOptions to be able to use any of the other Vistana resorts.
     
    Workcanwait likes this.
  7. okwiater

    okwiater TUG Member

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    DeniseM is mostly right, except with regard to the 3-bedroom pool villas at Westin St. John. They do not have high maintenance fees or transfer fees. In fact, their maintenance fee is comparable to that of Westin Kierland, with the main difference being that with Kierland you get the added flexibility of a lockoff and a floating week. St. John was sold as fixed weeks.
     
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  8. Workcanwait

    Workcanwait Guest

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    Thanks. I will look for those threads. Interesting concept. Does trading back to Vistana go towards the $20k new money??
     
  9. Workcanwait

    Workcanwait Guest

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    The reason flex seemed attractive was we could travel for specific days vs whole weeks based on our schedules. I thought we could use the flex points to book Cabo, just 8 months out. A lot of our travel tends to be planned 3-4 months out not 8-12 months. However, I don’t think I understood the devaluation aspect. A lot to think about. Thank you.
     
  10. grab

    grab TUG Member

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    What’s the title of this other thread. Tia
     
  11. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    No - $20K out of pocket.

    Just to clarify - If you buy a mandatory resort on the resale market you would have Staroptions to exchange for ALL Vistana resorts, 8-0 months before check-in. You don't have to buy anything from the developer to do this. This is essentially the same as making reservations with FlexOptions.

    But just because you have Staroptions, or Flexoptions, doesn't mean that there will be availability 3-4 months out. With timesharing, people plan as early as possible, to get the reservations that they want.

    I'm sure the sales people made it seem like you can just reserve whatever you want at 3-4 months before check-in, but it's simply not true. The sales people will say whatever it takes to get you to buy - THEY LIE.

    To be quite honest with you, I don't think you are a good candidate to buy a timeshare, unless you can plan at least 8 mos. out. It will be frustrating to try and make reservations 3-4 month out - because the prime resorts and dates will be gone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    Workcanwait likes this.
  12. okwiater

    okwiater TUG Member

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    I completely agree with this. People who can only plan 3-4 months out are not good candidates for timeshares, but especially not for a Flex ownership since you’re way past the point of booking home resort reservations by that point.
     
  13. LobsterHunter

    LobsterHunter TUG Member

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    Denise,
    I love how much you know, but this is not entirely true. As I mentioned in the retro thread, we were able to retro in two 148,100 properties, trade in 2 developer purchases & 2 re-sale purchases (both purchased for $1), use an explorer package (110k SP) and purchase 2 (148,100) Westin Flex properties (+ two 50k SP purchase incentives). Our out of pocket was "only" $16k for the entire transaction. Our 2 developer purchases were WKORN (EY & EOY, both IV).

    Again, I am NOT pushing WF, but we already made a 10 day WF reservation for March of 2019 at WKOR and it was a confirmed OV unit instead of the IV units we used to own, and we would only have been able to make a 1 week reservation....just a data point. I am waiting to see if we will actually be able to book any good ski weeks at WRF & will post if we have success/failure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018 at 4:22 PM
  14. okwiater

    okwiater TUG Member

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    Congratulations on a great deal. I interpret DeniseM's guidance to be "general" in nature, that is to say, it's generally true but as the corporate guidelines evolve, there will occasionally be instances where better deals are offered. The "new money" threshold when we purchased Sheraton Flex was only $10K, for example. On the other hand, the new money threshold for a Nanea purchase was $40K. It just depends on the property and timing, but in general, $20K is the normal number.
     
  15. LobsterHunter

    LobsterHunter TUG Member

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    Yes, I agree, everything changes. In reality, our "new money" was only $8k per (retro'd) unit. We did everything through the corporate sales line in Orlando. Just saying, it's worth a call to see what they will do.
     
  16. pacman777

    pacman777 TUG Member

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    That’s a great deal for retro! I would jump on that or something similar but given the whole MVC acquisition and the unknown, I’m waiting to see what is rolled out to better integrate the different brands and systems. If they allow Vistana to join and trade within the Destination Club points program then the whole value of Vistana’s staroption trading system gets reduced.
     
  17. dioxide45

    dioxide45 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    It seems they have loosened the retro requirements for Flex in order to try to gobble up as many weeks as possible. Some people have been able to sell back mandatory and voluntary weeks and retro in additional weeks for little cost. They seem to want to stock the trusts with as many weeks as they can.
     
  18. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    Based only on second hand reports what you are trading in seems to matter. People trading in Maui deeds are reporting lower thresholds, for example.
     

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