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Starwood Purchase - Advice Pls

Discussion in 'Vistana Signature Experiences (formerly Starwood)' started by Seeking439, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Seeking439

    Seeking439 TUG Member

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    I have just signed on to purchase an Every Other Yr (EOY), 2 BR Lockoff at the SVN Kierland resort. This is my first experience with the Starwood group and what attracted me was the tie to the SPG Hotel program. I alerady own 2 weeks at Ka Eo Kai on Kuaii as well as a Bali Hai on Kuaii and a pts unit at Vacation Village in Florida though I use it as a trader only.

    The Kierland grants 81K Staroptions & 48K Starpoints (EOY) and the promo offered 80K Starpoints to come on-board for about $12K.

    I am very interested in the experience that others have had regarding the usage of the Starpoints and flexibility / benefits derived from the Starwood Preferred Guest program. We have plenty of Timeshare at the moment, but saw this as a flexible way to enjoy the hotels worldwide as well. The Scottsdale location seems good for us as our Calgary home is one hop away and easy to access.

    I am day 1 into my option to rescind and am clearly seeking advice.

    Thanks :wave:
     
  2. natasha5687

    natasha5687 TUG Member

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    Rescind...you can buy a mandatory resort with a higher staroption value for way less money. Others will chime in but this doesnt sound like a good deal on an EOY.
     
  3. BLUE AYES

    BLUE AYES TUG Member

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    Plat. for Life
    Over the summer, I did an Ebay purchase for an every year Platinum, 148,000 options, for $13,000.
     
  4. alexadeparis

    alexadeparis TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Sounds like he wanted the SPG Gold for life - so if that is why, there are worse ways to go about buying full freight from Starwood than this. By tug's resale standards, this is a bad deal, but if he is happy, leave him alone.
     
  5. alexadeparis

    alexadeparis TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Seeking439, see my response in 2011 to a different thread below. I go through my analysis of why I bought a Starwood from the developer. I did it for a little more cost, but a little more points. My units won't be worth anything if i try to get rid of them, and I am okay with that.

    http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1199459#post1199459
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  6. DavidnRobin

    DavidnRobin TUG Member

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    You didn't mention what season, but assume Gold (81K SO for a 2Bd).
    The EOY gives 81K SOs EOY and not EY.
    As WKV is a Mandatory (SOs come with resale) - best to buy on resale market.

    This is an awful deal (not just a bad one) - RESCIND, and buy resale for much (much) less - and all you lose is the ability to convert SOs to SPs. That is a hefty cost for that 'privilege'.

    RESCIND, RESEARCH, RESALE
     
  7. alexadeparis

    alexadeparis TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    From my reading of OP's post the Starpoints and SPG gold were of paramount importance. So he loses his original intention by rescinding and purchasing resale.
     
  8. gtm2011

    gtm2011 TUG Member

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    You should definitely rescind the deal and do a little more research on the resale market. This deal will always be available from Starwood. You do understand that you only get 81K Staroptions OR 48K Starpoints EOY, right? You had put an AND in your comment and I wanted to make sure you understood. Plus you will have to pay a $99 fee to convert your ownership into Starpoints, since this is your only ownership with Starwood. In addition, you will have to pay the $129 SVN fee EY, not just EOY. So it will roughly cost you $1,600 or more for 81K Staroptions OR 48K Starpoints, not counting the $12k upfront. You can usually buy the Starpoints directly from Starwood for $0.028 (20% of $0.035 each, when they are on special). So you could buy the Starpoints for around $1,344.

     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  9. Seeking439

    Seeking439 TUG Member

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    Seeking Advice

    Thanks for your responses - the purchase was a Gold+ week (27). There were 6 certs / options to buy 80K Starwood Pts for $1550.00 a pop. What experience do folks have crossing into the hotel program? Also would my future ability to requalify be impacted if I were to purchase additional resale Starwood units?

    Thx again for sharing your wisdom - Jim
     
  10. Ken555

    Ken555 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    You paid too much. I also suggest you rescind and consider other options.

    The Starwood hotel program is excellent, but it depends where you travel. International travel locations are typically much more valuable than in North America, with a few notable exceptions.

    You mention requalify...that typically refers to changing the status of a previously purchased resale deed by bringing it into the SVN program at the same time as purchasing a unit direct from Starwood. It is also typically suggested that such an investment be made only if you are considering going all the way to 5* Elite, in order to maximize the benefits. Consider the benefits carefully, as they are not necessarily worth the substantial cost - in my opinion. If you are considering this at all, then I wonder why you bought a unit at WKV (since you can only requalify a unit at the time of purchase, not afterward). Be sure to get everything in writing if they promised you anything beyond the basics...the only thing that counts is what is included in the contract you signed, not what you were told.

    Keep in mind that there are also other ways to get StarPoints - the AMEX credit card, purchasing points, etc. Many of us think converting a SVN unit to points is a waste, though there are exceptional ways to maximize value (which likely won't occur more than a few times in many years of travel, unless you travel often and in international business/first class by plane, etc).

    So, to sum: rescind. Today. Now. Don't wait. Then come back and research more.


    Sent from my iPad
     
  11. kozykritter

    kozykritter Guest

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    Seeking439, Kierland has much higher maintenance fees per square foot than many SVO properties including other mandatory properties like Sheraton Vistana Villages (Bella and Key West phases) where StarOptions also transfer on resale. Maintenance fees are based upon total square feet of your unit regardless of the season of ownership, so Kierland only makes sense financially if that property is where you want priority access to reservations and are willing to pay extra for that...i.e. that you really want to stay there frequently using your SVO timeshare. Otherwise, if getting SO's to use in the SVO network of properties is your priority, you could do it for less purchase cost and ongoing maintenance fees at other SVO properties and still get the other extra perks of ownership like StarPoint conversion and SPG Gold status that resale SVO timeshares won't provide.
     
  12. SMHarman

    SMHarman TUG Member

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    Let's ignore the 12k upfront for now...

    StarOptions
    Ongoing there is (1300MF + 129SVO + 129SVO) /2 a year gets 81k SO or 48k SP (plus the $99 conversion fee).
    So ongoing... 1657 gets you 48k StarPoints. That is 3.45c a point.

    You can buy 20,000 points a year for $700
    https://buy.points.com/PointsPartne...l?language=EN&product=BUY&CAMPAIGNCODE=PDCBuy
    Once a year they have a sale so you can get them for 20% off
    http://boardingarea.com/loyaltytrav...ng-starpoints-at-20-off/#sthash.xjnW4yK4.dpbs

    So as the OP has EOY usage, spending $560 on 20k starpoints and $224 for the final 8k of them. Thats $1344 for 48k StarOptions.

    YOU ARE BETTER PAYING CASH FOR THE AMOUNT OF STAR OPTIONS YOU CAN AQUIRE FOR YOUR MAINTAINANCE FEE. BAD DEAL

    Gold for life
    First it is GFL of ownership. Sell the unit, lose GFL.
    Second you can get Gold with a spend on the Starwood Amex. If you are travelling to all those other timeshares then I am sure you can put $25k of spend onto your Starwood Amex and get Gold each year.

    http://www304.americanexpress.com/getthecard/learn-about/Starwood-Preferred

    You also get 25k StarPoints for signing up.

    Gold for life is a benefit you can get with daily spend on the Starwood Ax Card

    Now onto the upfront cost.

    So just looking at the classifieds here $4500 will get you the same unit. That's their offer, I'm sure your bid will be lower, lets say you hit at $4k, you are overpaying by $8k.

    What can you do with that $8k, well over time you could earn $480 a year at 6%. You could spend it on StarPoints, even at 3.5c each that would buy you 228k StarOptions.

    MORE FUN THINGS TO DO THAN GIVE $8K OF YOUR HARD EARNED TO PAY STARWOOD COMMISSIONS.

    So overall, as usual buying from a developer is a bad deal, the StarOption conversion in this deal is also bad.

    Recommendations.
    Get a Starwood Amex
    If you want Kierland and 81k Options get shopping for a 1Br Premium Platinum Plus week EOY. Probably cost you 3-4K for an EOY and have about 800MF (per use year, half that for an EOY)and 129 SVO fee. There is an EY on Redweek for $9500.

    Apparently we can come off 'aggressive' around these parts when someone asks for advice about buying a retail unit. It's because the above reasons mean you are better off buying resale, not because we don't want you to stick around an learn more.

    :hi:
     
  13. SMHarman

    SMHarman TUG Member

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    Where do you get that opinion from?
    MF for WKV is $1300, for a Platinum Plus that gets you 141,800 StarOptions.
    MF for SVV KW is $631 + $70 taxes EOY (from the DB) so $1363 and that gets you 95,700 StarOptions
    Upfront purchase cost of each of those is wildly different at north of $16k for the WKV and South of $3k for the SVV but depending on how you account for the upfront purchase cost the WKV is the better value.
     
  14. alexadeparis

    alexadeparis TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    As the Op lives in Calgary, Alberta, I sincerely doubt he will be able to get an AMERICAN Express card, but maybe it's possible.

    Looking at only the Gold SPG benefit here is how I see it:
    Getting to Gold for a year = "Gold status is reached after completing 10 eligible stays or 25 eligible nights in a calendar year."

    Getting to Gold for Life = "Be golden – for life. Never go below Gold membership level when you achieve 250 eligible nights total and any 5 years of elite SPG status."

    So lets say the OP wanted to do a "mattress run" one night every other weekend for the next 10 YEARS to a local Starwood to earn Gold for Life.

    The cheapest category of Alberta Starwoods appears to be Four Points, of which there are several in Calgary.(I, for one, am shocked that there are 10 Starwood hotels in the Calgary area, but that is not the point of the exercise.)

    Using a theoretical check - in and out of 11/1 to 11/5, the average rate at the cheapest of the Four Points is $132 (CAD). Times 25 to earn gold for a year = $3,300

    doing so for 10 years $3,300 x 10 = $33,000.

    For that he got no: STAROPTIONS, STARPOINTS, VACATIONS. All he got after spending $33k was "Gold for Life".

    Now, assuming $1600 in MF, costs, etc. per year (for 10 years) for his timeshare plus the cost of purchase, $12k, plus 20% for increase of MF ($3,200) = $31,200

    For that he got: 5 Years of 7 day vacations in a 2 bedroom timeshare, gold for life if he stays in a Starwood hotel instead of his timeshare, and the ability to convert to starpoints if desired.

    So, yes, we all agree he could have gotten a resale unit just like the one he bought, or even better, for cheaper, with less MF or more points, or any combo of the above that would have gotten him the use of the timeshare.

    But if he wants the hotel perks, he still has to spend the money somewhere, whether its earning it on an AMEX, which as I said for him is doubtful, staying 250 nights or giving Starwood money for a timeshare.

    No, I am not a salesperson.
     
  15. SMHarman

    SMHarman TUG Member

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    Well perhaps he (or she) could get this card, eh.
    https://www.americanexpress.com/ca/en/content/starwood-credit-card/
    AMERICAN express have diversified their customer base and offer their cards to citizens of countries outside the USA, including Canada, UK, Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan, they are even issuing them in China for almost a decade
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/30/business/american-express-to-issue-cards-in-china.html
    (i digress)

    Spend CAD$30k and get Gold for the year. As I said, everyday spend plus flights and MF should get the OP there.

    Starwood really only have the StarPoints has the hook. My point was that the deal on StarPoints going forward is no better than the deal from points.com. Generally Gold is not a great status at Starwood anymore, you are not getting red carpet suite upgrades at every stay, that's for sure, there are enough Platinums in front of you.

    The 8k cash can be used to book all sorts of rooms and even rooms with other chains, rooms that are not bookable for points etc.

    So for 12k the OP could buy used a WKV Plat Plus Premium 1BR, and have change to spend on hotel nights of $8k, say you spend that at $200 a night that is 40 nights (to count to that Gold for Life or Plat for Life or whatever). Another 8000 StarPoints from the spend (maybe more if it is Starwood Spend). Another 30k Points from the other spend. Etc.

    So for 12k plus ongoing MF the OP can get the same StarOptions, Gold status and have 8k burning a hole in their pocket to get to all these great timeshares they own.
     
  16. Seeking439

    Seeking439 TUG Member

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    Seeking Advice - SVN

    Wow - I am very thankful for the advice that many of you have posted. I am not in any way deterred by the agressiveness (and didn't really perceive there to be any) in your responses. As the bridge to the hotel connection was a nice to have and certainly not essential, I clearly see that the purchase of the EOY 2BR could be achieved far more cheaply via resale. I can also easily acquire the AMEX card in Canada, but have more to learn about how it would feed into the SPG program without any ownership in the SVN side.

    Rescind most certainly seems to be an extremely common theme across your replies which is why I was keen to seek out thoughts and advice from those who've gone before.

    Thanks to all who posted - anything else I might be missing at this point?

    :wall: BTW how do I find a decoder for the many acronyms you're all using?
    Op ~
    WKV ~
    SKV ~

    Thanks once again for all your advice.
     
  17. kozykritter

    kozykritter Guest

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  18. SMHarman

    SMHarman TUG Member

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    Op. Original poster. Aka you the thread starter.
    Wkv westin Kierland villas
    Svv Sheraton vistana villages.

    More in the link provided in the post above.

    Sent from my LT26i using Tapatalk
     
  19. eal

    eal TUG Review Crew: ELITE TUG Member

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    Us poor Canadians can't buy French fries either - unless we go to Paris.
     
  20. SMHarman

    SMHarman TUG Member

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    But you can buy poutine

    Sent from my LT26i using Tapatalk
     
  21. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    FYI, Starpoints are totally worth having & are quite useful. SPG gold status not so much. Will reliably get you a 4pm check-out (in hotels, not timeshares) which is pretty swell. And you earn more starpoints on cash stays and cash spend in SPG resorts- but with timeshares and starpoints, this is not a huge factor. A significant room upgrade as gold is unlikely, especially in the US.

    H
     
  22. YYJMSP

    YYJMSP TUG Member

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    I'm happy to report that we have a full line of AMEX products on this side of the border, none of them with little red maple leafs on them...
     
  23. YYJMSP

    YYJMSP TUG Member

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    Unless you get lots of SPG points, and Platinum status, stay in category 4 or higher in multiples of 5 days, and travel internationally in high season (don't forget to factor in AC and fuel surcharges to get there), there are probably better ways if getting SPG points...
     
  24. SMHarman

    SMHarman TUG Member

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    I don't think anyone would disagree with the assertion that StarPoints are totally worth having and quite useful.

    Think is, with the OP's purchase the cost to buy those StarPoints is very high. 3.5c a point. They have limited value at that price.

    Your analysis of SPG Gold is spot on though. Nice to have but like Airline Silver status.

    I recently described Airline Silver to a friend as the gateway drug, it gets you hooked on the idea of getting better status with a few extra points and a once in a blue moon upgrade you direct more loyalty and $$ to that carrier (or hotel chain) but to get the propper bennies you need airline gold or Starwood Platinum and the aquisition cost of that on your own $ is quite high.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  25. LisaRex

    LisaRex TUG Member

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    Usually the best value on redeeming award currency in for its original purpose (e.g. redeeming SkyMiles for flights and MRs for hotel stays). Timesharing is no exception. By far the best value is to use them for timeshare stays. Converting to SPs rarely makes fiscal sense.

    Let's put it this way: Someone comes up to you and says, "I will give you 80,000 StarPoints outright, plus the option to purchase 24,000 StarPoints for $1000* (minimum) per year, all for a mere $12,000." What would you say?

    Well, let's do the very simple math. The option to purchase 24,000 SPs for $1000 is a terrible deal on its own, as you'd be paying over 4 cents per SP. You (and your spouse and kids, if you have them) can each PURCHASE up to 20k SPs per year directly from Starwood directly, for 3.5 cents per SP. And once a year (usually around Christmas), they offer a 20% bonus, which brings the cost down to 2.8 cents per SPs. No contract required. No SVN fees. No increasing MFs to worry about. And if you put it on your Starwood-branded AMEX, you can earn even more "free" SPs!

    And remember that the option to purchase doesn't include the $12,000 upfront money! Using their rate of 3.5 cents per SP, those 80,000 SPs are worth $2800. Even if you could really stretch them and get 5 cents per SP out of them, you're overpaying by at least 300%.

    No, no, no. There are far less expensive ways to accumulate SPs and far easier ways to get gold status, if that's what you're after.

    Aside from rescinding, I'd highly advise you to check out Flyertalk.com, which will give you a whole host of ideas on how to get the status and SPs you desire.

    *2013 EOY MFs for 2 bdrm L/O were $750 + $135 SVN fee + $99 conversion fee.
     

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