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The Collette tours don’t make financial sense!

Discussion in 'Marriott Vacation Club' started by csalter2, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. csalter2

    csalter2 TUG Member

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    I posted this on Marriott Facebook website.

    I need someone to help me understand the tours that Marriott Vacation Club pushes through Collette tours. It does not make financial sense to me. I have the Collette brochure for Marriott Vacation owners and I’m comparing the costs to buy the tours directly from Collette. One example is the Discover North Lights Tour. For MVC owners it’s from $11, 000 Destinations Club points or $6380 for two people. However buying the same tour directly from Collette tours it would on my own cost me $4398 for the EXACT SAME TOUR! That’s almost $2000 more! It gets worse! For the Discover China tour, it starts from 18,000 Destinations Club points or $10,440. However, on the Collette Tours website, I can get the same China itinerary tour with 3 EXTRA DAYS and getting 35 meals instead of 24 that the Marriott tour offers, and I can book direct with Collette for $6500 for the same two people. That’s a savings of of nearly $4000! I could get it even cheaper if I left at different times but I chose a more expensive time to prove my point.

    I only used .58 for maintenance fees to compute the cost of the Destinations Club points. I know many have spoken glowingly of their experiences, but I’m sorry, I don’t like being taken to the cleaners. Is there something else that Marriott is offering owners to legitimize these higher costs? I’m not being negative, but just pointing out the facts.

    Here’s the link to Collette Tours to see for yourselves.

    https://www.gocollette.com/en/tours...ds-magical-northern-lights/booking?b=1#step/1

    https://www.gocollette.com/en/tours/asia/china/wonders-of-china
     
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  2. Luvtoride

    Luvtoride TUG Member

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    I’m not on FB so I can’t read the post without signing in. Can you paste it here? We just got back from a Collette Tour through MVC and didn’t like the hotels, meals and Value.
    Thanks.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. csalter2

    csalter2 TUG Member

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    I pasted it.
     
  4. Luvtoride

    Luvtoride TUG Member

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    Csalter2, even before assessing the value of Collette tours for DC points I would question the Value for cash $$ cost in general.
    We just returned from a Collette Tour (Iconic Israel) and we were disappointed with the hotels used and the meal choices/ food both “included” and not included.

    The hotels were not Marriott quality and we had issues with rooms at most of the included hotels. There was no opportunity to “upgrade” hotels or rooms with the tour. These hotels were mostly large hotels that specialized in dealing with tour groups.

    The included meals were mostly buffet breakfasts and dinners at the hotels we stayed at. We are not fans of “all- you-can-eat” dining and we are not big eaters. Although there were plenty of food choices we were not expecting this type of meals at set times alongside other large tour groups.

    The lunches, most of which were not “included” in the cost of the tour were at pre-selected restaurants with just 1 or 2 choices of meals (it became a joke among our fellow tour group that if chicken was offered again we would start clucking ). These meals were at a set cost per person ($15-$20 each) even though my wife and I usually share meals. I can understand having to pre arrange with restaurants when a tour bus of 40 people pulls up for lunch so they are prepared but it would have been nice to have a few more choices in both selections and cost (like a sandwich instead of a full entree lunch).

    The tour guide and bus and driver were excellent and we saw a tremendous amount of historical sights in Israel! Our fellow tourists on the trip were very nice and we had a great time with all of them.
    With that all said we would not do another Colette tour through MVC for points or for cash in the future. There are better tour companies out there and MVC should partner with others to provide its owners with travel options more in line with owners expectations.




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  5. Dean

    Dean TUG Member

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    I am not aware of a cash equivalent option such as this with any company where it makes sense on a per point basis. They have to take the points you make and rent them out, the rental entity (even if internal) normally takes a huge cut even if MVC itself doesn't. With DVC I think it's 50% of the rental price goes to commissions and the like but that includes the housekeeping and other items not supplied to members but applicable to cash stays. Then they have to pay for the item you are supplied using the cash. The last time I look at this (a couple of weeks ago) the options I looked at with Collette were about 45¢ PP and with River Cruises for Viking, about 35¢ PP. With Bluegreen I sometimes use points to pay for cruises and the like because I'm often able to get cash options shorter notice that are much cheaper than using points and I can cancel for free up until 10 days out. So while on a PP basis it doesn't make sense, the overall option has been very good financially. Since BG changed their per point amount recently to a lower PP amount, I think this option also may be dead for me for all but special circumstances. At least with BG they tell you the actual per point amount their paying you so it's more transparent. But sometimes there are special situations that make it worthwhile so look at the options when applicable. Sometimes the contract price may be good for something that's jacked up on the points side like holidays or special events. For me personally the cost of dues on a PP basis for Collette are good enough that it's not a loss, just not the best use of points.
     
  6. Mr. Vker

    Mr. Vker Guest

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    Not specific to Collette, but anytime you use DC points for a third party product there will be loss in value. Everyone wants a piece of the pie-meaning you pay more.
     
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  7. csalter2

    csalter2 TUG Member

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    Dean, I showed you the numbers. Is it not as much of a loss for you because you pay less per point for maintenance fees than pure points owners? I forgot to look at it that way for myself. I used the .58 maintenance fee from last year.
     
  8. PaulaC

    PaulaC TUG Member

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    When I read your post, I had a sense of deja vu, since we had the same experience with Collette's Shades of Ireland tour 7 years ago when Marriott first began to offer the tours. There were two tours running the same week and our group had the worst experiences at each destination. Our guide spoke in a monotone voice and half of our group slept through the comments on the bus. Our hotels were definitely not Marriott quality, for example, in Waterford, the rugs in the lobby were dirty and threadbare. The meals were low quality, more like cafeteria fare. On our final night the farewell dinner was spent in a crowded dining room with our guide making remarks while other diners were trying to enjoy their dinner, while the other tour had a private room. Some of the Marriott guests on our tour were calling Marriott to complain, while we were still on our trip.

    Whenever we have remarked to any Marriott employees about Collette, they all seem amazed at our experience and respond that they have only heard great comments about these tours!
     
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  9. Dean

    Dean TUG Member

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    I think there are several variables including how many points you have available, how you would use them otherwise and how comfortable you are renting them and the like. My default is always not to use points for such option but rarely you'll see something that's a much better deal PP than what you or I are seeing. And it will vary a little from one option too another. So I'd suggest it's rarely a good deal, it's always good to have options an on a case by case basis there may be times when it's reasonable. I know some also look at the fact they wouldn't/couldn't do something without using points but personally I think that's rarely applicable because you can rent them if you want and we're talking a bunch of points. But if the loss is only a few hundred $$$ and one wants to do so, I'm fine with that, I just want people to understand what they are/are not getting and that there are alternatives.
     
  10. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Us non-Marriott types have been saying for years- Use Timeshare Points for Timeshare stays. Use cash for all other travel options. Timeshare points give remarkably little benefit for cruises, airfares, tours, etc.

    When someone says that they have too many points and that they are just going to expire unused anyway, I say, "Then you own too many."

    Jim
     
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  11. Luvtoride

    Luvtoride TUG Member

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    What is Bluegreen? Is that a cruise line?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  12. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    It's another timeshare operating company.
     
  13. tahoe

    tahoe TUG Member

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    Agree with this. Any time you cross "systems", there is a middleman who wants their cut or there is some efficiency loss. We see this even with weeks to points conversion with Marriott's system.
     
  14. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    While your assessment is generally consistent with my own observations about the value in the Collette tours, for folks with high-value enrolled weeks that have a low maintenance fee cost per point, the economics can look better. Here are a couple of examples:

    Platinum OF 2BR at Barony Beach Club - 5025 Points @ $1351 mf for cost of $0.27/point
    Platinum OF 2BR at Grande Ocean - 5075 Points @ $1491 mf for cost of $0.29/point
    Platinum OF 2BR at Maui Ocean Club - 6450 Points @ $2407 mf for cost of $0.37/point

    So if these folks owned multiple weeks or via banking/borrowing cobbled together the 11,000 DPs for your Northern Lights example, the Barony owner would have a cost of $2970 and the GO owner a cost of $3190, which compares favorably to the $4398 direct Collette cost. The MOC owner would have a cost of $4070. The China tour cost would be $4860 for a Barony owner, $5220 for GO, and $6660 for the MOC enrolled owner, compared to your example $6500 cash direct from Collette.

    So while these tours don't usually compare favorably for those with Trust points or higher cost/point enrolled points, they can look a lot better for those fortunate enough to have a lot of low mf/point enrolled weeks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  15. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Everyone's math ignores the upfront cost of buying the timeshare -- call it opportunity cost, depreciation, lost equity, or whatever.

    The comparative math is therefore far worse than presented.

    It makes much more econoimic sense to rent out one's "excess" points @ $0.60 - $0.65 and purchase third party amenities with cash.
     
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  16. mjm1

    mjm1 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I like both ideas depending on the approach one wants to take. For someone who doesn’t want to other with renting out their unit, using lower cost points is an option. For those who are comfortable renting out their unit that is a very viable option.

    Best regards.

    Mike
     
  17. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    Clearly, you would never buy a timeshare just to take advantage of alternative uses like the Collette tours. But if you bought the timeshares to actually use as they are primarily intended, but then occasionally you want to take another kind of vacation, then if you have an attractive mf cost/point as some legacy owners do, then it can make sense as an alternative use rather than spending incremental cash. That's why I think it's OK in this discussion not to explicitly consider the upfront cost - at that point you are just evaluating tactically how best to use the incremental annual cost of ownership - a timeshare stay or an alternative use. You would not be evaluating the original decision to buy the unit in the first place.

    I do agree however that if one is inclined to play in the renting points arena, renting out the points at $0.60-$0.65 and using that cash to buy the tours might be an even more attractive option, but not everyone wants to do that.
     
  18. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Each time we go to an owners' update, which we did one last week and another one this week, we told them that if there was not such a negative value in using points for non-timeshare stays we would buy more.

    PS. We received $375 in Marriott Experience dollars last week and $175 Marriott Experience dollars this week. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  19. Dean

    Dean TUG Member

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    Agreed up to a point. I didn't mention it this time but have in the past and do consider it which is why my Bluegreen options are easy, my buy in was almost nothing for qualified points. But again, there is a balance of options and $$$ value that one must consider each time as well. Personally I think the underlying value of the points in terms of how you could use them otherwise (like MVC resorts) and what you could rent them for is a far better benchmark than what you paid up front. It's a little like if you hang on to a stock that's worth less than you paid because you don't want to "lose the money".
     
  20. billymach4

    billymach4 TUG Member

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    What are Marriott experience dollars?
     

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