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Considering Marriott Frenchman's Cove Resale

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Hi everyone,

I'm new to timeshares, but have done a fair amount of reading on this bulletin system, as well as Red Week. After all the reading, I still have some questions, I'm hoping someone can answer.

I am a long-time Marriott hotel loyalist, and have stayed at the Marriott in St. Thomas a number of times. With gold weeks going for $6K on the resale market for Frenchman's Cove, it seems a good time to perhaps buy my first Marriott timeshare (having wanted a unit there for a while). While I would want to go other places some years, my primary use would be to go to this specific property most years. Given that, I want to know how easy it is to get a week there in the gold season as a gold owner.

- Are gold owners guaranteed a week during their season at their home resort? Are there any priorities given to home resort owners (through the resale market)? I've looked at the Starwood program as well, and it seems they are better for this (allowing priority from 12 to 8 months out to just home resort owners and also having priority within their own exchange system, vs. just having II).
- If there's no home resort guarantee or priority, should my strategy be to buy wherever I can get the cheapest Marriott property, rather than paying the extra fees to be at the St. Thomas property? What's the best strategy for this?
- Thoughts on Starwood vs. Marriott? As a Marriott enthusiast, I would prefer to stay loyal, but on the surface, the Westin properties that are "mandatory" properties seem that they may be a better option.

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback!
 

GregT

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Marriott: Maui Ocean Club Lahaina Villas (3BRx5), Ko Olina, Shadow Ridge II, Willow Ridge, Aruba Ocean Club, DC Points HGVC: Flamingo, Sea World, I-Drive, Starwood Bella (x4), SDO, TradeWinds, Worldmark
Hi everyone,

I'm new to timeshares, but have done a fair amount of reading on this bulletin system, as well as Red Week. After all the reading, I still have some questions, I'm hoping someone can answer.

I am a long-time Marriott hotel loyalist, and have stayed at the Marriott in St. Thomas a number of times. With gold weeks going for $6K on the resale market for Frenchman's Cove, it seems a good time to perhaps buy my first Marriott timeshare (having wanted a unit there for a while). While I would want to go other places some years, my primary use would be to go to this specific property most years. Given that, I want to know how easy it is to get a week there in the gold season as a gold owner.

- Are gold owners guaranteed a week during their season at their home resort? Yes they are, subject to availability -- you'll call 12 months in advance to secure your week, but you should be successful as long as you call 12 months ahead Are there any priorities given to home resort owners (through the resale market)? You'll have the same rights to reserve a week whether its resale or direct purchase I've looked at the Starwood program as well, and it seems they are better for this (allowing priority from 12 to 8 months out to just home resort owners and also having priority within their own exchange system, vs. just having II).
- If there's no home resort guarantee, should my strategy be to buy wherever I can get the cheapest Marriott property, rather than paying the extra fees to be at the St. Thomas property? Relying on II trades to get you to STT will be risky -- you may not be successful in getting your trades (on a timely basis) What's the best strategy for this? If you're able to travel on short notice, you may want to consider an alternate timeshare (like Worldmark) -- I can see numerous Marriotts with my Worldmark -- but only within 59 days of check-in
- Thoughts on Starwood vs. Marriott? Marriott has more locations -- they have comparable quality -- Starwood you can get into their internal systems if you buy the right property ressale As a Marriott enthusiast, I would prefer to stay loyal, but on the surface, the Westin properties that are "mandatory" properties seem that they may be a better option.I love internal systems -- Marriott has a really good system but its not possible at this time to get a resale into the system if you buy the week now

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback!

Frenchman's Cove is a great property and Gold Season is a very nice time to visit St. Thomas. Whatever timeshare you end up purchasing, make sure you focus on the Maintenance Fees (MF) as much as the up-front cost, because they are only going up. I believe Frenchman's Cove fully-loaded MF is approx $1,600 -- and it may be possible to rent your Gold season week from another owner for not much more than that.

However.....that's a different topic -- rent versus owning.

Loyalty aside -- and it is an open question right now how much we should allow loyalty to impact our timeshare purchase decision -- I personally prefer the value of a internal network like Starwood's versus owning a single week in Gold Season. They are both very high quality properties, but Starwood (if you buy a mandatory) will offer you a lot more access for those times when you decide you don't want to visit the MFC in Gold Season. With Marriott, you'll have to use II, which is very unpredictable these days and you may not be happy with the success of your trades.

There is no comparable within the Marriott system to a mandatory property -- new resale purchasers just own their week, and have to use II for any alternatives.

Good luck with your decision -- personally, I would advise you that when you do buy a week (whichever system you choose), I'd get a Platinum week because it will hold whatever residual value better and will have either more StarOptions or better trade value in II when you trade out. If you absolutely want only STT in May or November, you may wish to rent.

Best,

Greg
 

funtime

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Anytime you buy on the resale market in the weeks program, you are buying at a particular resort and you will be guaranteed a week during that time period at that resort - unless for some odd reason you totally delay your reservation. But I would say 99% of the time yes. And, if you think you can sell your gold season later for what you buy it for, then buy it as you will have no downside. Funtime
 
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Thanks for the great feedback. Regarding the guarantee at the home resort, you mention that I will call 12 months in advance to secure my week. That's 12 months in advance of the specific week I want, not the range of weeks, right? In other words, If gold seasons has weeks 20-35, and I wanted week 30, I couldn't call 12 months before week 20 right? I would have to call 12 months before week 30?

Also, how does gold/platinum/silver work? Are weeks 20-35 ineligible for a silver owner in this scenario? What about a platinum owner? Do they get any weeks, or just the "platinum weeks"? Similarly, can an owner of a Branson property call for a MFC week 12 months in advance as well?

Regarding your platinum comment, I understand for trading within II that platinum gives me the most points, and therefore power, but if the weeks I want are in the gold season, and I don't plan to trade very often, then gold would actually be better than platinum, right?

Sorry for all the questions - I really appreciate the help!
 

KathyPet

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You have to reserve within your season. So, a owner in Branson or a silver or platinum owner at St Thomas would all have to reserve a week within their assigned season at their "home resort" and then deposit that week with Interval International and request a trade into St.Thomas for the week they wanted. I thought I read somewhere that platinum owners were not allowed to "trade down" for a gold or silver week at their home resort but I am not sure if that is correct information or not. When you log into the MVCI site to reserve the week you want you will only see weeks that are available within your season so a platinum owner would not see gold weeks.
 
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Thanks, that's really helpful. Open to any other insights or suggestions from the group. Keep the comments coming! Thanks everyone.
 

m61376

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As Kathy posted, you can only reserve a week at your home resort within your season. Platinum week owners would have to use II to trade for a Gold week even at their home resort. I think the only exception is that Plat. Plus owners at some resorts can also reserve Plat. weeks. Thus, if you want to go to St. Thomas during Gold season then that's the best purchase option for you.

You can reserve exactly 12 months before you want to travel, not 12 months before the start of your season (unless you want to travel the first week of your season). You are guaranteed a week in your season, and as long as several weeks will work for you you shouldn't have any problem reserving what you want. The only real issue is at some resorts where the season is excessively long, in which cases people don't always get a week in hteir season that they are happy with.

Make sure that you will want to travel during those months a few years down the road, though (family dynamics change, and school schedules, or lack thereof, can change travel timeframes). If you really love St. Thomas then Marriott is a better option, since Starwood doesn't have a property there and it will be hard trading in II for MFC without Marriott preference.

You sound like the ideal buyer- you've done your research, and have a location that you want to return to most years. Welcome to Tug :wave: , and feel free to ask questions.

btw- make sure you see what the weeks really have been going for- look at completed listings on Ebay, etc. Remember- asking prices are not necessarily selling prices, and there may be a big gap. Good luck!!
 
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Thanks for the added detail! One clarification. You said "it will be hard trading in II for MFC without Marriott preference." I didn't think there was any preference within II for Marriott. Can you elaborate? How does that work? Is there some inventory held back just for Marriott timeshare owners within II?

Also, super helpful recommendation regarding eBay. I'll check that out some more. I've looked at bit at eBay, but the listings usually seem a bit "sketchy" (i.e. they often have very little information about what you are actually buying). Do most folks on Tug feel that buying on eBay is a safe way to go, provided their eBay seller rating is good?
 

KathyPet

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Marriott owners trading for a Marriott (whether it be for another season at their home resort location or for different week then the one the booked and then deposited within their season at their home resort or for another Marriott resort entirely) do have a period of time when Marriott deposited weeks are held back from the inventory and Marriott owners are given first chance at getting those weeks. I cannot remember how long that window is for but there is some time advantage.

I do not think that there is problem buying on EBAY as long as the purchaser knows what they are doing because some times the sellers do not have a clue or else they are deliberately misleading potential buyers. I have see EBAY ads where the seller claims that weeks can be traded in for Marriott Reward points which is untrue. Have also seen sellers mis- categorize their weeks . They provide a specific week # and say it is a platinum week when the calender for that resort shows it is a gold week.

The three most important things IMHO when buying on EBAY are to verify that the week # the seller owns falls within the season they say it is, if a specific view is being sold verify that the view is stated correctly by obtaining the unit # and calling the resort to confirm that the view for that unit is correctly stated and to use a outside escrow company to handle the sale and transfer all funds through them.
 

DMSTWO

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PotentialMarriottBuyer,

I, like you did, considerable research here on tug and elsewhere before buying.

I intended to buy Starwoods (mandatory) but learned oh so much more.

I own Marriott and Hyatt. I would strongly recommend you check out the Hyatt system before making a choice. They were the last of the major hotel groups to enter the TS system and IMHO crafted a product that provides the best of all their competitors. They also have real nice resorts and demonstrate very strong trading value in II. They also hold their resale value better than most because the internal trading system and resort rights pass fully to resale buyers. The only exception is that the right to convert your unit into Hyatt Gold Passport Points (hotel points) is restricted to developer purchases or in some rare instances purchases made through an approved broker (http://www.htr4timeshare.com/). The drawbacks... a smaller system (currently only 15 resorts).

You can do a little research on Hyatt in the "All Other Timeshare Systems" here on tug or at http://www.bywindkal.com/HVC.htm. I've been asked in the past why there are so few posts about Hyatt on tug and can only offer that I think they generally have satisfied owners so not as many negative threads, and the volume will naturally be less do to the smaller system and therefore fewer owners.

Marriott tried to make a better product with the introduction of the points system, but I am disappointed with the results compared to Hyatt and Starwoods (mandatory).
 
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Thanks DMSTWO. The properties at the Hyatt look gorgeous, and the benefits you note are definitely notable. Unfortunately, though, as you note, the Hyatt network is really limited. My wife and I like to go to the Caribbean, Hawaii and more far off locations (Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, etc.). None of the chains are great for the far off locations, but Starwood and Marriott are both good for Hawaii and the Caribbean, whereas Hyatt is mainly limited to Florida and Colorado, neither of which hold much interest for my family (though when my daughter gets older, I'm sure I'll take the occasional trip to Orlando).

Speaking of system locations, does anyone know what properties, if any, are being developed by each of these three systems (Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt)?

On a related note, I'm having trouble understanding why the Westin properties in Hawaii (most notably Kaanapali, since that's the one I'm considering) have such high maintenance fees. They are generally twice the price of the Marriott properties in the Caribbean and Hawaii. I think a lot of their program's features (i.e. the StarOptions system, the exclusivity in booking 12-8 months out at your home property, etc.) are worth a premium, but I'm not sure that much of one.

David
 
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