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Do I want to own a Marriott timeshare?

guarn3md

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Hello!
We are very new to timeshares. We have often talked about owning something, somewhere. We are a family of 3 and we like to vacation every summer - typically we take 2 vacations. One of those vacations is typcially to a parent owned place in Ontario, Canada. We live on the east coast.
We were in Maui last week and went to the sales presentation at Maui Ocean Club. We did not purchase there as we are not impulse buyers - well DH is not - and must think things through completely (spreadsheets, etc. :) )
I have since discovered resales from various sites for 1/2 the price we were quoted. Now the questions begin.
Should we buy with Maui Ocean Club if we only plan to vacation there at most every three years? I like the flexibility of trading and visiting places we have always talked of going to: Atlantis, Turks & Caicos, St. Thomas, Grand Caymans, etc.... I would also like to exchange for Disney villas, too. The saleswoman said we were perfect candidates for timeshares because of all the different places we have been to and still want to go to. We typically only travel in the summer months for two reasons: 1) our son is 6 yrs. old so he is in school and 2) I am a teacher and vacations during the school year are frowned upon! Any advice would be much appreciated. I would really like to own with Marriott because of their reputation.
Also - we were told that maintenance fees never increased, is that true. The 1 bdr MF is currently approx $1400 - will that go up next year?
Also, a friend of mine just purchased a timeshare in the Grand Caymans, her MF is $600 but she said when she uses the unit she has to pay $300 electricity fee! Does Marriott also have usage fees? If you switch through II would you pay usage fees at other places?
Sorry this post is so long - I just have soooo many questions and I am trying to become an informed consumer.
Thank You
Debbie
 

cp73

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The saleswoman said we were perfect candidates for timeshares because of all the different places we have been to and still want to go to.

Also - we were told that maintenance fees never increased, is that true. The 1 bdr MF is currently approx $1400 - will that go up next year?
Debbie,

Great that you found this board before you purchased. Now you can keep reading and really get all your questions answered. First anyone is a perfect candidate for a timeshare according to most salespersons. I can't imagine them telling anyone they are a bad candidate and to leave. They are trying to make a sale.

I think you will find that all resorts have annual increases of maintenance fees. Some resorts more than others but generally in the 5-10% range. It just depends on what happens to their operating costs each year.

You will find reading this board that most people say buy a timeshare close to home (airfare) and or at one you would like to go to most frequently.
Since you live on the east coast and would plan on only going to Hawaii every third year this may not be the best location for you. The Hawaii resorts have some of the highest maintenance fees of all the Marriott resorts. You could be better off buying in a different location and then trading into Hawaii every three years. It can be done.

Marriotts are wonderful timeshares and I think you will find that most the people on this board love them and have found out how to use them best.
 
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vacationtime1

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This board is full of timeshare fanatics. I am one of them; I own four. But based on your own situation, consider the following before purchasing:

1. You already have a "home base" -- your family's summer place in Ontario. You want to use a timeshare to get to a variety of different locations. That means you would be doing a lot of exchanging.

2. You want to travel during the summer. That is the hardest time to get exchanges -- especially exchanges to the very popular destinations you seek.

3. I agree completely with Chris as to the probable unsuitability of Hawaii as your home resort. Annual fees are high; airfares are higher. It hurts to exchange your expensive home resort for something you know is "worth" less in the marketplace. And to pay exchange fees for the privilege.

My suggestion is that you rent a in different places to see what "fits". It may be that you find something that will work on an ongoing basis; it may be that you "rent around" in different locations. Perhaps you will purchase an eoy (every other year) to hedge your bets. But as many will tell you, it is much easier to buy a timeshare than it is to sell one that isn't working for you.
 

CATBinCO

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We own a non-Marriott T/S that is a 2bdrm with lockoff, and we only own every other year (EOY). Plus, it is a "red" week according to Interval International, so whenever we deposit the 1bdrm portion minimally, we get a 3rd week, called a Bonus week or "AC" for accomodation certificate. This allows us to vacation three times a year, or maybe twice in one year, and save the third week for the following year. Our maint. fees are <$400 since we only own EOY. (If we owned annually it would be in the <$800 range.)

Like you we are locked into traditional vacation weeks because of kids and my husband being a teacher. We have been able to trade into Marriott's Newport Coast Villas in Newport Beach during mid-June....worked for us since everyone was out of school, and weather was not unbearably hot either. I have been able to see Hawaii trades with my T/S too - but we did Hawaii two years ago so not planning to return quite yet - but you get the idea.

I'm learning about Marriotts on this board as I think I will eventually purchase a resale NCV EOY sometime in the future. My family still lives in Southern CA so it's a good "fit" for us. Plus it is totally within driving distance from CO should the airfare be too expensive for our family of four.

All good points above - buy close to home (within driving distance), buy one that is a strong trader since you mostly want to trade, and if you can find a 2 or 3 bedroom with a lock off, and then buy EOY, you can still vacation EVERY YEAR. There are some Marriotts with lockoffs. (NCV is not...just FYI...all 2 bdrm units). Maintenance fees do tend to go up annually. It may be only $5, it may be $200!
 

KathyPet

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I agree with the other posters here. Hawaii is expensive both with the fees and the increasing cost of airfare. I would suggest that you look at the Marriott's that are within driving distance. Those would be Manor Club, Ocean Watch and the Hilton Head island resorts. A good platinum week at any of these should allow you to trade into Hawaii.
 

JimIg23

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So far, all of the above posted have given great advise. Buy where you would like to go, lockoff if possible to split your week, strong trader, reasonable MFs (which always go up!) and drivable if possible.

Here is a link to a database a Tugger created which tracks ROFRs: http://dioxide45.tripod.com/rofr.html

Here is the Marriott resort link to look at each one:
http://www.vacationclub.com/resorts/default.jsp

Tug members can read resort reviews in TUG which are very helpful. Trip Adviser is also pretty good to read about the resorts. Relative to each resorts trading power, you can review the threads to see what you can find on specific resorts.

Good Luck.
 

m61376

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Welcome to Tug- you've come to the right place for Timesharing 101 :) .

Seriously, though, you are getting good advice above. First and foremost, it is a good idea to buy where and when you'd be happy going if you can't get a trade you'd want. II (the trading company, in case you didn't know) gives you the option of requesting first, which means you can make your Marriott reservation at your owned resort, and tell them, basically, "you can have my week if you get me X for exchange." If they don't find you what you are willing to accept, you can use the original week at your home resort, so that is always a nice option.

The mid-Atlantic resorts in Platinum season, as long as you book peak summer weeks, are all good traders and nice locales to visit. People here have traded all of those weeks to Hawaii and the MF's, which will rise annually (just think at how much utilities have risen at home) are lower than in Hawaii. We loved our visit to Ko'Olina and wanted to buy there- BUT- we knew the flight length would make frequent visits unrealistic.

Many people on the East coast who would otherwise buy/book Hawaii flock to Aruba. It lacks the lush foliage of Hawaii, but lies in the same temperate zone and enjoys cooling ocean breezes, so my family actually prefers the beach there. It is below the hurricane belt and Gold weeks, esp. if booked for the summer, are also very strong traders. It might be another location to consider. The other Marriott Caribbean locations will not be as strong traders over the summer.

You mentioned Atlantis- summer months will be hard to trade into because Starwood chooses what weeks they deposit (unlike Marriott, where owners book and deposit the weeks they've selected), and the MF's there are very expensive so I don't think it is worth considering as a trader. However, another option will be to post on one of the direct trading sites for a direct owner to owner trade, or to rent your unit and rent one at Harborside. These are all options you'll hear about more here as you read through the posts.

The best advice is to read and ask questions, and wait a little to learn so you can make the right decision for you and your family.

HTH :wave:
 

guarn3md

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Thank You

Thanks for the great advice! I am so glad I found this forum through Trip Advisor.
OK - so if I was to look for a good timeshare on the East Coast - where should I look? I would want something that is a good trader, so that we could get back to Maui every three - four years.
Although I am glad my parents have a place in Ontario - it is not my first choice - too rustic! :D We find ourselves going to the Outer Banks a lot and lately Disney. I don't know that I want to own something in Florida because I like to stay on Disney property. I guess that only leaves Williamsburg (?) and Hilton Head.
Once again, thank you for the help!
Debbie
 

applegirl

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Marriotts close to you

Those would be Manor Club, Ocean Watch and the Hilton Head island resorts. A good platinum week at any of these should allow you to trade into Hawaii.

This is great advice. Manor Club gets some great reviews from TUG members as do the other locations! Probably can't lose with any of them as long as you buy a strong season and book a desirable week to trade.
 

Robert D

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I'm probably in the minority but I'd suggest you just rent for a year or two instead of buying, especially since you'll primarily be trading your unit. Most people on here advise to buy a resort that you plan to primarily use since trading can be problematic. Also, trading through Interval International will cost you an additional $149 per trade within the US or $89-$99 I think if you own Marriott and trade it for another Marriott, so that's an additional cost. A platinum Marriott week will probably be very costly, even buying resale so that also has to be taken into account. There are lots of sites where you can find rentals for weeks at good resorts at reasonable prices (especially when you consider the maintenance fee and the upfront cost of the TS). If you rent for a year or two you'll have a better idea of how TS'ing works and be in a better position to determine if you want to buy. I'm in the minority here but I've never done an exchange and I own 5 TS weeks. If I'm not going to use some of my weeks, I rent them to somewhere else and if I want to go to another resort, I've successfully rented them from either another owner or an II getaway week (which tend to be offseason weeks). Lastly, I can't believe that the salesperson told you that maintenance fees never go up - why a lie! Maintenance fees are notorious for going up and recently they've been going up faster than ever. 10%-15% increases per year are not uncommon, especially with Marriotts. This is one of the big downsides to TS's. We're in an evironment now where hotel occupancies and rates are probably falling (and probably will continue to do so) with higher airfare and travel costs, but M&T's on TS's continue to rise.
 

tombo

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MF's in Maui are $1400 a year and up. If you check the rental sites (Redweek.com ,TUG, myresortnetwork.com) you will see that you can rent many weeks for equal to or even less than MF's in many cases at many resorts. If it costs you $500 more every 3 years to rent than to own, you would still be better off renting because you will save the $10,000 to $20,000(resale) purchase price. Don't use Mariott's inflated rental prices to make your decision, compare the costs of owning (MF's, purchase price) with the available rental prices listed by owners. Wanting to go every 3 years has got to tip the scales in favor of renting. Renting from owners helps people who can't use their week for some reason and it helps you get a better rental price. That is a win-win situation.

I would recommend buying at a place you would like to visit every year which doesn't require a plane flight. I would also not buy at any resort where I could rent for close to the cost of annual MF's. The main advantage of owning over renting is saving money every year. If you aren't going to save considerable money simply rent where you want every year saving yourself the huge purchase cost and leaving the MF's increases and assessments to the owners. If it ever gets too expensive to fly to or rent at a particular location, you simply stop renting there. If you own and it becomes cost prohibitive you are stuck paying the high costs whether you want to or not.
 

kjd

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guam3d

Many of us on this board are owners of multiple weeks, usually Marriotts. You indeed have come to the right place for timesharing information. While many times the advice given on these threads can seem to be contridictory, it should be viewed in the context of your individual situation and needs.

As a superficial answer, when you are relatively young and have small children and/or are locked into strict vacation periods you are probably interested in resort type vacations. Probably involving a beach or a theme park. As time goes by you probably will have more freedom to vacation as well as more money to spend. Timesharing is a long term proposition and therefore you need to consider flexibility of ownership.

Without getting into specifics I think it would be wise for you to join TUG and educate yourself before you buy anything. Many owners here have said that they wished they had done that before purchasing a ts. You can always explore timesharing by renting a few times before you buy anything.

As far as the Marriott brand goes, I believe it is the best all-around timeshare for the money you spend. However, like anything else you must spend your money wisely. TUG will help you do that.
 

Lawlar

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Better Use Of Your Money

Hello!
We live on the east coast.
We were in Maui last week and went to the sales presentation at Maui Ocean Club. We did not purchase there as we are not impulse buyers - well DH is not - and must think things through completely (spreadsheets, etc. :) )
I have since discovered resales from various sites for 1/2 the price we were quoted. Now the questions begin.
Should we buy with Maui Ocean Club if we only plan to vacation there at most every three years?
We typically only travel in the summer months for two reasons: 1) our son is 6 yrs. old so he is in school and 2) I am a teacher and vacations during the school year are frowned upon! Any advice would be much appreciated. I would really like to own with Marriott because of their reputation.
Also - we were told that maintenance fees never increased, is that true. The 1 bdr MF is currently approx $1400 - will that go up next year?
Thank You
Debbie
My opinion is that you would be making a mistake if you bought MOC, exspecially if you buy direct from Marriott.

We bought last summer and the rep made it seem like we would have no problem getting reservations for summer weeks. We then discovered that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get summer weeks (in the new building). Marriott gives owners of multiple weeks preference in selecting dates (the Marriott rep told us that no one would have priority over us in selecting a summer date - not true). We have heard many owners complain that they can't get good dates. That is why we converted our ownership into a fixed week (at an increased price that was negotiated when I threatened to sue).

The maintenance fee for our unit is $1,700. I have heard it is going to $2,000 next year. So expect the fees to increase every year. You can probably rent a nice timeshare for less than what the owner pays for maintenance fees. Also, by buying a timeshare you lose the flexibility to choose from other options (like discount packages that you see advertised). The nice thing about renting a hotel is that you can go any time you want or cancel and change dates without paying any fees.
 

MOXJO7282

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With all the TS units out there for rent I have a hard time telling anyone that buying a TS is the right thing to do. You do have two things working against you, you need to follow school calendar and you want to travel to exotic places, because these will be more expensive during prime school calendar seasons. However even for those places like Maui, Aruba and the like you can find rentals at somewhat reasonable rates if you look hard enough. Even if you pay $2000 plus for a week's rental its still less expensive than owning and incurring that big initial investment and the MF each year.

Regards.
Joe
 

CATBinCO

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I agree with the previous poster about finding a rental for Hawaii as opposed to owning a T/S there. We did a multi-island Hawaii trip two years ago and I was able to find wonderful vacation apartments or condos for rent for around $100 a night. Previous posters have said that if you are going to buy a T/S, buy within driving distance so that you don't need to worry about airfare. (Although with the price of gas now....it almost comes to a wash, unless you have a large family.)

Trading into Hawaii CAN BE DONE, but requires a lot of early prep work, getting up early (i.e. 5am) to check Interval's website and see what's been deposited, and being patient and flexible - hard to do!

And I don't own a Marriott T/S either. With our Breckenridge timeshare I have been to able to see a couple different Hawaii properties for summer of 2010 - but I'm not interested as we've already done Hawaii and won't be back until we hit Europe first!

(I lurk on this Marriott board just reading up on stuff, saving up for the day we buy at Newport Coast Villas, fixed 4th of July week.....several years from now.)
 

pwrshift

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Above all, take your time and study TUG and the Marriott board if that is the brand you want. You need to look at your present vacation needs as well as what they might be in a few years. A lot of people buy in Orlando while the kids are young and don't want to go to it once the kids have left the nest.

It's a good idea to buy resale and platinum if you have to go when teachers can. A resort within driving distance is a good idea too to cut way down on annual costs of using it. You might want to look at resales for Manor Club in Williamsburg ($8000?), Fairway Villas NJ ($8000?), Myrtle Beach (a lot more), Hilton Head (even more), Ocean Pointe in Palm Beach FL ($24,000?) ... or BeachPlace Towers in Fort Lauderdale ($15,000?).

For you in your location I'd consider Manor Club first - it comes with 6 free rounds of golf, in an area where there's a ton of things to do, and easily reaced by car. At $8000 for platinum you should be able to get your money back on resale. It's a good trader too, if you get into that. You can even split your week into two stays -- 3 nights and 4 nights, which might be useful for quick getaways to your place.

The only reason to buy direct is to use the Marriott Rewards program but it doesn't sound like that's uppermost in your vacation needs, at least now...so buy resale.

Enjoy

Brian
 

Zac495

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Everyone is giving you great advice. I am in the process of doing Hawaii this year - it is SO expensive. I have tickets on hold with FF miles - but the "cost" is premium - so 70K for a coach and 140K for first class. I can't fly 12 hours in coach personally - so this is a once in 10 year trip for us. I am hoping my Aruba pulls Marriott on one of the islands of my choice. If it doesn't, I'll rent - no way would I want to pay those huge fees.

If I lived in CA, I might feel differently. Take your time. I also own Manor Club which we can drive to - kids can even bring a friend. This past summer (a few weeks ago) we did Disney (with Hilton points - very inexpensive and nice - if you want Disney - I'd buy Hilton and save a bundle). Anyway, the kids had a blast with their friends. Florida is close for us East coast people - like Manor Club. THere's also the Marriott near Atlantic City, but it's not on the beach. I think Manor Club is a better trader.
 
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