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Escapes! converting to points system

gravityrules

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I talked to a Escapes! representative who said that Escapes! (or Coopershares) has been in the process over the last 10 months of converting to a points system. He said their newer resorts (Galveston, Orange Beach, Panama City) are points only. Does anyone know about or have experience with this point system and/or the conversion process?

BTW, he also said Escapes! is switching affiliation from RCI to II.
 

Texasbelle

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Yes, the three you mentioned are II rather than RCI. I know the Galveston one is points only [Escapes points]. You can convert your old week to points for $3000 I think. However, the new ones are worth more points so you can't get a full week with points from say Hot Springs Village. Since my husband was tired of driving to HSV we traded that and cash for Galveston. I think we will be able to use part weeks avoiding the weekend and go more than once, but we will have to pay a cleaning fee for days after the first stay. Now, if you decide to buy into Escapes points pay close attention to the week you buy [underlying week]. I was told by reservations that our 2006 week began at the beginning of our 2005 underlying week [we didn't even own it then] so we had to roll over our points to use them in 2006. We had assumed [bad idea] that the year was the calendar year as before. This is very confusing to me. We can request time 3 months before we want to go, but after the first confirmation we have to pay a fee for the next request. Seems there are lots of fees and the maintenance is more too. Once I get a handle on using points, I think it will work well. Membership in II is mandatory and the first year is paid. ICE lifetime membership is included.
 
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gravityrules

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This rep quoted a conversion price 10 times your estimate ($2995) and said it would go up to $3995 in 2006! Maybe it's just me, but I had that same feeling when you ask about the price of a new car ... :)

I was looking at what was advertised on the resale market as a fixed week at HSV, but this rep said he thought all Los Lagos Phase II were floating weeks.
 

timeos2

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Not a good deal to me

These extremely small, limited location points systems with a loose affiliation with II are actually worse than just sticking with weeks. You pay to get into a very small world of resorts (3???) while getting limited access to II which hasn't much to offer to begin with. Save your money and get into a real points system with plenty of resorts to choose from or just stay in weeks.

These small conversions often end up like Equivest - bought out by bigger and more qualified systems like Fairfield but you as an owner have to pay AGAIN to get into the bigger system. These types of systems have a real good chance of failure not too far down the road. I'd avoid them and keep my money for better things.
 
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Texasbelle

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Timeos2, the points may be used at any Escapes! property [not just 3]. Escapes properties have very nice units. If we had kept our original week, we could not trade into the Galveston property because it is II and the old unit was RCI. We used to be able to trade with other owners by running a message in the newsletter, but that was discontinued when floating time started. I have no interest in juggling RCI points and will continue to use my weeks that are RCI offiliated for trading within that system. I doubt II will be useful as we plan to use the Escapes program. I don't think Escapes will be bought out as they have been around for a long time [once called Coopershares]. Of course, they used to say there would be no more units built at LL after the original ones, so anything could happen. When Cooper realized the money to be made in timeshare, they changed their minds. Gravityrules, yes the Los Lagos II are floating and some of the old Los Lagos are also [if the owner paid to convert to floating]. Personally, I wouldn't pay a huge price for the lock-off Los Lagos II. The original units are well maintained. The people who converted to floating time were able to trade into other Escapes, but I don't know if that is so anymore. If you want a fixed week, check out the ads for the old units.
 

Mel

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gravityrules said:
I talked to a Escapes! representative who said that Escapes! (or Coopershares) has been in the process over the last 10 months of converting to a points system. He said their newer resorts (Galveston, Orange Beach, Panama City) are points only. Does anyone know about or have experience with this point system and/or the conversion process?

BTW, he also said Escapes! is switching affiliation from RCI to II.
Actually some of your information is incorrect - as is often the case whenm speaking to developer reps.

Excapes owns at most 30% of the inventory of Panama City (TBR with II, and I thin #325 with RCI). While in many ways it is the newest resort, it probably has the oldest HOA - because we negotiated with Escapes to buy out the HOA inventory when we were rebuilding the resort.

Tropical Breeze, as you can tell from the low resort number, has been with RCI for a long time, and we are still affiliated with RCI. Escapes cannot, and will not cancel that affiliation because Escapes does not own controlling interest at that resort - they control one seat on the board, and given the history with our original developer, will never control more than that one seat (and when they sell out, are not likely to control ANY seats).

That said, they may be selling their shares as part of their points program, but unless Escapes is keeping the deed and selling off the right to use their weeks, you would end up with a deed to a specific week in a specific unit. We have heard hints of a points program, but nothing has really been presented to our owners yet (our resort only reopened in August, after 10 years or trying to rebuild).

For those wanting to get into Tropical Breeze, I would expect a very small handful of weeks to hit the resale market soon. We are finalizing settlement of several lawsuits, and once that is done some of the original owners are likely to sell their weeks. These will NOT be part of the points program, but even if you want to covernt, would probably be the cheapest route. These will also trade through BOTH RCI and II
 

Texasbelle

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Thanks, Mel, that does explain Escapes relationship to Tropical Breeze. As I understand it, I can use my Escapes points to go there [the points at Galveston, Orange Beach and Panama City are equal] BUT someone there would have to have used their points to go somewhere else. Chances would be rather slim I would think. As for Escapes changing to II, many owners at their original cites will stay with RCI so they can't just "change to II." So far I haven't heard anything about dual affiliation, which I think would be useful to most owners.
 

Mel

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Actually, you might be able to use your point for Panama City Beach, because Escapes at this point owns a percentage of the units (unless their sales program has taken off in an incredible way). The resort only opened in August, and while I wouldn't expect too many of the owned weeks to end up as either exchanges or rentals, those "developer weeks" should be made available to someone, and I would bet many of them will end up in the hands of Escapes members.

If you own a fixed week at one of the resorts that started out as RCI, and that resort is now exchanging through II, you are dual affiliated - you can exchange through either company. However, if you own points, you would probably only be able to use II, as Escapes is trading their points to get a week for you.
 

gravityrules

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Sorry for the slow response. Thanks for the discussion, I'm finding this interesting. I did not buy the HSV unit and instead took the 'go slow' advice here on TUG to read and study for a couple of months before buying anything. I've changed my mind several times about what would be ideal.
The HSV Los Lagos II 2 BR LO Even Year usage was an Ebay listing that went for $510. The MF was reasonable ($396 every other year) and HSV is only 230 miles away. The deed info showed week 37, so I was intrigued when the sales rep said all Los Lagos II units were floating. Do you think he was correct? Is it common for deeds to show fixed weeks but for the units to actually be floating? Would this be the case when a conversion to floating has been done or would a new deed be issued?
 

Mel

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It is common for floating resorts to list a week/unit on the deed. If it is a deeded property, they have to list something for bookkeeping purposes.

If they convert to floating, they shouldn't have to reissue the deeds. Not the same, but at Tropical Breeze, with our rebuild we eliminated some units, and consolidated. We still have a fairly even distribution of weeks, so it was a matter of reassigning units to owners of the units that were eliminated. In the process, I believe most of the unit numbers ended up being reassigned.

We just got our maintenance bill today, and in it there is a note explaining that deeds did not have to be reissued, but instead the condo association documents were amended, and the reassignments were listed within. That apparently covers us all. When we sell our unit, I don't know how it will then be listed - possibly with the new unit assignment, but with a note referencing the old so there is no confusion with someone whose old unit has the same number as our new unit. Complicated!

So yes, a listing like that sounds normal. In fact, if the resort started as fixed units, and not everybody was converted, it would make sense that the floating membership actually be covered by a separate document.
 

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Let me breathe life back into this thread.

I have some very specific Escapes Points questions pertaining to the original Villas units at Stonebridge Village (Units 601 through 615).

I spoke to the lady who answered the phone at the Escapes office at Stonebridge yesterday and here is some of what she said. Please comment if you can.

The Villas were first sold as fixed week, then as floating, then as Escapes Points. Fixed Weeks owners could/can convert to Points. Once converted they cannot be converted back to fixed. Once converted they can only be exchanged through II (or Escapes), even if they originally could be exchanged through RCI Weeks.

There is a $149 per year Escapes Points fee, in additional to the maintenance fee.

Although ownership is by deed to a specific week, the owner is not assured that week. They have to reserve a week each year.

If you are in Escapes Points, does that mean you can reserve at any Escapes resorts (subject to availability) and not just where you own?

Is there an additional fee for reserving in a resort where you do not own, which would be essentially an exchange?

If you wish to exchange through II, you have to run that through Escapes. They will deposit something likely to get what you want. They can deposit a week from any unit in any Escapes resort that is in the Escapes Points program.

I don't find anything on their website about how Escapes Points works. Am I missing something?

http://www.escapesvacations.com
 
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Mel

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I don't know much of anything about the points program. What I can say is relative to Panama City Beach. Escapes was brought in to purchase the HOA inventory when the resort was rebuilt a couple of years ago. This was probably around 30% of the inventory at that time. It was of both 1BR and 2BR units, and a fairly even mix of weeks. This was because the resort remained closed for about 10 years after Hurricane Opal, for various reasons. Many owners balked at the idea of a $3000 assessment to pay for the rebuild, and deeded their units back, or were forclosed.

As such, the original units are fixed weeks, and are likely to stay that way. Those weeks are all owned by people who rode through the rebuild, and I don't picture many of them wanting to switch to Escapes Points (though a few might). Before Excapes was brought in, the HOA had already arranged dual affiliation, so those weeks can be used through both RCI and II. As for the Escapes inventory, they are a developer, and can sell those weeks as they see fit, as part of their "club" as long as that membership doesn't violate the basic documents of the original resort. Thus those weeks may in fact only be available as points. To me, that makes my fixed week that much more valuable, because it is ONLY available as a resale.

The 2 sets of weeks do not have separate HOAs, but this may be Escapes! way of maintaining some influence at Tropical Breeze - but our bylaws were written such that they will not get controlling interest. They will simply be the owners of a large share of units, with a significant share of the vote. But given what the owners went through with the last developer, they will not be allowed significant control.
 

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Thanks.

Still looking for someone who can explain Escapes Points.
 

tombo

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I own at the original Orange Beach (there is currently a huge Escapes oceanfront high rise being built up the road). My week is a floating week 1-52 and I can reserve 10 months in advance currently along with all other owners at Orange Beach (escapes owners at other resorts can reserve here 8 months in advance but there are never any available that late). The salesman (and resort manager) told me that if I don't pay to upgrade to points I will never be able to swap internally for the new Orange Beach resort with the lazy river, waterfall ,free form pool etc. I will not be able to swap for any escapes resorts that are points unless I swap it through RCI or II. The number of points you receive varies greatly from resort to resort. A summer week's worth of Escapes points at Hot Springs will not be enough to book a summer week at Orange Beach. Supposed advantage is splitting up a week into weekends etc. but that will not actually work at the popular resorts as most everyone books a full week.

I said I bought here because I love here and don't ever want to trade my week, so no thanks to the points conversion offer. I was then informed that the owners who switch to points are allowed to reserve their home week 12 months in advance if they reserve the underlying week (example week 23) listed on their deed. I was mad and told the Escapes people that when I purchased everyone who floated weeks 1-52 had an equal chance (first come first served 10 months in advance) to get 4th of July, but now anyone with week 26 or 27 on their deed could lock the week in 2 months before the rest of the floating owners got a chance to reserve it. He said hey you have week 23 on your deed so pay me $3995 and you can reserve your week 23 every year guaranteed. I told him I was not paying again for something I already owned just because Escapes was changing the rules to make more money on a sold out resort.

In 2006 and 2007 I called at 8 AM, 10 months in advance, and both times I booked 4th of July for the family. Surprise, surprise, this year, 8 am, 10 months, in advance and I couldn't get a 4th of July week. I was on the phone at exactly 8 am and all weeks were gone.

I hate it when greedy developers find a way to make people pay more for a week that they already own free and clear at a sold out resort. I will keep my floating week as long as I can reserve a decent summer week and never pay the extortion to convert to points. If in the future I am finally locked out from reserving a summer week because too many owners are reserving their deeded week 12 months in advance because they converted to points then I will sell my week at a resort I love.
 

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So, like other points systems, it was intentionally designed at the expense of existing owners, to coerce them to ante up more money to do what they were already doing, with no assurance that that would be the case. :(

Does that about sum it up?

Is there any place where all this points crap is in writing?

Since 130,000 points is meaningless to anyone not familiar with the system, what does that mean? Like, is it enough to get something decent each year, say to switch from Stonebridge Village to somewhere else, and get a high-demand week?

PS: In your example, if a floating-but-not-Points owner had 4th of July week on their deed, could a Points owner reserve it?

Or, are you saying that all the 4th of July owners converted to Points?
 
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tombo

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I am sorry that I missed your questions until now. I don't know if all the floating weeks owners with underlying week 26 on their deed converted to points or not (I doubt all did). I believe there are only about 10 Escapes 2 bed room units at Orange Beach with a small percentage of the owners who's weeks have the option to float the prime summer weeks (some only float winter, some spring). If 5 owners with underlying week 26 on their deed converted to points then the remaining floating owners are fighting over 5 units (1/2 of the prior availability). If 50 owners were trying to get the 10 4th of July weeks in the past, you now have 45 owners attempting to reserve 5 weeks. You have gone from a 1 in 5 chance to a 1 in 9 chance. If 8 week 26 deeded owners go to points then you have 42 owners trying to get 2 available weeks dropping your chances to 1 in 21. Of course week 26 and 27 underlying deeded weeks have a heck of an incentive to go to points. Each of those weeks will have about 3 out of every 6 years fall on 4th of July and they are guaranteed to get the week on their deed every year. That of course eliminates us from being able to have a chance at reserving the 4th ever again.

A points owner could theoretically reserve a 4th of july week if available but I am not sure how far out if it isn't at your home resort. If it is your home resort and you have enough points or if you have a floating week like me you can reserve 10 months in advance. Supposedly 8 months in advance is the furthest in advance you can reserve an Escapes resort that isn't your home resort whether you own points, fixed weeks, or floating weeks.


They told me how many 100,000's of points I would receive if I converted but I didn't pay attention. The new Escapes at Orange Beach they are building up the road looks fantastic but I believe that the new "points weeks" are selling for $50,000 or more each and I doubt anyone outside of that resort will own enough points to stay there. I think they told me that I would have enough points to stay at the new resort if I converted but the salesman's lips were moving so he might have been lying.


You said: "So, like other points systems, it was intentionally designed at the expense of existing owners, to coerce them to ante up more money to do what they were already doing, with no assurance that that would be the case.

Does that about sum it up?"

You hit the nail right on the head! Of course remember the coercion is if you don't pay the extortion (ie upgrade to points) you won't in the future be able to do what you are currently doing. You will become a second class owner behind the people who upgrade to points. It is happening but I won't pay the crooked developer Poopershares any extortion.

Remember you owe $3995 AND you also have an annual points fee of $150 (I think )added to your current maintenance fees just to stay a summer week at a place you already own. No improvement to the resort, rooms, or amenities come with the added outlay by owners. What a deal for Poopershare!!!!!
 
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JLB

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If you are deeded weeks, rather than floating, you can still do what you are already doing, and through RCI, the way I understand it.

And, yeah, I believe the additional points annual fee is $149.

You hit the nail right on the
head! Of course remember the coercion is if you don't pay the extortion (ie upgrade to points) you won't in the future be able to do what you are currently doing.

an annual points fee of $150
 

tombo

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I am a floating week and i can continue doing what I am doing. The difference is that the people who convert to points can now do things they could never do before. They can now reserve the week on their floating weeks deed 2 months before anyone else has a chance to try guaranteeing themselves their room and week every year. This reduces my opportunity every time someone converts to points.

When Poopershare sold the weeks it was you float x weeks through x weeks no matter what is on your deed you can get 4th of july every year if you are first on the phone. Now the sales pitch is what is on your deed is guaranteed your week every year 2 months before the other people have a chance.

Saying that I can do what I did before is not actually true. It is the equivalent of playing a football game for years where at the beginning the scvore was 0 to 0. Now your opponents can pay up front money and be guaranteed to win. I can still show up for the game and make a reservation request at 8 am 10 months in advance but my opponents did the same thing 2 months earlier. I can make the call but I am now playing only against the owners who didn't pay the extortion fee for an ever shrinking pool of weeks.

It is simply a ripoff where the resort makes more money off of sold out locations without having to spend any money of their own building new locations to add new inventory. With the limited locations I can't imagine many people paying to go to points here unless they want to lock in the week on their deed every year. Of course the people with the incentive to lock in the week on their deed actually have the weeks we all are trying to reserve. No one is going to lock in a week 3 at the gulf coast but anyone with a summer week( like myself) on their deed has great incentive.
If I pay the extortion I am guaranteed week 23 ( a good week) but I always have tried for week 26 or 27 which is apparently no longer available thanks to points conversions.
 
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JLB

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Still looking for someone who can explain Escapes Points. :D
 

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No way! Go figure! Huh? Really?

Since I am buying something resale, I called Cooper to see if the 2008 fees have been paid. They referred me to a phone number in Bella Vista.

I talked to the lady who answered the phone for a couple minutes, and then she says, "Is this _________?"

"Why, yes it is. Who are you?"

"___________"

No way! Really!

Turns out folks I have known for years are handling all this. :hysterical:
 

tombo

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Great luck. Since you know them personally, can they honestly explain points to you? If so can you give us a synopsis here? Also is there a place to go on line and see how many points it takes at different locations for different weeks. I am not going to go to points no matter what, but I am curious how many points it takes at different resorts.
 

JLB

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No.

My people are behind-the-scenes people. They are handling the maintenance fees, contracts, transfers, stuff other than marketing.

But, I can maybe call them and find out who can explain the other stuff. I'll let it ride for now, so as to not wear out my welcome.

Great luck. Since you know them personally, can they honestly explain points to you?
 

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Escapes Points

here's a stab... I'm still learning this stuff myself since I've only been an owner in the Escapes system for a little more than a year, and just recently added a few more weeks to my Escapes portfolio in MO, but here goes. But first the disclaimer - I am extremely happy with the Escapes program - the properties are drivable from Dallas and are all in the 4-5 star quality range in my opinion. You can have your deeded week at your resort if you reserve it within the first couple of months of the "year" for that unit. The "year" for 2008 began in 2007 during your deeded week. So, that means that, if you want your actual week in 2008, you have to reserve your week for 2008 in 2007 - make sense? Once you get past that initial couple of months, you can reseve partial weeks (3 or 4 nights) for the next several months. Within the last few months of your year, you can use points to stay a minimum of 2 nights at any of the resorts in the system. You can, of course, bank your week at any time with II and do an exchange there (and pay their fees). We've gotten some decent trades for our time, but then again, I don't think we are as "discerning" as other folks - we are pretty easy to please. :whoopie: You can roll your unused points over to the next year if you don't use them all up, and you can get tons of usage if you dig in and find the value season and value days at each resort. It is a pretty confusing system, but again, I'm so happy with it, I'm still buying...:)
 

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Hi, Otis. Love your elevators! ;)

What do you own at Stonebridge, and what have you done with it?

Do you have a Points chart, you known, what it takes to get what you want somewhere else?

Specifically, 130000 Points has come up, the Points for a Stonebridge week. I can't find what that is good for, like, maybe a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.

Points don't mean squat until they mean something.
 
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