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DeniseM

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Written by okwiater:

Here is my attempt at a FAQ for Sheraton Flex. Please feel free to make suggestions or corrections. Once it's in publishable form, DeniseM may consider adding this to one of the stickies.

What is Sheraton Flex?

Sheraton Flex is a type of ownership introduced in 2015 which gives the owner priority access to the following 6 resorts:
  1. Sheraton Vistana Resort (FL-Orlando)
  2. Sheraton Vistana Villages (FL-Orlando)
  3. Vistana's Beach Club (FL-Jensen Beach)
  4. Sheraton Desert Oasis (AZ-Scottsdale)
  5. Sheraton Broadway Plantation (SC-Myrtle Beach)
  6. Sheraton Steamboat Springs (CO-Steamboat Springs)
Unlike most other Starwood ownerships, Sheraton Flex ownerships are not associated with a specific resort, unit type, or season. Instead, Sheraton Flex ownerships are associated with a certain number of HomeOptions (also referred to as "points") which permit the owner to reserve any available Sheraton Flex resort, unit type, and season for which they own enough HomeOptions.

Is Sheraton Flex deeded?

Sheraton Flex is backed by a pool of deeds associated with each of the resorts, unit types, and seasons which make up Sheraton Flex. However, individual deeds do not convey to Sheraton Flex owners; rather, the deeds are held in a trust. Sheraton Flex owners purchase packages of HomeOptions (also referred to as "points") which bestow the right to utilize a certain portion of the available units held by the trust.

What are HomeOptions?

HomeOptions -- which are also frequently referred to simply as "points" -- represent a Sheraton Flex owner's right to make home resort reservations at any of the Sheraton Flex resorts. Reservations can be made beginning at 12 months prior to arrival, just like any other home resort reservation. However, unlike most other home resort reservations, Sheraton Flex reservations are not limited to week-long reservations beginning on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Sheraton Flex reservations can be made for any check-in day and for any number of nights, based on availability.

What are the differences between HomeOptions and StarOptions?

Frequently, people overcomplicate their understanding of HomeOptions by thinking of them as completely distinct from StarOptions. However, it is easiest to understand HomeOptions by thinking of them simply as a special type of StarOption, with the following single difference:
HomeOptions can also be used to make home resort reservations at Sheraton Flex resorts during the home resort preference period.
Note that the home resort preference period is 12 months to 8 months prior to arrival. For resale Sheraton Flex ownerships which have not been requalified, an owner can continue making home resort reservations 8 months or less prior to arrival. For other Sheraton Flex ownerships, reservations made 8 months or less prior to arrival would be SVN reservations.

Can HomeOptions be used to reserve any available unit at one of the Sheraton Flex resorts?

No. Only a portion of the deeds for each Sheraton Flex resort are held in the trust. The other deeds are owned by other owners who have the right to use their deeded ownerships without competing with Sheraton Flex owners. This cuts both ways: Sheraton Flex owners cannot reserve inventory that is held by deeded owners, and deeded owners cannot reserve inventory that is held by the Sheraton Flex trust.

As such, it is possible for a desired reservation to be available to deeded owners but not to Sheraton Flex owners, and vice versa. In practice, the highest demand reservations usually become unavailable to Sheraton Flex owners before deeded owners, due to a larger number of people competing for the limited number of popular reservations available within the Sheraton Flex trust.

In addition, the Sheraton Flex trust does not contain deeds for every unit type at every resort. Here are some examples of inventory observations made by Sheraton Flex owners:
  • Sheraton Broadway Plantation
    • 3-bedroom Palmetto units do not appear to be part of the Sheraton Flex trust, as they are not reservable using HomeOptions at any time of the year.
  • Sheraton Steamboat Springs
    • The East Tower, formerly operated exclusively as a hotel, appears to have been made a part of the Sheraton Flex trust and only reservable by Sheraton Flex owners
    • 3-bedroom units do not currently appear to be part of the Sheraton Flex trust

How many HomeOptions are required to reserve resort/unit type/season?

HomeOption values are equivalent to StarOption values for the purpose of calculating the number required for a particular reservation. Simply tally up the weekly and/or daily StarOption values for the desired reservation, and that's how many HomeOptions are required.

The Villa Finder will also specify how many HomeOptions are required in the search results.

Can I use HomeOptions like StarOptions to make SVN reservations?

Yes, as long as the ownership is "qualified," meaning that it was either purchased from the developer or contractually requalified as part of a subsequent developer purchase.

One benefit of HomeOptions is that even if they are used like StarOptions to book an SVN reservation 8 months or less prior to arrival, if the reservation is subsequently cancelled (prior to the 60-day restriction), they can continue to be used as HomeOptions to make home resort reservations. This is unlike a typical deeded ownership, which loses its home resort preference as soon as it is used to book a StarOptions reservation.

Can HomeOptions be banked?

For the purpose of banking, HomeOptions will be treated exactly like StarOptions and are subject to all the same rules and restrictions. Once banked, HomeOptions will be treated as banked StarOptions.

You cannot bank HomeOptions with the intent of creating a separate "banked HomeOptions" pool that has priority access to the Sheraton Flex resorts.

How many HomeOptions come with a Sheraton Flex ownership?

Sheraton Flex ownerships can be sold in any increment of 5,000 HomeOptions, as well as in increments which align with popular week-long reservations (e.g. 67,100, 81,000, 95,700, 148,100; etc.).

There is no discount for buying an ownership with a larger number of HomeOptions. For example, purchasing 2 ownerships worth 67,100 HomeOptions and 81,000 HomeOptions will cost the same as a single 148,100 HomeOption ownership (however, there would typically be 2 closing fees instead of 1). This can be useful for requalifying, as it makes it easy to spend just above the requalification threshold.

Can Sheraton Flex ownerships be deposited into Interval International?

Yes. You can deposit in several popular increments of HomeOptions, which have varying trading power depending on the number of HomeOptions deposited.

How do Sheraton Flex maintenance fees work?

Maintenance fees are prorated based on the number of HomeOptions owned. Fees do not vary based on the number of ownerships or HomeOptions. For 2016, fees were calculated by multiplying the number of HomeOptions by 0.01484 (1.484 cents per HomeOption).

Are Sheraton Flex ownerships mandatory or voluntary?

Sheraton Flex ownerships are voluntary, meaning that membership in SVN (and thus the ability to book at non-Flex resorts) does not transfer on resale. However, a Sheraton Flex resale purchaser is still entitled to use HomeOptions to make reservations at any of the Sheraton Flex resorts, based on availability.

Can I convert my Sheraton Flex ownership to Starpoints?

Sheraton Flex ownerships can be converted to Starpoints as long as the ownership is "qualified," meaning that it was either purchased from the developer or contractually requalified as part of a subsequent developer purchase.

Also, unlike deeded ownerships, which must be converted to Starpoints in their entirety (except in the case of lock-offs, which can be split), Sheraton Flex ownerships can be converted to Starpoints in any increment. The calculation is currently performed by multiplying the number of HomeOptions by 0.52. In other words, 100,000 HomeOptions would convert to 52,000 Starpoints.

All other applicable Starpoints conversion policies apply, including fees, bonuses, and every-other-year conversion restrictions. Elite owners continue to receive all published benefits (e.g. fee reductions/waivers, conversion bonuses, etc.) as applicable.

Do HomeOptions count towards Elite status?

Yes. HomeOptions count as StarOptions for the purpose of calculating Elite status as long as the ownership is "qualified," meaning that it was either purchased from the developer or contractually requalified as part of a subsequent developer purchase.

Will additional resorts be added to Sheraton Flex?

Sheraton Flex initially launched with 5 resorts, but the ownership documents always included verbiage which left open the possibility of additional resorts being added.

Sheraton Steamboat Springs was added to Sheraton Flex for reservations beginning in 2017.

Other Sheraton resorts are slated to become timeshare properties as well, but it has not been confirmed whether they will be added to Sheraton Flex or sold in a different fashion.

Will there ever be a Westin Flex?

It has been suggested by salespeople; however, no official statement has been made one way or the other.
 
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