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[Melia Vacation Club] We need advice - already bought a right of use membership!

gioamorim

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I so wish I had found this website before! My husband and I bought a membership at the Club Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in April 2014.
It was my brother-in-law wedding, we were all happy, and having drinks and not thinking right, clearly. We went on their sale pitch because they promised vouchers and several other little perks if we did. This was the first red flag we should have seen!
Anyways, we love to travel, and now that we have a family (2 kids) it gets more expensive, so we were stupid enough to believe this club membership could be a good way to always travel and save money. We paid some $2k upfront and - to make matters much worse - financed the rest! We owe them some 42 parcels of $241 and change, plus the maintenance fee, which started at $745 and went up to $900 within one year.
We went on vacation this year to one of their resorts in Cozumel, using the "free week" that the salesperson offered as incentive to close the contract right away (red flag! red flag! no time to do internet search or even talk to other people at the resort and ask opinions!). Another family went on this trip with us. When we got to the hotel, we found out that the all-inclusive was not included in our free week, and we had to pay separately. The total came to be pretty much the same that my friend had paid for her family stay - meaning, the free week was worth absolutely nothing!
Then, we now have found that the 31,000 options that we got this year will expire in January if we don't use or transfer them. They gave us three options:
1) book a vacation in one of their resorts for certain dates in 2016 (no high season, obviously). Most options they have will either use less than the 31,000 options and we would simply lose the rest, or, worse, would take more in which case they said we can buy extra options. That's not the worst, though, but the fact that, again, it does not include the all-inclusive part. The customer service lady herself told me that if we don't do all-inclusive we would pay much more eating there a la carte. So I add up how much it would cost for my family to pay the all-inclusive fee for one week, and go on to Expedia to see how much it would cost to simply book the exact same week at the same hotel. You guessed, very little difference! That means my club membership is worth less than what I pay in maintenance fee, let alone the principal! So pissed!!
2) Second option would be to deposit points into RCI (paying a fee of $250 for that). I call the RCI/Club Melia number they provided to see what's available for 2016 with our points - almost nothing, and all crappy hotels with horrible reviews!
3) Third option is to convert our 31,000 options into Melia Rewards points. According to the same customer service lady, these points however would only be enough for - shock! - 2 nights at one of the Melia hotels. Are you kidding me?? Again, maintenance alone is over $900 and that gets me only 2 nights in a hotel?? Oh, and don't forget there is also a fee for doing this conversion, of $51.

We are at a loss! We don't know what's the least terrible option there and what to do about it. I feel it's outrageous to simply lose these points, after having already paid almost $9k so far for this thing between down payment, financing, annual fees and closing costs (seriously, closing cost!)

Most of all, we want to get rid of this horrible deal, but we saw that it's almost impossible to sell it or even give it away when we still owe them beyond the annual maintenance fees. I mean, it's such a horrible deal that I would feel bad passing along to someone else, really!

Can I cry now?
 

DeniseM

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Who is the financing through - a US company, or a company in the DR?
 

Passepartout

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I really think I'd default and take the consequences. I wouldn't even think twice if it's a DR finance outfit. The credit agencies have to allow you to attach a letter of explanation to any negative report. Hard to imagine another creditor holding this kind of default against you.

Jim
 

Passepartout

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You will never see the money you've already paid, but even if our paid it off, it's still worth zero. Or less. There is no mortgage, and no deed, so technically it's a vacation club. They have no leverage on you. Quit paying. Stop the bleeding. When they call, don't answer. Throw away their letters. I see no lasting damage they can do to you.
 

gioamorim

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But how about our credit? Will it be affected? My husband is so diligent with his credit score, if it plummets he will be devastated (but maybe not more than we already are!)
 

gioamorim

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Oh, I actually just noticed on the contract it says:

Initial Holder: Sol Melia VC Dominicana, S.A.
Resorts Advantage Ltd., Inc. as Collection Agent

Resorts Advantage is a company based in Miami, FL. Does that mean they can sue me in the U.S.? Argh!!!
 

Passepartout

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There may well be credit consequences. But there cannot be a foreclosure, and after a time, knowing there is nothing they can do to you other than a mark for defaulting on a vacation club in DR, they will give up, simply taking what you've already paid. You just have to be clear with them that they are not getting another penny. Yes, they will threaten all sorts of things, but in the end, they have no leverage. There is nothing to repossess, and no collateral to surrender. And you can change banks or credit cards they might be able to debit, and contest any black mark in the credit agencies.

You and your husband have to decide if you want to play hardball, as the collectors probably will.

Sorry this happened to you, and backing out of foreign debt is not easy, but in this case is probably better than paying off this bill for something worth nothing that would cost tens of thousands to travel to and use.

Jim
 

bjones9942

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Jim ... I'm wondering why you don't think Resorts Advantage wouldn't consider a small claims lawsuit? Just wondering ... I'd default on this one myself, and I'm usually totally against that route.
 

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I don't like default either, but since this is such a loser, with as far as I can see, no redeeming value. I have no inside knowledge that the OP absolutely won't be sued for the balance, but since we hear from nobody who has been over defaulting on a vacation club, I think it's worth the risk. I think I would probably write the management and the finance company and plead hardship and offer to let them have what has been paid if they'll cancel the obligation. It's not likely to work, but would show intent.

Tough call, but that's how I'd play it.
 

gioamorim

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Argh, I can't believe we got ourselves into this! I almost feel like going there just to tell all guests and the people they try to sell this membership how much of a scam this is! Actually, maybe I'll use this as my threat to them in case they don't cancel it!
 

gioamorim

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Melia Vacation Club - has anyone stopped payments? Didn't affect credit score?

We want to stop paying for our Melia vacation club. It is a scam where the aggressive salespeople lie to you to get you to sign a contract and rip you out of thousands of dollars for their membership, which is worth nothing!

I may have been tricked by them but I'll make sure it's my life mission to not let others fall for these greedy, heartless scammers!!! We want to stop paying immediately since no one would take our membership not even for free, but are afraid it will impact negatively our credit score. Has anyone had this experience?
If you're not familiar with this club, read below and you'll understand why we are considering defaulting a debt!

They told us all-inclusive was included on all 14 home resorts. This was a big fat lie! Turns out it is not and when you don't have all-inclusive included and have to pay for it separately, the regular price on Expedia beats your investment by far! Sorry but in this scenario it doesn't make sense to pay thousands extra to be a member! They claim only 4 resorts have mandatory all-inclusive but if you're in a resort of this type what are you supposed to do, travel with noodles cups and other non-perishable food in your bags and live your week at the beach eating miserably as if you're camping??!

Yes, you can also deposit your options to RCI (paying $250 for that), but RCI only has very limited availability on the next two years for properties that you can go using your Melia points and they are all bad hotels with terrible reviews.The nice hotels all demand way, way more points than the Melia gives you, and even if you do what they call 'accelerate' to get more points it's never going to be enough because some points will expire before you accumulate the next ones. For the crappy hotels - even if I would stay in such places with my family - you again end up spending more than if you book those places directly! Converting to Melia Rewards is also another joke because your points are only enough for one or two nights stay - so you're paying $12.5K principal, $905 annual membership (times two because even though you only get points every other year in our contract, you have to pay maintenance every year), plus $51 dollars to covert points and you get two nights tops! Once again, you're gonna be paying way, way more than if you simply go online and book those nights yourself. If you do the math, it's like paying $1,180 for a night stay in a hotel that you can book for $200 on Expedia! Do you see how much of a scam this is???

Can't believe they are still in business and deceiving people like this! There has to be some protection for American consumers they are ripping off! Oh, there's no way to cancel it either! Of course they do all they can to not give you time to do so but if you research online you'd see there's so many complaints similar to mine out there, even from seniors and people who are struggling with financial hardships and illness and still they won't cancel these peoples contracts - I'm not even taking about refunding them, just getting them off the contract for future membership!

Total, complete scam!!! That's why they are so aggressive and lie and hurry people on singing 22 pages with small letters after they've made you sit with your young children for HOURS while you wish to be at the beach - of course you won't read all the fine print, you can't believe people would be so evil to lie to your face like that! That's also why you have 5 days to send a letter to cancel - guess what, you're still on vacations then - otherwise you can't cancel the thing ever. No one will even take it for free, that's how bad this whole thing is!

We were told so many lies! All-inclusive is included on home resorts - LIE! You have to pay extra which makes you spend more than if you'd book on Expedia; They said points accumulate - LIE! They expire and you never can accumulate to get to stay in good hotels through RCI; They sell you a high standard for hotels and promise that's what your points will buy you in thousands of properties around the would - LIE! RCI hotels that you can use with your points are much lower level than your home resort; They show you an online tool where you can search, see availability and book your hotel stays yourself - LIE! That doesn't exist at all, only at their sales pitch. You must spend hours on the phone with a customer service trying and guessing periods and properties until you find something that works with your dates and points - almost a way to force you to take whatever they offer you because you feel bad for the lady on the phone with you for so long and your ear is hot from the phone; They say your points would get you a week at most Melia hotels, Europe included - LIE! Good luck getting 1 night in Paris with your whole year points through said Melia rewards!

Run from the salespeople and tell others at the hotels! All they want is to accost you, fill you with drinks and false promises, tire you up and pressure you then rip you out of thousands of dollars, while you should be enjoying your vacation time!
 
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DeniseM

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I have merged your posts - if you have any additional questions or comments, please post them in the same thread, instead of starting new threads.
 

DeniseM

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A gentle suggestion: To improve readability, click edit and add a blank line between paragraphs.
 

gioamorim

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A gentle suggestion: To improve readability, click edit and add a blank line between paragraphs.
Thank you, just did. Sorry for the long rant but I need to at least get the anger out of my system. I also want to explain all the points that make this a scam, it's not like when you read a review that only says "run, it's a scam" but doesn't quite explain how come.
 

gioamorim

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This is an example of how much money a club Melia loses:

Our investment was of $12,500 for 25 years of options. That makes $500 for every 31,000 points. Add to that the $905 maintenance fee and our total investment for each 31,000 options is of $1,405.

Now, look at the options to use these 31,000 points we were given:

A) we were offered 6 nights at The Reserve at Paradisus in Punta Cana for 28,500 options. Since all-inclusive is not included, we would have to pay $97/adult/day and $49/child/day, which comes to $2,044 for our family. Our investment for this vacation would be $1,405 plus $2,044, a total of $3,449. The Melia.com website offers us the same stay at the same hotel for all members of our family with the all-inclusive for $1,856.48, plus $1,100 of resort credit. By being a Club Melia member we would be wasting $1,593 plus $1,100 in resort credit.

B) we were offered the option to pay $51 and convert to 139,500 Melia Rewards options. Now my investment is of $,1405 plus $51,a total of $1,456. However, the Club Melia vacation specialist on the phone said I would only be able to book one or two nights at most with this amount of points at any other Melia hotel. So let's say I could book two nights in Paris. Melia.com offers me a room for my family for a total of $466.24 for two nights, plus at the moment 20 euros per night to spend at the hotel. By being a Club Melia member we would be wasting $990 plus 40 euros in hotel credit.

C) we were offered the option to transfer the points into RCI, paying a fee of $250. Now my investment is of $1,405 plus $250, $1,655. I had to call a different number to learn what my options on RCI were. The customer assistant offered one week at the hotel Panolo Green in Hawaii. This same stay costs $971.74 if booked on Expedia. But wait! Actually I would need 55,000 options in order to book this, so I would have to "accelerate" another year, 31,000 more paying another fee of $884.5 to do so. Now my investment through the Club Melia is of $2,539.5 for a hotel that I could book on Expedia for $971.74. By being a Club Melia member we would be wasting $1,568 and being forced to stay in a lower standard hotel than the ones we are used to.
 

DeniseM

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It's almost never a good value to buy from the developer - especially outside the US where you don't have the protection of US law and the same consumer rights.

Unfortunately, you don't really have any options for getting out. Believe me, the resort has heard every complaint and threat possible, and that won't phase them.

You need to decide if you are ready to default, and stand tough, because nothing else will get you out.
 

theo

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gioamorim:

Fwiw, there is virtually no chance that the "club" will take you to court for breach of contract. That legal effort costs money that no developer or "club" wants to spend. After all, in the final analysis they will lose nothing; after you default they will just simply sell that same "product" all over again (and again) to unsuspecting others.
They have nothing "out of pocket" to bother attempting to recover by initiating court action against you for defaulting, so don't worry about that particular possibility.

That being said, if the selling (or lending) entity has a U.S. based business office or other U.S. presence, there could very well be some collection efforts and negative credit reporting after you default, but you may still (understandably) decide that unwelcome development is still better than pouring more good money down the drain.
It's your decision to make, but understand and accept that in no scenario will you recover any of the money paid to Melia Vacation Club in the past or in the future.

Anything and everything expressed orally to you by those aggressive sales weasels means absolutely nothing. Accordingly, you have no substantive basis for "threats" (nor any other real leverage, for that matter). Sales weasel statements are just meaningless noise floating briefly around in the air. Only the written content reflected within the four corners of the contract document(s) you signed matters at all, even in whatever passes for the law and legal system in the Dominican Republic.

Unfortunately, you are between a rock and a very hard place. Not to sound harsh, but it may be time to make a tough decision, close the checkbook, endure the aftermath and move on, with an expensive lesson learned. You are not the first or last to succumb to hungry, lying sales weasels while in a vulnerable "vacation mode" state of mind. Frankly, at this juncture, with the 2014 contract rescission period (if one even applied) long ago expired, your options are now very limited --- at best.
 
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gioamorim

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Thank you for your input! I'm trying to reach Melia International corporate with my story and see if they are going to support this type of deceiving advertising and unethical sales practices for one of their services and stand by the contract. I know I have little proof of the lies that I was told orally, but I do have one proof of their wrong advertising for the points expiration, since their own club melia website mentions that you can rollover points to the next year, and I have an email from them stating that my points for my first year (2015) will expire. Maybe this can be used as my way out.

Also, I can't believe they will be ok with the negative press, because I'll make sure to spread my word and reach all media outlets and their social media with my story too!

Can't believe we were naive enough to dump so much money into their hands! :(
 

theo

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Thank you for your input! I'm trying to reach Melia International corporate with my story and see if they are going to support this type of deceiving advertising and unethical sales practices for one of their services and stand by the contract. I know I have little proof of the lies that I was told orally, but I do have one proof of their wrong advertising for the points expiration, since their own club melia website mentions that you can rollover points to the next year, and I have an email from them stating that my points for my first year (2015) will expire. Maybe this can be used as my way out.

Also, I can't believe they will be ok with the negative press, because I'll make sure to spread my word and reach all media outlets and their social media with my story too!

Can't believe we were naive enough to dump so much money into their hands! :(
Don't beat yourself up. These type of hungry, lying parasites are very good at what they do and many otherwise very smart people have also met a similar fate.
Even right here within the U.S., Westgate and Wyndham timeshare sales weasels routinely engage in similar deceptive practices. The "official" corporate position of course is that they "do not condone" deceitful sales tactics --- but neither does "corporate" seem to exert much (if any) effort to actually curtail such practices.
Developer sales is where the real money is in the timeshare industry and the relentless pursuit of the almighty dollar usually prevails over all else.

Others before you have found themselves in the very same boat. I frankly think that you will just be unproductively "tilting at windmills" in attempts to somehow appeal to reason and / or express "threats" of negative publicity with Melia's corporate powers-that-be. Nonetheless, I still sincerely wish you luck and success.
 
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tschwa2

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A lot of times the really squeaky wheel gets the oil. I've seen many a loud complainer on multiple sites come back with the message that the issue has been solved to my satisfaction please delete my posts and then disappear as specified in the settlement agreement with company. It happens more often with Mexican timeshares/vacation clubs but I have seen it with US and other non US ones as well.

There is Redweek forums, various complaints dot com, rip off dot com, the facebook and instagram pages for the company, etc.
 

LannyPC

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Thank you for your input! I'm trying to reach Melia International corporate with my story and see if they are going to support this type of deceiving advertising and unethical sales practices for one of their services and stand by the contract. I know I have little proof of the lies that I was told orally, but I do have one proof of their wrong advertising for the points expiration, since their own club melia website mentions that you can rollover points to the next year, and I have an email from them stating that my points for my first year (2015) will expire. Maybe this can be used as my way out.

Also, I can't believe they will be ok with the negative press, because I'll make sure to spread my word and reach all media outlets and their social media with my story too!

Can't believe we were naive enough to dump so much money into their hands! :(
I understand your frustration all too well. If it hasn't been mentioned already, I will pass on these words of caution. There are many scammers out there who are looking to prey on people in your situation or are carrying the same sort of grudge against these sales people and developers. They might approach you with phone calls or have Google-type ads with claims such as "Get your money back from the developer", "Sue the sales people", etc. Many people in the same boat as you will let their emotions get the best of them and fall for these scams.

As others have pointed out, you have other options. The options might not be attractive at this point but they are certainly better than falling for the many scams out there aimed at disgruntled timeshare (or vacation club) owners. :(
 

gioamorim

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I understand your frustration all too well. If it hasn't been mentioned already, I will pass on these words of caution. There are many scammers out there who are looking to prey on people in your situation or are carrying the same sort of grudge against these sales people and developers. They might approach you with phone calls or have Google-type ads with claims such as "Get your money back from the developer", "Sue the sales people", etc. Many people in the same boat as you will let their emotions get the best of them and fall for these scams.

As others have pointed out, you have other options. The options might not be attractive at this point but they are certainly better than falling for the many scams out there aimed at disgruntled timeshare (or vacation club) owners. :(
we won't fall for these ones, thank you for the tip!
 

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I so wish I had found this website before! My husband and I bought a membership at the Club Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in April 2014.
It was my brother-in-law wedding, we were all happy, and having drinks and not thinking right, clearly. We went on their sale pitch because they promised vouchers and several other little perks if we did. This was the first red flag we should have seen!
Anyways, we love to travel, and now that we have a family (2 kids) it gets more expensive, so we were stupid enough to believe this club membership could be a good way to always travel and save money. We paid some $2k upfront and - to make matters much worse - financed the rest! We owe them some 42 parcels of $241 and change, plus the maintenance fee, which started at $745 and went up to $900 within one year.
We went on vacation this year to one of their resorts in Cozumel, using the "free week" that the salesperson offered as incentive to close the contract right away (red flag! red flag! no time to do internet search or even talk to other people at the resort and ask opinions!). Another family went on this trip with us. When we got to the hotel, we found out that the all-inclusive was not included in our free week, and we had to pay separately. The total came to be pretty much the same that my friend had paid for her family stay - meaning, the free week was worth absolutely nothing!
Then, we now have found that the 31,000 options that we got this year will expire in January if we don't use or transfer them. They gave us three options:
1) book a vacation in one of their resorts for certain dates in 2016 (no high season, obviously). Most options they have will either use less than the 31,000 options and we would simply lose the rest, or, worse, would take more in which case they said we can buy extra options. That's not the worst, though, but the fact that, again, it does not include the all-inclusive part. The customer service lady herself told me that if we don't do all-inclusive we would pay much more eating there a la carte. So I add up how much it would cost for my family to pay the all-inclusive fee for one week, and go on to Expedia to see how much it would cost to simply book the exact same week at the same hotel. You guessed, very little difference! That means my club membership is worth less than what I pay in maintenance fee, let alone the principal! So pissed!!
2) Second option would be to deposit points into RCI (paying a fee of $250 for that). I call the RCI/Club Melia number they provided to see what's available for 2016 with our points - almost nothing, and all crappy hotels with horrible reviews!
3) Third option is to convert our 31,000 options into Melia Rewards points. According to the same customer service lady, these points however would only be enough for - shock! - 2 nights at one of the Melia hotels. Are you kidding me?? Again, maintenance alone is over $900 and that gets me only 2 nights in a hotel?? Oh, and don't forget there is also a fee for doing this conversion, of $51.

We are at a loss! We don't know what's the least terrible option there and what to do about it. I feel it's outrageous to simply lose these points, after having already paid almost $9k so far for this thing between down payment, financing, annual fees and closing costs (seriously, closing cost!)

Most of all, we want to get rid of this horrible deal, but we saw that it's almost impossible to sell it or even give it away when we still owe them beyond the annual maintenance fees. I mean, it's such a horrible deal that I would feel bad passing along to someone else, really!

Can I cry now?
I so wish I had found this website before! My husband and I bought a membership at the Club Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in April 2014.
It was my brother-in-law wedding, we were all happy, and having drinks and not thinking right, clearly. We went on their sale pitch because they promised vouchers and several other little perks if we did. This was the first red flag we should have seen!
Anyways, we love to travel, and now that we have a family (2 kids) it gets more expensive, so we were stupid enough to believe this club membership could be a good way to always travel and save money. We paid some $2k upfront and - to make matters much worse - financed the rest! We owe them some 42 parcels of $241 and change, plus the maintenance fee, which started at $745 and went up to $900 within one year.
We went on vacation this year to one of their resorts in Cozumel, using the "free week" that the salesperson offered as incentive to close the contract right away (red flag! red flag! no time to do internet search or even talk to other people at the resort and ask opinions!). Another family went on this trip with us. When we got to the hotel, we found out that the all-inclusive was not included in our free week, and we had to pay separately. The total came to be pretty much the same that my friend had paid for her family stay - meaning, the free week was worth absolutely nothing!
Then, we now have found that the 31,000 options that we got this year will expire in January if we don't use or transfer them. They gave us three options:
1) book a vacation in one of their resorts for certain dates in 2016 (no high season, obviously). Most options they have will either use less than the 31,000 options and we would simply lose the rest, or, worse, would take more in which case they said we can buy extra options. That's not the worst, though, but the fact that, again, it does not include the all-inclusive part. The customer service lady herself told me that if we don't do all-inclusive we would pay much more eating there a la carte. So I add up how much it would cost for my family to pay the all-inclusive fee for one week, and go on to Expedia to see how much it would cost to simply book the exact same week at the same hotel. You guessed, very little difference! That means my club membership is worth less than what I pay in maintenance fee, let alone the principal! So pissed!!
2) Second option would be to deposit points into RCI (paying a fee of $250 for that). I call the RCI/Club Melia number they provided to see what's available for 2016 with our points - almost nothing, and all crappy hotels with horrible reviews!
3) Third option is to convert our 31,000 options into Melia Rewards points. According to the same customer service lady, these points however would only be enough for - shock! - 2 nights at one of the Melia hotels. Are you kidding me?? Again, maintenance alone is over $900 and that gets me only 2 nights in a hotel?? Oh, and don't forget there is also a fee for doing this conversion, of $51.

We are at a loss! We don't know what's the least terrible option there and what to do about it. I feel it's outrageous to simply lose these points, after having already paid almost $9k so far for this thing between down payment, financing, annual fees and closing costs (seriously, closing cost!)

Most of all, we want to get rid of this horrible deal, but we saw that it's almost impossible to sell it or even give it away when we still owe them beyond the annual maintenance fees. I mean, it's such a horrible deal that I would feel bad passing along to someone else, really!

Can I cry now?

Did you have any luck with anything? We have the exact same plan and same place. Please help. Duke
 
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