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New Buyer: Weeks or Points?

dioxide45

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A lot will also depend on the time of year you want to travel and if you want to go to the same, home resort, every year or nearly every year.

If you plan to go to the same home resort every year, then buying the week is the best option. If you want to travel to different resorts, then buying a week or points may be best. If you can travel in shoulder and off season, where II exchanges are easier, then I would recommend buying a week. One with a lock off option gives you the best bang for the buck. If you want to travel in peak season and want to be able to go to different resorts every year. Points will give you the most assurance that you will more often than not, get what you want. Though II does come through sometimes for peak season trades.
 

Bill4728

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My family typically travels a week at a time. Any less than that just doesn't seem worthwhile given the travel involved. So, considering shorter trips aren't a factor, it sounds like weeks is the way to go. Are there any other factors that make weeks less desirable given the shift in the industry to more points based systems?
Even though most resort systems are going to points. most resort systems push their owners into making their stays 7 days or more. They do this by doing things like making a rule that a stay shorter than 7 days can not be reserved till 6 months before travel Therefore since many people make a reservation at 10- 12 months before travel most of the reservations are for a week.

Also most trades are for a week.

So points may be the wave of the future but weeks are not going away soon.
 

JIMinNC

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My family typically travels a week at a time. Any less than that just doesn't seem worthwhile given the travel involved. So, considering shorter trips aren't a factor, it sounds like weeks is the way to go. Are there any other factors that make weeks less desirable given the shift in the industry to more points based systems?

To me, the primary other area where points seem superior to weeks is in unit/season/view choice.

With weeks you always own a specific category - as an example - a Platinum, two-bedroom, oceanfront unit. If you decide you want something other than what you own - such as a desire to travel in Gold or Silver season instead of Platinum; or if you only need a 1BR or Studio instead of a 2BR (traveling without kids) you have to do an II trade. In that example, the trade down to Gold/Silver season from Platinum or from a 2BR down to a 1BR/Studio can be done, but you won't receive any compensation for accepting a lesser season or size. This limitation of weeks can be overcome somewhat if you own a 2BR lock-off unit that can be split into - for example - a 1BR and a Studio. By splitting, you can get two weeks in smaller units.

Also, II Weeks exchangers cannot generally guarantee a specific view category as owners get priority. So you may not get oceanfront or ocean view - it depends on a lot of factors.

An advantage of points is you have complete control over unit size, season, and view and can choose whatever you want (subject to availability, of course) and only have your points account docked for what you use. You can also bank and borrow points to get bigger units, better views, or better seasons that you would normally not have enough points to book.

Let's say you have 4,000 Marriott DC Points. With that you could do ANY of the following (I'm using Hilton Head as a simple example):

- Book a full week at HHI Grande Ocean or Barony in the fall/spring Gold season in a 2BR
- If you want to go in the summer instead, you could settle for a Gardenview at Barony and have 275 points left over to bank to the following year
- If you are willing to stay at a non-oceanside resort on HHI like Harbour Point or Sunset Point, your 4000 points could get you three weeks in the summer with 325 points left to bank to next year, OR four weeks in the fall/spring with 200 points left over to bank.
- If one year (let's say 2016) you really wanted an oceanfront 2BR unit in the summer at Grande Ocean but only have the 4000 points in the example, you could use your 4000 2016 points then borrow 1400 points from 2017 and book a oceanfront unit at GO (or Barony). You would then only have 2600 points left for 2017, but you could still return to Hilton Head that summer, but could stay at Heritage Club or Harbor Club instead (and get free golf at Heritage Club).

There are obviously many other combinations. And the same kind of options present themselves at most other destinations. Hilton Head only has 2BR units, but in a location with a mixture of unit sizes, even more combinations/options present themselves. So here's one last example - Maui:

The only way to get a 2BR at Maui Ocean Club (original section) with only 4000 points is to bank or borrow from another year (or rent points). Point requirements range from 4700 for a 2BR Mountain/Garden view in low season to 7450 points for a 2BR oceanfront view in high season (to 9000 for a holiday week 2BR OF). So if you wanted to go to Maui in a 2BR OF in 2017 you could bank points from 2016 into 2017, book the trip and have 550 points left over to bank to 2018 (thus giving you 4550 points to play with in 2018).

But if its just two of you one year and you don't need 2BR, with 4000 points, you would have enough to book a 1BR Island View or Mountain/garden view at Maui Ocean Club any week of the year in 2017 except New Years week without banking or borrowing from another year. If you wanted oceanfront or ocean view, you could borrow a few points from the following year. Other than holiday weeks, the most expensive 1BR week at MOC costs 4875 points.

If you are willing to downsize even more to a Studio, a high season OF studio is only 3325 points. Even New Years in a studio only costs 4075 points.

So that should give you an idea of how points allow you to customize to exactly what you need. It's like the system gives you change if you don't use all of your currency and it lets you borrow from past or future years if you need more in any given year.

NOTE: The point examples I used above were from the 2014-15 points book I had handy on my bookshelf. Some may have changed slightly for 2016 and 2017 hasn't been published yet, but it should still give you an idea of the options points offer.
 
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JIMinNC

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If you plan to go to the same home resort every year, then buying the week is the best option.

This is an important point that I agree with 100%. This is where Weeks still shine. We love points, but there's a chance we'll add a Gold season OF at HHI Grande Ocean within the next two years for the express purpose of going to that resort every spring or fall once our youngest is in college.

GO maintenance fees are in the $1200 to $1300 range as I recall, but booking a Gold OF week with points requires 4000 points with an associated MF of just shy of $2000. So using points to stay means paying $700 to $800 more for that usage in MF. We just need to decide whether we would rather pay for a GO resale upfront or pay $700 to $800 more each year to rent points to do the same thing. If we could snag a Gold OF at GO for $10,000 to $11,000 we're looking at a 13-14 year payback versus annual point rentals. Were we not already in the Points system and were it not for point rentals, buying the GO week vs points would be a no-brainer. But since we're already in the system, the point rental option does present a reasonable alternative to forking out $10K or more up front.
 

DEScottzz

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I like my points, because I like the flexibility they offer. I just own a few, but I imagine that when it's time to rent more, those folks on Redweek who have a jillion or so points to rent would be willing to make me a reservation 13 months out for a five day stay.

Still, I've learned to like Newport Coast enough that I might buy an every-other-year week there, if one comes up for the right price.
 

Marathoner

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Several people have mentioned the advantages of Marriott points. But the realizable benefits depends completely on your needs. For example, I need a 2 bedroom in holiday weeks due to my family size and school holiday schedule. I would not depend on points to get me my desired villas because points are fully fungible and many are competing for the exact same villas after they've paid tens of thousands to play. Fixed week purchases resale are the best for my needs followed by knowing how to maximize exchange potential.
 

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One limitation we have had with our Marriott weeks (which we enjoy very much) is the check in/check out day. We have used our HGVC points to supplement some of our Marriott weeks stays in the past (obviously only applicable in certain locations), but are considering adding a minimal DC point purchase now and renting more points as needed.
 

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One limitation we have had with our Marriott weeks (which we enjoy very much) is the check in/check out day. We have used our HGVC points to supplement some of our Marriott weeks stays in the past (obviously only applicable in certain locations), but are considering adding a minimal DC point purchase now and renting more points as needed.
No need to spend $12,000 + if you bought your weeks from Marriott (or pre-2010) you can enroll them for a LOT less than buying points, then just rent.
 

davidvel

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We purchased resale post 2010, so we can't enroll. But we would if we could!
Well they got all the people that would pay $595-$1,995, then $2,395.

Now that market has been over-fished, and they currently offer free enrollment with the purchase of an encore package. So, keep the faith that they will open pre-2010 for enrollment, to get more of the sold-out resorts that aren't in the trust in sufficient number.
 

Ty1on

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Well they got all the people that would pay $595-$1,995, then $2,395.

Now that market has been over-fished, and they currently offer free enrollment with the purchase of an encore package. So, keep the faith that they will open pre-2010 for enrollment, to get more of the sold-out resorts that aren't in the trust in sufficient number.

Buyer's market, patience pays off.
 

Password is taco

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I agree, this has been a very useful discussion. Thank you to everyone.

I went into this thinking that one was the replacement for the other, but (understanding that opinions vary) I now see that the differences between the two serve different individuals with different objectives.

For me, as someone who likes to plan ahead, isn't afraid of getting my hands dirty to work the system, travels in 7 day increments, and is ok going to the same places, the weeks program seems to be a great fit.

The points program seems to work well for people who don't mind spending extra money for the flexibility of booking shorter lengths of stays on shorter notice or with less searching.

What I don't get with the points program is that, even though you get the flexibility to book vacations across the Marriott portfolio, it seems to me that you're still handcuffed by the amount of points you buy. Say you buy 3,000 points, you're not going to be able to book something for more than that and you also probably would hesitate to book something less because then you have unused points. Whereas with a week, you very well might be able to book a higher demand property if you try. There are countless stories on here of folks trading an Orlando week for Hawaii. Of course, I know you can't count on it every time, but I like the trill of the hunt.
 

taterhed

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I have 2 Marriott post-2010 weeks.
I'm certainly hoping that someday soon we'll be offered some incentive to come play in the points sandbox. The points are simply too expensive for me right now IMHO and once you have them....well, you're guaranteed a >20% loss on resale (a bargain compared to some...) unless the points grow pretty quickly. I haven't checked what the current rate-of-growth pay-back to parity is on resale points, but it's probably 5-10 years.

I'm happy with my weeks--but we'll see what comes down the pike. It'll be interested to see the SVO/FLEX changes too.
 

jont

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What I don't get with the points program is that, even though you get the flexibility to book vacations across the Marriott portfolio, it seems to me that you're still handcuffed by the amount of points you buy. Say you buy 3,000 points, you're not going to be able to book something for more than that and you also probably would hesitate to book something less because then you have unused points.

You have the ability to bank and borrow points from the adjacent years. Say you wanted a ressie in 2016 which is more points that you currently have for that year. You can bank points from 2015 into 2016 and if you still dont have enough you can borrow from 2017. keep in mind that points can only be moved once. If you move them into 2016 they must be used in 2016, you cannot move those points if you have a change of plans.
Of course, there is always the option of "renting" points from another. a great option, in my humble opinion. GregT has the link to his site "VPE' under his signature
 

Marathoner

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I would state that the price of points is artificially supported by MVC similar to developer/ROFR prices for weeks. This is sustainable in a growth market like it is currently. I wonder what is going to happen in the next recession when the demand for resale points dries up while the significant junk fees remains.

I think the resale market for weeks is more time tested and predictable in a down economy than Trust points. Given the junk fees already present, it is possible that resale Trust points prices will really take a beating in the next major recession in 10yrs or whenever.
 

JIMinNC

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What I don't get with the points program is that, even though you get the flexibility to book vacations across the Marriott portfolio, it seems to me that you're still handcuffed by the amount of points you buy. Say you buy 3,000 points, you're not going to be able to book something for more than that and you also probably would hesitate to book something less because then you have unused points. Whereas with a week, you very well might be able to book a higher demand property if you try. There are countless stories on here of folks trading an Orlando week for Hawaii. Of course, I know you can't count on it every time, but I like the thrill of the hunt.

It is true that the amount of points we own is a limiting factor. We can bank and borrow points from preceding/future years to bump up our available points for a given year, but ultimately our points are the limits of our currency as the years we bank or borrow from are reduced by the amount we bank or borrow.

On the other hand, the concern you express about being reluctant to book something that requires less points than we own is not an issue at all, at least to us. Those points can always be banked or borrowed and should never go to waste. Using your 3000 point example, if we book a 2016 vacation that only uses 2500 of the 2016 points, we can always bank the 500 leftover points into 2017. Then we have 3500 points to use in 2017. If we don't use all of that, we can bank some 2017 points into 2018, and so on.

Points are a zero sum game, however, and do not allow for that magical up-trade that the Weeks system sometimes produces. But by going places with lower points requirements or staying in smaller units or units with less spectacular views, we can sometimes stretch our points to give us more than one week of vacation, whereas Weeks can't do that as easily unless you are using a lockoff. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages for any given owner.

If, as you say, you enjoy the thrill of the hunt for that great trade, then Weeks can certainly provide that excitement. In our case, as former 16 year owners of a regular week in another system, I can say without reservation that we did not enjoy hunting in RCI! We much prefer the simpler, more predictable booking process of points and do not miss the long waits, frustration, and uncertainty while waiting for an ongoing search to match. Points have some of that too, when you have to waitlist, but so far we haven't had to do that in our year or so as Marriott owners.

Having said all that, we will willingly try to use the II weeks system to get a weeks-based up-trade to Gold season in Hilton Head with our Silver week starting in 2017, but it's nice to know that is now just one option and not the only way we can use our week.
 

taterhed

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I agree, this has been a very useful discussion. Thank you to everyone.

I went into this thinking that one was the replacement for the other, but (understanding that opinions vary) I now see that the differences between the two serve different individuals with different objectives.

For me, as someone who likes to plan ahead, isn't afraid of getting my hands dirty to work the system, travels in 7 day increments, and is ok going to the same places, the weeks program seems to be a great fit.

The points program seems to work well for people who don't mind spending extra money for the flexibility of booking shorter lengths of stays on shorter notice or with less searching.

What I don't get with the points program is that, even though you get the flexibility to book vacations across the Marriott portfolio, it seems to me that you're still handcuffed by the amount of points you buy. Say you buy 3,000 points, you're not going to be able to book something for more than that and you also probably would hesitate to book something less because then you have unused points. Whereas with a week, you very well might be able to book a higher demand property if you try. There are countless stories on here of folks trading an Orlando week for Hawaii. Of course, I know you can't count on it every time, but I like the trill of the hunt.


(edit: I just thought I might beat them to the punch...ha)

I'll beat them to the punch: you have kids....trading with school calendars is either going to be risky or unsatisfying. Flexibility is the key. The biggest risk obviously comes with expensive airfares to Hawaii etc....

But, yes, I agree with you. If you're looking for something to trade into Orlando (or own) and trade to California etc...for weeks, I think points are expensive for what you get.
JMHO

As to 'how many points,' I would only buy the minimum and rent what I needed. That's pretty cost efficient.
 
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DEScottzz

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To me, it doesn't look like the number of points owned is a limit at all. There are plenty of rental points available, and the cost to rent them is about the same as the maintenance fees.

If I were doing it again, I'd buy (resale, of course) the smallest possible number of points, then just rent the rest when I need them. That way, I get to play in the points pool with the lowest possible up-front investment.
 

davidvel

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I have 2 Marriott post-2010 weeks.
I'm certainly hoping that someday soon we'll be offered some incentive to come play in the points sandbox. The points are simply too expensive for me right now IMHO and once you have them....well, you're guaranteed a >20% loss on resale (a bargain compared to some...) unless the points grow pretty quickly. I haven't checked what the current rate-of-growth pay-back to parity is on resale points, but it's probably 5-10 years.

I'm happy with my weeks--but we'll see what comes down the pike. It'll be interested to see the SVO/FLEX changes too.

Check out this thread about free enrollment with purchase of encore package.
 

dioxide45

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Password is taco

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It sounds like points are pretty flexible then, but I would still struggle justifying the difference in upfront costs. My comfort in getting into timesharing at all is to hopefully save some money. The higher the upfront and annual fee, the longer it takes to break even. I want as short a break even as possible. I'm just not seeing that in the points program.
 

davidvel

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Still, that encore offer only allowed pre 6/20/2010 external weeks to be enrolled. Still not available for post 6/20/2010 external weeks.
Correct, I thought taterhead said "pre", my bad.
 

taterhed

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frank808

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I own weeks. I have found that buying a lock out unit is great for trading. My gold season Mountainside has been a great trader pulling Hawaii, NCV, Aruba, etc. Availability in Interval is still good for trading (but school holidays can be a challenge at high demand resorts. I also own NCV and I'm sure that unit could pull some great trades but prefer to use the lock out unit instead in order to get 2 trades (or more) for 1 year of maintenance fees. If you can pick up points on resale that are affordable I do think the Marriott points are very flexible and owners are liking it.

For now I'm happy with my weeks but if Marriott ever offered to let resale owners convert over to points again, I'd definitely consider it.
I am wondering how do you lock off your newport coast 2br unit? NCV is all dedicated 2br units there are no lock offs at that property.
 
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