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New II Hotel Exchange Option - Grade It

twinmommy19

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If there's another thread on this already, I apologize. I'm curious what others think of this new program. If you haven't seen it yet you'll notice there is a brand new browse option for "hotel exchange".

At first look - I grade the program a B+ as it stands right now.

How it appears to work - There's only a deposit first option to browse hotel trades and you can't place requests - only instant exchange. For one exchange fee you can reserve up to 4 rooms for any number of nights you want. Lots of hotels appear to be participating. Your deposit is seemingly assigned a monetary value behind the scene. If that value is greater than the negotiated rate for the number of rooms / nights you searched for, you pay only the exchange fee. If not, II tells you what the surcharge would be for the difference.

Pros - From what I see so far, this option isn't completely worthless like the cruise trade where you are always going to be paying something extra out of pocket beyond the exchange fee and usually you'd spend less overall to just book a cruise deal elsewhere not through II. I browsed a bunch of random dates - and using my decent trading gold non-franchise 2BR deposit, I could get a couple nights covered for multiple rooms in a nice NYC hotel for example at no extra cost to me beyond the exchange fee. Seems like II has negotiated better deals with certain hotels than others - at best my decent trader appears to get around $700-800ish of cost covered. Of course, if you are even reasonably flexible, you can easily get better value than this with a traditional exchange in almost every scenario. No question. However - if you are like us, there's only so many week long vacations we can fit in a year and some years we have non TS trips planned (we're going on a Disney cruise this year for example). Good job to II allowing multiple rooms to be reserved for one exchange fee. A night or two with friends or family in a nice local city hotel is a pretty neat option.

Cons - Not every hotel exchange is going to be a good deal but IMO II needs to make sure the OOP cost does not exceed the cost of booking a getaway for the same dates on their site. They need a script to at least default the price to the getaway cost minus the exchange fee. It's different with the cruise exchanges IMO - sure you can book them cheaper through a 3rd party, but right now II is charging an exchange fee for the right to pay more than the getaway cost for a prime season trip to Grand Cayman (as an example). Not cool - but probably just an early glitch. Will give the benefit of the doubt.
 

WalnutBaron

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I'm not as impressed. I have an ongoing deposit of HRC points which have very high trade value. In conducting searches of West Coast cities (San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego), I found that most of the hotel listings shown were for 3-star or lower hotel properties or--if there was a nicer hotel listed--availability at those properties along with an approximately $200-300/night additional cost. I would be reluctant to trade a 900 sq ft or better timeshare unit for a 350 sq ft hotel room in any case, but--for me, at least--the value of doing this kind of trade is just not there.
 

twinmommy19

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The potential value I see (if there) seems to be more for isolated single nights or pairs of nights confirming multiple units for the one exchange. In NYC, for instance, my week could confirm 3 rooms at the Hyatt Grand for one night. The Hyatt member rate for that room goes for a little over $200 so after tax / fees, that's worth about $700 or so - less an exchange fee. The maintenance fee on the lock off portion of the week I was using to browse is about $400 so technically this "clears" cost all in.

Still playing catch up from not traveling much when the kids were babies. We currently have 224 TPUs in RCI and haven't even deposited 2018 yet. We also have a bunch of II deposits and more on the way for 2018. We live less than an hour from NYC and always say it would be fun for the whole family to spend a night there some time - catch a Broadway show, etc. Not always going to offer reasonable value, but at least it's another possible option. I don't view the cruises as even worthy of consideration because after exchange fee you usually pay more than you would through a travel agent. This isn't like that at least.
 

classiclincoln

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I haven't really looked at it but my here's my initial thought (for what it's worth):

If I'm giving up my timeshare that has let's say a maintenance fee of $1,200; I had better get at least $1,200 worth of hotel rooms. If I'm only gonna get 3 days at a $200 per night hotel room, it ain't worth it.

That's how I evaluate my trades; if I could book the week I'm getting for less than the maintenance fee I'm giving up, I've lost. :( Lucky for me, all our exchanges have been gains. :thumbup:

Just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.... ;)
 

mdurette

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I'm going to put this into the same category as the cruise exchange option. Not worth it for me, but others may take advantage of if they are not looking to maximize the value of their deposit. I priced out a couple scenarios. The extra "cash" cost of the hotel exchange was just about the same as if I went directly to the hotel site and booked directly. One was only $34 cheaper which in the end gave me zero value for my deposit.
 

tschwa2

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I found a scenario that might make it worth it. My nephew is graduating from air force basic training in August in San Antonio. I can use a 2 br unit I have not deposited yet that has a mf of about $415. If I rented it out myself I expect about $555 after paypal fees. I can exchange into 2 queen bed plus sofa bed (jr suite) for 3 nights paying $48 per room with my exchange (Springhill Suites by Marriott Alamo/Convention Center). The cost to book the room direct is $423 with tax. If I want 4 rooms that is $1692. If I use Interval it is $192 plus my $415 timeshare- or $607 plus the $79 exchange fee for $686 total for 4 hotel rooms for the Thurs-Sunday stay. It includes breakfast and the only extra fee is the $24 per day valet parking fee.

That is the cheapest but not my ideal location so I will still look a little more but I don't think I can do much better.


I originally checked for 2 rooms and assumed it would be the same for additional rooms, it was not and when I checked for 4 the price went way up.
So 2 rooms would be $846 booked directly (this was kayak lowest price but I might be able to find it lower. My cost $415+96+79=$590 including my already paid cost of $415- still savings but not as much as I thought.
 
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twinmommy19

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Yes - Tschwa2. These are exactly the types of scenarios I was referring to. A possible alternative in situations where you have a leftover deposit that you don't have time to use for a real vacation (assume renting is not even an option if you've already deposited.) People need a night or 2 in a hotel all the time for functions - graduation, wedding, funeral, retirement, religious party (Baptism / Bar Mitzvah / Communion), etc. When you live in the suburbs, sometimes its nice to stay over when a night out is planned in the local city rather than drive late. Wouldn't ever be worth the deposit / fee for one night in one room. But these are group scenarios, and II is letting you take up to 4 rooms for one deposit / fee which in some situations makes it worth it.

Mdurette - I'm curious what you were browsing that you saw aggregate costs exceeding what the hotel was charging directly. I did not see that in any of my random searches. The only thing like this that I saw was situations where II was offering an II getaway for the same dates at the same place for less than the up charge which I think is very wrong considering they charge a fee on top of the trade up charge. I'm guessing that is a bug though that gets fixed over time. Even still, but the upcharge and the getaway price I saw were less than the cost of the hotel for an entire week after tax, etc.
 

twinmommy19

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Regarding the cruise exchange comparison - here's the thing. Obviously - if you own one week only and plan to take at least one true vacation a year, your going to get the best value possible via the traditional exchange program. That's a given. So in my view - these other options really ought to be evaluated based on whether or not they could offer a desirable and/or cost saving alternative specifically in situations where an expiring deposit would otherwise not be used.

The cruise exchange option never fits this bill because a cruise is a substitute choice for a true vacation. So even if the cruise trade did offer a reasonable discount compared to the price you could get elsewhere (which I've never seen when I've browsed) you'd probably only ever be in a situation with an expiring deposit in the first place if your schedule couldn't fit in another vacation.

A common reason folks might not be able to use all their deposits in a particular year is because of one time travel commitments that come up in everyone's lives (weddings, funerals, graduations, other family functions, etc.) If you otherwise can't use a deposit, and know you need to stay at a hotel that is going to cost more than the II exchange fee (for one or multiple rooms - whatever...) in that case - II's hotel option program is achieving the intended purpose as I defined it above. It's giving you a viable choice - save a small amount of money that you would have otherwise had to spent on a hotel OR pay to extend your deposit (which could very well become a rolling problem if your not retired since you get new deposits every year.) Also hotel reservations can usually be cancelled up to 24 hours before check in. So this decision can be made even at the very last minute (i.e. if you have a room booked for a wedding, you can cancel it after you book an II hotel trade.

Note - I think RCI points has some options that offer flexibility too - I'm not a points owner though. I'm curious how these will compare.
 

Panina

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I played around a little with my north west Florida 2 br fall week that is a good trader.

For me, a hotel trade would be worth it for an area that has no timeshares or very limited trade availability.

The best trade I found for my week was four days in Charleston off season, this is the time when I would prefer to go, in a hotel that is rated 4 1/2 stars. I've stayed in this hotel before and have paid $300 a night. Yes, a very small room but would be a descent equivalent as it is in prime location, prime resort.

Using my studio in northwest Florida , same resort but winter week, I would have to pay $125.

If I have a week I could not use, I could see myself using this service.
 

bradfordHI

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2 bedroom ocean Front Hyatt week 51. We Rent it on VRBO only.
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meant




It's meant for Points not weeks. The points worked great for our family.

We Just booked one night at the Grand Californian next week, the one next to Disneyland for 2,000 DRI points for my sisters family plus the exchange fee of $23.71 for all of them in a large one bedroom.

That's $360 in MF for a $765 or jeez $983 after taxes and fees for a single night. Plus they get in 1 hour early to the park.

Wow!!! Thanks II and DRI. Another BIG improvement. Super happy!

I think it's amazing. Has anyone else had luck?
 

DAman

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I too have been toying with this new option. I have leftover Hyatt points in EEE that I need to use.

Am I entitled to Marriott Rewards Points? Am I entitled to Gold elite benefits? There are a couple of Autograph Collection hotels I have in mind.

It's interesting and I am looking at a few options.

It appears there is no additional exchange fee to use this option. Some of the rooms I look at have no additional costs. Am I right?

It appears I can cancel without cost.

Potentially interesting depending on the details.
 

tschwa2

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I too have been toying with this new option. I have leftover Hyatt points in EEE that I need to use.

Am I entitled to Marriott Rewards Points? Am I entitled to Gold elite benefits? There are a couple of Autograph Collection hotels I have in mind.

It's interesting and I am looking at a few options.

It appears there is no additional exchange fee to use this option. Some of the rooms I look at have no additional costs. Am I right?

It appears I can cancel without cost.

Potentially interesting depending on the details.
I do not believe you will get Marriott Reward points. You will likely get Elite night credits and probably would get your gold elite benefits in terms of breakfast and ability to request late check out. I am not sure what benefits apply to autograph collection through. There is an exchange fee. It was reduced to $79 for a promotional period but I don't know when that ends (or if it has already ended). You can always go through the process up to the final confirm and you should get to a payment page which will have the exchange fee listed before you get to enter a CC.
 

DAman

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I do not believe you will get Marriott Reward points. You will likely get Elite night credits and probably would get your gold elite benefits in terms of breakfast and ability to request late check out. I am not sure what benefits apply to autograph collection through. There is an exchange fee. It was reduced to $79 for a promotional period but I don't know when that ends (or if it has already ended). You can always go through the process up to the final confirm and you should get to a payment page which will have the exchange fee listed before you get to enter a CC.
It appears Autograph Collection Hotels qualify for breakfast and room upgrade gold benefits plus HS Internet.

I just spotted the $79 fee. I'm II Platinum so not sure what the ultimate fee is. II website makes it difficult to find specific info especially regarding fees.

Still toying with this new option. It appears two night stays may be the best value for me with Hyatt points.
 

klpca

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Poking around this morning I saw nice options in Italy. Three nights seemed to be the sweet spot.
 

stevio99

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In more than a few cases, it's just booking from expedia. As said previously, you give a week, they assign it a dollar value (markedly reduced). They take the expedia price minus 10% discount and subtract your week "value". Anything left you cover.

What really gets me is that they did absolutely NO negotiation for the "discount" expedia rate(10% off); you can get that at expedia just by creating an account. ANy volume customer like them could easily negotiate 15-20% off. They just dont want to make ANY effort.
 
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