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New Owners Need Info w/in our 7 Day Backout Period

TheDragon

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Hi all! Well, we took the tour and drank the Kool-Aid in Aruba on Thursday. It was a tour of the Surf Club, but we were staying at the Ocean Club and really preferred that so that is what we bought (2BR Gold). Now we have 7 days to decide if we're going to go through with it and are anxiously trying to gather information.

We liked Aruba very much, but our biggest use of the TS will most likely be trading. How easy is this going to be for us? Sales Rep Aruba is among top 5 of Marriott destinations and we'll be able to have our pick of other places pretty much. Does this sound reasonable? Even if we go to Aruba we'll most likely want to exchange into the platinum season. I believe we have priority for Ocean Club or Surf Club as an owner of OC. Anyone with this experience?

From things I'm reading I'm worried about how far out we're going to have to start doing our vacation planning? Nowadays planning might be 4 months out. Are we going to have to start doing this a year in advance now? In essence, what's the process going to be like?

Oh - another question - if I'm exchanging do I need to reserve a week first at my home club in my home season or do I just call up my VOA (is that the term?) and say I want to exchange my week ("Request First" right?).

What else can people tell me about being owners? I'm kind of nervous we've bitten off a bit more than we're prepared to chew. This exchange business is a little confusing. What's the good, the bad, and the ugly about being an owner?

OK - I've rambled enough. Thanks for any and all input.

-dragon
 
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taffy19

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If you have doubts, you are better off to rescind your contract immediately. Read and follow the instructions and make sure you get a receipt that they have received it. Most likely you will have to do it via the USPS. Read the instructions carefully.

After that, take your time and read the forum here. You can always buy a re-sale later unless the MRPs are very important to you. You will save a lot of money by buying re-sale.

Make sure you cancel before your rescission time is up. After that, it is too late.

You will get a lot of help here. :)
 

somerville

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You asked about vacation planning. You will probably need to plan more than 4 months out if using timeshares. If you are looking at exchanging within the Marriott system, there are probably cheaper and probably better options.

If exchanging for Marriott Rewards points is not a consideration, and there is an ongoing debate as to the value of this option, then buying resale will save you considerable money. Like a car, a timeshare purchased at developer pricing depreciates as soon as you walk out the door. The reason is that about 50% of the the developer price is marketing costs.

Regarding reservations, most knowledgeable Marriott owners will try to reserve the best week during their season if they plan on exchanging, rather than letting Marriott select the week.
 

Big Matt

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I agree about the recision, but let me answer a few questions and give a couple comments.

Comments: The salesman is telling you the truth about Aruba and the trading power. Even a gold week will trade well.

You didn't mention Marriott Rewards points. That's the only reason you should ever buy an existing resale property from Marriott. You can probably get that same gold week for a lot less on the resale market. Google "Marriott timeshare resale" and you will find at least ten reputable brokers of resales.

You should read a lot on these boards and decide whether timesharing is right for you, let alone whether Aruba is a place you want to purchase.

Answers:

Yes, you need to reserve your unit with Marriott each year before you can trade it. You will be trading through Interval International or another exchange company that will take your deposit. You can also trade it with an individual who has a week at a resort where you may want to go.

As for travel planning, you can get a lot of good trades four months out if you can travel during shoulder and off seasons. If you want to trade into peak seasons at great properties, you need to plan a year in advance to get the best results.
 

m61376

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I had the same questions a few months ago and ultimately bought at the Surf Club.

First of all, while you are in the information gathering stage, or even f you are ready to buy- RESCIND immediately, according to the exact terms in your contract. You can always decide next week to buy from the developer, but won't be able to rescind. While the resale prices for the Aruba Marriotts are relatively higher than many of the other properties, you will still enjoy a third to half off, depending upon property, season and, to a lesser extent, view. Discounts on the Ocean Club are a little better and you can get a better discount in Gold than in Platinum seasons.

The ONLY difference between buying from the developer and buying resale is the ability to trade every other year for points and the receipt of whatever promotional points they are offerring upfront. Despite what you may have been told, this is the only difference. Keep in mind that when you trade for points, you give up use of your unit for the year but still pay the MF's + $104 to trade for points, so you are paying in the area of $1100 for 75-110K points. Points can be purchased for a penny a point without giving up use of your unit, which can be used, traded or rented. The salespeople will try to tell you that there is a difference in trading, or that you can only get vacation assistance if you buy through them- that is not true.

Is the ability to trade for points worth thousands of dollars upfront? There are lots of past discussions on this forum about the value of points, with most people saying they are worth 1-2 cents per point (there are a few who have used them with vacation packages and booked first class air miles who value them as high as 4 cents a point, but most feel that they are worth 1-2 cents per point). That is something you have to decide. However, even the people who place the higher value on points have posted that it is only worth buying from the developer at pre-construction prices (before the resort is even started) and only when they had given huge ipoint incentives like they did a few years back. With the rising MF's trading for points becomes less worthwhile.

As for Aruba and trading- I looked into this a lot. It is second to Hawaii in trade value. Gold has great trade value too, but Platinum is a stronger trader. If you feel you would like to visit during the Platinum season then buy Platinum. You will pay less resale than for the Gold from the developer. Trading into a 2 BR Platinum week from a Gold week will be a hard trade; if you only want a 1 BR or studio, or can make arrangements less than 59 days in advance, it will be easier to find, but don't buy a Gold week counting on trading back into a Platinum. A Platinum Aruba week will get you great trades anywhere.

Ocean Club versus Surf Club- you've been down there, so you are in a good position to make that decision. Just one thing to keep in mind- right now both pools are accessible to guests at either resort. I was told that this is only for this year. Personally, I loved the lazy river at the Surf Club, but that's me. You saw both properties and can make the decision for yourself.

Advance planning- to reserve the best weeks you need to reserve 12 months in advance. If you want to trade the further in advance you place a request the better your chances. On the other hand, there are lots of great last minute trades within 59 days of travel; you can frequently get a larger unit locking off your 2 BR and exchanging only half of it during this period. If you are intending to do mostly last minute trades, then Gold will work as well for you as Platinum during this time period.

To answer another of your questions- Only Marriotts can see other Marriotts for exchanging for the first 24 days of deposit into II (the exchange company) but being an owner at the Ocean Club will not give you priority over a Marriott with stronger trading power, even for trading back into the Ocean Club.

One more consideration- spending more money on view- once you deposit into II, the only thing that matters is the week reserved, resort and unit size. II is "view blind," so all views in a given resort have equal trade power. So- if you will be using it mainly for trading, think about whether you want to spend more $'s on view.

Looks like you fell in love with Aruba and timesharing as much as we did. You (like me) are lucky you found Tug first. The $$'s you can potentially save by buying resale will pay for lots of years of airfare.

Good luck!
 

TheDragon

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Thanks for all the great information (keep it coming!). I really liked the insight onto the value of points. Sounds like if we pay $1100 for 100K points (which is our value) then we've paid 1.1 cents per point which is just about the dollar value of the points.


Question about trading: Must we reserve a week first in our season before we trade? The sales rep made it sound like we just call our Marriott VOA and say "we want to trade - request first" - then they tell us what's available and we start the process. She didn't say we needed to reserve a week first. Which is correct? Maybe both are, but one gets us better trading?

Thanks again - we're getting a real quick education here! I'm very glad I was pointed to TUG!

-dragon
 

pwrshift

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There are many aspects of timesharing that have to be looked at and if you have any doubts or feel you would never trade your week for points I also suggest you rescind and buy resale.

Buying a timeshare is a little like buying a car...it usually depreciates from the direct sale price. While you might want to buy a 'new' car that nobody else has driven in stead of a used one, all the timeshares you buy are 'used' by 51 other families a year. So there's no point to buying direct unless there is a great benefit like a points program you would use. If not, buy resale.

Marriott has changed the points system recently and 'at least for now' you can buy units of 99,000 points for $990. You could take a fabulous 2 week trip to Europe on business class air with 540,000 points on 2 air&hotel pkgs and still have miles left over...for $5400. And still have your week to use. I'm not sure why Marriott changed the 'buy points' program, but as long as it lasts you might want to take advantage of it -- buy resale and buy points.

Other factors enter into a buy decision ... such as annual costs. While Hawaii and Aruba seem to be the top destinations these days, and for ownership, it's not without higher costs than mainland timeshares -- such as the cost of flying a family of 4 each year in prime time to those destinations...on top of pretty high annual maintenance/tax charges. It's an ongoing cost you can't avoid without selling your TS for a huge loss. I have great holiday time flexibility and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to easily trade my $780 a year Manor Club week for one in Hawaii or Aruba that pay $1500 a year. That's my Scottish heritage I guess. :)

Step back, take a look at your holiday needs for now ... and 20 years from now. They will be different. If you buy primarily to trade then why buy an expensive resort with high maintenance? It's an educational process and one where you have to plan ahead before you buy.

I seldom trade my weeks - and bought 6 weeks over the years so I could trade 2 for points (220,000 pts a year to replace points I used), but am taking a look at that decision now as I really don't want to take 10 weeks a year in timeshares (with lockoff splits). As a result, I may sell a couple ... IF Marriott retains the new 'buy points' plan ... but I'll wait and see first.

When I bought my first Marriott it became evident that the resale value usually drops a lot - so I bought where I would use 3 out of 4 years, and not trade for other resorts that much. It's been a good plan for me. Because of the value loss, part of my plan was to put equal funds into MAR stock with every purchase in hopes of offsetting that TS loss, and that plan really worked well as the stock has almost tripled over that timeframe. So I'm way ahead on this buying direct plan -- my whole family has had wonderful trips all over the world in business class air and staying in top line Marriotts in the best parts of world class cities. But it's obvious that not everyone looked ahead in this way to maximize their investments and there are some sad stories out there. Don't become one of them.

Brian
 

TheDragon

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If you buy primarily to trade then why buy an expensive resort with high maintenance?
Great post! Lots of good information. As to your question above, I thought the idea of buying an expensive resort like Aruba was that it gave us greater trading power. If I called for a week in Hawaii and someone with an Orlando t/s called - I'd get it, right?

And as for this "trading power" - is that only if two people call at the same time? When Mr. Orlando calls is he told that his request needs to wait a bit before being filled (in case Mr. Aruba calls) - or if there is something available at the time he calls then he'll definitely get it?

The whole thing about trading and "power" is still a bit confusing. If I were to buy a cheaper property (but still nice, good location, platinum week) - would I still be able to trade for great destinations?

Thanks,
dragon
 

m61376

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Great post! Lots of good information. As to your question above, I thought the idea of buying an expensive resort like Aruba was that it gave us greater trading power. If I called for a week in Hawaii and someone with an Orlando t/s called - I'd get it, right?

And as for this "trading power" - is that only if two people call at the same time? When Mr. Orlando calls is he told that his request needs to wait a bit before being filled (in case Mr. Aruba calls) - or if there is something available at the time he calls then he'll definitely get it?

The whole thing about trading and "power" is still a bit confusing. If I were to buy a cheaper property (but still nice, good location, platinum week) - would I still be able to trade for great destinations?

Thanks,
dragon

The answer to your question is not quite that cut and dry. The idea of a request or deposit is to be put on a waitlist of sorts, with those with higher trade pull going to the top of the wait list. Trading power is determined by resort location, unit size and week reserved; all else being equal, the further out you make you deposit/request the better pull it will have.

So- yes- lots of people have made great trades with less expensive weeks. The more flexible you are as to travel time and destination the better your chances of exchange. But- let's say you want a prime July Hawaii week. Your Aruba unit will get it before someone else's cheaper property will get it (basically, you will climb towards the top of the wait list, in position to match a deposit when one comes in unless a match is already there). However, if you don't care if you travel in July and September works just as well for you, you will probably get a trade with a week with lower trade value and, if you can wait till 59 days before, even a poor off-season bronze week will work.

I agree with most of what Brian said- he knows a lot more than me- but MF's in Aruba haven't approached those of Hawaii, although they are a few hundred higher than the Manor Club. Also- unless you buy within driving distance, the airfare cost depends on your location. The reason why Aruba is such a popular destination is that it shares a similar climate with Hawaii but is 4-5 hours from the Eastern coast rather than 12 hours to Hawaii and the flights are much less expensive. However, you don't see many people from the West coast buying in Aruba, because Hawaii is a shorter and less expensive flight for them.

We bought in Aruba to use and to enjoy its great trading power. Will others get the same trades with less expensive weeks with a little more work- probably? Will I get some trades that they can't-probably, but chances are with some more flexibility and perhaps at a less desirable time they'll get those same trades. For me, at this point, I think it was worth it. However, I can see as I get to know the system more I may want a cheaper (or cheapie) week for the easier trades not to be trading down, which might otherwise happen at times using only a top trader. Time will tell....
 

pwrshift

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I'm probably in the minority but I don't think there's anything like 'trading power' and II has never confirmed the details if there is. TS sales people use it to sell timeshares, but ask them to show written proof that a Maui platimum jumped ahead of any other platinum deposit and they can't show you.

I still believe on a like for like basis (that's platinum to platinum) that the first one to the post wins the race - if you're first in the request line, even if a Maui trade comes in after you, you get it.

People only 'suspect' there is trading power and that a higher rated resort nets better results but I truly believe after all these years that only happens when two requests come in at the same time...if even then.

My suggestion is that you buy MSE - Manor Club Sequel - either direct or resale. Resale will go for about $10,000 - but they're hard to find, but worth the wait. For you, and me from Toronto, that resort is about a long days drive away so you save planefare ... and if you golf, the $730 MF includes 6 free rounds of golf on their 3 courses. Nice. I own 3 weeks there - 2 in the non-lockoff section MMC and 1 in MSE. The MSE nets me 3 weeks trading for 1...including the bonus week AC they give you for the 1 bdrm portion. The non-lockoff portion only nets me 2 weeks incl the AC. And within a 59 day period a studio will get any 2 bdrm listed on II searched.

I wouldn't worry as much about 'trading power' as about cost of ownership right now. MSE or MMC is a great place and very convenient to you ... a cheap holiday forever in a very well run, low MF resort in an area where there's lots to see, do, eat and buy. MSE buys you easy entry into the Marriott system to see if you do one day want to buy direct in a more luxurious location.

For trading, just be early to the post. Don't make a request first deposit unless you MUST have a holiday on a certain date and have already booked that date with your home resort ... because 'request first' won't net you the bonus week. I just booked, using lockoffs, 4 weeks in 2008 for BeachPlace where I own 2 lockoff weeks - 13 months ahead for the first week and almost 14 months ahead for the 4th week. As soon as I had confirmation of my 4 weeks 2008 at MBP I put in my II request for the 4th week (mid March 08) for a 2 bdrm before most people have even booked them! I've done that for the last 3 years in order to get 2 bdrms for that week when I've only got my studio - then I rent the studio for $1000 on Ebay. Time is on my side that way...even for Hawaii if that was my choice. I'll be first at the post for that week, probably, and no Maui will get it before me unless he somehow got the request in before me because he did the same thing.

Hope that helps some.

Brian
 

Big Matt

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Don't forget to figure in the true cost of the points which includes all the extra money you will spend (on buying from the developer) which could be used for other things or invested in some sort of investment account. With Hawaii or Aruba, the difference could be as much as 25k. Even at 6% interest, 25k yields $1500 per year. Since you'd only use the points every other year, you can count on the $3000 at 6% not counting compounding. You can get a decent vacation for that.

Thanks for all the great information (keep it coming!). I really liked the insight onto the value of points. Sounds like if we pay $1100 for 100K points (which is our value) then we've paid 1.1 cents per point which is just about the dollar value of the points.
 

TheDragon

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Thanks to everyone for all their great input.

The wife and I have decided to rescind and look for a cheaper resale. Someone in an email gave me great advice: Trading and all that is nice, but in the end we should only buy a t/s in a resort we like, during a season we like, for a price we are happy with. Everything else should just be gravy.

We'll be in the t/s biz before long I'm sure, I think we just jumped into this one a bit too quickly. Damn Marriott's highly effective marketing techniques! :)

-dragon
 
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