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Newbie to Timeshares Really Need Your Expertise Please!

KiKiDee

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Westin Lagunamar
Palm Beach Shores
I have tried to gather a lot of information from this forum but given the importance of this purchase I want to make sure I truly understand the ins & outs of this. We travel as a couple at least 3 times a year. No grandkids yet (will still be a while) so mostly interested in beach locations. We go to Cancun at a minimum 1X per year. I see the following opportunity:
1582634668917.png

I understand the EOYO I understand how the weeks work, what is confusing me is the Star Option points - I thought I don't get those through a resale? Is White week a good thing? While I may want to trade occasionally I would be very happy just using my week in Cancun EOYO - perhaps a silly question but do I pay the annual maintenance fee even in the years that I am not eligible to stay? I am already a lifetime Gold Elite through Marriott Bonvoy as a result of all my other travels through the years. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

DannyTS

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We love Lagunamar (we bought everything resale and we only own platinum plus). A great resort, priority in assigning the best units, owners discounts, great Interval trader etc. Ask TUGGers whenever in doubt, many ads are not correct. Most times the errors are honest mistakes ( especially when the agent is not specialized in timeshares or the particular resort listed) but it can be very confusing for a newbie. By the way, the annual fees for an EOY 2 bdr lockoff contract are $745 (not $834) when you buy resale (see below from my account) because you do not pay the VSN anual fees since you do not get StarOptions.
1582637700727.png



Indeed at Lagunamar you do not get StarOptions thorough resale because it is a voluntary resort. Every year you pay 50% of the MF of your EOY villa so you actually pay for what you use. White is the lower season (as opposed to red that is high) but the developer labels them "gold plus" (the one you posted) and platinum plus, the high season. What is important though is that you look at the weeks below and see if you prefer to go in the low or high season. My recommendation for any timeshare is to only buy high season because the MF are the same regardless of the season and it has higher trading power in Interval so you can get the trades that you want (there is a lot to talk about this). At some resorts the high season can also have rental value (it rents out in excess to the MF like at Lagunamar) and this is another factor in the resale price. When the time comes to sell, it is also easier to sell high season.

If all you want is low season at Lagunamar it is probably more cost effective to buy a Vistana trader for Interval or a mandatory Vistana resort, you can read about it on TUG.




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JudyS

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I would only buy something that can book peak season. Also, with Sheraton EOY ownerships, dues are paid every year. So, the $745 MF per year works out to $1490 per week of usage.
 

SteelerGal

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If you want to go to Cancun, year after year, buy there. You can trade w/in Interval for other locations however additional fees are required. If you want to go some time but not all the time however prime time, I would look into purchasing a property w/ SO. Your vacation needs will help to determine what you should buy.
 

DannyTS

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If you want to go to Cancun, year after year, buy there. You can trade w/in Interval for other locations however additional fees are required. If you want to go some time but not all the time however prime time, I would look into purchasing a property w/ SO. Your vacation needs will help to determine what you should buy.
It is also important to note that we do not know what the future of the mandatory resorts will be in a Marriott/Vistana post-integration era. I think it is highly unlikely things will stay exactly how they are right now. I do not think the mandatory status will change but the inventory we have access to may differ quite a bit. I do believe that Lagunamar is one of those that will be more difficult to book if you do not own there. You will always have the highest certitude when you own weeks at a resort.
 

KiKiDee

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Palm Beach Shores
"If all you want is low season at Lagunamar it is probably more cost effective to buy a Vistana trader for Interval or a mandatory Vistana resort, you can read about it on TUG. "

Thanks for your help thus far. I have tried to search what the above means and I gather I can buy at Sheraton Vistana (for example) at a cheaper price and then use that week to trade into Lagunamar? All I really need is 1 week beachfront in Cancun (Yrly or EOY is fine - I have the time) and would rarely trade to another resort.
 

DannyTS

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"If all you want is low season at Lagunamar it is probably more cost effective to buy a Vistana trader for Interval or a mandatory Vistana resort, you can read about it on TUG. "

Thanks for your help thus far. I have tried to search what the above means and I gather I can buy at Sheraton Vistana (for example) at a cheaper price and then use that week to trade into Lagunamar? All I really need is 1 week beachfront in Cancun (Yrly or EOY is fine - I have the time) and would rarely trade to another resort.
what time of the year would you normally travel to Lagunamar?
 
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KiKiDee

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Palm Beach Shores
I have great flexability - September until the end of October; 2nd week of January until mid June ( I would avoid Feb & March high season) Really the only time I wouldn't travel is from November 1 - December 26th and the heat of the Summer months.
 

echino

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HRA KAN WSJ WKV WLR SVV
MCV MKO MM1 MPU MSK
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You don't need to purchase at Lagunamar if you only need a studio or 1br and if you can travel in off season like September and October. There are cheap cash getaways available in advance i II, and $200-$300 II ACs closer to the dates.
Lagunamar Getaways.png
 

KiKiDee

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Palm Beach Shores
Thanks echino - where would I find what you just posted for options - 30 cms of snow here in Ottawa tomorrow.....
 

echino

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That is from interval international (II). You need to own any timeshare affiliated with II to access cash getaways and accommodation certificates. Others will probably recommend a cost efficient ownership for the purpose of accessing II. In my opinion, these two options are the best way:

1. A low maintenance fee Hyatt, like Piñon Pointe. A silver week can be bought inexpensively, probably less than $1,000 all-in. You will get a Gold level II membership included, plus Hyatt points to use internally with Hyatt or exchange via II.

2. A mandatory Vistana, like Sheraton Vistana Villages, either Bella or Key West section. Again, this can be bought inexpensively. You will get a basic level II membership included, plus StarOptions to use internally with Vistana or to exchange via II.
 

PcflEZFlng

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That is from interval international (II). You need to own any timeshare affiliated with II to access cash getaways and accommodation certificates. Others will probably recommend a cost efficient ownership for the purpose of accessing II. In my opinion, these two options are the best way:

1. A low maintenance fee Hyatt, like Piñon Pointe. A silver week can be bought inexpensively, probably less than $1,000 all-in. You will get a Gold level II membership included, plus Hyatt points to use internally with Hyatt or exchange via II.

2. A mandatory Vistana, like Sheraton Vistana Villages, either Bella or Key West section. Again, this can be bought inexpensively. You will get a basic level II membership included, plus StarOptions to use internally with Vistana or to exchange via II.
In comparison to Option 1, OP might still be better off buying a Lagunamar Gold Plus resale, which also has low MFs, could probably get for only about $1000 (which I was what I recently sold my EOYO Gold Plus for on RedWeek), and would also provide access to II (you would have to pay the membership separately for it, but inexpensive and worth it) for exchanges, getaways, and ACs (and is a good II trader), and on top of that would guarantee access to weeks within the season that OP desires. Especially since OP wants to go to Cancun during Gold season and isn't interested in trading anyway, except only rarely.
 

DannyTS

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Thanks echino - where would I find what you just posted for options - 30 cms of snow here in Ottawa tomorrow.....


Since you are from Ottawa, IMO the best time of the year is NOT September-October, you normally want to travel when it is cold and miserable at home (like now) not when it is nice at home and humid and hot in Cancun and risk a hurricane. The best low season times to travel to Cancun are first 2 weeks of December, January and early May. The cash prices at Lagunamar are the lowest in September but after that they can be around or much higher than the maintenance fees for a studio. To have access to those you would have to pay annual Interval fees of USD 90 so you have to add that amount to the prices you see above. I also believe that some of the cash deals we have seen in the past 3 years may not repeat, at least not on a regular basis. In the last 2 summers/falls Lagunamar renovated the 2 main pools so more owners deposited in Interval at the same time when some of those who booked through Interval cancelled their trips. Nothing dramatic but on margin it increased the inventory temporarily. Additionally, last summer there was a weed problem in Quintana Roo. Not too bad in Cancun in the hotel zone but it still lead to lower demand. So here would be my top options:

1) every year studio at Lagunamar gold season. The maintenance fees are low, $554, no exchange fee, no network fee, you have priority and can book the week you want during the gold season. If you want you can also enroll it in Interval and exchange to other resorts (or another season/size at Lagunamar) and you would have a very cheap trader. If you do not want to go anywhere else, you just pay the MF, go to Lagunamar every year and live happily ever after! If you want to go a second week at Lagunamar you can buy one of the getaways other people mentioned if the price/week suit you.

2) I still have a bias towards high season so: every year studio at Lagunamar platinum season. The same maintenance fees $554 per year. The same as I described above but you can book high season and have higher trading power in Interval. I would not be concerned about the crowds at spring break. We have been to Lagunamar early March and it is absolutely great. We are actually gonna be there again this year. Lagunamar is a high end resort and 70% of the travelers are owners, this is not party resort, you do not have to worry about it. The pools are so big, the resort never feels crowded. IMO being able to go in February, March and April to Lagunamar as an owner is a big advantage because the alternatives are much more expensive during this period.
 
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