• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 26 years!

    Join tens of thousands of other owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered!
  • TUG started 27 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Check out our happy birthday post here: Happy Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $15,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $14 Million dollars
  • Follow the TUG Member Banner as it travels the world on vacation with Timeshare owners! Also sign up to get the banner sent to you so you can submit a photo of your vacation with the banner to share with TUG! Banner Thread
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free! Join tens of thousands of other owners who get this every week! Latest resort reviews and the most important topics discussed by owners during the week!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    Read more Here
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Question about Branson, MO Willow Ridge

mcm21078

TUG Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
58
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Boston, MA
My wife and I went on the MVC 90 minute timeshare presentation about 2 weeks ago while staying at the Marriott Surf Club in Aruba. Going into the presentation we knew very little about how timeshares worked. I asked what the cheapest one to buy through MVC was, and was told it was Branson lock-off for $9400. Is this a good deal for someone like me?:

Married, about to start a family
Wife is a teacher so we could only travel during school vacations and July / August
Not really interested in ever going to MO, but would like to exchange for Aruba or somewhere else warm. We were told this would not be a problem (as long as we paid the $109 exchange fee)

The sales person made the Branson timeshare sound like the deal of a lifetime, and are very hard to get. When we got back we were offered an Encore Package to go back to the Surf Club in the next 12-18 months for $1599 for the 2-bedroom as long as we go to the presentation again. I am still not entirely sure how the whole Marriott timeshare exchange thing works - the salesperson made it sound like you just pay the $109 fee and BOOM you get your week in Aruba...no problems. But then I hear from people that Branson may not be the easiest to trade. I guess my main question is what difference does it make if its hard to trade or not since I would just be paying the exchange fee anyway. Am I obligated to find someone to take my timeshare first before I do the exchange?

Also is $9400 a decent price for the Willow Ridge Silver lock-off? Orlando was $13K for EOY and I think Surf Club was $20k for Silver and $40K for Platinum (could be wrong on that one).

Any feedback appreciated.
 

Bill4728

Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
10,552
Reaction score
166
Points
699
Location
Lake Tapps, WA
If you buy direct from Marriott, you'll pay 3 times the price of buying from a current owner.
So NO $9400 is not a good price.

For about $3000 - $4000 you can buy a 2 bd (lockoff) there (Branson) during the highest season (platinum) and the only thing you'll give up is trading your TS for hotel points.

Wife is a teacher so we could only travel during school vacations and July / August
Not really interested in ever going to MO, but would like to exchange for Aruba or somewhere else warm. We were told this would not be a problem (as long as we paid the $109 exchange fee)
Trading is never a sure thing, So I'd buy somewhere were at least you might want to go every once in a while. Plus, you should buy during the season you most like to travel because even if you trade, it is much easier to trade Platinum season for another plat season TS somewhere else.

BUT the best advice you can get here is to spend some time before buying ( resale of course) to research your purchase options. It is very easy to buy and really hard to sell.

Good Luck and welcome to TUG
 

Stefa

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
1,408
Reaction score
0
Points
36
The problem with sellmytimesharenow is that they are an upfront fee company (they charge sellers a large advertising fee) so they often tell sellers their timeshare is worth a lot more than it really is. Many of their ads are out of date and the sellers are out of touch with current pricing.

Try myresortnetwork.com. There is also a Marketplace here at TUG.
 

Stefa

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
1,408
Reaction score
0
Points
36
BUT the best advice you can get here is to spend some time before buying ( resale of course) to research your purchase options. It is very easy to buy and really hard to sell.
This is very good advice and you should follow it.

I own a platinum week at Willow Ridge, bought primarily for trading. I am a new owner, but it does appear as though Willow Ridge does not trade quite as well as some other Marriotts. It is still a good trader, I locked off my 2010 week and got two weeks in Kauai, but you may have trouble getting high demand weeks/resorts

Trading in never a sure thing. The way it works is you place a request with the exchange company. Some requests are filled right away, others take awhile. Still others don't come through at all. I would think you could get a summer Aruba week with a platinum Willow Ridge, but you may have trouble getting holidays and other high demand weeks.
 

m61376

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
6,918
Reaction score
136
Points
348
Location
NY
For a similar price tag you could get a resale Gold week at the Surf Club and book the summer week you want at your discretion rather than trying to trade in. It has terrific trade value as well.

There is no silver season at the SC, fyi.

Assuming that you can buy an off season Branson week and easily trade into the Caribbean over summer vacations is an easy recipe for being an unhappy owner. Buy where you'd like to visit at least some of the time, during the period you'd like to travel. If you envision returning to Aruba with some frequency, then consider buying there.

Take the time and learn the ropes. Now is a great time in your lives to buy; we regret not having discovered timesharing when our kids were growing up. We traveled extensively in hotel rooms and, I have to tell you, having the added space really enhances a vacation. For us, even not having to worry about where to go for breakfast is a big plus. Because of the economy prices have plummeted, so it is a buyer's market.

Feel free to ask questions. Remember- it is easy to buy, but hard to sell. So make sure that you are purchasing the right thing for you.

As for where to look- besides the sites already listed, there is Redweek.com and there are several good brokers you can contact. Remember that asking price does not mean selling price. Look at the sticky at the top of the Buying, Selling, Renting forum for advice.

Welcome to Tug, btw:wave:
 

Stefa

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
1,408
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Assuming that you can buy an off season Branson week and easily trade into the Caribbean over summer vacations is an easy recipe for being an unhappy owner.
I wouldn't buy an off season Branson week even if I only wanted to use it during flexchange or to trade for low demand weeks. (I thought the OP was looking at a platinum week.) Don't even cosider the gold and silver seasons at Willow Ridge unless/until you are very experienced with timesharing and fully understand what you are getting into.

If you can afford a gold Aruba week that would be a much better way to go.

Keep in mid that timeshares work best if you can plan your vacations a year in advance.
 

dougp26364

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
12,813
Reaction score
824
Points
448
Location
Kansas
Resorts Owned
Marriott Grand Chateau
Marriott Shadow Ridge
Marriott Ocean Pointe
Marriott Destination Club Points
Hilton Grand Vacation Club Las Vegas Blvd
Grand Colorado on Peak 8
Spinnaker French Quarter Resort Branson
Let's start with the part about you bought two weeks ago. You're outside the rescind period so the timeshare is yours. For 9,400 you didn't do bad. Sure you could have done better resale but, you could have spent $105,000 instead of $9,400.

The knee jerk reaction most have on TUG is to tell retail buyers they did a really bad thing. Personally, I think that's wrong unless you can still rescind your purchase. Timesharing in general can be a GREAT way to vacation. True it would have been cheaper to buy resale but, why cry over spilled milk? What's done is done.

So let's get into what you've bought. You purchased low season in Branson, MO. You're ownership allows you to reserve weeks 1-13. The only time during that period that might be of value for exchange would be March during MO's spring break. Branson is heavily developed with a lot of very nice timeshares and thousands of hotel rooms that are cheap. You're trade value trying to get summer weeks isn't going to be very good. My #1 rule for timeshare is to buy the season you want at a resort you'd want to go to if all else fails. It appears you've broken that rule and bought anything just to own a timeshare. My advice is not to do that again.

Now that we've talked bad news, let's talk about what you can do with your timeshare. First, the salesman stretched the truth a LOT when they made it sound like you pay an exchange fee and you could get Aruba without issue. The rule with salesman is if their lips are moving, they're probably lying. With timeshare, you trade like for like. Branson silver season isn't going to be like Aurba Platinum or Gold season. It's closer to Auruba in hurricane season. Interval has a trade demand index you'll want to look at. The first 8 weeks for Branson are the lowest on the travel demand index (TDI) you can get. After that it increase a little each week until it reaches 95 on week 13, which is just under the median demand for Branson. Median demand on the index is 100.

By comparison, most of the Caribbean is below the median demand on the TDI from weeks 34 to 43. So, using the like for like method of trading weeks, A week 13 Branson week would have it's best shot at getting an Aruba week in late August through October. Of course you have to keep in mind that this is only a generalization. The TDI is based on the travel demand for that particular area at that particular time of year. It's not, as I understand it, a generalization of the average demand across the board. Low demand for Aruba might still be higher than the demand for Branson. It's only a generaliztion that will give you an idea of like for like and what's best to deposit and what's reasonable to ask for/expect in exchange.

Your best chance for getting value out of a low value week is the flexchange period. Flexchange is a period of time where most trade restrictions are lifted and anything you have will see anything that's still available. People have received some killer exchanges this way.

Flexchange is a short notice exchange that occurs 59 days or less from your travel date. It's a great option for those that can make travel plans last minute and are flexible on where they are willing to go. You have to remember that the flexchange period is essentially a fire sale. It's the weeks that haven't been taken in exchange and the time is growing close for the check in date. Interval would rather move them than lose them. Thus, the lifiting of most restrictions.

My advice would be the pay this week off as soon as possible. Never make the mistake again of buying a week you won't be able to use yourself if all else fails, just because it's cheaper than what you want. Don't listen to the hype the saleman tells you and research before you make another purchase. Stick around and learn how to get the most out of your ownership. Don't worry about a mistake you've already made, it only wastes your time and will keep you from learning how to get the most enjoyment out of what you now own. You could have done much worse. You could have pay tens of thousands of dollars, bought a week with very high MF's and very low demand. As it is you paid less than $10,000 for a resort where the MF's are less than $1,000. Many of us have done much worse, although few will admit it, on their first purchase. I paid $18,900 for our first week in Vegas but, I learned through TUG how to maximize our ownership and we've been to many wonderful places staying in condo's rather than hotel rooms through timeshare. You didn't do great but you could have done much worse.

EDIT: In rereading your post, it appears you may not have purchased yet. If you haven't, then DON'T. If you've read through the rest of my post I think you'll understand why Branson Willow Ridge won't work for your specific needs. Like the others have said, spend time on TUG learning about timeshare and learning what resale prices are like and where to buy a timeshare on the resale market. Judging from the information that you're a young couple just getting ready to start a family, my advice would be that timeshare probably isn't the best way for you to travel at this time. Timeshare is a comitmant and takes work. You're situation is bound to change many times while you're starting your family. Timeshare can be a big bill at the end of every year when MF's roll around. It can put a financial strain on family's that is tought to get out from under. Right now, I'd say your best bet would be to rent what you want rather than buy.
 
Last edited:

thickey

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Messages
555
Reaction score
0
Points
226
Location
Powell, Tennessee
Please buy resale ONLY!

I got mine for less than $6K, and that's when the economy was in better shape. Ours has traded well. We locked it off for the first time this year, and got two decent trades. The maint fees are in the low $700s, and tend to increase some each year. The management does a good job to keep things in check too. Branson Willow Lakes is a good choice.
 
Last edited:

m61376

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
6,918
Reaction score
136
Points
348
Location
NY
Let's start with the part about you bought two weeks ago. You're outside the rescind period so the timeshare is yours. ...

With timeshare, you trade like for like. Branson silver season isn't going to be like Aurba Platinum or Gold season. It's closer to Auruba in hurricane season.
While most of your advice in general is right-on, the OP posted that he was only considering making a purchase- so there is no issue of rescinding.

And just to clarify things- Aruba only has Platinum and Gold seasons. Like Hawaii, the weather is consistent all year around. It is below the hurricane belt, so the Fall caveats that apply to St. Thomas and St. Kitts aren't applicable.

The season designation for Aruba isn't so much Aruba-weather related as it is related to traveler's home weather. A lot of owners are coming from the Northeast or other colder weather locales and are looking to escape the winter, making mid-Dec. through the end of April peak season. May through mid-Dec. is Gold, with the summer months higher in demand due to school vacations. Remember the TDI only indicates relative demand for a specific area, as you pointed out.

Something else which hasn't been mentioned but is worth noting- as your family grows, you may want a 2BR and it is harder to trade into a 2BR at many resorts, like the Aruba properties, which have lock-offs, since most people lock off before depositing.

Buying where you want to go most of the time is the best advice anyone can give you.

Congrats on thinking and researching before buying! What are you going to do with all the money you just saved? :rofl: :hysterical:
 

dougp26364

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
12,813
Reaction score
824
Points
448
Location
Kansas
Resorts Owned
Marriott Grand Chateau
Marriott Shadow Ridge
Marriott Ocean Pointe
Marriott Destination Club Points
Hilton Grand Vacation Club Las Vegas Blvd
Grand Colorado on Peak 8
Spinnaker French Quarter Resort Branson
While most of your advice in general is right-on, the OP posted that he was only considering making a purchase- so there is no issue of rescinding.
That's why I edited my post about 8 mintues after I posted it.

And just to clarify things- Aruba only has Platinum and Gold seasons. Like Hawaii, the weather is consistent all year around. It is below the hurricane belt, so the Fall caveats that apply to St. Thomas and St. Kitts aren't applicable.

The season designation for Aruba isn't so much Aruba-weather related as it is related to traveler's home weather. A lot of owners are coming from the Northeast or other colder weather locales and are looking to escape the winter, making mid-Dec. through the end of April peak season. May through mid-Dec. is Gold, with the summer months higher in demand due to school vacations. Remember the TDI only indicates relative demand for a specific area, as you pointed out.
Keep in mind that, while the TDI is area specific and not a generaliztion of demand overall, Marriott's assignment of seasons is based on their desire to sell at a certain price. While Marriott might designate hurricane season as gold season, it doesn't make it any more desirable as far as Interval is concerned.

On the other hand, when trading Marriott for Marriott, season will play into heirchy for trading purposes.

Something else which hasn't been mentioned but is worth noting- as your family grows, you may want a 2BR and it is harder to trade into a 2BR at many resorts, like the Aruba properties, which have lock-offs, since most people lock off before depositing.

Buying where you want to go most of the time is the best advice anyone can give you.

Congrats on thinking and researching before buying! What are you going to do with all the money you just saved? :rofl: :hysterical:
I agree it's a good thing the OP is researching first and buying later. I second the idea of buying what you really want. Don't settle for something else and believe you can easily get what your really want. The exchange landscape changes from time to time. What works today might not work tomorrow. Ask an owner of a South African week exchanging in the weeks program through RCI.
 

m61376

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
6,918
Reaction score
136
Points
348
Location
NY
Doug- sorry- I started to reply before seeing your edit and then got waylaid for awhile.

The reason Marriott did not include a Silver season in Aruba like they did at the other Caribbean resorts was not simply a sales ploy. The other Caribbean resorts are subject to a hurricane season. Aruba is below the hurricane belt, so rarely suffers any ill effects (they did get side-swiped by Omar, which was the first time in many, many years that they had any ill effects from a hurricane, but even that was rain without the hurricane winds that St. Thomas and St. Kitts, amongst others, are subject to). So Fall weeks there, while not as desirable as the summer school vacation weeks, are more in demand than the Silver weeks at the other Caribbean resorts because of the possible weather issues elsewhere.

I don't know that Marriott's season designation has any impact on trading hierarchy in II. I think II purely goes by demand for the specific week. There have been many posts about certain Gold weeks trading better than certain Plat. weeks at some resorts. In fact, I'm guessing that certain Silver weeks at Ocean Pointe, for example, will trade as well as certain Plat. weeks at Oceana Palms, since they overlap. II cares about the week it's getting, not what season Marirott happens to call it.

Awhile back Terry queried Redweek about point values of many Marriotts, offering 2BR July 4th weeks, regardless of the Marirott season designation. Redweek allocated a 2BR at the Surf Club more points than any similar week offered, including Maui, etc, regardless of whether they were Platinum or Gold designations. I'm guessing that II uses a similar basis for assigning values.
 

mcm21078

TUG Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
58
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Boston, MA
thanks for all the info.

Good thing I didn't buy. Will definitely consider looking into the Surf Club re-sale purchase. We stayed there in April and at Stellaris in April 2009 (was our honeymoon). We love Aruba and hope to go back often.

One thing I didn't understand was why the listings for Surf Club all have different MFs. Anywere from 800-1400 for the 2BR lock-outs.
 

Stefa

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
1,408
Reaction score
0
Points
36
One thing I didn't understand was why the listings for Surf Club all have different MFs. Anywere from 800-1400 for the 2BR lock-outs.
All 2br units will have the same MFs. Don't believe what you read in the ads. You can search ths forum for 2010 MFs or just ask and someone will supply the correct information.

There are any number of reasons why the ads have such different numbers. In some cases (such as sellmytimesharenow) the ads are not updated and are often several years old. In other cases, owners just don't remember what they paid last December. I'm sure some owners try to make their unit sound more appealing by listing lower MFs.
 

hazpete

Guest
Joined
Aug 11, 2007
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Points
6
Location
Champaign, IL
We own two platinum units at Branson. One we got five years ago, the other a year later.

We have had pretty good luck trading into Hawaii in the February time frame on five separate occasions during this time. We have stayed at all the Marriott Hawaii time shares except Waiohai. I have placed my requests 10-12 months in advance and that helps a lot. The Marriott sales people always seem a bit amazed that I have gotten these trades and tell me that I won't be so lucky in the future as some of their practices will be changing. I guess we'll see. We have had pretty good luck trading into other places we want to go, but have not tried for summer trades, which may be in higher demand.

We have only been to Branson once during this time, but are going again this fall. I agree with the other posters that you should buy at a place that you are willing and able to go to as a default. Buying a time share just for trading purposes is something one should do only after one gets experience with the whole time share thing. Sales people will tell you the costs of trading are small; while there is some truth to that, the costs do add up and also cause some uncertainty in plans.

We bought both our timeshare units retail from Marriott and I don't feel too bad about the decision at the time as we got a LOT of Marriott reward points, part of which we used to go to Rome and Amsterdam last year. However, I would be reluctant to buy now as the bottom has dropped out of the market. The cost differential between buying resale and buying retail certainly is significant.
 

m61376

Tug Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
6,918
Reaction score
136
Points
348
Location
NY
One thing I didn't understand was why the listings for Surf Club all have different MFs. Anywere from 800-1400 for the 2BR lock-outs.
Regardless of what the listing states, everyone is charged the same MF. MF depends only on unit size. Since you were concerned I looked up the exact figure for the 2BR: 2010: 1,237.64; this was a small decrease from 2009.

HTH
 
Top