Thanks. I was hoping there would be the capability to then see what was available for various locations and dates, but apparently you have to "finalize" your election before that can be done. Thus a phone call is still required to check availability. I really hate the inability to explore my options on line.
I would prefer to shop before I commit a week to points as well but, at least they finally have online reservations for points.
I'm still not thrilled about the conversion rate going from weeks to points (aka the skim) but, I'm more inclined to think I might eventually use the points option now that I can search for options online.
Who know, maybe someday. I will say that I absolutely LOVE the points based reservations with HGVC and DRI. The ability to choose the unit style, view/location and number of days adds flexiblity that we've really come to enjoy. The problem is I'm frugal enough to want to get the most out of our ownership and weeks still gives us the best value.
The other issue is we often like to lock-off our three bedroom units, stay in the master suites and exchange the lock-off portions. One of the reasons we purchased a three bedroom at Grand Chateau was the lock-off was a full one bedroom, which would be less work to exchange than trying to trade up from our studio lock-off at Ocean Pointe. With points, I don't have enough to reserve the week we want in our master suite and have points left over for a second vacation as we would utlizing the weeks option.
For 2013 we're planning on using the master suite of both our Marriott owned units. The points option just doesn't work out for us if that's what we want to do. I'd be throwing value away vs getting good exchanges for the lock-off portions.