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So should I give up?

SDKath

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I got final word from Starwood that they will NOT honor my 5* for the original points (559,000 SOs) even though I had a contract in process. They are saying that it is actually because of some "rule" that apparently my salesrep didn't know anything about and failed to obviously tell me about. It says that you can't get phantom SOs while upgrading a unit and retroing a unit. So I come up 30,000 SOs too short for 5* even under the old rules.

And because only Starwood knows about these little "rules" since they are written nowhere and communicated to no one (not even my sales rep), I have no recourse. As a matter of fact, I would not even know if they just made up that rule about 10 minutes ago -- there is no way to check. Even with proof that their website didn't update the 5* requirements until a week after their supposed rule change, they say no.

I have completely lost faith in Starwood and the way they treat us owners (as obvious by my posts these past few weeks). But I still like the idea of 5* and upgrading to suites and having the flexibiity to travel both via the TSs and the hotel system. As a matter of fact, for my family's lifestyle, the SPs work well (since we get more 3-4 days off than full weeks). So if I can put all of my bitterness aside, the trips have been and will be great.

The question is: should I throw in the towel and walk away or should I spend another $20,000 to get me to 5*? I am officially only 3* right now with 2 Fountains units and a platinum SDO in the SVN system. I have lots of resales that I could hang on to and use II, etc. but they would not give me 5* benefits or hotel points.

I'd appreciate any thoughts! I am very torn...

Katherine
 
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DeniseM

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If 5 Star comes with a luggage tag - definitely yes! :D

If not - no! ;)

HTH! :D


Good luck, my friend! :hi:
 
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GrayFal

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Hello from WSJ :hi:

I believe that only YOU can answer if it is worth it - but from our NUMEROUS conversations, I feel it fits your families travel plans for years to come. I only wish I had found TSing when my kids were as young as yours.

That being said, ask yourself' "What would a 'regular' person pay to reach 5*?"
Because of all the knowledge u have gained on these boards and doing your research - u are probably able to get the 5* benefit for 1/2 the cost of a 'regular' person.

You probably had a figure in your mind that u wanted to spend to achieve this status - and u might have to adjust that figure to reach your goal - and if you an live with that, then u have your answer.

I had decided I wanted to get an additional Marriott 2BR L/O Platinum week before the system changed - to give me a total of 3 weeks with L/O capacity.
I had a price I wanted to pay, and a week kinda fell in my lap - so I paid $200 more then I wanted to but weighed the ease of the transaction and felt it was worth it.
Then someone posted they had purchased the exact same ownership for $1500 less - but I am still satisfied that I achieved my goal in the time frame I wanted and got the ownership I wanted.

Is it worth it to you?
 

pointsjunkie

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knowing that you love the starpoints and after communicating with you over the past year i would cough up the $20000 to get to position you really want to be in.

if you don't you will have nothing but bad and bitter feelings and lots of i shoud've, could've, would've's. if you go ahead and get to 5* you will have wonderful trips, oodles and oodles of starpoints to make those wonderful 3-4 day vacations.

since your family is so young, you will have so many wonderful vacations in your future. you have spent way less than most people to get there so the $20000 will still bring you way below what most of us paid to get to 5*.

i know many of the other Tuggers will disagree with me, but you did all this to get to 5*. otherwise you own a lot of timeshares for what reason?:shrug:

good luck,

barbra
 

GrayFal

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knowing that you love the starpoints and after communicating with you over the past year i would cough up the $20000 to get to position you really want to be in.

if you don't you will have nothing but bad and bitter feelings and lots of i should've, could've, would've. if you go ahead and get to 5* you will have wonderful trips, oodles and oodles of starpoints to make those wonderful 3-4 day vacations.

since your family is so young, you will have so many wonderful vacations in your future. you have spent way less than most people to get there so the $20000 will still bring you way below what most of us paid to get to 5*.

i know many of the other Tuggers will disagree with me, but you did all this to get to 5*. otherwise you own a lot of timeshares for what reason?:shrug:

good luck,

barbra
Bab, great minds think alike and post one minute apart....I was going to use you as an example of an owner who fully utilizes all the GREAT features of the SVN system.
 

Henry M.

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I think 5* is a useful thing to have if you travel a lot and use Starwood hotels. It is especially useful overseas, but I have gotten several suite upgrades in Hawaii and at the WDW Swan Hotel. I also use the early check-in and late check-out benefits and have indeed been upgraded within the SVN network from time to time.

Having said that, I would say all these elite levels and perks are really icing on a cake. They are not the cake itself. They should not be the main purpose of purchasing a timeshare. If you like Starwood properties and are actually going to use the additional weeks, either directly or through exchanges, then by all means go for it. However don't get into additional maintenance fees and other expenses just to get a benefit that could theoretically be rescinded at any time. Assume you could end up with just the use of what you own and decide whether the additional weeks would be useful to you if you had to use them directly. If that makes sense, then you might as well get the icing too and make the cake a little sweeter.

I like Starwood and would consider getting more time with them if I needed more timeshare weeks. I don't feel all the bitterness sometimes expressed on TUG. The again, I wasn't in the middle of trying to upgrade through resales. All my interactions with Starwood have been very satisfactory to me. I don't sweat trying to make a reservation at the crack of dawn the first day of eligibility and I haven't had any issues getting what I want even during summer months in Hawaii. I also don't set my expectations of the sales process any higher than for any other sales organization trying to pawn on me high dollar luxury items such as cars or houses. I feel I can work out direct exchanges with other systems if I really want to go somewhere Starwood isn't available.
 

capjak

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If you have $$$ and you already know you want it....

These type of decisions are completely emotional so no one but you can decide of course but if I was this close I probably would bite my lip and go ahead...

Oh I would use a different sales rep....:eek:
 

Grandmama

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I got final word from Starwood that they will NOT honor my 5* for the original points (559,000 SOs) even though I had a contract in process. They are saying that it is actually because of some "rule" that apparently my salesrep didn't know anything about and failed to obviously tell me about. It says that you can't get phantom SOs while upgrading a unit and retroing a unit. So I come up 30,000 SOs too short for 5* even under the old rules.

And because only Starwood knows about these little "rules" since they are written nowhere and communicated to no one (not even my sales rep), I have no recourse. As a matter of fact, I would not even know if they just made up that rule about 10 minutes ago -- there is no way to check. Even with proof that their website didn't update the 5* requirements until a week after their supposed rule change, they say no.
We were told about that rule a year ago. They told us that they would retro a week OR give phantom SOs on a purchase, or upgrade; but not both. And the phantom SOs were only given if the purchase brought you up to the next elite level. I can completely understand your frustration as they should have told you about this before you proceeded. We also use SPs more often than SOs and have received upgrades at every stay. So, I feel our SPs are worth more than they would be if we only got standard rooms.
 

clsmit

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I think you should do it. Between this and your DVC points you'll have a ton of vacation opportunities available to you. Your kids will be SOOO spoiled :)with all the great places they get to go, but it gives them a chance to learn about new places and new people -- always good to teach them tolerance and openness in this world.

So Kath, take a deep breath and do it. You'll have more vacation than you know what to do with, the kids and the family will get to go to all kinds of great places, and you'll create so many memories that you'll have lots of laughter the rest of your lives.
 

Denise L

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Go for it, Kath :cheer: . You'll get to 5* for less than we paid to get to "no-star" with just our one "$45K week with a view to fight for!" I can live vicariously through you as you enjoy upgrades, so go for it! You might inspire some of us to retro/requal and phantomize our way to 5*, too :D .

We all want a happy ending to your saga :whoopie: .
 

timeos2

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I cannot believe anyone is even considering a $20,000 timeshare purchase regardless of points or resort or anything else it offers. Then I read someone paid $45,000 for a singe unit week! OK, perhaps I'm out of touch but with the great deals available in timeshare - none of which exceed $5000 at the top end and many closer to $1000 - why would anyone pay 4 times or more that amount for anything? I just cannot figure how the payback would ever be there.
 

Denise L

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John,

Since we are waaaaaay past the rescind period on our 2003 developer purchase, what can I say :) ?! We've had six amazing visits to Maui with our kids and many memories to show for our single week purchase :cheer: . Since we had been spending $3-4K a year on accommodations up until our timeshare purchase, $45K seemed like a not-so-high price to pay for our home away from home, complete with resident turtles and one of the best beaches on Maui. Supposing I had put that money into the stock market....today it would be worth less than the resale value, plus I would have dished out $18-24K to hotels/other timeshare owners for our annual visits.

If it helps, we paid $45K for our first timeshare and $119.00 for our most recent :D . So if you average it out, it's not all that bad. I have to think positively, right :) ?
 

lprstn

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Well....hmmmm, I'd say hold off, only because they changed the qualification for 5* before, whose to say they won't do it again.

(This coming from a person considering "upgrading" my Wyndham Bonnet Creek to keep my VIP Gold membership, and get Bali Hai and Outrigger club which will give me 2 ARPs...of course until Wyndham changes the rules again)

Prices even for the developer is still pretty low right now, think it over and see if this fits you, if you can afford it, if you will be happy without it.

If you won't be happy without it (AND can afford it) .... then do it.
 

stevens397

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Kath-

They screwed you. Period.

My instincts will be different from my advice. In the end, I agree with emuy - without spending the other $20K, all you will have is understandable bitterness. But here are my issues-

1. Can you USE that many weeks or will you simply trade them for SPs? I guess you're now looking at 5 weeks (more with lock-offs).

2. AFTER using that many weeks, can you find the time to take enough additional vacation days in hotels to take advantage of PFL?

3. I've been Platinum for 3 years and have done extremely well - but mostly in Europe. We have had upgrades to suites that are not to be believed. But this past summer, we got a truly crappy room in Rome and I was steaming, as I'm sure you would be after spending all of those dollars.

4. I accumulate a few hundred thousand + points per year from the purchase of supplies and lab fees from my dental practice. It has gotten to the point that I get so pissed when I don't get the suite, that I often simply pay the extra points to guarantee it. Obviously, that makes Platinum somewhat redundant!

5. For the last two years, I have received promotions from Starwood offering double stay credit for a three month period. I made arrangements with a local hotel for a number of stays at a very low rate (obviously, I hardly ever even use the room). It has cost me about $800/year to maintain status - lots less than going for 5*. Of course, all that could change tomorrow. And, of course, I get points for the mileage run.

Kath - the WMH I bought with your help was not only a good deal, but in my mind, the beginning of my trek to 5*. To me, it was mostly for the points - I'll retire within 10 years and the points supply I have now will disappear. It was my sense that this would replace it. Obviously, those dreams are gone now. We on TUG learn so much from each other, but in the end, we represent a minute portion of timeshare owners. It's clear that Starwood couldn't care less about us. I'm so sorry. That said, screw it - cough it up and be done.
 

DeniseM

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I cannot believe anyone is even considering a $20,000 timeshare purchase regardless of points or resort or anything else it offers. Then I read someone paid $45,000 for a singe unit week! OK, perhaps I'm out of touch but with the great deals available in timeshare - none of which exceed $5000 at the top end and many closer to $1000 - why would anyone pay 4 times or more that amount for anything? I just cannot figure how the payback would ever be there.
John - you keep asking this question about Starwood and we keep answering, but I don't think you read the responses. ;)

First of all - You can't touch any of the top Starwood resorts for $1,000 or even $5,000. For example, a 2 bdm. resale at one of the Starwood Hawaii resorts goes for about $27-30K these days. And at the high end, a 3 bedm. during Plat season from the developer is over $100K at the Westin St. John. So while there are some great bargains out there, Starwood resorts still sell for big bucks - even resale.

Secondly, the poster has already bought several other units resale and she just needs a final developer purchase of $20K to reach 5 Star Elite/SPG Plat for life. And that is really what this thread is about...not just points or resorts.

According to the poll at the top of the board, there are at least 20 other Tuggers who have already reached 5 Star Elite.

Finally, believe it or not, most of us on this board have already paid $20 - $50K for a Starwood timeshare :D
 
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timeos2

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John - you keep asking this question about Starwood and we keep answering, but I don't think you read the responses. ;)
I read it - I just can't believe it! Since you can use a deeply discounted resort to trade into these high priced places (not easily or regularly but it can and is done) I just cannot see where they are worth that type of expense. Like DVC if you want it and can afford it enjoy! I'll take my chances on "sneaking in" using time that isn't costing 1% of these prices even with annual fees (which isn't in the $20,000). To each their own.
 

DeniseM

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Since buying my initial $45K Starwood timeshare, and then finding TUG, I've only spent about a total of $5K on my other 5 TS's, so I agree with you about the bargains and timesharing on the cheap. However, the Tuggers who have reached 5 Star Elite are folks who can afford it, and enjoy the upgrades they get with 5 Star Elite Status. I'm way to cheap for that, but it is very popular with Starwood owners. So it's not just the timeshares themselves, it's the perks that the 5 Star Owners get for reaching that level of ownership at both Starwood Timeshares and Hotels, that makes it attractive to some people.

(OMG! I can't believe I am defending 5 Star Elite!) :rofl:
 
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LisaRex

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I don't know, SDKath. The reason I bought OF at WKORV-N is because I didn't want to stress every year about my view. I hate uncertainty and would rather pay outright for the room of my choice, with cash, points, or a combination of those, than to stress about a complimentary upgrade.

If Platinum benefits were less hit-and-miss, I'd be more comfortable advising you to pay the extra $ to get there. But I see a lot of bitter platinums on FT, and the vast majority of those folks are business travelers who achieved status on someone else's dime! I can't imagine how bitter I'd be if I spend a hundred grand + out of my own pocket to get to a status that isn't routinely recognized and rewarded.

And there's always SO:SP devaluation threatening, which would diminish your return with a snap of Starwood's fingers.

Argh!

Good luck to you. I don't envy your decision.
 

Henry M.

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I guess its kind of like owning an expensive sports car. Sure you could purchase a used Hyundai or Kia to drive around, but there are plenty of folks who'd rather have a BMW or Porsche, even if they could have purchased a couple of Kia Rio's for the price of the used Euro Sportster. They're not for everyine but for those that can afford them, they're a cut above the bargain models.
 

TomH

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Tough Decision

Kath,

I think that it may be prudent to still pursue 5* as you have come this far. Now the problem is how and when. I wouldn't rush into anything as sales are down and I feel that there may be better incentives in the near future to battle slow sales. Is there a purchase you are considering at this time?

Tom
 

dss

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I think there is some great advice on this thread (Stevens397 points about the usage patterns in particular ring true). I know it's hard to factor out the emotion from a situation as this, but personally, I would never consider an additional purchase from a business that has mangled a relationship as badly as Starwood has with you, especially in this economic climate. Purchasing the extra week would essentially "validate" their strategy of raising the qualification bar to drive incremental sales. I would also say that as a 5-6 years SPG Plat (through hotel stays), my upgrade success has plummeted in the past 12-24 months. A lot of that I attribute to the growing ranks of 5* plats and the very generous double stay promos SPG has run with increasing frequency.

SPG was very smart and built great word of mouth in the frequent traveler community with SPG Plat and they are having a hard time scaling the program up now that more people want in. I am a 3* SVN member and I love my ownership weeks but can't see a time where I would consider purchasing anything else from them at this point.

Either way, thanks for all of your great contributions to this forum and I wish you well with whatever path you choose...
 

Negma

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There is no right answer. Some folks live for the bargain, some like to be spoiled, some live for today, some want to save for tomorrow, some have large debt, some have none.

We started our TS buying at DVC 1999, $18000, 300 points. I have not regretted ONE minute, we have memories and plans for the future that can not be dollar driven. I have seen all the arguments and simply put, we like on site, blah blah blah.

We then went to Starwood because of the locations and the flexibilty. Again, no regrets at all. Could I have done it cheaper? yes, could I have stayed at lesser resorts? yes. But in the it met our personal goals in how we want to live.

There are great points of view on this board and they are all correct, but it really comes up to what are your goals, I would write them down and then make your decision. We made the leap and I am really glad we did it when we did (especially with the increased option levels), it has improved our quality of life in many ways.

Good luck, I am not always right but I am never misunderstood.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
So Far Out Of My League I Can't Even Speculate.

The question is: should I throw in the towel and walk away or should I spend another $20,000 to get me to 5*?
If you're mulling over paying $20,000 more for an important timeshare upgrade, I can't even guess how much you've already got tied up in the timeshares you already own.

Around here we're such bottom-feeding lowball timeshare bargain hunters that we feel extravagant for having some $5,500 tied up in our 4 -- four -- resale timeshares. (We think of it as 4 timeshares, but 1 of those is EEY -- so it's OK to count the EEY timeshare as just 1/2 a timeshare.)

In addition to my dyed-in-the wool bias toward bargain resale timeshares instead of paying timeshare companies big bux for full-freight timeshares, I also view such timeshare perks as 5-star ranking & VIP status, etc., as sizzle rather than as steak. That is, nothing's wrong with sizzle, but frequently sizzle is not worth how much it costs to get it. (And to me, the sizzle is never worth it. But that's just me -- it's just my personal bias, even if I'm not the only 1 on TUG who feels that way.)

Anybody who wants timeshare VIP priority 5-star sizzle at the going rate should go right ahead & spring for it without letting any of us bottom-feeding bargain hunters rain on your parade.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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