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Using Marriott Vacation Club Points for Collette Tours

gsedlock

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One of the options in the MVC is to use our points for Collette Tours. We've done this five times over the last seven or so years and have enjoyed each tour. But, now I'm finally wondering if we're getting a good deal. After some investigation, I'm believing that we're not. It looks like it would be more cost effective to book tours directly with Collette and pay their price. Here's why:

1. Our maintenance fees for our timeshares adds up to $4,047/year and we get 6,725 points. That's about $0.60/point. I'm not adding in any timeshare purchase costs since that's water over the dam, or you might say a sunk cost. I'm only looking at what we're paying each year. Our original purchases were in 1997 and 2010.

2. I went to Collette's website directly and got the cost of 4 tours that we're interested in for 2 people. I then went to the MVC website and selected cultural tours which takes me to a site that Collette runs. I got the points cost for the same four tours.

3. Below is a table of the results:

Tour Collette PriceMVC Points $ Cost of MVC PointsAdditional Cost Using MVC Points
Cities of Central and Eastern Europe$6,00013,500 $8,100 $2,100
Imperial Russia $4,60010,500$6,300$1,700
Tuscan and Umbrian Countryside $5,40013,500$8,100 $2,700
Peru - from Lima to the Sacred Valley $5,00011,500$6,900 $1,900


Am I missing something or is my use of MVC points for tours with Collette a really bad deal? It looks like I should be using the points for staying at resorts.

My wife and I really enjoy the tours. She does like the beach. So, that's one place we can look to use the points and getting a better deal.

I'm doing all of this because I'm wondering whether I want to continue paying $4.047 (and rising) each year.

Thoughts?
 

Iggyearl

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Your post confirms what many Tuggers have been saying for years. Timeshare points are better used for timeshare stays. It is poor value using them for car rentals, plane tickets, cruises or tours. If you are going to lose points because of expiration, then find ANY use for them. Otherwise, it's probably not a good deal.
 

csalter2

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One of the options in the MVC is to use our points for Collette Tours. We've done this five times over the last seven or so years and have enjoyed each tour. But, now I'm finally wondering if we're getting a good deal. After some investigation, I'm believing that we're not. It looks like it would be more cost effective to book tours directly with Collette and pay their price. Here's why:

1. Our maintenance fees for our timeshares adds up to $4,047/year and we get 6,725 points. That's about $0.60/point. I'm not adding in any timeshare purchase costs since that's water over the dam, or you might say a sunk cost. I'm only looking at what we're paying each year. Our original purchases were in 1997 and 2010.

2. I went to Collette's website directly and got the cost of 4 tours that we're interested in for 2 people. I then went to the MVC website and selected cultural tours which takes me to a site that Collette runs. I got the points cost for the same four tours.

3. Below is a table of the results:

TourCollette PriceMVC Points$ Cost of MVC PointsAdditional Cost Using MVC Points
Cities of Central and Eastern Europe$6,00013,500$8,100$2,100
Imperial Russia$4,60010,500$6,300$1,700
Tuscan and Umbrian Countryside$5,40013,500$8,100$2,700
Peru - from Lima to the Sacred Valley$5,00011,500$6,900$1,900


Am I missing something or is my use of MVC points for tours with Collette a really bad deal? It looks like I should be using the points for staying at resorts.

My wife and I really enjoy the tours. She does like the beach. So, that's one place we can look to use the points and getting a better deal.

I'm doing all of this because I'm wondering whether I want to continue paying $4.047 (and rising) each year.

Thoughts?

You’ve got it right. You’re not missing anything. I’ve noticed the very same thing as well.The best use of your ownership weeks/points is accommodations.
 
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Luvtoride

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To OP, you did say that you enjoyed all of tours you’ve taken with Collette. Straight $ value aside as long as you’ve enjoyed he tours they were worth the “sunk” cost of the MF paid. We did our first Collette tour last year and knew that we weren’t,getting the best value for our points, but we didn’t think the tour was worth it. The hotels and meals included were not up to Marriott standards in our opinion. Thus, in our case we probably wouldn’t book another Collette tour using our MVC points.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

TheTimeTraveler

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One of the options in the MVC is to use our points for Collette Tours. We've done this five times over the last seven or so years and have enjoyed each tour. But, now I'm finally wondering if we're getting a good deal. After some investigation, I'm believing that we're not. It looks like it would be more cost effective to book tours directly with Collette and pay their price. Here's why:

1. Our maintenance fees for our timeshares adds up to $4,047/year and we get 6,725 points. That's about $0.60/point. I'm not adding in any timeshare purchase costs since that's water over the dam, or you might say a sunk cost. I'm only looking at what we're paying each year. Our original purchases were in 1997 and 2010.

2. I went to Collette's website directly and got the cost of 4 tours that we're interested in for 2 people. I then went to the MVC website and selected cultural tours which takes me to a site that Collette runs. I got the points cost for the same four tours.

3. Below is a table of the results:

TourCollette PriceMVC Points$ Cost of MVC PointsAdditional Cost Using MVC Points
Cities of Central and Eastern Europe$6,00013,500$8,100$2,100
Imperial Russia$4,60010,500$6,300$1,700
Tuscan and Umbrian Countryside$5,40013,500$8,100$2,700
Peru - from Lima to the Sacred Valley$5,00011,500$6,900$1,900


Am I missing something or is my use of MVC points for tours with Collette a really bad deal? It looks like I should be using the points for staying at resorts.

My wife and I really enjoy the tours. She does like the beach. So, that's one place we can look to use the points and getting a better deal.

I'm doing all of this because I'm wondering whether I want to continue paying $4.047 (and rising) each year.

Thoughts?



Fully agree with your assessment. Not only do the Collette Tours cost you more using Marriott DVC Points, but you are helping to grow Marriott's profits as it's very likely that Marriott is not paying Collette's retail price to arrange these trips (likely paying Collette substantially less).




.
 

JIMinNC

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In your case, your analysis is spot-on since your cost per point is $0.60. However, for some owners that may not be the case. For example, an owner of a Hilton Head Grande Ocean 2BR Platinum Ocean Front week pays a maintenance fee of $1491 for 5075 points, or a per point cost of $0.31. Similarly, a Maui Ocean Club 2BR OF Platinum owner pays $2591 for 6450 points, or $0.40 per point. There are many other similar examples in the MVC system for owners with Platinum OF-type units. So, someone who owns several of these higher value units, might have a point cost of $0.35 to $.40 per point. Multiply those point costs by the points required for the Collette tours and the comparison looks better.

I would say for most of us in the MVC system your analysis is correct, but for some with high point value weeks, the numbers can look OK.
 

VacationForever

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Don't forget that if you book Collette tours through a travel agent who gives you part of their commission back to you, it knocks off about 10% of Collette published rates, making the MVC markup even more.
 

JIMinNC

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Fully agree with your assessment. Not only do the Collette Tours cost you more using Marriott DVC Points, but you are helping to grow Marriott's profits as it's very likely that Marriott is not paying Collette's retail price to arrange these trips (likely paying Collette substantially less).

I agree that Marriott likely gets a negotiated wholesale rate from Collette, and uses that as a way to add to profits, but that's irrelevant to me as an owner. All I should care about is whether my cost per point is low enough to make these tours financially attractive to me. If Marriott can make a profit because of their buying power - great - that's why they exist - to make a profit for their shareholders. I want all the companies I do business with to make great profits because that's the only way they stay in business and the only way I can keep doing business with them.
 

Dean

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I've looked at the return per point on cruises and with Collette a number of times. I get around 34¢ PP with cruises normally (esp river cruises) and 42-43¢ PP with Collette. For me that's pretty close to my fees on the points so I may consider using points for Collette if I have the points extra anyway in the future. My larger concern for Collette is that the reviews are mixed. gsedlock, it looks like you were pleased with the company itself, would you please share about your evolution from that aspect. We're especially looking at the grand tour of Great Britain, such as https://www.gocollette.com/en/tours/europe/united-kingdom/exploring-britain-ireland-military-tattoo
 

BarbmC

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Interesting, my husband and I were just talking about this. We took the Treasures of Ireland trip (which we loved) in April for 11,000 MVC points. Cash for the same trip was $6000 so that was a decent value. We were looking at some trips to Italy for the summer Italy's Treasures 18,000 MVC points or cash price of $8000 not the same value
 

jme

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In consideration of all options, do not neglect to weigh the alternative of renting out those high-end weeks.
I just looked at Redweek and depending on the time, some of those are listed for $6000+ per week.
But, you must figure in what you actually hope to get (sometimes less than any listed price).
The cash profit, after using it to also pay maintenance fees, can contribute significantly to the cash purchase
of a tour.
I would say in general, though, that the Colette Tours, or anybody else's tours, would not ever be a good deal for most people
when using DC points.
 
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gsedlock

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Thanks all for your replies! I can see that for some of us there is value in using the trust points to take the Collette tours. My wife and I enjoyed some aspects of each of the tours that we've been on. In general, the hotel rooms are not as good as an MVC timeshare. There were a couple of exceptions - one in Ireland where we stayed in a castle and the other in Greece on Mykonos where we had a beautiful view and our own jetted hot tub on our patio.

We've enjoyed all of the tours we've been on. Some were better than others. A lot depends on the quality of your guide. On our London-Paris tour, the guide was just OK. On our Greek, Ireland, and Portugal-Spain tours, the guides were great. They were very personable, made sure all was going well with us, did some extra little things for fun (e.g., bought olive branch wreaths (metal - gold, silver, and bronze colored) and handed them out to people who exhibited some athleticism at Olympia), recommended where to go on our free time, advocated for us at a hotel if we weren't pleased with something, and did their own unofficial walking tours (In Europe, there's a whole industry for guides in particular cities - they don't want someone else showing off their city). Of course, you don't know anything about the guides before you get on the tour.

We'll do more in the future. Our initial thought on doing the tours was to get an introduction to an area that we might want to visit in the future. But, there are so many other places we want to see, we'll continue with them - maybe Peru and Machu Picchu or the Far East.

Also, on the tours, you get priority on entering some sites. For example, in Italy, we got right into the Vatican when there were very long lines for individuals to enter.

I also enjoy not having to rent a car and drive in a foreign country. We sit on the bus - usually find some folks we enjoy talking with, the guide explains the history of where we're going, we read a book, or we take a nap.

At times the tours are very busy - a new site each day. Other times, we have a couple of days to relax and enjoy where we're at.

You can tell, on balance, the tours are very enjoyable and my wife and I will do more.

The question we have to answer is whether we should shift our vacation plans to include staying at a resort of a week or more and keep the timeshare. Or, given how we like to be active on vacations, should we sell. I can get more value by going directly to Collette or by using a travel agent. One final point, the other vacations we take are also very active - we enjoy blues music. So at least once, maybe twice, a year, we go to some blues oriented event - the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, the Big Blues Bender, the Waterfront Blues Festival, etc.

Again, thanks for your replies. If you want more detail on Collette Tours, I'll be more than happy to answer questions. Wow, this post turned out to be a lot longer than I expected!
 

Luvtoride

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Thanks for the great summary of your experiences and your vacation/ leisure preferences. I would say based on your situation, timeshares are NOT the best way to accomplish your preferred travel goals. Yes, they can be used as a means to an end, but ultimately you are sacrificing flexibility and cost by using MVC points to accomplish this. For example there are many other great tour companies out there, like Tauck, which aren't offered through the MVC partner network. You many want to try one of their tours in the future which isn't even an option using MVC points. From some of the other suggestions above, it may pay to rent out your Marriott weeks and get the cash to use for your travel preferences.
 

noodlethepoodle

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I have come to the same conclusion but we had many, many points piling up and needed to use them. I booked a cruise for August 2020. For the cruise it is approximately 3 points to the dollar to select a cruise. Even at less than $.60 per point it is a bad deal. to add insult to injury the only insurance that I could get which would cover a vacation paid in points was through the cruise company and more expensive than other insurances. Additionally I have the Marriott insurance which I was told would cover anything that I did with my Marriott timeshares but it doesn't cover anything if you use your points for tours or cruises. Use your weeks/points for timeshares. Best deal.
 

Jwerking

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We had to burn some DPs one yr - so did a Collette tour to Spain and Portugal for like 10 days and 9 nights. First time we had ever done a guided tour and was very disappointed- not for me.

I expected the tour to be fully guided, but we had LOTS of free time. Essentially there was a half day tour for about 3 hrs of city highlights and then you are on your own. We had an full extra day in Seville to figure out what to do with ourselves. Had to scramble to figure out what to do and how to use the public transportation system. I thought that I was going to be able to totally relax - not so.

The 10 day tour is really 7 days as they start counting the night your flight to Europe departs the USA, the day of arrival at your destination, and the last day when your return flight departs Europe - what a joke.

While breakfast at the hotel is included daily, lunch is pretty much on your own, and about half of the dinners are included with mediocre food. One night included dinner at an Italian restaurant- really, we were in Spain and would have appreciated some local food.

Only good thing was that Marriott guarantees the Collette tours will run - so even though there were only 5 couples on this tour, we had a full size tour bus for the trip. Either Marriott or Collete lost $$ on Operating this trip - so wonder if Marriott still provides the same guarantee?

Anyway, never again.
 

gsedlock

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Our experience on these tours differs from you with respect to free time. My wife and I enjoy exploring new cities on our own - including taking public transportation or taxis, finding cafes and restaurants, museums, site seeing spots, shops, etc. The tour description provides a list of the times you'll have free. That should be no surprise.

Regarding the counting of nights, all Collette tours do the same. While I can't swear by it, the whole industry counts days the same.

Regarding meals, again, the tour description lets you know what meals you get on what days, so that shouldn't be a surprise. The provided meals vary from excellent to OK. It's crazy to go to an Italian dinner in Spain.

On the tours we've been on, we covered a lot of ground and enjoyed the relaxation of sitting on the bus while the drive gets us to the next location.

Tours aren't for you. You may find a better experience from other companies. My wife and I really enjoy them. But, we're not getting a good value using our MVC points.
 

Bmerritt

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We had points to burn and went on a Collette tour of the National Parks, in April 2019. This tour included a driver who picked us up at our home, drove us to the airport, driver, picked us up at the destination airport and took us to the first hotel of the tour.
Loved the convenience of having transportation available throughout the 12 day trip. Being dropped off at close entrances to the parks, all meals were ordered off of full menus and restaurants had seats waiting for us for every meal. We were given plenty of time to explore at each stop. Our luggage was waiting for us at our hotels each night. The guide was informative and thoughtful.
The only drawback was ending the trip in Las Vegas. After viewing the breathtaking beauty of our National Parks, viewing Las Vegas took our breath away...not for its beauty!! Would not want to visit Las Vegas again.
Driver picked us up at the LV hotel, to the airport, and drive was at our home airport to take us home.....lots of money saved in parking fees the hotel.
Obviously, we are looking forward to reserving another trip soon.
 

chunkygal

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The national parks thing sounds interesting. It's all a trade off. We have so many points to burn..
 
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