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Welk Resort - Experience

jays

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Hello,

We're considering Welk Resort as our first timeshare and had a great time in their Tahoe and Cabo locations. As we start looking into the details, I was hoping to find some guidance on what other have paid for their points with Welk and also how much have you seen the maintenance fees go up over the past years?

I'm looking at 240,000 points or possibly more. I was told by Welk that the maintenance goes up by ~5.48% every year. What has your experience been?

Lastly, how did the exchange program work for you? Do you like it? Does it work well? How about the new Disney partnership?

Thank you!!
 

Shankilicious

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We bought our 240k from the developer almost 4 years ago. Grand total was roughly $36k which I wish I had known about the resale market before that but I don't regret it as we are making progress and are saving money on very nice vacations. The first year was rough, learning how to best utilize the system and customer service was ungoldy awful, I'd spend hours on the phone. For the last two years, I get a live person without being put on hold and have my questions answered in minutes. I would definitely buy resale, and am considering adding a resale account in a couple years.
Yes, maintenance fees have gone up 4-5% every year. However, I have seen changes at my home resort in Branson. First year the appliances were black, now they're stainless. First year the TVs were basic LCD and thicker, now they're thin LED or better and the dvd players are now smart blu-ray players so we can watch Netflix, Hulu, Prime videos etc.
Exchanging is very easy. Just call owner services and tell them how many points you want to put into II, and then you'll get an Accommodation Certificate (AC). We did this last April and traded like 120k points, which would have gotten us a 1 bedroom, and paid around 100-200 to upgrade to a 2 bedroom at Spinnaker Bluewater in Hilton Head. I've used 3 of their bonus ACs without issue as well. I have not actually booked anything with RCI yet but I have been researching several resorts at destinations I'd like to go to, and I've gotten one click away from booking in Arizona this spring, Gatlinburg area in the fall, and near Disney this summer. So I'm anticipating RCI exchanges to be very smooth.
As far as Disney goes, the word on the street is I wouldn't hold my breath. You have to have more than 240,000 points to trade into the Disney resorts in the Experiences collection. I think it's at least 360k points. But pulling up availability through the Welk Owners lounge for all the other experiences resorts is extremely easy and shows you exactly how many points it will take. I've let numerous people stay using my points with 0 issues.
 

Shankilicious

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OK, so I just got off the phone with Owner Services and found this out. 540k annual "Platinum Premiere level" for Disney through Experiences and 780k annual "Platinum Select level" for Disney Hawaii. The ability to trade through the experiences collection into the Disney resorts, Aulani in Hawaii, or Seratoga Springs or Boardwalk in Florida requires that you buy from Welk and not resale/third party. I have no doubt that this is true as I don't have enough points to get to Disney in FL and therefore it's NEVER shown as even being available to me through the reservations page. I/you would need to get a resale owner in on this thread to really compare if there are very many other differences between owning developer vs resale.
 

jays

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Thank you Shankilicious. This is very helpful! I hope someone who purchased via resale provide some input
 

nuwermj

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Welk is a small system -- five locations and two more being built. The first question is whether you want to spend most of your time at one or two of these locations. If not, you might want to consider alternative developers with more options.

240k points in not very much. A two bedroom unit at Northstar is 420k points and a one bedroom at Village Place is 360k points. Breckenridge points are also high and I'm sure Hawaii will be high too. 240k could work for the older resorts (Escondido Villas, Palm Springs and Branson), but the new resorts require many more points. Cabo might be in between, 240k gets you a 1BR there.

I can't help much on pricing. My family has owned deeded weeks in Escondido since the 1980s. A few years ago we converted three weeks to points. We still have some deeded weeks as well.

I've not traded for any of the "Experiences" location. Many seem to me very expensive (points wise), but there are maybe two or three reasonably priced locations I might use some day. I can say that availability for Experiences units appears quite good compare to other timeshare systems that offer these kind of affiliations, but where availability is almost nil. Nevertheless, I've not actually made such a reservation, and, in the timeshare world, these are the kind of things that tend to change in the future. It's generally not a good idea to buy timeshares for the benefits offered by a developer, because developers regularly change those benefits.

Welk has always traded well in Interval. We generally exchange for Marriotts'. We don't get, for example, Newport Coast in July, but we regularly get it in the spring or fall. We're flexible with our timing -- which is a necessity for almost any timesharing. You need to be able to plan a year ahead and to be flexible with times and locations.

If you're interested in trading with Interval, there are less expensive ways to do that. Welk uses a two part pricing method for their annual fees. There's a fixed part (something over $600 I believe), and a per point part. This leads to the per point average fee falling as more points are acquired. So, for 240k points, you pay about $1,300 per year. We, however, own 780k points and our average fee per point is lower than yours. So, while your cost is about $1,300 for 240k, our average cost for the same points is slightly under $1,000. Moreover, my deeded weeks in the Villas at Escondido (a 2br unit rated at 240k points) costs only $980 annually. The point I'm trying to make is that a small Welk account is an expensive way to make Interval exchanges, and there are other less expensive options if exchanging is a major reason for buying this timeshare.

In summary, in my view Welk is a good system if you plan on spending most of your time at the Welk locations. If, however, you plan to spend most of your time exchanging, there are better alternatives.
 

Icc5

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Have had our Welk Villas bought on the secondary market as weeks now for about 25 years. Kept it as weeks and when trading I do this thru RCI. I have always been happy with it and we stay there almost every other week. It turns out to be not only our favorite resort but our young adult kids,our friends favorite place.
For me, it has always been my favorite. There is just something about it that when there, nothing else matters to me as the weight of the world lifts off my shoulders.
Bart
 

jays

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Thanks nuwermj and lcc5
 

jays

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@nuwermj , you mentioned that you often exchange with Marriott but oyu never get the booking in July? Is this due to the amount of points you have? How did you try to exchange? How is exchanging via Interval and why do you think it is expensive to exchange Welk points via interval?
 

Shankilicious

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Jay's, I think nuwermj is stating that Welk has fairly expensive makntmainte fees per points/2br. According to some comparison charts found around TUG, Welk MF fall in the mid-high range.
I feel Welk has very good trading power but I only own with them so I'm not the best to compare.
 

jays

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Hm, I'm not sure I'm following. 780,000 points are about $3300 a year maintenance. However, I expect 780,000 points to get about 35-40 nights within welk. This means 85-95$ per night. Am I missing something or isn't this a good deal.
 

nuwermj

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@nuwermj (1a) , you mentioned that you often exchange with Marriott but oyu never get the booking in July?

(1b) Is this due to the amount of points you have? How did you try to exchange?

(1c) How is exchanging via Interval and why do you think it is expensive to exchange Welk points via interval?


1a. The II supply of Marriott units in high seasons is low and demand is high. I'm not saying you will never get one, but it is very competitive and requests often go matched.

1b. I deposit my weeks 12 months in advance and use on-going requests for the search.

1c. If you own 240,000 Welk points, your annual fees are about $1,500. 240,000 deposited into interval will get you a 2br unit. My deeded unit in the Villas at Escondido has the same trading power, but costs me only $980.
 

jays

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Gotcha. I assume your deeded week trades better since II trades week for week. Is my understanding correct? How does it work with RCI and II? Do you have to transfer your points to II or RCI and only then you can make a booking? What if the place you're looking for is booked and you want to use your points with Welk again? Can you transfer it back?
 

jays

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Also, does anybody know if you can use RCI and II if you buy from an owner rather than from Welk?
 

nuwermj

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Gotcha. I assume your deeded week trades better since II trades week for week. Is my understanding correct? How does it work with RCI and II? Do you have to transfer your points to II or RCI and only then you can make a booking? What if the place you're looking for is booked and you want to use your points with Welk again? Can you transfer it back?

With II, you must have your own individual account. Then you call Welk Customer Service and request that they deposit a "week" for you. A two bedroom week is 240,000 points while a one bedroom is 120,000 points. Then your II account will show a deposited week which you can use to trade for II inventory.

If you have qualified points, you get a RCI corporate account. When you log in, you see all the available inventory and how many Welk points are needed to make the reservation. You do not deposit anything. You can also make an on going search. I'm not sure whether resale accounts get this RCI account. If not, the procedure would work more like the II procedure summarized above.
 

Shankilicious

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-If you buy Welk resale, you'll have to get a separate RCI according to owner services as Welk will not pay for your RCI membership.
-And no. If you trade into II, you cannot take the points/week back out. And I'm almost 100% certain that Welk is not selling deeded weeks anymore. Also with II, as I've said somewhere before, you can upgrade your unit size, if available, but it costs a bit extra. In April of 18 we traded to Hilton Head with 120k points in II, and stayed in a 2br after we payed for an upgrade.
-Also yes, you can have an RCI or II account with resale purchases. Lots of Tuggers have mentioned that they do this. A couple have said that they don't even own anywhere anymore and just use the II getaways.
 

jays

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If I book a unit via Welk, RCI, II can I rent it via Airbnb? Does anybody know if this is allowed?
 

Shankilicious

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You aren't "allowed" to sell or rent out exchanges through II or RCI. Welk and I think probably almost all resorts have a rental agreement where you can rent it out to whoever. I've only used VRBO/AirBnB twice so I'm not sure if they allow a person to rent out a "timeshare" rather than an owned property.
I've allowed several friends to stay at Welk using my points and I've also rented through the Welk rental program where they rented it out for me (they take a cut of the profits). In future if we can't use our points, I intend to just advertise via facebook and ebay.
 

Lskip

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1a. The II supply of Marriott units in high seasons is low and demand is high. I'm not saying you will never get one, but it is very competitive and requests often go matched.

1b. I deposit my weeks 12 months in advance and use on-going requests for the search.

1c. If you own 240,000 Welk points, your annual fees are about $1,500. 240,000 deposited into interval will get you a 2br unit. My deeded unit in the Villas at Escondido has the same trading power, but costs me only $980.


Any chance you're looking to sell a deeded week? Looking for week 11 or 12!
 
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