• 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 27 years!

    Join tens of thousands of other owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered!
  • TUG is asking for recent reviews of older resorts, earn a free year membership!

    Read more here
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $17,000,000 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 $17 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!

We're just not planners...

dsetzer

Guest
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Location
Columbia, MD
First, this is a newbie kind of post - I'm not a points owner, a timeshare owner - just a lowly cat and kid owner. I like the cat, but the kid...

Anyway - I've been exploring timeshares for a while now. My biggest issue with timesharing is that my wife and I don't know where we want to go for out summer vacation until, March - at the *earliest*, generally. We're just not planners - and when we plan, unless we've thrown the card down, we change our minds - a LOT. For instance, this year, we were going to go on a cruise, but decided it was too expensive. Thought about the beach, but then friends called us and talked about getting together - maybe Seaworld. I'm always up for a trip to Vegas, but it's not the most kid friendly.

Yada, yada, yada...

PLUS - my wife and I are much more fans of taking a few days a few times a year versus a whole week once a year. We're both young and have horribly short attention spans. (as if this posting wasn't perfect proof of that!)

I've been looking at the FF points program. Am I realistic in thinking that I'll be able to use the FF points program much like a hotel booking? Calling up anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months ahead of time and being able to find somewhere to go?

And, as for "where" - our biggest locations that we go are:
- Ocean City, MD for Labor Day (yeah, bleh - OC, but it's a family thing)
- New Jersey beaches (don't know if any timeshares are in Cape May, Stone Harbor, Avalon, etc)
- Virginia Beach (relatively close to where we live)
- Philadelphia (we make a handful of weekend trips a year, usually 2 or 3)
- Orlando (for either a week or an extended weekend - fri to mon, offseason is fine with us)
- Las Vegas (for an extended weekend again, Sat to Tues or Wed through Sat or so)

Figuring we'd do probably 5 "long weekend" types of trips a year. We have a 2 year old daughter, who right now sleeps on an air mattress - but, we'll soon like more than just a studio apt. and, as the family grows - a 2 bedroom will be nice.

It seems, with out travel habits (e.g. not full weeks) that points systems are the better way for us. But, what points system has the locations we're looking for? And, how many points will support our habits?

Thanks for listening. Comments, suggestions and witty sarcasm are welcome. Private messages make me feel dirty - so, they're welcome too.

-Doug
 

cluemeister

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
547
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
NH
I think Fairfield hits most of your requested vacation spots. I'm guessing you've seen their resort map, but if not:

Fairfield Resort map

Based on the fact you want to do partial weeks, I can't imagine that buying a weeks unit to trade would work for you.

That would leave you the point systems of Worldmark, Fairfield, Shell, and perhaps a few others.
 

JeffV

TUG Lifetime Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
825
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Houston, TX
Let's face it, timesharing isn't for everyone and maybe you are one of those. Rather than make yourself miserable, go the route that fits you best.
 

PeterS

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
267
Reaction score
49
Points
388
I am glad you came here for information before buying...

Once, when talking timeshare, a person jumped in to explain how much of a ripoff it was and when I asked why, they said they never get what they want a few weeks in advance, etc... I asked what there typical travel was like, and they said they take two weeks at their brother's cabin on a lake..?!?! Why would this person even consider timeshare?

The locations you listed
- Ocean City, Orlando, Virginia Beach..
Plenty of units but summer can be a tough trade with short notice... besides there are many good deals to just rent.

- New Jersey beaches,Philadelphia..
None in Philly or the shore towns.. a couple in AC but that's it.

- Las Vegas..
Tough trade short term, at least into a nice place...

You may not want to hear this but, if my lifestyle matched yours... I probably would not get into timesharing.

The best use and value comes from planning ahead and by using full weeks.. two items that don't fit your lifestyle.

I love timeshare but it doesn't fit everyone's lifestyle, so hang around and learn but proceed with caution...

Take a look at the posts....
people are already planning into 2007 and 2008....

Take care,
Pete
 

AwayWeGo

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
15,412
Reaction score
1,265
Points
699
Location
McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.
Resorts Owned
Grandview At Las Vegas

[triennial - points]
We Like Keeping Our Options Open.

dsetzer said:
My biggest issue with timesharing is that my wife and I don't know where we want to go for out summer vacation until, March - at the *earliest*, generally. We're just not planners - and when we plan, unless we've thrown the card down, we change our minds - a LOT.
We're just old 60-something retired folks, in reasonably good health, so in theory we could plan pretty far ahead. But we don't. We like to keep our options open. That keeps us from signing up to go on cruises in 2008, making resort reservations for 2007, etc.

But the flip side is that those open options give us some last-minute flexibility. That is, we're open to options that come up on short notice. So timeshare features like Last Call & Instant Exchange work to our advantage.

The main thing we like about (resale) timesharing is getting luxury accommodations for Motel 6 & Super 8 prices.

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

dsetzer

Guest
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Location
Columbia, MD
Pete & Jeff - I'm actually starting to wonder if it really is. Friends of ours own and we rent from them from time to time.

My thing with timesharing is just what Alan said - it's nice getting "luxury accomdations for Motel 6 & Super 8 prices". The full kitchens are just hard to turn your back on.

Thanks for the input... and keep it coming. I'm all ears. Good, bad, especially witty comments or otherwise.

-Doug
 

Judy

TUG Review Crew: ELITE
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
2,618
Reaction score
15
Points
423
Location
Melbourne Beach FL; Steamboat Springs CO
Think ahead. Timeshares and their related points systems are much easier to buy than sell. If you buy into one, you will probably want to keep it for a long time.
Your daughter will be in school in a few years, restricting your vacation options. School vacation times are hard to book/exchange-for when planning a year or more in advance. At the last minute, really tough; requiring a lot of luck, hard work, or the willingness to accept whatever's available. :eek:
 

lisa1001

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2005
Messages
326
Reaction score
38
Points
388
Location
VA
Fairfield is a great system for those last minute weekend getaways. Many times we have decided on Friday morning that we would like to go to Williamsburg for the weekend and have been able to do it on our points. However, these short trips are only worth it because we are FF VIP and get unlimited reservation transactions and unlimited housekeeping credits. Without this these weekend trips could cost us our points plus a $25 transaction cost and a $??? housekeeping cost. For those who wish to take many short trips FF is a great system to do it with, but only if you are VIP.
 

nrosetojr

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Location
Chesapeake Beach, MD
While I agree with Lisa1001 that Fairfield points is a great system for the flexibility of vacations, both within the Fairfield sytems of resorts and affiliates, but also for the flexibility of depositing a fixed number of points to RCI for exchanges, that combined with, the RCI exchange fee ($149.00 domestic & $189.00 international), has allowed me to obtain more weeks of vacations for my 154,000 points (at half of what is needed to achieve minimal VIP status in Fairfield), than I, almost, can use. I personally have found no need to buy enough points to achieve Fairfield VIP, which you can only get by paying developer (retail) prices. With retail prices running 12 to 14 cents a point, versus resale prices running around 2 to 2.5 cents a point, the difference in buying enough Fairfield points to get to beginning VIP status, i.e., 300,000 points (if all bought retail) is paying approximately $40,000 to the developer, versus around $9,200, for the same amount of points (but not VIP status) resale. Since with Fairfield you receive annually a free transaction per day per every 77,000 points, and keeping in mind you can make multiple reservations within the same day and it's only counted as one transaction, how many years would it take paying $25.00 per transaction, over the 4 free a year, to make up the difference of paying about $30,000 more for the same points retail vs resale?

So, I respectfully disagree with Lisa that VIP is the only way to go with Fairfield. I've reserved full week vacations with Fairfield, partial week vacations with Fairfield, and full week RCI exchanges, since becoming a Fairfield resale owner in 2004. Yet, with all these vacations, I've paid a transaction fee of $25.00 only once (and I get only 2 free transactions per year with my 154,000 points), and I have never paid for extra housekeeping service by running out housekeeping credits. The reason for this is that you don't pay for housekeeping credits when you deposit points to exhange through RCI, and to maximize my points, I exchange through RCI for most of my weekly stays, even if I use RCI to exchange back into a Fairfield resort, as I did this past Columbus Day week for Patriot's Place in Williamsburg with a 28,000 point deposit and the $149.00 exchange fee (the same week reserved through Fairfield would have cost me 154,000 points for the 2 br/2ba (lock-off) unit - my entire year's allotment). Yes, there are other ways to get Fairfield VIP without buying all points retail, but even by using PIC's, resale points, or a combination of PIC's and resale points and just purchasing the last points, (77,000 minimum, I believe) retail, that still comes to an additional $8,000 to $10,000 retail purchase (plus the PIC conversion costs $2,395 minimum above the original cost of the non-Fairfield timeshare used for the PIC), for points that are immedialtely worth around $2,300 reale, even that's a big "hit" to take to save $25.00 transaction fees, plus the other somewhat dubious VIP benefits, i.e., free one-step room upgrade, if available, early check-in, if available, etc., that VIP offers. Maybe Lisa was one of the lucky Fairfield VIPS that bought all her points resale, which was possible before 2004, until Fairfield clamped down on achieving VIP with all, or the last points purchased, resale, If that's the case, since it didn't cost anything to get VIP status, it was worth it. Otherwise, I can't see the cost benefit of paying retail to get VIP.

But to get back to the original poster's thread of not being planners, and whether timeshares would fit their lifestyle. No one can say for sure, but, in my experience you have to be into some planning to get the best out of owning a timeshare. Not sure how old your "kid" is (nor your "cat" for that matter), but you might find that with a school-age "kid", or better yet, "kids", your vacations revolve around school vacations (unless you home school and set your own vacation schedule), which may limit your planning for vacations to the weeks available based on school schedules. Then you just have to worry about the where to go, leaving one decision out of the planning factor.

From the location you're starting from, which you'll notice is not too far from the location I start from, Fairfield has a number of resorts within an easy day's drive. Atlantic City (NJ), Ocean City (MD), resorts in western Mass (Berkshires), Newport RI, Williamsburg (VA) - which we go to for at least a 4 day trip every 12- 18 months, New Burn NC, near the Ablemarle Sound, and just a couple of hours from NC's Outer Banks, and from Virginia Beach, and Fairfield Mtns, in Lake Lure NC near Asheville, another place we go every 12 - 18 months. All these mentioned are within an easy days drive of our Metro-DC location (though the MA, and RI area might be pushing the "easy drive" description, i.e., Rte 95,). I've also left out the Alexandria VA location, as that's too close, except maybe for visiting relatives, and other would-be house guests. These easy drive resorts can help non-planners take last minute, i.e., 45 days or less (I didn't promise no planning involved), vacations, but only during non-prime time, i.e., non-school vacation, weeks. To obtain reservations during school vacations requires, in most instances, between 6 months to 10 months, or more, prior planning. For example, last October I decided that we should go somewhere during this April's spring break (the week before Easter for our school system), I had a 42,000 point deposit with RCI, and decided that I wanted to go to Shenadoah Crossing, a non-Fairfield, but RCI resort, whose main feature, beyond then usual resort amenities (swimming pools, indoor & out, playgrounds, minigolf, golf, or lake boating, etc.), has an on-site horse stable, with various rider programs and lessons available daily at reasonable rates, and for children 6 and under, they have free pony rides (as long as one parent is willing to walk in circles leading the pony). As we have an 11-year old (girl), and a 4-year old (boy), both of whom, like their father, love to ride (guess who is going to be walking the pony alongside my son?), this resort was perfect. A 2 br/1ba (the one bath is unusual for us, as up until this one, we've always stayed in 2br/2ba condos), log cabin style stand alone cabin, for a reasonably desirable week, all this for 42,000 points and the $149.00 exchange fee is what makes both timeshares and advance planning worth it.

Hopefully this helps you in deciding whether timshares might be right for you, and whether the tradeoff of doing a little planning for the rewards is worth it. Only you and your wife can decide that.

If you'd like to learn more about the type of trades, vacations, and flexibility Fairfield offers (I am not a salesman, nor am I reselling any points), feel free to PM me.

Regards,
Nick
Chesapeake Beach, MD
 

MULTIZ321

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
26,259
Reaction score
7,090
Points
1,048
Location
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL
Resorts Owned
BLUEWATER BY SPINNAKER HHI
ROYAL HOLIDAY CLUB RHC (POINTS)
Fairfield Resale

Nick,

Thanks for the great reply on the ins & outs of Fairfield Resales and maximizing points and in the best Tugger tradition, saving money to boot.


Richard
 

Dean

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
7,607
Reaction score
2,087
Points
648
IMO, people who are not planners should not invest in timeshares. Maybe an exception would be someone who learned the systems well and could go very off season as well as someone willing to just take what they could find. But it sounded like you tend to travel in summer which is a tough time for short notice unless you want to go to low demand or high availability locations. Maybe you should rent a time or two and see how it goes then re-evaluate.
 

marion10

Guest
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
280
Reaction score
0
Points
176
Dean- I have to agree- I enjoy the thrill of the hunt- and we normally plan our vacations early anyway. I agree with the rental advice
 

pcgirl54

Tug Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,793
Reaction score
15
Points
273
Location
Florida
Resorts Owned
Marriott Barony Beach
Before I read everyone's post I was going to recommend renting a condo for a year or two to get a feel for that style of vacation. Your current vacation mode may change as kids grow but then you will be subject to a specific school schedule and may need to plan well in advance.

I would rent a condo or stay in hotel suites that have kitchens especially if you only travel a few days here and there. Amerisuites,Residence Inn and Embassy suites come to mind.

www.condodirect.com
 

EAM

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
1,090
Reaction score
0
Points
246
Location
Indiana
dsetzer said:
. My biggest issue with timesharing is that my wife and I don't know where we want to go for out summer vacation until, March - at the *earliest*, generally. We're just not planners - and when we plan, unless we've thrown the card down, we change our minds - a LOT. For instance, this year, we were going to go on a cruise, but decided it was too expensive. Thought about the beach, but then friends called us and talked about getting together - maybe Seaworld. I'm always up for a trip to Vegas, but it's not the most kid friendly.
Getting to an east coast beach at the last minute in the summer may not be realistic. Getting to Orlando in the summer is much easier, but your choices of resorts might be limited. At this time (Feb) there would be lots of June availability via Fairfield for Las Vegas, but maybe not many 2BRs. As long as you stay within Fairfield, the penalties for cancellation are few. If you cancel a reservation more than 30 days before checkin, you get your points back as cancelled reservation points, which you can use essentially the same way as regular points, and Fairfield does not charge and exchange fee. If you cancel a Fairfield reservation less than 30 days before checkin, you get limited account points, which can ONLY be used for reservations within 30 days of checkin or for deposit into RCI. In RCI, you'd lose money if you cancelled.
dsetzer said:
.
PLUS - my wife and I are much more fans of taking a few days a few times a year versus a whole week once a year.
If you decide to go with Fairfield, you should consider whether the PlusPartners option is worth it to you. I think that currently it is included with a purchase of points from Fairfield or you can buy a resale Fairfield fixed week and pay a fee ($2K - $3K) to Fairfield to have the fixed week converted to points and the PlusPartners option is added in the process. This option allows you to use your Fairfield points within the RCI Points system for less than full week stays. Note: this it is NOT an RCI points account - you have to go through Fairfield and the RCI Points grids don't apply. Fairfield has its own grid for RCI points resorts and it is the same for all RCI Points resorts. Also, with PlusPartners, you can use FSP points at hotels (sometimes a good deal, sometimes not); cancelling a reservation may result in a loss of $ and points.

You should realize that Fairfield permits 3, 4 and 7 or more day reservations at 10-3 months before checkin and that you have to check in or check out on a weekend in most cases. For reservations less than 3 months before checkin, two day reservations are permitted (and unofficially, one night reservations have been permitted).
dsetzer said:
.
I've been looking at the FF points program. Am I realistic in thinking that I'll be able to use the FF points program much like a hotel booking? Calling up anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months ahead of time and being able to find somewhere to go?
My guess is that except for holiday weeks, you could call 2 weeks to 3 months ahead of time and find somewhere to go. Whether you could afford the airfare at that point might be the problem. On the plus side, though, during the off season, Fairfield gives points discounts to owners (not just VIPs) who make last minute reservations.
dsetzer said:
.
And, as for "where" - our biggest locations that we go are:
- Ocean City, MD for Labor Day (yeah, bleh - OC, but it's a family thing)
- New Jersey beaches (don't know if any timeshares are in Cape May, Stone Harbor, Avalon, etc)
- Virginia Beach (relatively close to where we live)
- Philadelphia (we make a handful of weekend trips a year, usually 2 or 3)
- Orlando (for either a week or an extended weekend - fri to mon, offseason is fine with us)
- Las Vegas (for an extended weekend again, Sat to Tues or Wed through Sat or so)
Fairfield has a resort in Ocean City, but accomodations are "Very Limited." Not likely to be able to get in at the last minute. If you want Labor Day, you'll need to call first thing in the morning 10 months out and even then you might not get it.
As mentioned before, Fairfield has nothing in NJ, or at VA Beach, or in Philadelphia. They do have resorts at Atlantic City and Williamsburg. I would think availability would be pretty good, particularly for off season weekends. Same is true for Fairfield in Orlando (although Bonnet Creek might fill). I don't know about Las Vegas. My guess would be OK in high season, but not prime season. Right now there are still some units available for St. Patrick's Day.
dsetzer said:
.
Figuring we'd do probably 5 "long weekend" types of trips a year. We have a 2 year old daughter, who right now sleeps on an air mattress - but, we'll soon like more than just a studio apt. and, as the family grows - a 2 bedroom will be nice.

It seems, with out travel habits (e.g. not full weeks) that points systems are the better way for us. But, what points system has the locations we're looking for? And, how many points will support our habits?
-Doug
IF you decide to try timesharing, I would recommend starting with a relatively small number of points (e.g. 105K, 154K), then adding as time goes on if you are enjoying using the ones you have. I think that there are some Fairfield points charts posted as a "sticky" at the beginning of the Point-Based Resort forum. If you are seriously interested in Fairfield, you might consider joining the Fairfield_Timeshare Yahoo! group. Be sure to study the information in the group's Files section.
 

EAM

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
1,090
Reaction score
0
Points
246
Location
Indiana
Last Call

Another reason for starting with a relatively small number of points is that you may find that RCI's Last Call is a good source of last minute vacations for you. At $99/week for a studio, $149 for a 1BR, and $199 for a 2 BR, you are paying far less than you would pay in maintenance fees for a week you owned. Even if you check in late or leave early, these weeks can be a good deal. You would have to be flexible about your destination, though.
 

Laurie

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,873
Reaction score
559
Points
498
Location
NC
I didn't used to be a planner either, before I owned timeshares. And I took very little vacation time. One of the appeals of the timeshare idea was committing to go on vacation for longer periods of time, though I couldn't fathom how I could really get away for that long. So I bought a cheap week just to see whether we (timesharing and I) were compatible.

Owning timeshares has radically changed my conceptions and practices around travel, mostly in a good way, and has really worked out. I've been a pretty satisfied weeks owner (frustrations with RCI being the caveat) and haven't felt the need to go to points for shorter stays. I would just say, whatever you try, go slow, and try to not initially spend more than you could resell for (ie buy resale), until you see how whichever system you choose is working for you.
 

geekette

Guest
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
10,247
Reaction score
4,941
Points
648
I'm with Laurie

Before we owned, we didn't take real vacations. Sure, I took time off from work, but that time was usually spent at home, painting or cleaning out the garage or some other non-fun activity. There have also been plenty of times that my vacation got hijacked by a family matter - usually weddings.

Now, we pick a time and see what's available. It's a great deal of fun to make a plan and wait for the vacation to arrive.

Maybe you aren't planners now, but you could be?

As the others have said, start small. See if you really can schedule one week a year and actually Do It.
 

mapper

Tug Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
119
Reaction score
1
Points
226
Location
Riverside County, California
Hi Doug!

We never had time to vacation, always working and three kids to contend with. We purchased a small WorldMark Trendwest ownership and only booked a couple of bonus time weekends or nights the first 1 year and a half. (We could book anywhere from 14 days to last minute on the bonus time.)

Well things do change, and at our second year of ownership, (with a slight health scare), we started to take some time for our family vacations. We upgraded our ownership with more credits to comfortably book 3 bedroom units for a full week, plus sprinkle some stolen weekends here and there.

WorldMark has been the best ownership with the most flexibility so far. We own 6 other timeshares now, (going into our 5th year of ownership!), some point related like Monarch Grand Vacations, and some deeded float weeks at specific resorts, and we owe our time share happiness to the fact that we did purchase WM early on. (Not so scary!)

We weren' t planners, we are getting better, but we have lots of flexibility with the timeshares we have chosen.
 

Sunny4me

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
222
Reaction score
1
Points
228
Location
Canada
Hi

Think of it this way too. If you shop wisely and get a really good deal on resale, if it doesn't work for you, you can sell it for what you paid for it or very close to it.

With a good deal on resale, you're holding an asset so there's very little downside.
 
Top