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What are you actually buying?

toddvb20

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Hello. I just got back from Kaua'i and I stumbled across this forum while doing a search for SVO.

My wife and I attended a sales presentation at the Westin Princeville and also talked to a time share resale agent in his office and I am a little confused as to what one is buying. At the presentation they were selling Staroptions. The resale agent was selling an "annual two bedroom floating week" timeshare at the Westin Princeville.(Starwood wanted $55,000 and the resale agent had one for $15,000)

Does that mean that if I buy from Starwood I am buying Staroptions(148,100 SOs to use in the network at ANY resort in the Westin family that I choose) and if buy a resale I am buying a 2 bedroom condo for a week at the Westin Princeville(to be used at that resort ONLY)?

I've read the "sticky notes" and understand that the Princeville resort is not a "mandatory" resort but does that mean I cannot exchange my week at Princeville for a week at a Maui Westin or for the Westin in Cancun?

Also, both at the sales presentation and at the time share resale office they mentioned that it was better to buy a Hawaii property because that gave you more clout when you were trying to do exchanges to other resorts. Is that accurate?

When we were at the sales presentation the sales person said that you do not have to use the two bedrooms all in a week. The model they showed us had a one bedroom condo with a studio condo "attached" making it a two bedroom. If you wanted the entire two bedrooms it would be the entire 148,100 SOs. If you wanted the one bedroom for a week it would be XX,XXX amount of SOs and if you wanted just the studio for just a week it would be XX,XXX of SOs(I can't remember what the exact amounts were). Would you have that same amount of flexibility if you bought a resale unit?

I guess what adds to my confusion is that the resale agent said that all the rights of the original owner transfer with the deed but after reading forum threads that does appear to be the case. Owners of mandatory properties and voluntary properties have different rights or am I wrong?

If there is a thread that speaks to these questions please steer me in the right direction. Thanks for your help!
 

vacationtime1

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You have a good understanding for someone who just came to the party.

Yes, the difference between a developer purchase and a resale purchase at an SVO voluntary resort is StarOptions -- Starwood's internal trading system. It is very cool, but not worth the $40K differential. (If you purchase from Starwood, you would also have the right to trade your unit for StarPoints -- Starwood's hotel point system -- but that is not cost/effective in most situations.)

Whether you buy from Starwood or resale, you could still trade in Interval. The problem is that Princeville has very high maintenance fees ("MF's"), it is not a cost/effective trader, and it has no more trading power when trading through Interval for a Starwood unit than a lowly Sheraton Desert Oasis ("SDO") unit that you can buy for $1,000 and pay $910 annual MF's (vs. $2,400 at Princeville).

If StarOptions are important, buy a resale at Westin Kierland for about $15,000; it comes with 148,100 StarOptions and MF's of abut $1,216 + SVN; it trades the same as Princeville.

You may split your unit between the one bedroom and the studio and stay for two weeks (or trade half) regardless of whether you purchase developer or resale.

All of the "rights of ownership" do in fact transfer with the deed. The problem is that Starwood has constructed the voluntary resorts such that SVN membership is not a right deeded with the unit (it is at mandatory resorts).

Princeville is a beautiful resort, but unless you want to go there every year and being able to make a reservation 8-12 months out is critical for you, it is not the best deal to own whether you buy from Starwood or resale.
 
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DeniseM

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Hi and welcome to TUG:

Here's a brief answer - please let me know what isn't clear.

What are you actually buying: You are buying a deeded timeshare for one week, that can be used for trading. The number of Staroptions determines its trade value in the Starwood system.

I would not buy at the Westin Princeville at all:

1. It is a beautiful resort, but it has really high maintenance fees and it's easy to trade in with a much less expensive resort.

2. Again - really high maintenance fee

3. Because it's a voluntary resort, it has nearly no resale value. To resale it you would have to virtually give it away.

If you buy from the developer:
•You will pay top dollar - and lose 50-90% when you walk out the door
•You can convert your week to hotel points (a poor value most of the time)
•You can trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
•You can make a reservation at your home resort
•You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.

If you buy a mandatory resort (resale):
•You will pay less - but still a significant price
•You can't convert your week to hotel points
•You can trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
•You can make a reservation at your home resort
•You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.

If you buy a voluntary resort (resale):
*You can often get a week totally free
•You can't convert your week to hotel points
•You can't trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
•You can make a reservation at your home resort
•You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.
 
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ValleyGirl

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Kauai

Our first developer purchase was at Princeville. This was before we came to TUG. As the previous poster mentioned - the high maintenance fees do not justify paying high developer or high resale prices.

Rescind if you bought and if not keep reading TUG! Starwood is a great vacation network but better to buy Vistana Villages or Kierland mandatory resales cheap and then "Requal" those on subsequent developer purchase.

Familiarize yourself with all the threads. There is a wealth of information here.

We too were "Eyes Fogged Over" by Kauai's beauty, but are now "Eyes Wide Open" because of TUG!!

Vickie
 

MommaBear

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Our first developer purchase was at Princeville. This was before we came to TUG. As the previous poster mentioned - the high maintenance fees do not justify paying high developer or high resale prices.

We too were "Eyes Fogged Over" by Kauai's beauty, but are now "Eyes Wide Open" because of TUG!!

Vickie
I couldn't say this any better! I have decided to not regret my retail purchase (also known as swallowing the bitter pill) but there is still a small part of me that wishes I had discovered resale first. I really like the Satrwood brand and appreciate the quality it gives me.
 

toddvb20

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Thanks for all the responses! I know now not to buy at Princeville. From what I think I'm hearing even $15,000 is overpriced?

There were a couple of suggestions thrown out there. One was buy a mandatory Kierland so you get the SOs or buy a Sheraton Desert Oasis. Say we would buy the SDO property(I'm assuming a voluntary resort) would we have any chance of getting a week in Hawaii(either Princeville or one of the Maui resorts)? Hawaii is where we want to go but I realize you get what you pay for too. I guess the comments from the Starwood rep and the resale agent are still sticking with me that you need to buy a Hawaii property to give you the most clout

If you buy a voluntary resort why would you get a week free?

Is it necessary to requalify a purchase if it's at a mandatory resort?

Thanks for all the help. I'm going to join TUG. The advice already given has already saved me a boatload of cash.
 

capjak

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Thanks for all the responses! I know now not to buy at Princeville. From what I think I'm hearing even $15,000 is overpriced?Yes too much either way.

There were a couple of suggestions thrown out there. One was buy a mandatory Kierland so you get the SOs or buy a Sheraton Desert Oasis. Say we would buy the SDO property(I'm assuming a voluntary resort) would we have any chance of getting a week in Hawaii(either Princeville or one of the Maui resorts)? Hawaii is where we want to go but I realize you get what you pay for too. I guess the comments from the Starwood rep and the resale agent are still sticking with me that you need to buy a Hawaii property to give you the most clout I own at WKORV-North but usually use staroptions to book my week as I do not always plan ahead. I have gone springbreak (March), January, June, August all on staroptions and even at 90 days prior to check in so I really do not need Hawaii but I do like having staroptions so I would buy mandatory resale

If you buy a voluntary resort why would you get a week free? sometimes people give them away for free or close to it like sheraton vistana resort

Is it necessary to requalify a purchase if it's at a mandatory resort? Nope, mandatory come with staroptions but not starpoints (I would buy a resale mandatory that has at least 81,000 staroptions


Thanks for all the help. I'm going to join TUG. The advice already given has already saved me a boatload of cash.
That is it enjoy
 
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vacationtime1

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There were a couple of suggestions thrown out there. One was buy a mandatory Kierland so you get the SOs or buy a Sheraton Desert Oasis. Say we would buy the SDO property(I'm assuming a voluntary resort) would we have any chance of getting a week in Hawaii(either Princeville or one of the Maui resorts)? Hawaii is where we want to go but I realize you get what you pay for too. I guess the comments from the Starwood rep and the resale agent are still sticking with me that you need to buy a Hawaii property to give you the most clout.
If you plan to travel to Hawaii off-season, buying SDO or Kierland is a no brainer; trading will work if you plan in advance.

Summer and holidays are tougher, but certainly do-able using StarOptions from Kierland or Vistana Villages (and possibly Interval trading with SDO). Christmas vacation will require buying there (iirc).
 

rickandcindy23

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If you can do without the Westin/ Starwood luxury, there are some really beautiful timeshares on Kauai with much lower fees. I would rather own Wyndham Shearwater float weeks (not Wyndham points) than any resort on Kauai, but it's not luxury, it's just great ocean views and is across the golf course along the ocean from the Westin. The pool is small, but the views from every lanai are breathtaking.

Pono Kai is very nice and is free on eBay (yes, seriously). Also, one of the nicest resorts on Kauai is the Shell Points resort, near Pono Kai, and it's called Kauai Beach Boy. They have oceanfront units, and Shell points are free on eBay. You should buy only Hawaii points to get the oceanfront units.

There are some Marriotts on Kauai, too, and Lawai Beach Resort, and Point at Poipu, all of which are cheaper fees than the Westin.

Loving Kauai doesn't even require that you own Kauai. You can buy some cheap timeshares and trade into Kauai very easily. Whale season is slightly tougher. It's absolutely amazing to me.
 

ampaholic

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If you can do without the Westin/ Starwood luxury, there are some really beautiful timeshares on Kauai with much lower fees. I would rather own Wyndham Shearwater float weeks (not Wyndham points) than any resort on Kauai, but it's not luxury, it's just great ocean views and is across the golf course along the ocean from the Westin. The pool is small, but the views from every lanai are breathtaking.

Pono Kai is very nice and is free on eBay (yes, seriously). Also, one of the nicest resorts on Kauai is the Shell Points resort, near Pono Kai, and it's called Kauai Beach Boy. They have oceanfront units, and Shell points are free on eBay. You should buy only Hawaii points to get the oceanfront units.

There are some Marriotts on Kauai, too, and Lawai Beach Resort, and Point at Poipu, all of which are cheaper fees than the Westin.

Loving Kauai doesn't even require that you own Kauai. You can buy some cheap timeshares and trade into Kauai very easily. Whale season is slightly tougher. It's absolutely amazing to me.
Very good advice I think ... but

I bet you can get some real cheap units at Point at Poipu right about now - at least until the $5800 Special Assessments are paid. :eek:
 

bryanphunter

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There were a couple of suggestions thrown out there. One was buy a mandatory Kierland so you get the SOs or buy a Sheraton Desert Oasis. Say we would buy the SDO property(I'm assuming a voluntary resort) would we have any chance of getting a week in Hawaii(either Princeville or one of the Maui resorts)? Hawaii is where we want to go but I realize you get what you pay for too. I guess the comments from the Starwood rep and the resale agent are still sticking with me that you need to buy a Hawaii property to give you the most clout
I used my two 1 br SDO weeks to trade into WKOVR-North (Maui) for two weeks in January 2012. I have a two bedroom lock-off the first week and the larger 1 bedroom side for the second week. I did this through Interval International.
 

DeniseM

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From what I think I'm hearing even $15,000 is overpriced?
Yes - I saw one for under $1,000 on ebay recently.

There were a couple of suggestions thrown out there. One was buy a mandatory Kierland so you get the SOs or buy a Sheraton Desert Oasis. Say we would buy the SDO property(I'm assuming a voluntary resort) would we have any chance of getting a week in Hawaii(either Princeville or one of the Maui resorts)? Hawaii is where we want to go but I realize you get what you pay for too. I guess the comments from the Starwood rep and the resale agent are still sticking with me that you need to buy a Hawaii property to give you the most clout
Forget everything they told you and start fresh - sales people have one goal: to make the sale. Tuggers routinely trade into WPORV through II, with the exception of holiday weeks.

If you buy a voluntary resort why would you get a week free?
In this economy there are hundreds of free weeks available - everywhere - not just Starwood. Voluntary Starwood timeshares don't have Staroptions so the sell for less. Most people have no idea that you can use a voluntary resale and trade into the top Starwood resorts - with the exceptions of holiday weeks, and St John and Harborside - they are more difficult.

Is it necessary to requalify a purchase if it's at a mandatory resort?
It's never necessary to requalify ANY purchase - mandatory or voluntary. To requalify, you must buy another timeshare at full retail. There's not much point in it unless you are going to go all the way to 5 Star Elite.
 

vacationtime1

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Thanks for all the responses! I know now not to buy at Princeville. From what I think I'm hearing even $15,000 is overpriced?
Yes - I saw one for under $1,000 on ebay recently.
I saw two Westin Princeville units for under $1,000 -- but they were both every other year. The last two annual units I recall closed at about $4,000 and $6,000.

But this is not a place to own; it is a place to exchange into, unless you absolutely need a firm reservation more than eight months in advance.
 

toddvb20

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If you plan to travel to Hawaii off-season, buying SDO or Kierland is a no brainer; trading will work if you plan in advance.

Summer and holidays are tougher, but certainly do-able using StarOptions from Kierland or Vistana Villages (and possibly Interval trading with SDO). Christmas vacation will require buying there (iirc).
Probably a dumb question but what are the peak seasons and the off seasons? The best time for us to travel is September through mid November. Are these hard months to get?
 

DeniseM

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Probably a dumb question but what are the peak seasons and the off seasons? The best time for us to travel is September through mid November. Are these hard months to get?
September through November is a great time to travel, because it's off-season and the easiest time of the year to get. (Except for Thanksgiving week.) If that's when you want to travel, an Interval exchanger (voluntary resale week) would work well for you and cost a lot less $$$, upfront and ongoing.
 
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toddvb20

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September through November is a great time to travel, because it's off-season and the easiest time of the year to get. (Except for Thanksgiving week.) If that's when you want to travel, an Interval exchanger (voluntary resale week) would work well for you and cost a lot less $$$, upfront and ongoing.
So if I'm looking to buy something, a two bedroom floating week annual at SDO for example, would be a good way to go?

How much does it cost to do an exchange from SDO to Westin Princeville or to one of the Maui's?
 

DeniseM

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So if I'm looking to buy something, a two bedroom floating week annual at SDO for example, would be a good way to go?

How much does it cost to do an exchange from SDO to Westin Princeville or to one of the Maui's?
A 2 bdm. Gold Plus week (1-52 floating week)

A 2-for-1 membership with II will cost you about $50 a year.

The exchange fee for a Starwood to Starwood exchange is $104 - although it may have gone up to $114 lately.

The 2011 maintenance fee was - $908.41

So you could trade into Princeville for about $1,062 a year - compared to the Princeville maintenance fee of $2,357.

You can also split the 2 bdm. SDO week and get two trades out of it.
 

toddvb20

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Just out of curiosity, what what it cost for a non owner to rent Princeville or Maui for a week in Sept through mid November?

Also, what's the best way to buy an SDO? eBay or some other online program?

Thanks again everyone for all of your help!
 

DeniseM

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Just out of curiosity, what what it cost for a non owner to rent Princeville or Maui for a week in Sept through mid November?
I rent my 2 bdm. at WKORV for $3,600 a week. WPORV goes for less - Kauai has far less demand for rentals.

Also, what's the best way to buy an SDO? eBay or some other online program?
The cheapest place is ebay.

A few tips:
-Check out the sellers rating on ebay and here on TUG.
-Make sure you understand the ebay Ad - ask the seller and on TUG if you don't.
-Realize that it is common for eby Ads to have major errors.
-Don't pay in full upfront - make a minimum deposit.
-Then ask the seller/closing company for a Resale Info. sheet from Starwood to verify what you are buying.
-Don't make final payment until you are sure everything is correct.
-If it's not - you can get a refund and walk away - ebay auctions are not binding.
-Use a closing/escrow company
 
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Mjasp

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Hi and welcome to TUG:

Here's a brief answer - please let me know what isn't clear.

What are you actually buying: You are buying a deeded timeshare for one week, that can be used for trading. The number of Staroptions determines its trade value in the Starwood system.

I would not buy at the Westin Princeville at all:

1. It is a beautiful resort, but it has really high maintenance fees and it's easy to trade in with a much less expensive resort.

2. Again - really high maintenance fee

3. Because it's a voluntary resort, it has nearly no resale value. To resale it you would have to virtually give it away.

If you buy from the developer:
•You will pay top dollar - and lose 50-90% when you walk out the door
•You can convert your week to hotel points (a poor value most of the time)
•You can trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
•You can make a reservation at your home resort
•You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.

If you buy a mandatory resort (resale):
•You will pay less - but still a significant price
•You can't convert your week to hotel points
•You can trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
•You can make a reservation at your home resort
•You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.

If you buy a voluntary resort (resale):
*You can often get a week totally free
•You can't convert your week to hotel points
•You can't trade for other timeshares in the Starwood system
•You can make a reservation at your home resort
•You can trade for Starwood resorts, and other resorts with an exchange Co.
Thanks Denise for this information!
 

vacationtime1

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Probably a dumb question but what are the peak seasons and the off seasons? The best time for us to travel is September through mid November. Are these hard months to get?
September through November is a great time to travel, because it's off-season and the easiest time of the year to get. (Except for Thanksgiving week.) If that's when you want to travel, an Interval exchanger (voluntary resale week) would work well for you and cost a lot less $$$, upfront and ongoing.
Low season in Hawaii goes into mid-December (excepting Thanksgiving week). However, rainy season in Princeville starts in late November.

Hawaii is also a fairly easy exchange starting in April (after Easter and spring break) through early June (excepting Memorial Day week).

We have done multiple exchanges into two bedroom units at WPORV and WKORV using SDO and SBP one bedroom units during low season. The Starwood to Starwood preference in Interval is a very powerful tool.
 

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A 2 bdm. Gold Plus week (1-52 floating week)

A 2-for-1 membership with II will cost you about $50 a year.

The exchange fee for a Starwood to Starwood exchange is $104 - although it may have gone up to $114 lately.

The 2011 maintenance fee was - $908.41

So you could trade into Princeville for about $1,062 a year - compared to the Princeville maintenance fee of $2,357.

You can also split the 2 bdm. SDO week and get two trades out of it.
What does a "Gold Plus" mean? Is being able to trade on RCI important too?
 

vacationtime1

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What does a "Gold Plus" mean? Is being able to trade on RCI important too?
Gold Plus is Starwood's designation for the season in which this particular week floats (1-52). Gold Plus differs from resort to resort, and the names of the season labels change at Starwood's whim. What is important is the actual float season which is deeded and cannot change.

I know little about RCI. It is true that SDO trades in RCI, but from what I read here, SDO is not a powerful RCI trader. Its trading strength derives mostly from its Starwood to Starwood preference within Interval.
 
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DeniseM

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What does a "Gold Plus" mean? Is being able to trade on RCI important too?
The main value of a Starwood trader is for Starwood to Starwood trades - where you have first priority.

You don't have that priority with RCI - you strictly trade your point value - which is mediocre for SDO.

All of the top Starwood resorts are with II, only a few of the older ones are with RCI.
 

toddvb20

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Gold Plus is Starwood's designation for the season in which this particular week floats (1-52). Gold Plus differs from resort to resort, and the names of the season labels change at Starwood's whim. What is important is the actual float season which is deeded and cannot change.

I know little about RCI. It is true that SDO trades in RCI, but from what I read here, SDO is not a powerful RCI trader. Its trading strength derives mostly from its Starwood to Starwood preference within Interval.
I'm a little confused about what the float means. If something is advertised as a 1-52 on eBay is that the broadest(or the most desirable) you can get?
 
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