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What should I buy?

Wishkah

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My wife and recently went to a Holiday Inn Club Vacations timeshare and it was our first time in New Orleans. We went the week of Easter and it was absolutely perfect! After Mardi Gras, before Jazz Fest and the weather was amazing (We live in Michigan so 80+ degrees in the last week of March/1st week of April was very nice). We were almost sold by the presentation but I am not one to make quick decisions without doing some research first and that's why I'm here now...

The pitch/offer was to "buy in" one week at the HICV in New Orleans for the week we were there and then we would also get 100k points that could be used in RCI for vacation(s) at other destinations. I've been looking for something similar to that here and on eBay but seeing any such offers.. Then my thought process was to try and find something with a home location of somewhere in driving distance (Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg is about a 9 hour drive) for our "home location to spend a week" and then use points to book our yearly trip to New Orleans... I'm overwhelmed and don't understand how some of the listings work. Example: "1 floating week at x location, 100k points"... I thought that fit our needs but after messaging the sellers it seems like it's actually you can either stay 1 week at that location or convert it to points to stay somewhere else... Definitely looking for some guidance here...


1) Is there a vacation destination you wish to visit most of the time or on a regular basis? if so where?
Yes, New Orleans once per year Late March/Early April

2) Do you want to visit your home resort at least half the time, or do you want to trade more than half the time?
Would prefer home resort once annually and points for another location once annually

3) What are your 5 top trade destinations?
New Orleans, Gatlinburg, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington

4) How many people do you usually travel with - total, including yourself?
One vacation with wife and myself,(2 people), One vacation with family (7-8 people)

5) Can you travel any time, or are you locked into the school schedule?
Prefer once in Winter and once in Summer..

6) Can you make firm plans 12 or more mos. in advance?
yes on most occasions although the pitch from HICV said there are a lot of last minute deals with for approx 20k points that would be great for long weekends on a whim

7) Can you vacation for a full week at a time?
yes, that would generally be sat-sat but we actually prefer 5 days at a time sun-thur as flights are cheaper

8) What level of accommodations do you prefer on a scale of 1 to 5 stars?
3-4

9) How much can you afford to spend upfront, without financing?
$1500-$2500 but no hurry. can wait for the best deal

10) How much can you afford to spend every year for a maintenance fee that will come due right after Christmas, and increase each year?
$500-$1500 (I see most offer this as monthly payments?)

11) Are you a detail oriented planner?
yes

12) Do you understand that once you buy a timeshare, it may be very difficult to sell or give away, and you are responsible for all fees, until you do?
yes
 

rboesl

TUG Review Crew: Expert
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Divi Village Beach & Golf Resort
Vidanta Grand Mayan
Villa del Arco Cobo
Grandview Las Vegas
Vacation Village at Bonaventure
When you book your home week there are no additional points deposited with RCI or Interval International. I've never heard of one that gives you both.

I noticed you travel once a year with 7-8 people. That typically means you will need a 3 bedroom unit. There aren't many of those and they are hard to get. Especially during peak times such as summer and holidays.

The exchange services (RCI & II) do offer some units for 20k points or less. But, usually those are for a full week. Plus they are either left over inventory, at independent resorts, or resort locations that are not too popular. It doesn't mean you won't have a nice time. But, you should be aware of what's available for those rates.

I've found that if I'm not set on staying at my home resort I can usually stretch my points to cover 2 vacations of a week each. But, I also only travel with just my wife.

If it were me in your situation, I would make sure my home week would be large enough to handle the 7-8 person trip. For the vacation with the wife I would use a "getaway" which are resort stays you reserve, for a cash price, wherever you want to go. Those getaways can still save you money plus they give you good flexibility on location.
 

vacationtime1

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
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WKORV-OF (Maui)
WKV x2 (Scottsdale)
I would start small and keep it simple. Timeshares are easy to buy but difficult to sell. If your initial purchase works for you, it will be easy enough to buy more later.

Figure out what you need for your annual NO trip and buy that on the resale market. I don't know HIVC so I have no idea whether it's the best NO option for you, but HIVC sells for pennies on the dollar on the resale market.

Don't buy HIVC (or anything) until you completely understand how it works; otherwise, how will you know whether it will meet your needs.
 

Wishkah

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When you book your home week there are no additional points deposited with RCI or Interval International. I've never heard of one that gives you both.

I noticed you travel once a year with 7-8 people. That typically means you will need a 3 bedroom unit. There aren't many of those and they are hard to get. Especially during peak times such as summer and holidays.

The exchange services (RCI & II) do offer some units for 20k points or less. But, usually those are for a full week. Plus they are either left over inventory, at independent resorts, or resort locations that are not too popular. It doesn't mean you won't have a nice time. But, you should be aware of what's available for those rates.

I've found that if I'm not set on staying at my home resort I can usually stretch my points to cover 2 vacations of a week each. But, I also only travel with just my wife.

If it were me in your situation, I would make sure my home week would be large enough to handle the 7-8 person trip. For the vacation with the wife I would use a "getaway" which are resort stays you reserve, for a cash price, wherever you want to go. Those getaways can still save you money plus they give you good flexibility on location.
Very good info here, thank you! The once a year family vacation is usually my wife and myself, our 2 teenage boys 16 and 17, and my daughter and her boyfriend.. sometimes my mother would join. Instead of a hard to get 3 bedroom I wonder if it would be easier to purchase 2 timeshares...

we could have my daughter and her boyfriend stay in a different hotel in the same city and the. It would probably be easier to find either enough points for 1 2 bedroom and 1 single bedroom or buy one timeshare with the 1 bedroom for lower maintenance fees and another one with points for the 2 bedroom...

Seems like Wyndham or Blue Green are the best options for NOLA and rci getaways for my wife and myself to say Denver or another area would be good. Still trying to digest everything on the forum but I'll wrap my head around it eventually I hope..
 

Wishkah

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I would start small and keep it simple. Timeshares are easy to buy but difficult to sell. If your initial purchase works for you, it will be easy enough to buy more later.

Figure out what you need for your annual NO trip and buy that on the resale market. I don't know HIVC so I have no idea whether it's the best NO option for you, but HIVC sells for pennies on the dollar on the resale market.

Don't buy HIVC (or anything) until you completely understand how it works; otherwise, how will you know whether it will meet your needs.
Definitely not set on HIVC, that is just the presentation we attended. I think if/when I purchase the points timeshare it seems like the more points the better. It's just difficult to know how many points in each different program would suit our needs.. rci was just appealing because there's a ton of locations to choose from.
 

WaikikiFirst

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if/when I purchase the points timeshare it seems like the more points the better.
did a TS salesperson tell you this? The right amount of points the better. You can stretch overhead costs across more points for a small win, but then you may end up being upset at having too many pts and some going to waste.
 

BJRSanDiego

TUG Review Crew: Expert
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San Diego
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Sands of Kahana, Desert Springs I, DSV2, Shadow Ridge Enclaves Dlx
Buying a timeshare that works for you and your wife is easier than trying to find one to accommodate a group of eight people. Also, as your sons and daughters grow up, get full time jobs, and your mother gets older, they may no longer be traveling with you. So, if you currently vacation with that big of a group, I'd just continue doing that. I suspect that hotel rooms for eight people could be pricey, but so are a couple of timeshares to handle that big of a group.

Finding 80 degree weather in March/April is a great relief from Michigan weather. You may also find warm weather in Palm Desert, Ca., Phoenix, Hawaii, New Mexico and Las Vegas. But that is a very high demand period. So, if you were booking your home resort, you'd want to set the clock and reserve it as early as possible. If you are exchanging (through RCI or Interval for example), you could find efficiency units and perhaps 1 BR units, but there is going to be very high demand for 2 or 3 BR units.

You mention that you expect to pay $500 to 1500 MF. The 4 and 5 star places probably have MF closer to $2000. A 3 star place may have a $1200 - 1500 MF. But a 3 star unit may have lower trading power making it more challenging for snagging Hawaii in their peak season. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but the odds are lower.

But, I think that you're progressing on a logical course - - go slow, learn, start with a timeshare for just you and your wife, etc.
 

HappyClam

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Resorts Owned
Bluewater Resort, multiple weeks, all fixed weeks, fixed unit, 3 br July weeks
So where do l begln? Flrst, we own July, redweeks, flxed weeks flxed unlt at Bluewater Resort Hllton Head. Been wlth Splnnaker slnce 1997. Old man Taylor passed last year, hls klds run the shop now. We are happy owners. A few mlnor glltches but almost always resolved amlcably. He got a lot of my money but that ls on ME. We upgraded, added weeks, went from floatlng to flxed, and then flxed a unlt we loved. But lts what we want and what we use. Our klds love lt and soon the grands wlll too. We have exchanged successfully. We get Developer Bonus Weeks unlmlted at DEEP dlscounts (baslcally the annual dues for a week of usage), space avallable. We also belong to lnterval and have exchanged and also used Getaways. All ln all we are very happy. But yes, tlmeshare ls baslcally a forever contract and lt passes to your klds elther ln a wlll or probate or trust and they have to pay the dues. Or they foreclose. But amortlzed over 28 years usage? We dld VERY well, and another 40 years? Amazlng value. Flexlble to move around FREE wlthln Splnnaker group of resorts, just call reservatlons. lnterval ls generally better quallty than RCl Resorts but Marrlott owns Interval and now Hilton bought Dlamond Resorts so we have access to all those, plus Sheraton Vlstana Resorts. We cant access Rltz Carlton however. And many Hyatts are ln the Interval lnventory onllne or the book. RCI was bought by Wyndham and they will do them well....
Slnce we own Hilton Head, a hlghly deslred vacatlon locale, lnterval glves us 2/1 automatlcally. The certlflcate ls better than an Accommodatlon Certlficate but does have some restrlctlons. ln Addltlon Platlnum and Gold Members at Interval can use the Short Stay Getaway plan and turn thelr deposlted week lnto two 6 nlght stays....essentially two weeks so that makes three weeks out of 1. You can book that as one vacatlon or split lt up as needed and of course what ls avalable and your tradlng power depends on when you deposlt and what you own.
l tell people that nobody forced you to buy anythlng. A blt of sales pressure but easily stopped by gettlng up from the table and saylng "where ls my partlng glft?" The end. YES, they sell a lot to present owners who want more tlme. More polnts. l am deeded, so thats what we wanted. Flxed cost except for the dues, whlch by the way, Splnnaker among lowest ln lndustry. At some polnt I expect Wyndham or Marrlott or Hllton or Hyatt to buy Splnnaker now that old man Taylor has passed. Thats flne.

Dld we make a good declslon over the years? YES. Love the resort, many frlends, and can trade extremely well, plus Getaways and also Developer Bonus weeks lnternally. NOT TRAPPED to my flxed weeks elther, just call reservatlons. Dues cover taxes, lnsurance, repalrs, furnlture refreshlng, grounds, pool, utilltles, ....housekeeplng. Use, enjoy and leave. No worrles. Rents reasonably well too. Thats all folks.
 

Wishkah

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did a TS salesperson tell you this? The right amount of points the better. You can stretch overhead costs across more points for a small win, but then you may end up being upset at having too many pts and some going to waste.
Yes the salesperson said "the more points the more travel opportunities".. Do points get wasted? I see a lot of talk of converting them and also have seen maybe some can roll over?
 

Wishkah

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Buying a timeshare that works for you and your wife is easier than trying to find one to accommodate a group of eight people. Also, as your sons and daughters grow up, get full time jobs, and your mother gets older, they may no longer be traveling with you. So, if you currently vacation with that big of a group, I'd just continue doing that. I suspect that hotel rooms for eight people could be pricey, but so are a couple of timeshares to handle that big of a group.

Finding 80 degree weather in March/April is a great relief from Michigan weather. You may also find warm weather in Palm Desert, Ca., Phoenix, Hawaii, New Mexico and Las Vegas. But that is a very high demand period. So, if you were booking your home resort, you'd want to set the clock and reserve it as early as possible. If you are exchanging (through RCI or Interval for example), you could find efficiency units and perhaps 1 BR units, but there is going to be very high demand for 2 or 3 BR units.

You mention that you expect to pay $500 to 1500 MF. The 4 and 5 star places probably have MF closer to $2000. A 3 star place may have a $1200 - 1500 MF. But a 3 star unit may have lower trading power making it more challenging for snagging Hawaii in their peak season. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but the odds are lower.

But, I think that you're progressing on a logical course - - go slow, learn, start with a timeshare for just you and your wife, etc.
$2000 maintenance fees isn't too scary to me if that's what it takes to get what we need... that being said 4 star units would mostly be for locations we might not want to leave the room too much as to where when we were in New Orleans we were hardly ever in the room...

I would expect the group travel to stay similar over the years, grandkids eventually, could take another couple or two with us. We don't usually all stay in one room we rent 2 or 3 rooms to accommodate everyone which is why I was thinking maybe 2 timeshares in NOLA instead of one... options seem pretty limited to make New Orleans our home unit and especially floating or even fixed for the first week April.. I wish we were bigger fans of Florida as there are lots of cheap direct flights out of Michigan but it's really not our cup of tea...

Colorado would be awesome, not in the Winter but spring or fall would be nice in Boulder or Colorado Springs(I get enough snow in Michigan so don't need to go out of state for it)
 
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