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What should I buy?

EastCoast

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Greetings! We are planning to possible buy in spring of 2025. This week we are travelling again to Sheraton Vistana Villages with our presentation on Saturday. We have been to many of these in the Orlando area (we are in NE FL) and we haven't really considered anything until Marriott merged everything, the switch to points and our SVV presentation last year wasn't awful like years past. I have a long list of questions to ask our sales person to see what they say or promise. Also, we are Marriott Bonvoy members and have stayed at almost all of the of the Marriott vacation club properties in the Orlando area.
Lastly so their is no doubt, the sales person, their manager, and the last chance person before we leave will all get a "No".

1) Is there a vacation destination you wish to visit most of the time or on a regular basis? if so where?
Orlando usually once or twice a year and then anything within a 6-8 drive of NE FL. "Luggage heavy" family so driving works for now. Kids are getting older so we want to start flying in the future.

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?
Visit at least half the time for the next few years

3) What are your 5 top trade destinations?
Hawaii, Caribbean, Colorado...tbd

4) How many people do you usually travel with - total, including yourself?
Family of 4 (2 adults, 2 preteens) We would not want anything less than a 2BR

5) Can you travel any time, or are you locked into the school schedule?
School schedule yes but we do some shorter trips during the school year

6) Can you make firm plans 12 or more mos. in advance?
Probably. We have been planning 6-8 months ahead for week long trips but we love last minute escapes.

7) Can you vacation for a full week at a time?
Yes

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

9) How much can you afford to spend upfront, without financing?
~$10k

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?
~$2k

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?
Yep...hence coming here :)
 

vacationtime1

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You don't have to buy in Orlando to stay in Orlando (as you know). There are usually tons of rentals and getaways which are less expensive than paying MF's and exchange fees.

Don't trust the salespeople to give you straight answers to your questions; don't even trust them to give you accurate answers. TUG is a better resource for honest information. Ask away,

Stay away from Marriott's points product (Abound); there are almost always cheaper ways than Abound to get what you want.

Think about buying a resale non-Orando Marriott or Vistana week (if you are going to buy anything; you seem to be doing fine without the commitment of ownership at this point).
 
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jp10558

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HGVC Seaworld
Wyndham Smoky Mountains
Foxrun Lake Lure
Marriott is probably going to be higher MFs in a lot of cases. How sold are you on Marriott 4 star resorts? Are you planning on doing one single week a year this way?

In the 4 star category, there's probably only HGVC (which is now sadly quite intentionally confusing for locations with HVC/Diamond and Bluegreen and HGVC -but not - Embarc). But HGVC Legacy is pretty easy to get 2BR MFs sub $1,600 and Craig Lodges in Scotland would be easy to get 3BR for $1,300 MFs, through their official resale channel. That gets you 13,000ish points, which you can easily use in Orlando and Hawaii for 2BRs, and then save some points to the next year for the more expensive (and harder to book, need to do RIGHT at 9months and may need to walk) Colorado / Breckenridge location, and there's RCI too. The RCI is going to be more like 3 stars in most locations, but are cheaper in points for 2BRs so can again save and maybe get 2 low season trips every other year. You can also use RCI for ~$1,300 or less extra vacations relatively easily for 2BR in many places, but certainly Virginia, Vermont, other areas in Florida, etc etc.

That said, for East coast flexibility, with at least some locations all over the US, Wyndham really can't be beat. They're 3 stars, but are much cheaper to pick up resale. MFs are probably about the same as HGVC but you get a lot of locations, and it's easier to book / more availability in a lot of cases. Especially at 10 months out. They also trade in RCI.

The other alternative, if you really like Marriott and are willing to plan and play a game a bit is to pick up a cheaper MF but good Trader in II. It won't get you everywhere, but it will pull Marriott. Of course, it's hard to say what that good trader might be - the one I'm going to try is Fox Run for ~$950 MFs for 2BR. Given I have yet to make a trade in II, I'll have to let others give advice here.
 

EastCoast

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You don't have to buy in Orlando to stay in Orlando (as you know). There are usually tons of rentals and getaways which are less expensive than paying MF's and exchange fees.

Don't trust the salespeople to give you straight answers to your questions; don't even trust them to give you accurate answers. TUG is a better resource for honest information. Ask away,

Stay away from Marriott's points product (Abound); there are almost always cheaper ways than Abound to get what you want.

Think about buying a resale non-Orando Marriott or Vistana week (if you are going to buy anything; you seem to be doing fine without the commitment of ownership at this point).
I have been looking at rentals recently so that makes sense and Orlando is vacation property dense so owning there doesn't seem logical. Good to know about Abound. Still confused about the differences between Marriott and Sheraton points since I thought they were all one after the mergers but just more for me to read up on.
 

EastCoast

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Marriott is probably going to be higher MFs in a lot of cases. How sold are you on Marriott 4 star resorts? Are you planning on doing one single week a year this way?

In the 4 star category, there's probably only HGVC (which is now sadly quite intentionally confusing for locations with HVC/Diamond and Bluegreen and HGVC -but not - Embarc). But HGVC Legacy is pretty easy to get 2BR MFs sub $1,600 and Craig Lodges in Scotland would be easy to get 3BR for $1,300 MFs, through their official resale channel. That gets you 13,000ish points, which you can easily use in Orlando and Hawaii for 2BRs, and then save some points to the next year for the more expensive (and harder to book, need to do RIGHT at 9months and may need to walk) Colorado / Breckenridge location, and there's RCI too. The RCI is going to be more like 3 stars in most locations, but are cheaper in points for 2BRs so can again save and maybe get 2 low season trips every other year. You can also use RCI for ~$1,300 or less extra vacations relatively easily for 2BR in many places, but certainly Virginia, Vermont, other areas in Florida, etc etc.

That said, for East coast flexibility, with at least some locations all over the US, Wyndham really can't be beat. They're 3 stars, but are much cheaper to pick up resale. MFs are probably about the same as HGVC but you get a lot of locations, and it's easier to book / more availability in a lot of cases. Especially at 10 months out. They also trade in RCI.

The other alternative, if you really like Marriott and are willing to plan and play a game a bit is to pick up a cheaper MF but good Trader in II. It won't get you everywhere, but it will pull Marriott. Of course, it's hard to say what that good trader might be - the one I'm going to try is Fox Run for ~$950 MFs for 2BR. Given I have yet to make a trade in II, I'll have to let others give advice here.
I have stayed at a few Wyndhams but that was years ago. Maybe I am not valuing stars correctly? To your other point about Marriott overall, I really do not want to fight for options by putting in work like a second job. We just know Marriott and it is a bonus to earn Bonvoy points while staying there.
 

jp10558

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Foxrun Lake Lure
I have stayed at a few Wyndhams but that was years ago. Maybe I am not valuing stars correctly? To your other point about Marriott overall, I really do not want to fight for options by putting in work like a second job. We just know Marriott and it is a bonus to earn Bonvoy points while staying there.
Well, to get the best places, you're going to have to put in the work in any system - that's one thing that the timesharesalesmen lie about a lot. It's NOT LIKE booking a hotel, even in the system you own. I.e. I'm like you but with Hilton and HGVC. (though I don't think you earn HHonors points at timeshare stays as you don't pay cash for them usually). With Hilton, I can pull up the app and 99.9% of the time can find a hotel within 20 miles of where I want to go that I can book when I'm looking.

For most timeshares, you're trying to book at the max time out (varies with the system) to make sure you have the best chance of getting a booking.

If you don't want to plan and work the system, you're probably either best served with a traditional fixed week that you get every year in the same place automatically, OR not owning a timeshare, and just paying up to rent when you want to go to those places.

The other thing to keep in mind is that MVC has very little to do with Marriott the hotel chain, they're just cross licensing - same with Hilton and HGVC/HGV/Bluegreen or Wyndham and Travel & Leisure (the time share company).

And what the people telling you about MVC above was the points are very expensive - but if you buy the traditional week, that's fixed and you're just trading via II for other locations (which is why I said you should cross shop a cheaper MF place you can trade with).

That said, I may be making it sound more complicated that it has to be. Whatever you own, you can deposit it into II (or RCI) and put in an OGS (on going search) for where you want, and it'll tell you if you get a match and let you confirm the trade then. You might have to pay the exchange fee up front.
 

elaine

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3) What are your 5 top trade destinations?
Hawaii, Caribbean, Colorado...tbd
I think HGVC would work well for you. HGVC also has excellent coverage of very nice resorts for Orlando, Hawaii (Oahu, Waikoloa on Hawaii, and Maui), a resort in Breckenridge, CO and one in Park City, UT. I'd buy a resale (possibly pay a bit more in annual fees to get a resort where you'd like to go regularly to have home resort booking privileges). Buy a 2 bedroom high (platinum) season. HGVC also has 30 day "open season" where you can book as low as 2 days for very reasonable pricing without using points. Otherwise, 3 day minimum stay. HGVC has worked well for our family for Disney and Hawaii.
 

VacationForever

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I would suggest a resale Marriott's Grand Chateau 2BR week and use Interval International to trade into other Marriott and other high end resorts, i.e. Hyatt, Four Seasons, Disney and Westin/Sheraton. A 2BR week locks off into 2, giving you 2 trades. Maintenance fees are reasonable and it has good trading power. Hilton Grand resale is great for internal booking but it trades in RCI. RCI has the "other brands" like Wyndham, Worldmark, Shell. RCI resorts are generally of lower quality.

Getaways in II can be bought for about $500 per week in a 2BR in Orlando. Prices vary depending on season and resort.
 
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elaine

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Hilton Grand resale is great for internal booking but it trades in RCI.
Totally agree that II quality is superior (most times) to that of RCI. And, if I decide to get "back the game" of trading, I'd look at a Marriott trader. But, if one is primarily using the HGVC internal system (like me), then HGVC is an excellent product.
 

CalGalTraveler

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@EastCoast Welcome to TUG and congratulations on doing your research. You will save a lot of money by making smart choices. The advice above by other posters is good. IMHO...I would avoid Florida as insurance and hurricanes could raise the risk of higher maintenance fees and assessments.
 

jp10558

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Foxrun Lake Lure
I would suggest a resale Marriott's Grand Chateau 2BR week and use Interval International to trade into other Marriott and other high end resorts, i.e. Hyatt, Four Seasons, Disney and Westin/Sheraton. A 2BR week locks off into 2, giving you 2 trades. Maintenance fees are reasonable and it has good trading power. Hilton Grand resale is great for internal booking but it trades in RCI. RCI has the "other brands" like Wyndham, Worldmark, Shell. RCI resorts are generally of lower quality.

Getaways in II can be bought for about $500 per week in a 2BR in Orlando. Prices vary depending on season and resort.
I just booked about the cheapest Getaway I've ever seen (in the granted month or so I've had II access) and it was $700+tax, in Orlando first week of December. I'd argue that in my (admittedly limited) experience, I would not get II for Getaways the way I've found RCI Extra Vacations useful. I've seen most II Getaways to be hundreds more than RCI, if they have any 2BR available at all.

That all being said - I'm not as picky as some for the resort quality, so if you wanted to compare SVV in II Getaway with an HGVC Extra Vacation in RCI, I do think it may be cheaper or equivalent.
 

Passepartout

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@EastCoast where you live places you within easy driving distance of a plethora of TSs. You really can't go wrong with ANY of the hotel-branded ones.

For the foreseeable future, rent at least until your little ones fly the coop. They won't want to hang with the old folks so much then, and you can move along into 'empty-nest' hood.

Whatever you choose, buy resale! $ave Thou$and$!

Jim
 

VacationForever

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I just booked about the cheapest Getaway I've ever seen (in the granted month or so I've had II access) and it was $700+tax, in Orlando first week of December. I'd argue that in my (admittedly limited) experience, I would not get II for Getaways the way I've found RCI Extra Vacations useful. I've seen most II Getaways to be hundreds more than RCI, if they have any 2BR available at all.

That all being said - I'm not as picky as some for the resort quality, so if you wanted to compare SVV in II Getaway with an HGVC Extra Vacation in RCI, I do think it may be cheaper or equivalent.
Exchange fees are much higher in RCI. Membership fees are also more in RCI. Marriott to Marriott/Vistana exchanges are only $164. RCI is $299 per exchange. Ouch. I used to be a RCI member, both RCI Weeks and Points for 11 years. Shoot me before I go back to RCI. Lousy quality resorts in RCI. Sorry to be blunt. No way no how I would ever recommend RCI to anyone.

Did a quick search on first week of December in Orlando through Getaway. Here are 2 examples: Most weeks are between $350 to $700 for 2BR. Hilton Vacation Club is $377. Marriott's Grande Vista is $697. Sheraton Vacation Resort is $547, Sheraton Vistana Villages is $647. All are 2BRs.
1719868714638.png

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elaine

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I also love II getaways! Plus, I almost always have random Accommodation Certificate in my account.
 

jp10558

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Exchange fees are much higher in RCI. Membership fees are also more in RCI. Marriott to Marriott/Vistana exchanges are only $164. RCI is $299 per exchange. Ouch. I used to be a RCI member, both RCI Weeks and Points for 11 years. Shoot me before I go back to RCI. Lousy quality resorts in RCI. Sorry to be blunt. No way no how I would ever recommend RCI to anyone.

Did a quick search on first week of December in Orlando through Getaway. Here are 2 examples: Most weeks are between $350 to $700 for 2BR. Hilton Vacation Club is $377. Marriott's Grande Vista is $697. Sheraton Vacation Resort is $547, Sheraton Vistana Villages is $647. All are 2BRs.
View attachment 95532
View attachment 95533
Fair enough - but you are quoting Platnium member prices. I also have been talking not about exchanges (I think I'm convinced II is better for exchanges due to a slightly lower exchange fee) - but the cash Extra Vacations / Getaways. Like I said, I saw the absolute best prices in Orlando in II, so yes, I imagine it looks good.

But I just tried looking for a 2BR in the Smoky Mountains (Sevierville, TN Gatlinburg etc) for next April 12-19th. Nothing at all in II. Club Wyndham Smoky Mountains $649 on RCI. This is more my experience. I'm not talking about exchanges - RCI is meh for that, but for adding compelling weeks, especially tied into a hotel chain system, RCI seems much better than my independent / II looking thus far.
 

VacationForever

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Fair enough - but you are quoting Platnium member prices. I also have been talking not about exchanges (I think I'm convinced II is better for exchanges due to a slightly lower exchange fee) - but the cash Extra Vacations / Getaways. Like I said, I saw the absolute best prices in Orlando in II, so yes, I imagine it looks good.

But I just tried looking for a 2BR in the Smoky Mountains (Sevierville, TN Gatlinburg etc) for next April 12-19th. Nothing at all in II. Club Wyndham Smoky Mountains $649 on RCI. This is more my experience. I'm not talking about exchanges - RCI is meh for that, but for adding compelling weeks, especially tied into a hotel chain system, RCI seems much better than my independent / II looking thus far.
We have platinum membership because we do alot of studio exchanges into 2BR, saving us alot of money. The issue that you have with II is that you have an independent resort (Foxrun) where it gets no priority. Priority blocks by Marriott and Vistana essentially makes independent resorts not see much prime resort exchange inventory. Hence, if you want to trade in II, I would buy a Marriott. If you want an additional benefit, get a mandatory Sheraton Vistana Villages week where you can book using Star Options inside the VSN and not need to pay exchange fees, and also be able to use it for II exchanges. I own Marriott and Vistana and everything is in Abound or enrolled in Abound. It gives me lots of flexibility, although I prefer to use my Marriott resorts for II exchanges. I use my Vistana for both Star Option booking as well as the occasional II exchange.

I also own Worldmark where I use it to travel to coastal California in the summer months.

RCI does have more resorts but generally are of lower quality.
 

elaine

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Hence, if you want to trade in II, I would buy a Marriott. If you want an additional benefit, get a mandatory Sheraton Vistana Villages week where you can book using Star Options inside the VSN and not need to pay exchange fees, and also be able to use it for II exchanges.
Good to know about Vistana. Thanks. Oh, yeah, I just divested my traders...I must just say no, just say no! šŸ˜‚
 

VacationForever

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Westin Kierland 2br platinum has the lowest maintenance fees per star option but it costs about $15K in the resale market.
 

easyrider

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Worldmark has a resort in Orlando and exchanges into Orlando with no problems. There are a bunch of Worldmark resorts in Florida with two in Orlando with the availability of four bedroom units at Kingstown.

Exchange companies work well with Worldmark, especially RCI, II and SFX.

The costs for a Worldmark on ebay is very low these days.

Bill
 

VacationForever

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Worldmark has a resort in Orlando and exchanges into Orlando with no problems. There are a bunch of Worldmark resorts in Florida with two in Orlando with the availability of four bedroom units at Kingstown.

Exchange companies work well with Worldmark, especially RCI, II and SFX.

The costs for a Worldmark on ebay is very low these days.

Bill
The problem with WM is that it is about a 3 star resort at best. Not trying to knock it but that is the reality. I do have a 35K WM contract which I use exclusively to book at WM coastal California to get away from our hot summers. WM maintenance fees is certainly much lower than Marriott and Vistana (Westin/Sheraton) resorts. We do prefer 4 to 5 star resorts like OP, but MVC does not meet our summer needs.
 
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easyrider

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The problem with WM is that it is about a 3 star resort at best. Not trying to knock it but that is the reality. I do have a 35K WM contract which I use exclusively to book at WM coastal California to get away from our hot summers. WM maintenance fees is certainly much lower than Marriott and Vistana (Westin/Sheraton) resorts. We do prefer 4 to 5 star resorts like OP, but MVC does not our summer needs.

I've been to both WM's and a few Marriotts and agree that Marriotts for the most part are a little nicer. My star rating for overall opulence is WM @ 3*+ and Marriott at @3.5*+ depending on the resort. Some Marriotts rate very low and some Worldmarks rate very low. Neither are a Four Seasons.

Worldmarks Kingstown Reef in Orlando rates 4.5* on trip advisor.

Bill
 

VacationForever

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I've been to both WM's and a few Marriotts and agree that Marriotts for the most part are a little nicer. My star rating for overall opulence is WM @ 3*+ and Marriott at @3.5*+ depending on the resort. Some Marriotts rate very low and some Worldmarks rate very low. Neither are a Four Seasons.

Worldmarks Kingstown Reef in Orlando rates 4.5* on trip advisor.

Bill
I know it's subjective but your ratings are way off. There is a wide gap between WM and MVC/Westin properties. I am Chairman's Club with MVC, which means that I own alot of them. I have no issue staying at WM where there are no MVC/Westin properties. But it is really the last resort.
 

easyrider

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I know it's subjective but your ratings are way off. There is a wide gap between WM and MVC/Westin properties. I am Chairman's Club with MVC, which means that I own alot of them. I have no issue staying at WM where there are no MVC/Westin properties. But it is really the last resort.

Yes, it's subjective and it isn't my rating, it's trip advisors rating that rates Kingstown Reef higher than all the Orlando Marriott's except Cypress Harbor. Even then, Cypress Harbor rates at 4.7 and Kingstown Reef rates at 4.5.

Bill
 

VacationForever

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Yes, it's subjective and it isn't my rating, it's trip advisors rating that rates Kingstown Reef higher than all the Orlando Marriott's except Cypress Harbor. Even then, Cypress Harbor rates at 4.7 and Kingstown Reef rates at 4.5.

Bill
Tripadvisors are mostly reviewed by cash travelers. Half the time a resort gets poor rating because they got roped into a sales presentation and bought into it and then realized that they have overpaid. I don't bother to look at Tripadvisor reviews for timeshare.
 
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