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Worldmark-too good to be true?

akbmusic

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We have starting doing research for our second timeshare purchase and thought we would give points a try. From everything we have seen, we like Worldmark the best. The maintenance fees seem lower than other points systems, there appears to be tons of resorts/lots of flexibility, the ability to do internal exchanges and exchange with both RCI and II. Overall it appears to be the best value for the money. Growing up I was always told that if something was too good to be true, it probably was. So, what are the downsides to Worldmark?
 

LLW

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akbmusic said:
We have starting doing research for our second timeshare purchase and thought we would give points a try. From everything we have seen, we like Worldmark the best. The maintenance fees seem lower than other points systems, there appears to be tons of resorts/lots of flexibility, the ability to do internal exchanges and exchange with both RCI and II. Overall it appears to be the best value for the money. Growing up I was always told that if something was too good to be true, it probably was. So, what are the downsides to Worldmark?
If you look around the forum on www.wmowners.com , you will find a lot of existing information and opinions on WM - the good, and the bad :) . I have been a WM owner since 2002, and am sold on it - constantly thinking of buying more. You will find many more WM enthusiasts on WMO. Hope it will be able to help you. And do ask more specific questions after you have reviewed what is there. :)
 

melschey

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akbmusic said:
We have starting doing research for our second timeshare purchase and thought we would give points a try. From everything we have seen, we like Worldmark the best. The maintenance fees seem lower than other points systems, there appears to be tons of resorts/lots of flexibility, the ability to do internal exchanges and exchange with both RCI and II. Overall it appears to be the best value for the money. Growing up I was always told that if something was too good to be true, it probably was. So, what are the downsides to Worldmark?
The only real downside that I can think of is that WM has a higher resale value that many other point options, so it is more expensive to get into.

I feel there must be a good reason why so many people are willing to pay more for WM.

We have been very happy owners since 1993 and there is nothing I want them to change.

The one worry is what changes TrendWest/Cendant might be able to make, as we don’t have an independent BOD, all but one board member are employees of TrendWest/Cendant and their is some concern that they could make changes to benefit Cendant and to club members detriment. So far these worries have not come to pass but you never know what might happen in the future.
 

Steve

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It's not all roses...

I've seriously considered purchasing WorldMark credits several times. Here are a few of the key negatives in my view:

1) Trendwest is increasing the credit values required for many of the new resorts. In some cases, such as Orlando, it's a 10% premium (ie, 11,000 credits for a 2 bedroom red week vs. 10,000). In other cases, such as New Orleans and San Francisco, it's a whopping 50% premium. This new 'trend' from Trendwest is likely to continue, and it devalues the credits of WorldMark owners.

2) Trendwest is not only NOT fighting local communities who try to subject WorldMark resorts to Transit Occupany Taxes (TOT), they are actually encouraging communities to levy this tax in some cases. If you look at the WorldMark resort listings on their website, you'll find that most of the newer resorts in California (and some other areas) require TOT to be paid by owners who reserve at these locations. This is NOT a good deal for WorldMark owners. As an owner, you already pay property taxes as part of your maintenance fees. Now you also have to pay TOT as if you were renting a hotel room for the night.

3) Trendwest is building and/or expanding in a lot of low cost locations where there is little demand. This allows Trendwest to increase their profits while providing a lot of units that sit vacant much of the year. A few examples of this include Galena, Illinois, Grand Lake, Oklahoma, and Bear Lake, Utah. All of these locations are isolated and offer relatively little to do even in high season...and they all have very long off seasons when there is vitually no demand. The continued expansion in areas such as these dilutes the trade power of all WorldMark owners...but it produces handsome profits for Trendwest. It should be noted that WorldMark is currently obligated to accept resorts wherever Trendwest decides to build them.

Now that Cendant, the parent company of RCI, owns Trendwest, it has become more and more focused on making a profit for the shareholders and less and less on customer service. Just ask any longtime WorldMark owner about the new Iris reservation system or the merging of functions with Fairfield.

Just a little food for thought since you specifically asked for negatives. I'm not anti-WorldMark...and I may even purchase some credits some day. But I wouldn't jump in without at least looking at the whole picture realistically.

Steve
 

allenke

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Steve,

What you say is true - part of what I see as the downside of Cendant purchasing Trendwest. I will have to say though, that there are many resorts already in the system that are very worthwhile vacation opportunities where the credits have been established fairly and can not be changed (unless we as owners vote to increase them and why would we ever do that!).

Ken
 

cotraveller

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The Cendant issue is not a major thing with most owners. If you do a search here on the TUB bbs for WorldMark I think you will find a lot more positive comments than negative. The vast majority of WorldMark owners seem to be very happy with their ownership.
 

CaliDave

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I read mostly positives when it comes to Worldmark.

The only negatives I have observed is.. Worldmark is a notch down from the top hotel chains as far as quality.
WM doesn't pick the best locations when buying or building. The Maui location isn't right on the beach. The Las Vegas location isn't on the strip.
The new Indio location isn't close to Palm Springs.
The Oceanside location isn't on the beach and is too close to the RR tracks.

While all these are great cities and areas, they seem to pick the least desirable land to build on
 

RichM

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Being happy with my WorldMark membership is unrelated to my concerns over Cendant's gradual changes. I will continue to remain happy unless the Cendant factor starts to detract from my ability to vacation as I have in the past.

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PerryM

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$1.70 is too cheap!

Steve did a good job pointing out the “cons” of WM ownership – I whole heartedly agree with them.

But like most complicated things in life the “pros” must be weighed against the “cons”; when it comes to WM the pros far outweigh the cons – at lest to this owner who owns a boat load of them.

Flexibility is the key word with a point based system and WM certainly has flexibility. The things one can do with WM credits will make a Marriott owner cry. I’m not saying that the Marriott owner has an inferior product, quite the reverse, but Marriott can’t hold a candle to the flexibility given to a WM owner.

We just cancelled a number of reservations 30 days before check-in and “rolled them forward” to next year. The Marriott owner can’t even think of something like this.

Want to check in on a Wednesday or check out on a Monday? No problem with WM.

Want to spend just 4,000 credits (about $160 in maintenance fees) and exchange into many Marriotts at the 59-day II mark – no problem.

Most of our week long vacations at WM’s are actually 8 days. In Kihei, for instance, the jets now leave at 11 PM so we tack on an 8th day and therefore can stay up until 8 PM before heading to the airport. (Incidentally the walk from your villa to the beach in Kihei is no further than the walk at BeachPlace Towers and they have to cross a much busier road).

Imagine, adding an 8th day with no problems to make your vacation flow better – eat your hearts out Marriott.

TW has so cheated the WM owners with just charging $1.70 per WM credit that they have no recourse but to buy bankrupt condos in the middle of corn fields. Hopefully TW will get a kick in the pants and start to charge $2.50 per credit or 15,000 WM credits for a 2BR in prime season.
 

RichM

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PerryM said:
Hopefully TW will get a kick in the pants and start to charge $2.50 per credit or 15,000 WM credits for a 2BR in prime season.
I would think most (existing) owners would prefer the former over the latter.

IMO, the "exchange rate" between credits and dollars (purchase price) should increase to reflect inflation and the rising costs of acquisition and construction. A week will always be a week, prime season will always be prime season, and 2 bedrooms will always be 2 bedrooms, therefore the value in credits should remain constant, even for new units.

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PerryM

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Deflation

From my calculations a 2BR condo in a “hot’ resort area located in a prime position costs about $350,000 each (when bought in a large quantity or built from scratch as a large project). Multiply that by 4 = $1,400,000 sales to TW.

Now there are 3 ways for TW to recoup its money:
1) Charge $1.70 and make each 2BR cost 15,837 credits ($1,400,000/52/$1.70)
2) Charge $2.70 per WM credit for 10,000 credits ($1,400,000/52/10000)
3) Increase the number of credits needed to stay in a 2BR in prime season to 12,000 and increase the price charged to new members to $2.25 (a combination of #1 and #2)

Unfortunately TW has decided to keep the price at $1.70 for 10,000 credits in a 2BR in prime and that means they can only spend $221,000 per condo. ($1.70 * 10,000 * 52)/4

And that’s exactly what TW is doing buying bankrupt condos in the middle of Illinois corn fields. This is a form of deflation that can only go on so long.

I personally would like them to “upgrade” their image (kind of like the US car manufactures after making a generation of substandard cars). There is no reason why WM can’t attract folks who will spend the $2.70 or $27,000 for a 2BR on the ski slopes, on the beach, or right in the heart of Vegas.

TW/WM’s image of the “Wal-Mart” of the timeshare industry is slipping – who the heck wants vacation in the mid-west? All right, there are a few folks who have a burning desire to visit Oklahoma and not Hawaii.

The “theory of equals” means that TW can easily charge 15,000 credits for a 2BR in a 5 star resort at a 5 star destination and everyone’s credits will work just fine. Have only 10,000 credits? No problem, rent 5,000 more at 5¢ each or borrow from next years usage and go today.

To those WM owners who want the new members to pay for years of run away real estate prices for new construction – that’s like wanting the “rich” to pay your taxes (the bottom 50% of tax payers pay 3% of the federal taxes). Everyone should pull their own weight.
 

somerville

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Everything I have read indicates that Worldmark is a good program, especially for those living in the western half of the US. The too good to be true part has not yet happened, but personally, I would be concerned as to how much longer maintenance fees will stay low now that Fairfield/Cendant has taken over control.
 

LLW

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somerville said:
Everything I have read indicates that Worldmark is a good program, especially for those living in the western half of the US. The too good to be true part has not yet happened, but personally, I would be concerned as to how much longer maintenance fees will stay low now that Fairfield/Cendant has taken over control.
I believe that as long as Trendwest is developing and selling credits, there is an incentive for them to keep maintenance fees low to attract new customers. I expect them to keep pace with inflation, however, unlike in the old days when there could be no increase for more than one year.
 

CaliDave

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spatenfloot said:
Perry seems obsessed with the Galena, IL resort.
I don't blame him. I'd be furuious if my resort ownership bought a very low demand property. It dilutes the ownership and makes it harder to reserve prime weeks.
If you use WM only to trade, it probably doesn't matter. At least for now.. If they keep going down this road, it could definately affect trading power.
 

Paula4910

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"Las Vegas location isn't on the strip" isn't exactly true. It IS on the strip but south of the Mandalay Bay, but not very far. True, it is not in the HEART of the strip but the resort is beautiful and persoanlly, we like the location.
 

akbmusic

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Thanks for the replies!

We are still in the researching stage (unless some deal comes up that you just can't pass up! :D ). This gives me some places to start and some more reading/investigating to do!
 

Fern Modena

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Sorry, but its a misrepresentation to say that the Las Vegas resort is "on The Strip." On Las Vegas Blvd, yes, but not "On The Strip." General consensus is that "The Strip" ends at Russell Road, immediately south of Mandalay Bay.

Some people/businesses are now beginning to call the area where WorldMark, Cancun, Grandview and the new South Coast Casino are "South Strip." Make that way South.

Fern (a Vegas Valley Local)


Paula4910 said:
"Las Vegas location isn't on the strip" isn't exactly true. It IS on the strip but south of the Mandalay Bay, but not very far. True, it is not in the HEART of the strip but the resort is beautiful and persoanlly, we like the location.
 

Judy

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Which Las Vegas resort?

Worldmark has two resorts in Las Vegas,"Worldmark Las Vegas" and "Worldmark on Spencer Street". Which one are you all talking about? (I've never been to Las Vegas. Sorry for my ignorance).
 

RichM

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They're talking about WordlMark Las Vegas which is on Las Vegas Blvd. WorldMark Vegas on Spencer Street is on Spencer Street, obviously.

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boaterkathy

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Originally Posted by spatenfloot
"Perry seems obsessed with the Galena, IL resort."


CaliDave said:
I don't blame him. I'd be furuious if my resort ownership bought a very low demand property. It dilutes the ownership and makes it harder to reserve prime weeks.
If you use WM only to trade, it probably doesn't matter. At least for now.. If they keep going down this road, it could definately affect trading power.
The Galena area is very popular, second only to Chicago in Illinois. It would NOT be low demand if TW would market to the midwestern area more. There is a LOT to do around Galena, but quite a few owners won't even give the area a try. They just bad mouth it, when they haven't ever been there, and know nothing about it!
:mad:
 
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CaliDave

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Paula4910 said:
"Las Vegas location isn't on the strip" isn't exactly true. It IS on the strip but south of the Mandalay Bay, but not very far. True, it is not in the HEART of the strip but the resort is beautiful and persoanlly, we like the location.
I don't even think you can say it's on the strip.
"The strip" is not the name of the street. Yes, it's on LV blvd, but IMO , not on the strip.
I googled several maps of the LV Strip. They start and end with Stratosphere and Mandalay Bay.
 
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