Maximize Timeshare Ownership
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
Generally, before you can accept the various timeshare presentation offers that include significantly discounted nightly rates, the timeshare developers want to make sure that you have sufficient income in order to be able to purchase a timeshare.
Therefore, in the fine print of most timeshare offers, they have certain income requirements that must be met.
The income qualifications can vary widely depending on the specific timeshare brand, the specific timeshare offer or the specific timeshare resort that they are selling.
In my previous post on the Holiday Inn Club Vacation offers, the minimum income requirements for that offer was $50,000.
in other offers such as the Hyatt Residence Club for San Antonio or Key West, Hyatt requires the minimum income requirement to be $75,000 per year.
For the new Hyatt Ka'anapali Resort in Maui, Hawaii, the minimum household income is at least $125,000.
For a Vistana offer that I received, the income requirements were at least $100,000.
Verification of Income
I have taken advantage of many of these types of offers. The pricing is usually fantastic and the various extra including points, resort credits, upgraded accommodations, etc. are generally too good to pass up.
I use to do these offers regularly when I was in school as it was a great way to vacation for cheap. While I would not encourage lying, I have never been requested to show any income verification. Maybe it is because I try to look the part when I go to these offers or maybe because they do not want to offend anyone, but I have never been asked for proof of income or have seen anyone being asked.
I have written about these timeshare offers before and they are a fantastic value. Depending on the person, sitting through a two hour presentation in exchange for a materially discounted vacation is a great deal. Timeshare presentations can be brutal but the vast majority of them have been pleasant and easy going.
However, I have definitely encountered plenty of horrific timeshare presentations that stretch way beyond 2 hours and they hold you hostage without giving you the promised gift. I would say that the name brand timeshares (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Vistana, etc.) do not resort to these types of antics but there can always be an exception.
Overall, the purpose of the income requirements for these offers are to ensure that you can afford the product that they are going to sell you. They do not want you to say that you simply can't afford it as one of the reasons.
If you get targeted for some of these offers, I would definitely read the fine print before accepting. You need to know what the minimum requirements are for these offers as you simply do not want to show up only to be told that you are required to pay the "retail price". The retail price will be many times the advertised offer price and it will be an awful surprise and a great way to ruin a "cheap" vacation.
I definitely do not encourage lying but the income requirements should be a rough estimate of your financial position. If you make $50,000 as an employee but get tons of perks including health insurance, car payments, housing, etc., it is probably similar to someone making $75,000 or more as a self employed person who needs to pay out of pocket for everything.
I have never been asked to show any income verifications so I would not be too concerned when booking these packages but you should be aware of the desired demographic and make sure that you meet these income requirements in some form or fashion. You definitely do not want to be disqualified from the offer and be responsible for the difference in price. It will be massive.
Have you ever been asked for income verification?
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Timeshare Offer: $199 for 3 nights and 4 days in Orlando or Myrtle Beach and 10,000 IHG Reward Club Points
I just received the following offer from IHG and Holiday Inn Club Vacations via my e-mail. It appears that this is a general offer for anyone to accept as it brings me to a standard webpage below.
4 days and 3 nights of family memories in Orlando or Myrtle Beach can be yours for only $199. Whether you’re looking to give the kids thrills at world-famous theme parks, or miles of coastal adventure––it’s your choice with this member-exclusive opportunity.
You’ll earn 10,000 IHG® Rewards Club points and an extra 10,000 points when you book by June 11, 2018. This special offer only lasts until June 28, 2018.
Myrtle Beach or Orlando—find your family’s new favorite spot. Call (888) 392-9135 to request your reservation today.
In another thread, there was some inquiries on the income qualifications to attend to these timeshare offers. According to the fine print of this offer, you must be 23 years old, have income of at least $50,000 and be credit worthy. Here are the full details:
Thoughts on this Offer
If you read the specific details of the offer, they are offering you 3 nights in either a Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida or the Holiday Inn at Surfside in Myrtle Beach.
However, they want to sell you a timeshare at Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort.
I have discussed these Holiday Inn offers before but I absolutely despise it when these offers come out and they want to sell you on a specific property but do not even allow you to spend a few days on the property that they want to sell you on to get a feel for the property. If you are actually considering a timeshare purchase at a specific resort, I think that you should at least be able to stay at the property that they are attempting to sell you on.
Buried deep in the terms and conditions are the potential range of prices. The prices of these timeshares range from $4,995 to $151,390.
That is quite the range so I would be interested to see the difference between the $5,000 and the $150,000 timeshare.
In connection with this offer, they are also giving you 10,000 IHG Rewards Club Points. As I have stated many times before, I am a huge fan of points (hotels, airlines, credit cards, etc) and think that they are a great way to travel for significantly less than the retail cost and work extremely well in connection with timeshares.
10,000 IHG Reward Club Points will not get you very far. They do have some properties that can be reserved for as little as 10,000 IHG points per night so this could be an additional free night but the quality of these hotels is not the best.
For the higher tier properties such as the Kimpton brand and Intercontinental, expect to need 60,000 to 90,000 IHG Reward Club Points PER NIGHT.
According to The Points Guy, these points are worth approximately .6 cents per point meaning that the 10,000 points is worth about $60. I think that this is a good ball park figure as a free night in the lowest quality hotels is probably worth about $60.
I have not spent a lot of time reviewing or looking into the Holiday Inn Club Vacation program. It is something that I need to do but hasn't been high on my radar. While the IHG hotel program as some very fine hotels, Holiday Inn resorts are generally not top tier properties. I have eyed visiting a couple of their resorts but have not done so as I tend want to exchange into the highest quality timeshares possible in order to maximize my timeshare ownership.
For this particular offer, it really upsets me that they cannot even offer to put you up at the timeshare that they are attempting to sell. It is not that enticing to me to put me up in a Holiday Inn property and have to shuttle me over to the property to review it. The 10,000 IHG Reward Club Points, while nice, are not that valuable and you need to have a lot more available to you to really get some fantastic value and experience some top tier hotels.
However, with all that being said, $199 for a 3 night vacation in Orlando or Myrtle Beach is definitely a deal especially during the summer months. If you do not have something already planned, this could be a good option for a cheap long weekend trip.
What are your thoughts on this offer? Is is worth it for 2 hours of your time?
Reader Question: What restrictions are there for resale purchasers when buying a Hyatt Residence Club timeshare on the resale market?
Navigating a timeshare purchase on the resale market can be tricky. Prices are not very transparent and there are plenty of timeshare sellers but there are definitely some that you should stay away from due to potential scams or lower quality expertise that may leave you with a purchase or bills that you didn't expect.
I keep promising a full timeshare resale guide and it is in the works but time has been difficult to obtain for the past few weeks but it will be here soon.
If you have read this blog before, you know that I recently purchased a second Hyatt Residence Club timeshare week.
I purchased a resale week since I predominately use my Hyatt Residence Club points for transferring to Interval International. I went through the various ins and outs of my purchase but a reader sent me a question inquiring about the potential restrictions on resale purchases.
If you have been to a timeshare presentation before, the salespeople tend to avoid any questions concerning resale and attempt to change the topic when these items come up. The price discrepancy between buying from the developer and buying resale is massive with potential savings of greater than 90% off developer pricing when buying resale.
Timeshare developers know this so they do a couple of things to persuade people to avoid purchasing resale.
When you purchase a resale timeshare, there could be past due maintenance fees, a loan associated with the week or pending special assessments. If you do know adequately inquire with the timeshare developer or main timeshare program, you could get stuck purchasing a week with a hefty amount of debt. This is why you NEED to obtain an estoppel certificate. You can read about it here.
The other major item that timeshare developers due to resale owners is create additional restrictions on the use of the timeshare. Vistana (Starwood brands) has some of the worst timeshare resale restrictions. If you purchase resale on the vast majority of their timeshare properties, you CANNOT trade internally with other Vistana timeshares. There are a few timeshares properties that DO come with this ability but this is a significant restriction that you need to be aware of before purchasing a Vistana timeshare on the resale market. Here is an overview of that program which details some of these items.
Hyatt Resale Restrictions
To finally get to the point of this post, I wanted to explain the resale restrictions that the Hyatt Residence Club implements to encourage you to purchase directly from the developer. For owners who purchase directly from the Hyatt Residence Club, you can exchange your week into World of Hyatt points where you can use those World of Hyatt points at various hotel properties throughout the world. Here are some details on how that aspect of the program works.
If you purchase resale, YOU DO NOT GET THAT ABILITY. The Hyatt Residence Club blocks resale owners from participating in that program and you cannot exchange your Hyatt Residence Club week or points into World of Hyatt points. You can only use your points to exchange internally to other Hyatt Residence Club properties or exchange through Interval International.
Additional Resale Restrictions on the Hyatt Residence Club
The inability to exchange into World of Hyatt points was the single restriction that the Hyatt Residence Club implemented for resale purchase for a long time. Resale owners still had the ability to exchange into other Hyatt properties at the same rates as developer sold weeks and had the same reservation Windows as developer sold weeks. Essentially, the only difference between a resale owner and a developer owner was the inability to exchange into World of Hyatt points. All other aspects of the program worked exactly the same.
The New Hyatt Portfolio Program
As you may know, Hyatt has recently rolled out a new program called the Hyatt Portfolio program. The program is different in that instead of owning a week which has a set amount of points allocated to that week, you purchase points. The more points you purchase equates into various different levels of ownership which provides better reservation windows or points banking capabilities. The details of the new program are here.
The issue with the new program is that the points, while being able to be resold, are subject to a right of first refusal (like the legacy weeks). However, I have been told but I have not confirmed this, that the points are subject to a set repurchase amount by Hyatt. In that case, Hyatt would be able to repurchase these points at a set price (likely a tremendous discount to the original purchase price) which would prevent the ability for a secondary market to develop since Hyatt would likely just scoop up the cheap points and resell them for top dollars.
In a long winded answer, the only restriction on purchasing a legacy Hyatt Residence Club timeshare week on the resale market is the inability to exchange into World of Hyatt points. Thats it! Everything else is exactly the same.
In my opinion, saving thousands of dollars makes this restriction completely bearable and in all honesty, the exchange rate for converting into World of Hyatt points is generally poor where even if I could exchange my weeks into World of Hyatt points, I WOULD NEVER DO SO.
The issue with many timeshares is that the rules change and evolve so there is always the risk that new restrictions can be implemented on resale purchases. All timeshares track this item so they will always know where you purchased it and how much you paid.
Existing timeshare owners are the easiest demographic to market the purchase of additional timeshare weeks or points so the big timeshare companies generally do not want to impose harsh restrictions on resale owners but they do want to impose some meaningful restrictions which can allow them to market owners the ability to purchase additional weeks directly from the developer and remarkably remove these "restriction".
There have been plenty of timeshare presentations where I have been given the opportunity to remove my resale designation IF I purchase another week directly from the developer. I have not been persuaded to do so as the inability to convert to World of Hyatt points is not significant enough for me to want to spend tens of thousands of more dollars for a developer week.
What do you think of this restriction? Would this prevent you from buying a timeshare on the resale market?
Message from The Timeshare Guru: Harper Reid has graciously agreed to write this post on Samoa's best spas. In case you are wondering where Samoa is, it is a small group of islands in the South Pacific. I have not had the pleasure to visit these islands but they look spectacular. I have said this before but I cannot be an expert on everything so if anyone has some knowledge that they would like to share, please reach out to me and I would be glad to post it! Thank you again to Harper Reid for this information. Please make sure to check out her webpage here:
If you’re planning a trip to Samoa– and if you really want to make the most of that white-sand, no-distractions beach holiday – then it’s a sure bet that you’ll want to be clued up on the spa experiences that the country’s islands have to offer. Luckily for you, Samoa’s ever-increasing repute as the leading tourist hotspot in the South Pacific has sparked a proliferation of high-quality spa resorts and hotels, meaning that you’ll suffer no shortage of indulgent relaxation options during your time in the region. Whether you’re after a classic massage, a hydrating facial, a polished manicure, or any other treatment for mind and body, we’ve compiled a list of the spas that will best cater to your needs.
Le Lagoto Resort and Spa
On Samoa’s biggest island, Savai'i, you’ll find the Le Lagoto Resort & Spa. A veritable paradise for those wanting a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, Le Lagoto is located on the edge of the water, offering only a small number of bungalows to its lucky customers. When you’re not chilling out by the seaside or in your secluded room, you’ll be keen to stroll over to the Sunset Spa, an open-walled bungalow where you can book in anything from an hour-long massage to a soothing sunburn treatment (perfect for if you’ve spent a little too long under the scorching Pacific sun). With an excellent customer reputation, Le Lagoto has certainly earned its status as one of the best spas in Samoa.
Taumeasina Island Resort
Staying in Apia, Samoa’s vibrant capital? Then Taumeasina Island Resort will be your first port-of-call for the best of Samoan beauty and spa treatments. Boasting accommodation, dining, and fitness facilities alongside its spa services, the Taumeasina extends a holistic relaxation experience to all of its clients. Better yet, the Fofo Spa and Sauna uses locally-sourced Samoan cosmetics brand, Thalgo, and lists a competitively-priced selection of day spa options to get you glowing from the inside out.
Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort
Just five minutes’ drive from the international Faleolo Airport on Upolu, the Sheraton requires little introduction. Another waters-edge resort, the Sheraton’s serene island spahas a long history of excellence, and with its picturesque views, multiple pools, and the best spa therapy with which to tempt worn-out parents, it’s especially worth staying at if you’ve got younger children. Take the family and spend an extended vacation at the Sheraton – we know you won’t regret it.
Return to Paradise Resort and Spa
Samoan-owned boutique resort Return to Paradise rarely receives anything but sterling reviews from its innumerable happy customers. Many say it’s worth visiting just for the view, but luckily Return to Paradise has the spa and beauty expertise to match. Their SPAradise day spa offering is, by some reports, the best massage in the South Pacific. Based on the fofo techniques ancient to Samoa, Return to Paradise’s masseuses know what they’re doing, and manage to soothe even the tensest bodies and minds.
Sinalai Reef Resort
Last but by no means least, the Sinalai Reef Resort is so named for its beachside location in Si’umu. The Sinalai’s water-front spa is truly the stuff of dreams, with leafy palm trees and clear waters forming a blissful frame to your spa experience. Their large selection of natural oils is sure to make your massage a fragrant and relaxing one. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the Sinalai’s clients to fall asleep mid-treatment. Listen to the waves lap underneath you as all of your tensions are dispelled by experienced spa and beauty workers – you won’t regret it.
If you’re after a luxury tropical getaway to Samoa but spa treatments aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of great accommodation near central Apia to choose from. Most include swimming pools, fitness centres, and their own restaurants serving both Samoan delicacies and international favourites.
Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who is passionate about travel and adventure. When she's not writing, she spends her weekend on the beach with friends or going on impromptu road trips. Find more of her work here.
After much rumor and speculation, the deal terms are official. I discussed the potential rumor many months ago here and apparently got it partially right and partially wrong.
Instead of ILG acquiring Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Vacation Club will be acquiring ILG. As the the title states, the total acquisition price is $4.7 Billion with a capital B.
It constantly amazes me that the timeshare industry is a gigantic as it is with the vast majority of the population thinking that timeshares are either a scam, ripoff or some type of pyramid scheme.
I say it over and over that the timeshare industry and systems have many negatives but once you learn the systems, implement various strategies and learn how to maximize ownership, timeshare ownership can be extremely economical and open up tons of destinations that are simply unattainable for most people, even those with hotel points.
Apparently, I am not the only one that feels like this as the industry is truly massive. Most owners actually love their timeshares despite the negative perception of timeshares.
This acquisition is not necessary a complete surprise as the rumors have been swirling for months but it is obviously very significant for the industry.
Now, under one company, the timeshare brands of Marriott Vacation Club, Hyatt Residence Club, and Vistana Signature Experiences (Westin and Sheraton timeshares) will all reside along with the major timeshare exchange company Interval International and its smaller brand, Ashton.
According to the press release, the combined company will have 100 resort properties and 650,000 owners.
What Does this Mean for Owners?
The acquisition does transform the timeshare landscape and theoretically lessens the competition. The biggest compensation now is Wyndham who owns RCI, the other largest vacation exchange company, and Club Wyndham, the largest timeshare company.
I truthfully have no idea whether there will be any practical effects to this acquisition. It has the potentially to complete transform the market. However, previous large acquisitions have shown that not much will change.
Interval Leisure Group, the parent of ILG, has acquired many timeshare brands over the years. They have acquired the Hyatt Residence Club as well of the Vistana Signature Experiences. Both of these brands still operate completely independently of one another. They are sold separately, have separate systems and from the outside point of view, are completely unrelated to one another despite being owned by the same company.
Marriott Vacation Club may have other ideas up its sleeve but it is entirely possible that all of these timeshare brands will continue to operate independently with no difference to the end consumer. If you want to purchase a Marriott timeshare, you purchase with Marriott whereas if you want to purchase a Hyatt timeshare, you purchase with Hyatt. The fact that they are now owned by the same company will likely be immaterial.
What I Would Love to See!
As I stated before, I generally prefer Interval International over RCI solely due to the quality of resorts that are available through Interval as opposed to RCI. RCI does have some very nice resorts but they do not have access to Marriott, Hyatt, Sheraton or Westin, some of the nicest timeshare properties.
Now, with all of these high quality resorts under one company, I would love to see them offer a combined timeshare program that offers all of these brands. Instead of owners having to choose what brand to purchase and learn the various systems, I would love to see an Interval International product that offers some type of points systems that gives you access to all of these resorts AND gives you the ability to convert those points into World of Hyatt points or the newly announced Marriott Rewards Program.
Unfortunately, I do not view my ideal program as becoming a reality but rather view all of these programs continuing to operate independently with cost savings coming from reduced administrative items from both companies and lower financing costs for new projects due to the large size of the combined company.
However, I sure hope to be wrong.
The timeshare industry continues to evolve and for better or worse, continues to change. This acquisition definitely has the potential to change the entire landscape of timeshare offerings and has the potential to create a truly revolutionary product that could potentially erase the negative perceptions of timeshares.
While there is that potential, the timeshare industry continues to make tons of money through its existing sales tactics and despite being consumer unfriendly, still seems to work. As long as it continues to work, change will happen slowly. Once the system becomes officially broken, change happens quickly.
As I stated before, my goal is to provide a fantastic educational resource for timeshare owners and to-be owners. The timeshare system has its issues and timeshare ownership is NOT for everyone but as the industry continues to evolve, it becomes more mainstream which has the potential to be available to more and more people.
This acquisition is interesting but it remains seen if this will change anything in the industry or whether this is simply a behinds the seen acquisition that will fade away with the existing brands remaining in the forefront of the consumers.
What do you think of this acquisition? In an ideal world, what would you like to see occur with this combined company? Make sure to leave your comments below!