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.
Message from The Timeshare Guru: Here is another post from The Fit Well Traveler. This provides some good information on the various considerations that you should take into account if you are purchasing a vacation home. A big thank you to the Fit Well Traveler for this information! Please support The Fit Well Traveler and take a look at his site!
Looking for the perfect vacation home? You’re not alone. Vacation home sales are on the rise, according to the National Association of Realtors. In 2013, buyers purchased more than 700,000 vacation homes. From family vacation spots to investment properties, it’s important to ensure that you spend your money wisely. There are several questions you can ask yourself to keep yourself on track for finding--and purchasing--the ideal dream home.
Question #1: Can I afford this?
The cost of a vacation home is about more than a price tag; it’s about the value of your time and experiences. If you purchase a vacation home, will your vacation budget mean you have to spend the next several vacations only at this location? If so, is that something you want, or would you prefer to travel to more diverse places?
Next, estimate the amount of time you’ll spend in your second home, and compare that to some of your past vacation expenses. When you tally up the cost of rentals, food, travel and activities, does purchasing a vacation home make economical sense? Many financial planners agree that ideal housing costs, for one or two homes, should stay below about one-third of your annual income.
Question #2: Will I enjoy spending time here?
Take the time to really understand what it will be like to spend time in the area around your potential home. Learn what the city has to offer, and think carefully about whether or not it’s a place where you’d enjoy spending most of your vacation time. Are you looking for quiet, country town to relax on the weekends or a busy, bustling beach to spend the summers? Exploring multiple environments can help you determine the kind of consistent vacation experience you want to commit to.
Consider driving out to areas around the house, too. Are there mountains nearby? Are there bigger cities that might offer more activities? Spending time in your vacation home isn’t just about your immediate surroundings; it can also be about your opportunities for more travel and broader experiences.
Question #3: Can this be an income property?
It’s a vacation home; by its very definition, you won’t be living there all year long, so do you plan to use it as a rental property while you’re away? A good vacation home can be a place for you to unwind when you need, and bring in cash when you don’t. If planned right, the profits of renting can offset the costs of buying. If you think of this vacation home as long-term investment, renting can help you create equity and potentially pay the property off. Look online and ask local realtors how much other rentals in the area go for so you can incorporate those numbers into your budget.
Question #4: How long will it take to get there?
Vacation homes can be a life saver--a getaway from stress, a place to indulge in your favorite hobbies and an atmosphere that reinvigorates your drive for work and life. However, if it takes a long time or is a hassle to get there, you might find yourself utilizing your private oasis less and less. What’s the point of purchasing a place to escape to if the act of escaping is just too complicated? Think about the amount of travel time and expenses you’re willing to go through each time you head to your vacation home. Does this home fall within a 3 or 4 hour drive, or will you need to hop on a plane? The convenience of travel will likely play a big role in your choice of vacation homes.
Owning a vacation home isn’t just a potential investment, it’s also a lifestyle. Finding a balance between purchasing a vacation home you love and a way to make an investment can be a huge boost in your quality of life--if theproperty is easy to manage. Do your research before you buy to really get the most out of the joy and excitement of owning a second home.
As I have stated multiple times, one of my favorite strategies for maximizing timeshare ownership is trading through Interval International. While RCI does have some great resorts, I find that Interval International has more top tier resorts since they are affiliated with most of the major brands of timeshares (Hyatt, Marriott, Four Seasons, Westin, etc.).
I have touched on this before but an easy and effective way to find great resorts is to search using the resort codes. In Interval International, each resort has a three digit code. You can search by "Destination", by "Resort Name" or "Search All Destinations".
Many times, I will just search All Destinations and click through the various destinations that interest me and see if there are any top tier resorts available for my desired time period. This is a strategy but can take some time to sift through all the resorts.
In this post, I wanted to give you the various codes for the top tier resorts by affiliation.
You can copy the following list of codes and paste them in the search box and check off the "Resort Name or Code". By doing this, you will only see some of the best resorts in Interval International.
SRK, MHI, MGA, MG1, MG3, MG5, MHO, MWF, MCU, MFL, MQB, MNY, MSQ, MPP, MGQ, MAO, MSU, MBF, MBY, MBP, MWO, MBF, MCV, MEM, MMI, MCP, MDS, MPD, MFV, MFC, MGC, MC1, MGO, MGV, MGR, MHH, MHZ, MZ2, HPS, MHG, MIP, MKW, MKI, MKO, MK1, MGK, MLE, MKB, MMC, MSE, MMB, MMO, MM1, MMS, MVL, MV2, MOU, NCV, MPB, MOW, MVO, MPU, MP1, MUZ, MRP, MSP, MRD, MR2, MSK, MDO, MVB, MEV, MSW, MSN, MSF, MML, MVF, MVD, MWO, MAW, MA1, MHB, MH2, RMX, SYA, MS1
HBK, HCC, HMS, HYI, HYP, HYA, HYB, HSH, HWP, HSL, HNS, HKB, HYS, HYK, HYN, HRP, TYL, GBJ
Vistana / Starwood Resorts:
WDL, KAA, KAN, WKV, WLR, WLX, WMH, WNA, WPV, WRF, WSJ, STW, SDI, VTA, VT1, SRM, VIT, VIO, SVV, VIS, HRA, LFP, BPW
Four Seasons Resorts:
FSA, FS1, SCT, SC4
Combined List of Marriott, Hyatt, Vistana / Starwood and Four Seasons:
SRK, MHI, MGA, MG1, MG3, MG5, MHO, MWF, MCU, MFL, MQB, MNY, MSQ, MPP, MGQ, MAO, MSU, MBF, MBY, MBP, MWO, MBF, MCV, MEM, MMI, MCP, MDS, MPD, MFV, MFC, MGC, MC1, MGO, MGV, MGR, MHH, MHZ, MZ2, HPS, MHG, MIP, MKW, MKI, MKO, MK1, MGK, MLE, MKB, MMC, MSE, MMB, MMO, MM1, MMS, MVL, MV2, MOU, NCV, MPB, MOW, MVO, MPU, MP1, MUZ, MRP, MSP, MRD, MR2, MSK, MDO, MVB, MEV, MSW, MSN, MSF, MML, MVF, MVD, MWO, MAW, MA1, MHB, MH2, RMX, SYA, MS1, HBK, HCC, HMS, HYI, HYP, HYA, HYB, HSH, HWP, HSL, HNS, HKB, HYS, HYK, HYN, HRP, TYL, GBJ, WDL, KAA, KAN, WKV, WLR, WLX, WMH, WNA, WPV, WRF, WSJ, STW, SDI, VTA, VT1, SRM, VIT, VIO, SVV, VIS, HRA, LFP, BPW, FSA, FS1, SCT, SC4
This is a fantastic way to get a list of the "best" resorts in Interval International. There are definitely other "great" resorts that are independent or affiliated with some of the smaller timeshare brands but this is a great list to start.
I'll compile some other lists with these other resorts shortly.
Do you have any other resorts that should be listed? Please post below!
The Frequent Miler is one of the few blogs that I read daily. The information that The Frequent Miler puts out is very good and I have received some excellent deals thanks to his contributions.
Here is a recent post about a Wyndham Timeshare Presentation. It is a good and entertaining read and I definitely recommend The Frequent Miler blog!
It seemed like they experienced the standard timeshare pitch.
What are your thoughts?
I do not spend a ton of time discussing the world of hotel points and frequent flyer points but they are absolutely key to achieving a successful timeshare strategy.
As I explained here, it is an absolute must to have hotel points in order to secure accommodations while you have a pending timeshare request.
While timeshares definitely have a bad reputation, hotel points and frequent flyer miles are continually changing and becoming less and less valuable. Many of these hotel companies forget that loyalty goes both ways and continually make non-consumer friendly choices in revising their award charts.
Over the years, I have witnessed almost every single hotel brand make non-consumer friendly changes.
Today, Marriott announced their changes to their award charts. It is a horrendous change where 1,082 properties are moving up a category and 247 properties are moving down.
Here is the list of the various changes that are being implemented.
As you can see, there are some significant changes that are occurring. I have not been shy about discussing the various issues with timeshares but every time that award charts change or even disappear, timeshares tend to look better and better from a consumer standpoint.
What do you think of these changes?
Reader Questions: My Personal Timeshare Strategy for Purchasing Timeshares (Details, Pricing and Sources Disclosed)
As I have stated before, one of the reasons that I started this blog was that I get tremendous value out of our timeshare(s) and absolutely love and actually prefer staying in timeshares. Most people cringe at the word "timeshare" so I figured that I was doing something right with my ownership and thought that others can share in my knowledge and learn from the various strategies that I implement.
In this post, a reader, Jonathan, asked me the following:
Before I answer these questions, I wanted to thank my reader Jonathan for asking these questions. I think that it is important that I provide information that my readers actually want to read rather than what I "think" you want to read. If you have any questions, please reach out directly and I will do my best to answer them. A few other readers have reached out and I will be getting to their questions in time!
Let's take these one by one.
What timeshares do I own?
I currently own three timeshares. I own 2 weeks at the Hyatt Beach Club which is part of the Hyatt Residence Club. I own a third timeshare in Sedona, Arizona that I inherited through my grandfather. The Sedona, Arizona timeshare is a fairly recent acquisition as is the second week at the Hyatt Beach Club.
How much did I pay?
I own Week 47 at the Hyatt Beach House and just acquired Week 25 at the same property. My first purchase of week 47 was in 2006 (before the Great Recession) and I paid $6500.
The second week at the Hyatt Beach House, week 25, was just completed last week and I paid $2,000.
Why did I purchase these timeshares?
My First Hyatt Week:
In early 2000's, I became interested in the world of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. The easiest way to accumulate these points was through credit card offers. I took advantage of many of these offers and I was able to travel around the world for free in very nice hotels while I had a very limited income.
In 2006, I moved to Austin, Texas and received an timeshare solicitation offer for the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in San Antonio, Texas. My girlfriend, (now wife) and I ending up taking them up on their offer to spend a weekend at the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in exchange for the standard 90 minute presentation offered.
We had been to a few other timeshare presentations and while intriguing, they never seemed to make complete sense to me. Plus, we were broke and were both beginning careers where we had limited vacation time.
The Hyatt presentation was fine and they showed me the exchange chart. When I saw the exchange chart, I realized that, like frequent flyer miles and hotel points, there were opportunities to maximize your points in order to travel for multiple weeks while only owning one week. I studied the chart and saw that there was value to be had, if used properly.
The salesperson offered me a package somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000. Being broke, these numbers were simply out of reach but this was the beginning of my interests in timeshares.
I had been an active user on Ebay at this time and began looking at various auctions for timeshares. Similar Hyatt weeks that they were offering to me were selling for a fraction of the cost. I negotiated with several buyers and ended up contacting a real estate broker who was able to get me a "deal" on my first timeshare for $6500.
This was in 2006 while the economy was doing very well. I ending up purchasing that week which came with 1300 Hyatt Residence Club points. In 2008-2012 period, my timeshare week was easily selling for $1.00 on eBay as the timeshare market completely dried up.
The reason that I purchased a Hyatt was that I saw value in their exchange chart for those travelers who can travel during off peak times AND they had a stellar property about an hour away from me (Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch). I knew that in those years that we may not travel, at least I had an easy destination to go to where I could use my timeshare.
My Second Hyatt Week:
I just completed the purchase of my second Hyatt week at the Hyatt Beach House. The fact that this occurred at the Hyatt Beach Club was simply a coincidence. I have NEVER been to the Hyatt Beach House and probably will never go (well see...).
Unlike during my first purchase, I am definitely a lot more knowledgable about timeshares. I now have 2 small kids and I knew that I needed more points in order to travel in 1 or 2 bedroom units as often we do.
If you read this blog, I currently tend to maximize our travel by staying in studio units. While they are more spacious than hotels, the kids are getting bigger and we simply need / want more space. My current week does not give me enough points to travel as frequently as we do in larger units.
Hyatt's New Program
As you probably know, Hyatt recently released information on the Hyatt Portfolio Program which is a strictly points based system. I attended a presentation on this new program and it seemed to be similar to the existing program but cost A LOT more with only a few extra perks.
I have been extremely happy with my Hyatt purchase since Hyatt Residence Club points have a very favorable exchange rate through Interval International and can also have very favorable uses for 2 or 4 night stays within the Hyatt Residence Club properties. 3 night and 7 night stays are generally costly and tend to shy away from those exchanges if possible.
Since I was happy with Hyatt, I thought that I would purchase another Hyatt week. Also, with the new program being rolled out, the "legacy weeks" would start being diminished as Hyatt exercised their right of first refusal. I thought that while there were ample legacy weeks available, I would purchase another Hyatt week.
The specific property did not really matter as long as the purchase price was low, the maintenance fees were low and the week came with a decent amount of points.
New Hyatt Chart
A few months ago, Hyatt changed the exchange chart and increased the value of many Key West properties and a couple Florida properties.
In that post, I explained that my existing week, Week 47 at the Hyatt Beach House increased from 1300 points to 2000 points. This was a tremendous win for me as instead of being able to get about 3 weeks in a studio unit while only owning 1 week, this gave me the ability to get approximately 4 1/2 weeks in a studio unit with only owning 1 week.
Since the points valued changed for certain weeks, many existing owners or resellers did not immediately change their pricing. Hyatt weeks that equate into 1300 points do not sell for very much but Hyatt weeks that sell for 2,000 points generally have a decent resale value. The reason is that 2,000 points can get you into most Hyatt properties during peak times. 1300 points is somewhat restrictive in the internal Hyatt system but can be "enough" for those who want to trade exclusively through Interval International.
Due to this unique situation, I spent a decent amount of time looking for these Hyatt weeks that changed point values in the hope of getting a bargain. Many timeshare owners or resellers simply are not well versed in the intricacies of the programs and probably did not realize the overnight change in value.
I attempted to purchase one Hyatt week that equated into 2,000 Hyatt points for a purchase price of $50.00 plus transfer fees ($650) and closing costs which equated to a total purchase price of about $1200. Unfortunately, Hyatt exercised their right of first refusal and bought that unit out from under me.
In a separate post, I'll explain what I learned from this experience and how I altered my strategy for my other purchase which passed Hyatt's Right of First Refusal at a purchase price of $2,000.
How did I find these timeshares?
As I mentioned, I found my first timeshare on eBay. While I located the timeshare on eBay, the seller was a real estate broker and ended up completing the purchase outside of eBay as they found another available week for me that was not listed on the eBay platform.
For my second Hyatt purchase, I definitely looked around eBay and found a few timeshare brokers and decent weeks. I bid on a few but lost the bids. In case you may have missed it, here is a post on how to get a good approximate fair market value for timeshares.
I came across Discount Timeshares on eBay and reviewed their website which lists various weeks. This was the company that I used for my first attempted purchase that did not pass Hyatt's Right of First Refusal.
I constantly reviewed their inventory and attempted to make offers on a few other weeks. I was working with one agent at Discount Timeshares and attempted to make a low ball offer (ALWAYS MAKE A LOW BALL OFFER!). She indicated that she would NOT make an offer as it was too low despite being obligated to extend ALL offers for a property to the actual seller. After calling them out on this shady practice, I ceased doing business with this company and would NOT recommend them.
The other company that I used is Sumday Vacations. I ended up going through the entire purchase transaction with this Company and had a decent experience. Stay tuned for a full post on this as I owe everyone a full guide to purchasing a timeshare on the resale market. I was waiting for my purchase to go through completely so that I had a full guide and timeline of the process.
What arbitrage opportunities do you think exist?
While timeshares are complicated, there are a ton of arbitrage opportunities that currently exist and many more that will develop over time as these programs change. I touch on many of these in the various posts concerning timeshare strategies.
I will expand on some of these opportunities over time but the best resale arbitrage opportunity that occurred or may still be available is the purchase of re-priced Hyatt weeks. While exchange charts may be revised each year, it is unique for a timeshare company to re-allocate points to existing weeks which drastically increases their value and use.
I have owned Hyatt for 12 years and this is the first time that this has occurred that I am aware of.
Some very low value weeks (1300 or 1400 points) immediately changed to some of the highest point weeks (2000 or 2200 points).
With just dumb luck, my existing Hyatt week went from 1300 points to 2000.
Due to this change, I wanted to find similar opportunities and luckily succeeded in getting a second 2000 point Hyatt week for only $2,000 (all transfer and closing costs included).
What am I going to purchase next?
I do not anticipate purchasing another timeshare for a while as I should be able to travel well with a combined point balance of 4,000 Hyatt Residence Club points per year and by using my existing credit card strategy for additional frequent flyer points and hotel points.
If I use these points for exchanging solely through Interval International (likely strategy), I should get 4+ weeks in a 1 bedroom unit or about 3 weeks in a 2 bedroom unit. This should be sufficient for most years while supplementing our travel with excellent Interval Getaways (cash price for stay), RCI extra vacations (cash price for stay) or potentially using Accommodations Certificates ("free" weeks from Interval).
However, when the time comes, I will likely purchase a Marriott week. I do not think that I will purchase Marriott Destination Club Points since they can be pricey and resales can be difficult to find but will likely purchase a legacy week. The reason for this is so that I can exchange the Marriott week into Hyatt properties. This is a strategy that I touched on before but will go into further detail in other posts.
Essentially, there is a arbitrage opportunity where Marriott legacy week owners (and other non-Hyatt owners) are able to get favorable Hyatt properties for much less points / trading value than what Hyatt owners will have to use when trading through the internal system. More to come on this later.
A big thank you to Jonathan for posing these questions. I hope that my thought process and these answers are valuable to other readers to understand why I own what I do.
What are your questions? Ask below in the comment section.
Exchanging Marriott Points with Interval International: A Comparison between internal exchanges and external exchanges
In my previous post, I gave you an overview of a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare presentation that I attended at the Marriott Summit Watch.
The one piece of information that was completely overlooked was how Marriott Vacation Club points can be exchanged through Interval International.
Interval International is one of the two major exchange companies with RCI being the second.
Here is an overview of Interval International.
Interval International allows owners of affiliated resorts to exchange through their program into other weeks. They do have something called "short stay" exchanges that are less than a week but generally, are used for 1 week exchanges.
During the Marriott presentation, they did not discuss the ability to exchange into Interval International since they indicated that most owners prefer Marriott properties and prefer to exchange internally.
This is a tremendous oversight as exchanging through Interval International can give you an excellent way to maximize ownership.
As you may recall, Marriott offered me a 4,000 point package for over $40,000. Here is a chart showing the amount of points required to exchange through Interval International.
On the far left side is the demand for the particular week. Marriott uses "Peak", "High", "Medium" and "Low".
The importance of the chart above is basically to understand the minimal amount of points required to stay in the various size units. I find that most resorts and time periods that I want to travel and most people would want to travel is the top tier level - "Peak".
I generally ignore the other levels.
For example, for the 4,000 point Marriott Vacation Club package that was offered to me, I COULD NEVER exchange those points for a 2 bedroom unit during peak time through Interval International. This is extremely relevant to any purchase decision as this will significantly impair your travel options.
Many very nice properties ONLY have 2-bedroom units so you can NEVER travel to those properties during peak times.
Marriott Vacation Club
One reason that Marriott likely does not discuss the Interval International exchange options is that they require a lot of points to be able to exchange for one week. Even if the package they offered me was for 4,500 points, in exchange for over $40,000, I would be able to receive 1 week in a 2 bedroom unit through Interval International in addition to the exchange fee of $179 per week.
Comparison to Internal Trades
Each Marriott Vacation Club property has different point requirement for each week. If I purchased 4,000 points, I would be able to use those points for various resorts.
For example, here is the 2018 chart for Marriott Summit Watch.
As you can see, the point requirements vary significantly but if I used my points for Christmas week, it would cost me 3,175 points.
As you can see, if I owned 4,000 points, I could NEVER stay at the Marriott Summit Watch during Christmas for anything greater than a studio unit. A 1 bedroom would cost 4,450 points and a two bedroom would cost 6,725.
Comparison to using Interval International
Using the same comparison above, if I wanted to exchange my points through Interval International, I could reserve the same Christmas week at the Marriott Summit Watch for only 2,250 points - a savings of 29.1%.
Additionally, by exchanging through Interval International, I now have enough points to reserve 1 bedroom unit during peak times whereas I would not have enough points to reserve the same weeks through Marriott's internal exchanges. (3,000 points through Interval International as opposed to 4,450 through Marriott's internal program)
This example above is only one example of why exchanging through Interval International is an important aspect of any timeshare ownership. I can use almost 30% less points simply by exchanging through Interval International instead of reserving directly through Marriott Vacation Club's internal program.
*A caveat to this example is that inventory is different for the internal and exchange exchanges. If you can reserve something using their internal exchange, it does not mean that it will be available in the external exchange. Most of the time, Interval International makes sense from exchanging from one brand to another. For example, I routinely use my Hyatt week to exchange into Marriott properties. Interval International restricts my ability to reserve Hyatt properties through Interval International in order to avoid this type of arbitrage above.
I expect that this is one reason that Marriott does not want to discuss this portion of their program. I expect that the other reason that Marriott does not want to discuss this portion of their program is that through Interval International, you can exchange into other brands of timeshares and they likely want to keep you vacation dollars within the Marriott portfolio.
By exchanging through Interval International, you can exchange into many highly desirable Hyatt properties including great properties in Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Lake Tahoe as well as other highly desirable ski properties as well as beach and urban properties as well.
The example above is just one of thousands of examples of why exchanging through Interval International can make a lot of sense. The exchange chart for Marriott Vacation Club points is not as appealing as other timeshare brand charts but in certain circumstances, exchanging your points may save you points that can be used for more vacations and is a great way to maximize ownership.
Overall, I think it is a shame that they do not discuss this option. It is one of the easiest ways to maximize timeshare ownership.
As I stated, I'm sure that the reason for this is to avoid owners from spending their vacation dollars at resorts out of the Marriott family, but external exchanging and the potential value that it can bring is an important consideration to review before any purchase.
As you probably know, I am a big fan of Park City, Utah. There are many reasons for this.
The first reason is that it is a simple 30 minute drive from Salt Lake City airport (SLC) that is all on highways. Even in a snow storm, the ride is fairly easy.
The second reason is that the skiing is fantastic. The weather is usually quite pleasant with beautiful sunny days. It makes skiing a pleasure as opposed to the east coast skiing that I grew up with where temperatures could easily be in the single digits and icy. In addition, Park City and the Canyons recently merged so it is the largest ski area in the United States. There is ample choices for all ski levels. There is also plenty of other ski resorts in the vicinity in case you get bored with Park City.
The third reason is that there are plenty of great timeshares. I rarely have a problem getting a great ski week at many of the top rated timeshare resorts.
Marriott Summit Watch
As I have written about before, my family and I stayed at the Marriott Summit Watch resort the week before Christmas. The snow conditions were a little weak this season but the resort is stellar.
In my previous post, I compared some of the perks of the resorts as compared to many of our recent hotel stays. In this post, I wanted to give a more detailed review of the resort as compared to some of the other properties that I have visited in Park City, Utah.
Since I travel to Park City a decent amount, I have had the opportunity to stay at the Hyatt Centric Park City (technically a fractional ownership property), the Westgate Park City , the Marriott Summit Watch and the Hyatt Place (hotel). The two other timeshares that I want to visit but I have not had the opportunity to visit is the Marriott Mountainside and the Hilton Sunrise Resort.
The Marriott Summit Watch is located directly on Main Street. The benefits to this location is that there are tons of restaurants and bars within seconds of the resort. There are a few very good restaurants literally right outside the front doors.
The resort is a one minute walk to Town Lift. While it is not a ski-in / ski-out property, it is a simple walk and as I mentioned in my other post, they have free ski storage right at the Town lift which makes it very convenient.
As I showed you in my other post, the studio units are quite nice. If you are accustomed to Marriott properties, this property is definitely on par with other high end Marriott properties.
The Marriott Summit Watch also has one bedroom and two bedroom units. I have stayed in a 2 bedroom unit at this resort in the past and it is very spacious with a large living room and kitchen facility. It is definitely big enough for a family of 4 to spread out comfortably and could easily accommodate 6 people.
The Marriott Summit Watch does a great job with various activities around the property. They constantly had plenty of free things going on and had many adult activities that were fun. I really enjoyed the constant offering of free wine and beer tastings. In case you missed it, here are a few photos of the various activities that were being offering during our stay.
The pool area at the Marriott Summit Watch is quite nice. They have an indoor outdoor pool that is heated. You can spend your time in the inside pool or you can swim under the divider and get to the outside pool. Despite it being less than 30 degrees outside, the pool was quite warm.
In addition to the pool, they have 4 hot tubs, one on the inside and three outside. The biggest hot tub can easily fit 15 people if not more. Overall, the pool facility is quite nice.
Kids Club / Activity Center:
The kids club / activity center is located in the pool complex. It is a ten step walk from the last building. The activity center has a lot of different options for both kids and adults. It is on the smaller side but they have video games, arts and crafts, chess, checkers, air hockey, and various board games. It is a well stocked area with plenty of things to keep you busy.
One downside to a lot of timeshare properties is the lack of food outlets. The Marriott Summit Watch does not have any food and beverage outlets on premises but there are tons of restaurants right out the front door. In addition, they have a marketplace where you can get some simple items such as beer, ice cream, coffee, drinks, and various other snacks. In addition, they do have tons of DVD's where you can rent them nightly for a nominal charge.
The Marriott Summit Watch is one of the nicer timeshare properties that I have stayed at. The location is stellar since it is so convenient to Main Street, restaurants and town lift. I also really enjoy being able to bring a car without a fee so you can explore other areas.
I really enjoyed our stay at the Marriott Summit Watch and would highly recommend this property. I did do a timeshare presentation here and will report on those findings soon.
Have you stayed at this property? What are your opinions?
Free Two Night Stay at the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in San Antonio Texas (Targeted to Existing Hyatt Owners living in Texas)
Last week, I received a surprising phone call from a representative of the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch. They indicated that they were offering a free 2 night stay at the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in San Antonio for the month of January and February in exchange for taking a tour of the newly constructed building on premises and learning more about the Hyatt Portfolio program.
Many of these timeshare offers usually require some upfront free such as one of their current offers that was found on my facebook feed which is for a studio unit at a rate of $130 per night.
In contrast, this offer is completely free and the offer is for any size unit! Many of these offers are very restrictive in that they only allow a certain size unit or block out weekend nights. However, I was able to book this offer in a 2 bedroom unit for a Friday and Saturday night stay.
The total cost: $0.00! No resort fees, no deposits, no credit card.
While I will have to attend another timeshare presentation, (you are welcome yet again) hopefully I can find out some more good information on the Portfolio program that I can share with my readers.
As I mentioned, this offer appears targeted to current Hyatt owners who live in or around San Antonio. This may apply to those existing Hyatt owners who live in the State of Texas. However, if you could potentially use this offer, I would simply call the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch and see if they can accommodate.
They have a new building and appear anxious to get new owners acclimated to the Portfolio Program so even if you were not targeted, you may be able to take advantage of this offer.
Here is their direct phone number: 210-647-9500
Wild Oak Ranch
If you have not been to the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch, it is a spectacular property. The rooms are fantastic, they have tons of activities going on, they have water slides, a lazy river, fire pits and more.
While January / February will be slightly chilly, it is a great property and there should be enough activities in and around the resort to keep you busy for two days. Also, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, a full service hotel, is about a 2 minute drive from this property and guests at Hyatt Wild Oak can use those facilities.
Overall, this is a great offer and definitely worth 1 1/2 hours of my time to see the new buildings. I am curious to see if they are the same or better than the existing units. The existing units are very nice so we will see how much of an improvement, if any, the new units will be.
Have you been to the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch?
If you can use this offer, please post below on your success or failure! It will be helpful to see whether this offer is really targeted or open to anyone who can use it.
Hotel Fees versus a stay at a Timeshare: A close look at various standard hotel fees as compared to the Marriott Summit Watch timeshare in Park City, Utah
If you are a regularly reader, you can probably see that we have done some extensive traveling this past year. I think that we easily traveled for at least 90 days this past year.
Traveling for 90 days is quite a lot of time and while I definitely love timeshares and highly prefer them as compared to hotels, we have utilized hotel points and frequent flyer miles to stay quite a bit in hotels this past year. In case you are interested, here a few posts concerning some of our recent travels.
While I still owe you a full review of the Marriott Summitt Watch resort in Park City, Utah, the stay was really fabulous. In my previous post, I showed you the details of our studio unit which was actually very comfortable even for a family of four.
One of the key reasons why the stay was so fabulous was the lack of being nickeled and dimed throughout our stay.
Since we have actually stayed a lot in hotels this past year, the constant extra fees, add ons, resort fees and ridiculous other charges that hotels now treat as customary, the Marriott Summitt Watch had very few, if any of these fees. In this post, I wanted to do a quick comparison on the various items that hotels routinely charge that the Marriott Summitt Watch did not.
I HATE RESORT FEES. It is such a ridiculous charge that these hotels now treat as mandatory that provides close to zero value. However, hotels have become fee happy and now charge these fees constantly. Unfortunately, these fees continue to expand as they have been reports of even "Urban Destination Fees" - RIDICULOUS!
In our most recent travels, the Marriott Los Suenos Resort in Costa Rica charged $32 per day for their resort fee even though we used points. Our "free" week ended up costing us over $200 simply for their ridiculous resort fee.
The Andaz Maui charges an obscene $40 per day resort fee. While they provide some "value", it is still a completely ridiculous fee especially considering rates were in excess of $1000 per night during our stay over Christmas.
Comparison to the Marriott Summitt Watch
The Marriott Summitt Watch charged ZERO DOLLARS as their resort fee. A welcome alternative to the standard nickel and diming tactics of the hotels.
Having a car on vacation can be a necessity for some destinations. A car allows you to explore the surrounding area and not be held hostage for the resort restaurants. However, renting a car is expensive and parking your car now has become a tremendous added expense. In addition to resort fees, many hotels now routinely charge for parking even though they never had in the past.
For example, the Andaz Maui charges a hefty $35 per day for your car. This is in addition to their mandatory $40 resort fee. Not cheap.
Comparison to the Marriott Summitt Watch
Despite being on Main Street where parking is tight, the Marriott Summitt Watch charges an impressive ZERO DOLLARS for parking if you are staying at the resort. They have an underground parking garage that is a pay to park facility but it is complimentary for guests. A very welcome perk for all guests - not just those with status as Hyatt now offers for their Globalist members.
While doing laundry on vacation is not something that you want to do, having access to facilities can be helpful especially for ski vacations as well as beach vacations where your cloths can get pretty disgusting. Most hotels provide laundry services where they charge exorbitant fees for laundry. Usually they charge per piece so doing laundry for a shirt, jeans and socks can easily cost over $20.
Even at the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica, they had a "special" where they would do a small bag of laundry for $25.
Comparison to the Marriott Summitt Watch
The Marriott Summitt Watch has complimentary laundry facilities for use. While the laundry facilities were in a less than ideal location in their garage, it was completely free and they provided laundry detergent for free. Again, a nice perk.
A lot of ski-in / ski-out hotels will offer you ski storage. It is a nice option to be able to get off the mountain and have the hotel store your skis until the next day. However, most hotels will charge fees for this service. Some may include it in their resort fee but many charge an add-on fee for this service.
Comparison to the Marriott Summitt Watch
The Marriott Summitt Watch is located a one minute walk to Town Lift. It is not technically a ski-in /ski-out property but it is close. They have made arrangements with a ski storage company to hold guests skis right at town lift. The cost - ZERO DOLLARS. Again, a very nice perk considering the ski storage place charges about $15 per day per ski set for this service for non-guests.
Resort activities can be a lot of fun and there are some great activities to keep kids and adults occupied. Unfortunately, a lot of these resort activities come with an extra charge. At the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo resort, my wife and I did the mixology class where it cost us about $50 per person for this despite the resort charging a 10% resort fee on top of whatever room rate you reserved.
The Andaz Maui had plenty of activities but most came with some extra fee despite charging guests their mandatory resort fee. Most hotels, even though they charge a resort fee, still find it ok to charge fees for resort activities.
Comparison to the Marriott Summitt Watch
The Marriott Summitt Watch had tons of activities going on everyday. I was actually very surprised on the amount of activities that they had. They had wine tasting, beer tasting, excursions, kids arts and crafts activities, and various other things. Here are a few pictures of the daily activities.
As you can see, they had some decent activities going on every day. I did not mind the various nominal charges as these generally covered the cost of the materials. I think that those types of charges are actually reasonable.
Most hotels have lobby bars where you can grab a drink at your convenience. Drinks in nice hotels can cost quite a bit. During our stay at the Andaz Maui, the cocktails through the resort were $19 per cocktail! Quite pricey to say the least. Beers cost $10 per beer - completely ridiculous if you ask me. The other hotels were somewhat similar with cocktails generally costing somewhere between $12-19 dollars.
Comparison to the Marriott Summitt Watch
The Marriott Summitt Watch did not have a food and beverage outlet on premises. They have a small market where you can get some essentials but almost every day from about 5-6 pm, they provided complimentary wine for their guests. You can drink as much as you want without a problem. In hotels, a glass of wine would easily cost $15 per glass. Again, a nice perk for all guests regardless of status!
I really enjoyed the Marriott Summitt Watch property. It has a prime location right on Main Street which is in walking distance to everything including the ski lift. Additionally, their rooms were quite comfortable. The biggest thing that stood out to me was the vast amount of items that were included in the stay as compared to the constant fee hungry hotels.
As a reminder, my total out of pocket cost for one week at this property (week before Christmas) was just over $400! Room rates at hotels throughout town were easily in excess of $400 per night.
Regardless of the cost, I get very annoyed at the constant efforts by hotels to get every dollar out of your wallet. Despite charging obscene resort fees, these fees still do not cover almost anything and they are constantly looking for new ways to charge you for something that was routinely part of your daily nightly charge.
Timeshares do have a bad reputation of charging a lot of fees, but I truly think that the tables have turned and hotels are much more to blame than timeshares. My stay at the Marriott Summit Watch really solidified this view.
What do you think of all of these fees? Did I miss anything that also annoys you??