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.
Hyatt Elite Status: Perks of being a Globalist - A look at some very valuable perks on a upcoming stay to Andaz Maui
In my previous post, I explained what "perks" you would receive or rather, what "perks" you would not receive when having hotel status and staying at Marriott Vacation Club Properties.
As I stated in that post, while I do think that hotel status can be very worthwhile, you generally should not expect any such "perks" when staying at timeshare properties.
In this post, I wanted to share my details on an upcoming trip and explain how, by achieving Hyatt's Globalist status (top tier status), is going to save me a ton of money on an upcoming trip.
Before I get to the details, I wanted to take a moment to re-explain a timeshare strategy that everybody should use. In that post, I explained why hotel points are very valuable for timeshare planning.
Instead of going through all the details again, my point (no pun intended) was to explain that you need to have hotel points in order to book hotels very early, solidify your airfare so that you can reserve the cheapest flights and put in an ongoing search for a timeshare at that destination. By using this strategy, you can solidify your vacation plans while still being flexible for your accommodations.
Generally, I book a hotel using hotel points or at a reasonable rate with a generous cancellation policy, book non-refundable airfare or use frequent flyer miles and then put in a request for a timeshare at that destination.
If I get the timeshare, things work out great. If not, I hopefully either have a "free" hotel stay or at least a reasonable priced hotel stay while being able to to book cheap airfare or use frequent flyer miles.
With all that being said, I attempted to use this particular strategy this past year. This strategy FAILED ME!
It didn't work out exactly as planned but this is now the "worst case" scenario which is not bad at all!
As I discussed, last year around this time, I was able to book the Andaz Maui resort using points for ten nights over the Christmas holiday. This cost 25,000 points per night so this cost me 250,000 Hyatt points. This is a ton of points and truthfully did not want to spend this amount of points but was prepared to do so if needed. Hyatt points are very valuable and spending this much at one time was not that desirable.
By booking this early, I was able to reserve flights for my family of four using frequent flyer miles. In another post, I will explain the strategy that I used to get great flights to and from Hawaii and even used a great trick to get a free flight to Cancun!
Once I had this hotel reservation, I also put in a request first with Interval International to try to reserve Christmas week in Maui at either the Marriott or Westin property. Here is a recent post on how to use the Request First function.
There are other timeshare properties in Maui but I wanted to get the higher end properties. The Marriott Maui Ocean Club and the brand new Westin Nanea are two top tier properties.
As an aside, if you read this blog, you know that I am an avid Hyatt fan and own with the Hyatt Residence Club. Hyatt recently built the Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach club which is supposed to be spectacular and likely on par or better than the Marriott and Westin properties.
I can explain this in more detail in another post, but it is actually more expensive for me, points wise, as a Hyatt owner, to get into the Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach Club than getting into the Marriott or Westin properties. The reason for this is the amount of points required for Hyatt owners as opposed to the beneficial exchange rates in Interval International.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post on why, as a Hyatt owner, choosing the Marriott or Westin property could be more beneficial.
It ended up that my request first never came through. Getting Christmas week is generally very hard and getting a top tier property in Maui during Christmas week is extremely difficult. As you can see, even The Timeshare Guru does not always get the most desirable weeks despite planning far in advance.
My New Plan
Since I had a reservation at a very nice property and I was able to book early enough to use frequent flyer points for free flights, we decided to keep our plans for Maui and spend the 250,000 points for a 10 night stay. It is a ton of points but the room rates for this period of time are actually $1600 PER NIGHT - absolutely astronomical.
While I would never pay these types of rates, by using hotel points, I am getting just about 6.5 cents per point out of this redemption at a Hyatt property. While this was not exactly how I preferred to spend my points, this is still a great deal. Now, I need to explain some other strategies on how to refill these Hyatt points.
Going back to the original premise of this post, I wanted to explain how having hotel status can be extremely beneficial.
This year, we have been doing a lot of travel, in both timeshares and hotels. We specifically have tried to stay at Hyatt properties almost solely due to this upcoming stay at the Andaz Maui during Christmas. I like Hyatt properties a lot but they revised their program in 2017 and it now requires 60 nights at Hyatt properties to receive top tier status called "Globalist". It is a horrendous name.
Somehow, through all of our travels, we were able to achieve this status and have currently stayed 61 nights in Hyatt properties this year. This required a lot of effort and money but the reason that we did this was to make sure that we received the various perks at the Andaz Maui.
Globalist status with Hyatt comes with various perks. In other posts, I may go through all of them but in this post, I wanted to explain how we are maximizing the most valuable perks and how much this will essentially save us.
Resort Fees are absolutely horrendous and they should be illegal and never be charged. I hate them with a passion and it is the most infuriatingly thing to spend hundreds of dollars a night on a hotel, only then be charged a mandatory resort fee in order to use a pool or get a bottle of water.
I absolutely despise resort fees and I know that a lot of people feel the same way. Despite this, hotels continue to charge them and there are fewer and fewer ways to get around them. Like most hotels, Hyatt has jumped on board the resort fee train and charges $40 a night at the Andaz Maui. This is IN ADDITION to the going rates of $1,600 per night (RIDICULOUS).
Hyatt members (all tiers) do not pay resort fees on award nights but only Globalist members do not pay resort fees on paid nights. In this situation, since I used points, even if I was not a Globalist member, I would not have to pay their absurd $40 a night resort fee.
Savings: $400 ($40 x 10 nights).
You would think that $1,600 nightly room rates would get you free parking. However, you would be wrong. Despite crazy expensive nightly rates, the hotel charges a parking fee of $35 per night.
Fortunately, Globalists now receive free parking at hotels and resorts that can be charged to a guest's room. I am almost 100% sure that you can charge parking to your room at the Andaz Maui so this is a nice perk and significant savings. Having a car on Maui is essential if you want to be able to explore the island.
Savings: $350 ($35 x 10 nights).
When I travel with my family and with my two young children, breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day. They wake up hungry and getting food immediately is necessary. Some hotel breakfasts have a lot to be desired. We have stayed at the Andaz Maui once before and their breakfast is phenomenal.
As you may recall, we spent 16 nights at the Andaz Papagayo resort in Costa Rica this summer and their breakfast was excellent.
When we stayed there, we all compared the breakfast to the Andaz Maui and my family was unanimous in chosing the Andaz Maui breakfast as the winner (the Andaz Papagayo breakfast is still awesome though). The food is spectacular and they a fresh juice station where you can request anything you want. They also have a good selection of Asian breakfast cuisine which is different and enjoyable. Stay tuned for a detailed post on their breakfast spread!
The worst part about the Andaz Maui's breakfast is the cost. They charge $47 per person, per day. Globalist members get free breakfast! (up to 2 adults and 2 children staying in the same room).
Savings: $1,880 ($47 x 4 people = $188 per day, $188 x 10 nights)
I would never spend almost $2,000 on breakfast for ten nights but it is the going rate. Even if you only eat it once, I would recommend it as a splurge.
As a Globalist member, you do receive 4 suite upgrade awards. You can reserve a standard room and if there is a suite available, you can reserve it in advance by using one of your upgrade awards. Each suite upgrade certificate is valid for 7 nights.
The suite upgrade awards are only given when you achieve Globalist status so ours did not get into our account until mid November. By then, availability was slim for any suite upgrades during Christmas week. Like timeshares, if you want a suite upgrade, you need to book extremely early.
Despite this time limitation and despite the hotel and reservations telling me no, I found a suite available for booking with cash during a portion of our stay and was able to convince them to apply a suite upgrade to 5 out our 10 nights. We will have to change rooms which is a pain but we now are staying in an Ocean View Suite for the first portion of our trip.
Hopefully, we will be able to stay in the same room for the entire stay but they have already downplayed this option.
I'll post details on this once we are there but the Ocean View Suite is twice as large as a standard room and has a separate living room space.
The hotel is basically sold out for this time frame so I cannot see the difference in price but I think it is fair to say that this is at least a $200 per night perk.
Savings: $1,000 ($200 x 5 nights).
One of the main reasons that we tried and did achieve Globalist status this year was due to this upcoming stay at the the Andaz Maui. I knew that there would be some very valuable perks that would make our stay more enjoyable and save us a ton of money. Even though I still actually prefer to stay in a timeshare, we are all very exciting about this stay. A post will definitely follow that will review this property.
As you can see, we are saving a ton of money on resort fees, parking, suites and breakfast.
All in all, I would say that we are conservatively saving just over $3,600 for our ten night stay based on the perks of being a Globalist.
If we add up the going rate for the hotel, the cash cost for this upcoming stay is close to $20,000. By using 250,000 Hyatt points, we are getting it for FREE!
We still haven't decided whether we will try to achieve Globalist status again next year as it did take quite a bit of effort, money and travel to do so. However, a lot will likely depend on how we get treated during our stays at Hyatt properties during this upcoming year. I generally get treated well at Hyatt properties so I will see the "difference", if any, of now being a Globalist member.
Hyatt's loyalty program has significantly changed this year and they just replaced the main person that leads the loyalty program. During each stay, we will continually assess whether these benefits are truly worth it or whether to focus on simply trying to stay at timeshares or focus specifically on cost and quality of the resorts instead of brands.
However, as you can see, there are some significant and real benefits associated with achieving Hyatt's Globalist tier level so having hotel tier status is not insignificant if you stay at hotel properties.
While I still truthfully would have preferred to stay in a timeshare property, this should be a great trip and demonstrates why elite status can be very important and why you need multiple travel strategies to travel well, often and affordably.
My timeshare strategy failed for this trip but as you can see, I still ended up planning a spectacular trip that essentially is FREE!
Have you stayed at this property? What are some of your most spectacular hotel redemption?
It should come as no surprise that I absolutely love traveling. I personally got the travel bug during college and spent a full year studying overseas in Florence, Italy, Prague, Czech Republic and London, England. I traveled all over Europe and it was spectacular and had some truly unforgettable experiences.
Since then, I have tried to travel all over the world as often as possible while still having a day job and now a family.
Thanks to timeshares, frequent flyer miles, hotel points and credit card perks, I can do it often and surprisingly affordably! You can too!
Now, with small kids, we may have changed the type of travel but we still travel all of the world with 2 little ones in tow. I hope that they will have the same enthusiasm for travel as they get older and I hope that the experiences that we are providing make them more understanding of the world and different cultures.
With the guest post from the Fit Well Traveler, I thought that I would show my readers why I travel in photos!
You should be able to get some idea of why I do it after taking a look at some (out of thousands) of the photos that I have amassed over the years. All of these photos (with the exception of the one on top (courtesy of Pixabay) was taken by me personally over the years.
I hope that this inspires you to book you next trip!
Be like me and always have a vacation planned - you will always have something to look forward to even while you are working away in your day job.
Did this inspire you to travel?? Can you name some of these places? Leave your comments below!
Hurricane Irma packed quite a punch this past week and left behind tremendous amounts of damage. There is still little information concerning the well being of a lot of places around the Caribbean and for those islands who suffered from the biggest impact.
The Caribbean is one of my favorite destinations to travel as the water is gorgeous, the beaches are lovely and you can really get away from it all. Additionally, there are a lot of great timeshares that you can exchange into in the Caribbean.
I do not think that the extent of the damage is known yet as many areas still have not opened airports and roads. The devastation was just massive.
The islands of Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John and Key West appeared to have been hit the hardest. My thoughts go out to all the locals experiencing this horrible weather event.
Hyatt Beach House in Key West
As an owner of the Hyatt Beach House in Key West, I was sent the following e-mail today:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, we would like to update you on the status of your Key West resort. Most importantly, all our associates, owners and guests are safe. Due to the advance notice we received, we were able to evacuate everyone prior to Irma's arrival.
As a result of Irma’s impact, County officials have restricted access to the area until the Department of Transportation determines that all bridges and conditions are safe. Once our staff is able to access the resort and assess the situation, we will provide another update.
We would like to thank our team, who worked diligently to prepare for the storm and assisted our owners and guests to safely evacuate the area.
We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.
Hyatt Residence Club Key West, Beach House
Apparently, there is not much to report but my gut is telling me that the resort experienced a tremendous amount of damage.
Marriott's Frenchmen's Cove Vacation Club in St. Thomas
St. Thomas was hard hit but damage reports have not come in. This was apparently taken from the resort with a second photo showing a flyover of the resort. You can see the boat crashed on the beach in both photos!
Westin St. John Resort and Villas
Like St. Thomas, St. John got hit hard and is a very tiny island. According to the website, they have posted the following message:
Important Notice about Hurricane Irma
Due to Hurricane Irma, both The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix and The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas are closed. The US Coast Guard has also closed all ports in the USVI until further notice. Additionally, as the resort focuses on the aftermath of the storm, all near-term inbound reservations are being suspended at this time. We will continue to provide updates on both the reopening of the ports, airports and reservations as information becomes available.
St. Martin is home to a ton of timeshare properties. Here is a map of the RCI properties on St. Martin.
Here is a list of all the timeshare properties on St. Martin associated with Interval International.
As you can see, there are a lot of timeshare properties on St. Martin and a vast majority of these likely received some significant damage.
What does all this mean for timeshare owners of these properties? The answer is unclear at the moment as it will take time to assess all the damage, have insurance adjusters come out and figure out a final tally of the loss and cost to rebuilt and/or repair.
One thing that it can mean is special assessments. What are special assessments?
I'll do a larger post on this in the near future but essentially, if there is a shortage of funds, the HOA or governing body of the timeshare can require its owners to pay their pro-rata portion of any funding shortfall required for the operation of the timeshare.
Basically, it means that, as "owners", we may be require to pay additional amounts, in excess of our maintenance fees, in order to fund whatever is necessary to rebuilt the timeshare.
Special assessments do not happen often, but they can happen, and when they do, no one is thrilled.
What can you do?
In the near term, there are a lot of people that have lost everything. Even if they didn't lose everything, tourism on these islands accounts for the vast amount of jobs and well being of the people. With many resorts and timeshares being destroyed, it will take months, if not years to reconstruct these island paradises and get these people back to being gainfully employed.
If you can, donate to the Red Cross below. It is a good cause and will immediately help people throughout the Caribbean, Florida and Texas.
Longer term, my recommendation is to actually start planning your vacation to the Caribbean and to some of these islands who got hit the hardest. This may be counter-intuitive but these islands completely rely on tourism. Not many people are going to be racing back to these islands as it is going to take a long, long time to rebuild the infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, activities, and so on.
My recommendation would be to do the opposite and travel to these islands when it becomes safe. Spend your money there and help those economies regain their traction.
Hurricanes happen but this one was a big one. It is going to take a long time to rebuild and these island oasis's will need your support.
Does anyone have any information on the status of their timeshares? Please post below and help the community.