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.
Purchasing a timeshare on the resale market can be difficult solely because there are so many timeshares to purchase. Picking out the right timeshare for the right price is not an easy endeavor. As I state many times before, all timeshares are not equal. There are some great timeshares and their are some truly awful ones.
There are many places to purchase timeshares but one of my favorite places is actually eBay. eBay is a legitimate marketplace to buy and sell just about anything and timeshares are no exception. I actually recommend using eBay to determine what your timeshares is potentially worth.
Are eBay Purchases Legitimate?
eBay has a vast amount of timeshares being offered with many with a list price of $1.00, (yes One Dollar), or even one cent ($.01). The question is whether these are legitimate purchases.
The answer is that they are generally legitimate but you NEED to read the fine print. While the auction for the timeshare may be for that low price, the eBay description might have various other details that will cause the "purchase price" to skyrocket way beyond the winning price.
For example, the timeshare purchase could require the buyer to pay many years of maintenance fees, pay off loans, closing costs, future maintenance fees and so on.
The actual price for the timeshare may be thousands of dollars even if you ended up winning the auction for a $1.00.
Here is a screen shot showing some recent listings of timeshares on eBay. As you can see, all these offered timeshares having selling prices for $1.00
Some of these timeshares are legitimately selling for a $1.00 and DO NOT have any "catches". Unfortunately, despite what you may think, the resale value of some timeshares is almost completely worthless and selling for $1.00 may actually be the fair market value for these items.
As discussed many times, sometimes timeshares simply do not have any resale market despite their initial purchase price. There are NO buyers for these timeshares which is why a vast majority of them sell for $1.00 or are at least offered for $1.00. There are even plenty of timeshares where people will PAY YOU money to take them.
Why Purchase a Timeshare?
While many timeshares are essentially worthless, there are plenty of others that will retain some value or at a minimum, be able to sell them when you are done using them. The timeshares from the main timeshare brands (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood / Vistana, etc.) all tend to retain some value where you should be able to sell them or give them away without too much effort. The key is to purchase them at the "right" price, use them and understand how to maximize their value!
The problem is that there are a lot of smaller / independent timeshares where there simply isn't a resale market or enough buyers to create one. There are not too many buyers looking to purchase one week at one location anymore. While all of the timeshares can usually be exchanged, these smaller / independent ones do not trade that well.
These types of timeshares give timeshares a very bad name as many owners are disgruntled about having these items where they don't use them, can't get rid of them for any price and they continue to have to pay maintenance fees.
While buying a timeshare for $1.00 can look like a good deal, a lot of these "deals" are not really deals at all as once you take them over, at some time in the future, you may be the one trying to sell it for $1.00. There are always some diamonds in the rough and there could be some fantastic timeshares out there selling for $1.00 but my recommendation would be to always stay with the big name timeshare brands.
The big name timeshares will not hold their value but they usually will retain some value which will make them worthwhile to somebody, someday. They have more brand awareness so it will be easier to try to find someone to buy them.
eBay is a great place to find and purchase timeshares. However, you need to carefully review the description to fully understand what you are getting. You also need to fully review the timeshare that you are purchasing and make sure that you understand how it works, how it trades and how you will use it. If you purchase something and you don't use it, you can get yourself stuck with a ongoing bill that is tough to get rid of.
Have you purchased a $1.00 timeshare and if so, what has your experience been?
Message from The Timeshare Guru: I definitely enjoy a few drinks on vacation and tend to indulge quite frequently, especially when on vacation. However, there are some trips where indulging definitely has its downsides and you ending up "paying" for it the next days. In this post, Peter, from The Recovery Village, has generously agreed to provide this guest post for your reading pleasure. While I enjoy my drinks, abstaining does have a lot of perks which The Recovery Village explains below!
The Benefits of Staying Sober on Vacation
You're probably stoked if you're planning a vacation with your loved one or your spouse. The strong urge to drink and be festive may fall upon you. It's very common for alcohol to be involved in people's vacations. However, there are some health-related and fun-related reasons to choose sobriety on your next trip. Your choices may enhance your enjoyment of your vacation, as well. Here are some of the benefits of staying sober on it.
More Energy to Do Things
Alcohol is a depressant, so one of its most prevalent effects on the body is a deprivation of energy. It puts your entire body in a relaxed state and promotes sleeping, resting and general non-alertness. The vacation is usually a time when people want to do as much as they possibly can. If you ditch the alcohol, you could stay awake longer, and you could increase your energy level so that you can partake in sporting activities and fitness activities like hiking, skiing, boating or some other vacation-related activity.
Greater Enjoyment of Foods
Vacations are usually full of visits to the local restaurants and dessert spots. Vacationers always want to try new exotic foods. Alcohol dulls all your senses, even your sense of taste. Thus, you won't get the full enjoyment of those meals that you travel hundreds of miles to try. Why not forsake the alcohol so that you can savor every mouth-watering drop of your meal? You'll remember the sharp and robust taste of every bite that you take. You'll be able to share those vivid memories with your family members, friends, co-workers and others. You have the rest of your days to drink alcohol. Try skipping it for at least the first meal so that you can see what it's like.
Greater Stamina During Personal Time
If you are going on vacation with your spouse, then you are most likely going to want to engage in some pleasurable personal activities. Abstaining from alcohol will allow your circulatory system to operate full blast. Therefore, you will have increased vitality and stamina in the personal area. Additionally, you'll get more enjoyment out of the whole activity. Just as alcohol dulls the senses when it comes to food and eating, it dulls the other physical senses. So your personal experience will be sharper and more dynamic for you and your spouse if you say no to the alcohol during the vacation.
It Saves Money
Another huge benefit that you can get from staying sober is that you can save money. Mixed drinks are expensive, especially when you're in a vacation area. This is one of the best ways to save if you are on a budget and watching all of your expenses. You can try virgin drinks or something that they call mocktails if you want to have the feeling of being on vacation and having drinks. The chances are high that those drinks will be extremely delicious, and you'll have fun trying new things, and you'll save money. Non-alcoholic beverages are usually less expensive then alcoholic beverages are, but check the menu first.
More Creative Activities
You can access a world of creativity in your mind if you don't cloud it with alcohol. That means you'll be able to think of interesting and mindblowing activities that you can do while you're on your vacation. You may even think to delve into the artistic realm and find some painting supplies or stop at a recording studio if you're in one of those areas. Maybe you can join a pottery class or something like that while you're on your vacation. There are more than a million things you can do with a sober mind.
It Helps Avoid Accidents
Finally, you can decrease the chances of getting into an accident if you leave alcohol out of it. More than 5 million car crashes occur each year, and many of them involve alcohol. Even if you are not past the legal limit, the alcohol could still cloud your judgment. Therefore, you can still get into an accident that's not necessarily your fault just because your reaction time and your judgment are lower. It's best to decrease the chances of that happening by just avoiding it altogether.
Those are just of some of the valid reasons for and benefits to staying soberon vacation. Consider them and try to do your next trip alcohol-free.
Message from The Timeshare Guru: I owe Peter and The Recovery Village a sincere apology as this has been in my inbox for way too long. Please visit their website and see if their services can be of any use to you. I think that there is some great information in here and hope my readers feel the same.
The quality of timeshares differ drastically from resort to resort. Some timeshares can be greatly in need of renovations while others are luxurious and spacious accommodations that rival many luxury hotels.
In an attempt to help timeshare owners exchange into quality timeshares, both Interval International and RCI have designations for the timeshares that indicate the quality of the resorts.
Here is an overview of Interval International's resort recognition program.
Here is an overview of RCI's resort recognition programs.
For Interval International, you can see, they have three main recognitions / designations being: Select, Premier and Elite.
I generally try to only exchange into Premier or Elite properties as I do find those to be the best quality resorts. I have not stayed at any "Select" properties but some of them look decent.
In a few recent searches, I came across the Premier Boutique Resort designation.
I was intrigued as many of the timeshare properties that we have stayed with are large resorts and while we have enjoyed many of them, sometimes finding the smaller quieter resort is nice depending on the type of vacation your are looking for.
According to Interval International, these Premier Boutique Resort provide outstanding accommodations in a desirable location with limited amenities. My understanding is that these are smaller "boutique" type properties that have limited rooms and provide more of an intimate vacation experience.
Intrigued with this type of offering, I found the following list of all Premier Boutique Resorts within Interval International.
Full List of Interval Premier Boutique Resorts
Sanur, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia Mahagiri Vacation Club
Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan Kira Kira
Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan Yama Shizen
Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan Youtei Tracks
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa
Kelowna, British Columbia Grizzly Ridge Estates
Ucluelet, British Columbia Embarc - Ucluelet
Whistler, British Columbia Powder's Edge
Rodney Bay Village, Gros Islet, St. Lucia Bay Gardens Beach Resort All Inclusive
Rodney Bay Village, Gros Islet, St. Lucia Bay Gardens Beach Resort
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Grande Bay Resort & Residence Club
Soriano nel Cimino, Viterbo, Italy Palazzo Catalani
Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico MÍA at Riviera Maya
Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil Residence Waterfront I and II
Anapoima, Cundinamarca, Colombia La Gran Reserva Anapoima
San Francisco, California Club Donatello
San Francisco, California Inn at the Opera
San Francisco, California The Suites at Fisherman's Wharf
Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii Alii Kai Resort
Branson, Missouri D'Monaco Private Residence Club
Branson, Missouri Trophy Run
Pacific City, Oregon The Cottages at Cape Kiwanda
Telluride, Colorado Bear Creek Lodge
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina The Inlet Sports Lodge
I rarely see these resorts come available through a general search but I have seen a few pop up. There are definitely some great locations and some interesting resorts available.
My plan is to put in a request for a few on the above list and see what becomes available. If I get a week at one of those properties, I will be sure to do a full review.
In case you wanted to do a complete search for only these Premier Boutique Resort properties, here is the complete list of Interval International codes.
MGI, KIR, YAM, YOU, VVR, GZE, CIU, POE, BG1, BGD, GBR, PZZ, MMY, WFR, GRI, CL3, CLD, IN1, INN, SFW, SW1, AIK, DMO, TRJ, CCK, BKL, ISN
Make sure to also take a look at this post for a review of all of Interval International's "best' resorts.
I am definitely interested in visiting one or more of these properties. While staying at a large resort has its benefits, sometimes a smaller, more intimate resort is what is needed. I'm glad that Interval International has these options.
Have you stayed at one of these Premier Boutique Resorts? Make sure to comment below.
Timeshare Presentations and First Time Purchasers:
Timeshare presentations have become a finely tuned science. NO ONE ever goes into a timeshare presentation wanting to buy a timeshare. They have refined their sales process where they know exactly how many people will buy a timeshare based on the number of presentations.
I obviously advocate owning a timeshare as I think that they can be a great travel tool to travel well, affordably and comfortably.
However, timeshare ownership ONLY makes sense if the upfront cost is reasonable, maintenance fees are reasonable considering the amount of potential weeks you can receive, and you purchase with a reputable high quality brand (Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Four Seasons, Wyndham, etc.) that give you a reasonable opportunity to sell your timeshare if you no longer want to and cannot use it.
Timeshare ownership also will ONLY make sense if you understand the systems and how to use them to maximize their value.
If you purchase a timeshare and use it for one week of travel during the year, it will rarely if ever make sense (with the potential exception of ski weeks). The key is to obtain more value from your week and transform that into multiple weeks of vacation. Then, the numbers make more sense and timeshare ownership can be very worthwhile.
The vast number of first time timeshare purchasers end up purchasing from the developer through these timeshare presentations. They have responses to every question you can throw at them and their pitch makes a lot of sense.
Even the main players like Hyatt and Marriott have fine tuned their presentations so it is no longer a high pressure environment but now they have transformed these pitches into a fear of losing out (FOMO). Buy now before you lose the opportunity or before the price goes up!
It is effective but it is not the best way to purchase a timeshare.
What the timeshare salespeople rarely disclose is the economic value of the timeshare. They sell timeshares for a lot of money and as soon as you purchase from the developer, the economic value of the timeshare just plummeted. Timeshares are sort of like cars. The moment you drive it off the lot, it loses value.
Some timeshares literally can lose 99% of its value after purchase and some can almost lose 100%. When you purchase some timeshares, there is literally no resale market for them so it is difficult if not impossible to sell. Even though you may have purchased it for $10,000 - $20,000, the value can be almost $0.00.
These facts continue to perpetuate the ideas that timeshares are scams and not worth purchasing. I agree that some timeshares are never worth purchasing even if they are selling for one dollar or someone is paying for you to own them.
However, there are plenty of other timeshares that are re-sellable and will retain "some" value. Again, if you stick with the main timeshare brands, you will likely have a much better experience.
In my opinion, buying a timeshare on the resale market is the most economical and can actually make timeshare ownership beneficial and can make tremendous economic sense.
As I mentioned, most timeshare owners purchase their first timeshare through a timeshare presentation. The pitch made economic sense and the ability to travel around the world was intriguing.
Many times, immediately after signing the purchase documents, these buyers will race to google and attempt to confirm that they received a great deal (as likely stated by the salespeople) and find glorious stories of many happy owners traveling around the world.
What they normally find is a bunch of information discussing how timeshares are awful investments, many disgruntle owners and sometimes, they even find their week that they just purchased selling for pennies on the dollar.
Unfortunately, this is common and people should do research on timeshares BEFORE going to these presentations. If you understand some of these simple facts concerning timeshares, you can go into these presentations with more information and ask tough questions concerning the program and their broad statements concerning usage.
For those people who made a purchase and immediately have buyers remorse, all is not lost.
Almost all timeshare purchase contracts have the right of rescission. The right of rescission gives the purchaser a set number of days to cancel the contract with no fees and receive their money back. It will essentially be like the agreement never occurred.
The time period for rescission varies from state to state but is generally around 3 to 15 days.
The Rescission Process
The terms of the rescission process will normally be buried in the fine print of the contract. They do not make it easy but you actually will need to read the fine print, find the rescission clause and FOLLOW THE STEPS PERFECTLY!
Unfortunately, it is never as easy as simply going back to the developer and requesting a refund. Even if you go back the next day, the sales people will tell you to read the contract and will likely not be much help.
The general process is that you need to send a written letter to the specific address in the contract with details of the specific timeshare that you purchased including the contract number with a clear and concise statement that you would like to cancel the contract pursuant to the right of rescission found in the contract. I would specify the exact clause as stated in the contract.
The letter should be signed by all people who signed the contract so if both spouses signed, both spouses should sign the rescission letter.
I would also include a copy of the timeshare agreement.
MAKE SURE TO SEND IT WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIMEFRAME AND MAKE SURE TO USE TRACKABLE MAIL WITH A SIGNATURE!
SEND IT VIA TRACKABLE MAIL WITH SIGNATURE, VIA REGULAR POSTAL SERVICE AND VIA CERTIFIED MAIL! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROOF THAT YOU SENT IT TO THE RIGHT ADDRESS WITHIN THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF TIME!
It is extremely important to make sure that you abide by the rescission dates. If you miss it by one day, don't expect them to cancel it. The salespeople were likely very friendly and easy going during the sale. Expect the exact opposite in their assistance in cancelling their sale.
Despite their reputation, timeshares are not that bad provided that you understand what you are buying and how to maximize use. The vast majority of timeshare owners do not understand everything when they first buy and get roped into a purchase by smooth talking salespeople.
Too often, buyers only realize the mistake after the purchase and only do research on timeshares once they are owners.
The goal of the blog is to educate people BEFORE a purchase or help you maximize ownership after the purchase.
As I stated, most timeshare owners purchased a timeshare directly from the developer for their first timeshare purchase. They likely overpaid but hopefully they get enjoyment from it.
If you purchased a timeshare from the developer and you missed the rescission period, don't dwell on it. Try to understand the program and use strategies to maximize its use and have great vacations. Use this information to make a different decision for your next purchase.
Buying resale for a fraction of the price of the developer pricing makes a lot of sense and can make timeshare ownership very beneficial. The general idea is to rescind if you are within the applicable time period and search for another timeshare on the resale market.
You will always be able to find a timeshare to purchase so do not worry about FOMO! (Fear of Missing Out!)
Have you rescinded a timeshare purchase before? Share you story below!
A Few Interesting Items Concerning Hyatt's Reservation Windows: Request First and Extended External Exchange
As most readers know, I own two weeks at the Hyatt Beach House. I predominantly use those weeks to exchange into other timeshare brands through Interval International. Hyatt has very lucrative exchange rates so I am able to covert EACH week that I own into about 5 weeks of vacation in studio units.
For those of you who don't know, there are two ways that you exchange your Hyatt Residence Club points into Interval International.
Request First allows you to make a pending request in Interval International with various time periods and resorts. When you make the Request First request, you pay the exchange fee and Interval International takes the points from the Hyatt Residence Club. If you cancel the request or it does not make, those points get returned to the Hyatt Residence Club.
Extended External Exchange
Extended External Exchange allows you to transfer your Hyatt Residence Club points to Interval International. You need to transfer the points you desire within 6 six months from the date of issuance. Once you converted your Hyatt Residence Club points to Extended External Exchange, those points MUST remain with Interval International. There is no way that they can be used for Hyatt internal exchanges.
The most significant difference between the two is that with Request First, the points can be returned to the Hyatt Residence Club.
The other difference is that the Hyatt Residence Club points are only valid for 1 year and the Extended External Exchange points are valid for 2 years.
Therefore, by transferring your Hyatt Residence Club points to Extended External Exchange, you now can use those points for 2 years instead of 1 but you can ONLY use those points within Interval International.
This is complicated but unfortunately gets even more complicated.
In my recent experience, I put in a Request First exchange for Christmas week, 2019. I try to book out as far as possible to get the highest demand weeks. Since it takes a lot of time for some of these high demand weeks to match (some never match), you actually need to be aware of what points are being held by Interval International in order to avoid them being expired by the time a match occurs.
For example, in my actual example, I received points for one of my weeks in June 2017. I made a Request First reservation for Christmas week, 2019. As of June 2018, no matches had occurred. Since I used Request First instead of Extended External Exchange, I was recently informed that the points being held for the pending request expired so even if a match was found, I could not use the points already taken.
Essentially, since your Hyatt Residence Club points are only valid for one year, you need to make sure that some match occurs BEFORE the one year anniversary of the point issuance. Otherwise, your points will expire and you cannot use them.
I tend to use Request First request more often as it gives me more flexibility. If I decide to not use Interval International and confirm a Hyatt week, I can cancel any request, receive my exchange fee back and still have Hyatt Residence Club points to use.
However, there are a couple important considerations. If the Hyatt Residence Club points are older than 6 months, if you cancel your Interval International request, they will be put back as Hyatt Residence Club points. However, instead of CUP points (club use period), they will become LCUP points (limited club use points) which means that you can only use them for reservations 60 days or less. This is severely restricting.
Based on this experience, if I am almost positive that I will use Interval International for my exchanges, it is highly beneficial to do the Extended External Exchange since you can now use your points for 2 years instead of 1.
If you want to potentially use Interval International but may want to use Hyatt for its internal exchange if your week does not match, make sure that you cancel your request before the six month date. Otherwise, you will receive restricted points.
If you miss the six month window, you need to make sure to make a reservation before the one year anniversary. Otherwise, the points will be expired and no-useable, effectively throwing away money.
If the one year mark is coming up, it is highly beneficially to book ANY week as far out in the future as possible and include E-Plus. By doing this, you then allow yourself to exchange that week for 2 years from the potential date of check in for no fee. By doing this, you can effectively stretch the expiration of your points to 3 years.
Hopefully, this chart can help you understand this process
Timeshare reservation windows, points expiration periods, internal and exchange exchanges, etc. make timeshare ownership very confusing. However, a solid understanding of these issues can help clarify these items and prevent point expirations.
In my real world example, the points technically expired but fortunately, I was able to talk with Interval International and Hyatt, and they agreed to make an exception provided that i confirm a week while on the phone. I did this and added e-plus so that I can now book 2 years out from the date of check in.
The purpose of this post is to make sure that you understand these time periods. If you are in doubt, you can call the Hyatt Residence Club or Interval International. Otherwise, post below or comment in The Timeshare Guru Group on Facebook! I am hopeful that other like-minded timeshare enthusiasts and travelers can assist.
Message from the Timeshare Guru: I have a lot of trouble sleeping, especially when I travel. I usually all the first night in the hotel a throw away night as it is extremely rare to get a good nights sleep in a different bed and different surroundings. I'm always looking for ways to get a better night sleep. Sarah Cummings from The Sleep Advisor graciously agreed to write this guest post. There is some good information in this article even though I am a big fan of the night cap!
Make sure to check out some of her other articles!
How to Sleep Better on the Road
Being able to travel is a luxury and one we should always thank our lucky stars we are able to do. That’s not to say however that every thing about being on the road is fun. There’s the stomach bugs, the sunburn, and of course, the endless sleepless nights.
There a many reasons for this, overstimulation, overexhaustion, overeating and over drinking being four of the main culprits. But there’s also another potentially interesting reason for our inability to while away from home, evolutionary survival.
Yep, you heard me – evolutionary survival. Researchers have discovered that when we sleep in unfamiliar locations our brains simply refuse to close down properly. Instead a ‘lookout’ section of the brain stays alert and primed to respond to any dangers, be they a jaguar or an air conditioner making too much noise. Thanks brain!
So, if our own brains are working to prevent us from sleeping while traveling what can we do to ensure better sleep on the road? Well, don’t despair, read on below to discover the top three ways to increase your odds of a good night’s rest.
Two of the biggest culprits in keeping travelers awake are noise and light pollution. Fortunately both of these annoyances are very easily overcome. All it takes are two very lowtech sleep gadgets – the eye mask and some earplugs. Super lightweight and easy to pack, these two accessories are worth their weight in solid gold.
Weird noises are common when you sleep away from home. Be it amorous seagulls mating on the balcony or the wind blowing too vigorously through the palm leaves. A simple pair of earplugs will help block out whatever audio annoyance is preventing you from catching your dose of vitamin Zzzzs.
Light pollution plays havoc with your circadian rhythms. If there’s too much entering your bedroom it will delay the production of melatonin and you simply won’t get drowsy enough to fall asleep. A simple eye mask is the perfect solution to thread bare curtains, ill fitting blinds, full moons and antisocially early sunrises.
Need some more expert advice on how to banish your nighttime woes? Then visit the helpful team at the Sleep-Advisor for all the up-to-date tips and tricks you can handle.
Pack your pre-bed routine
Human beings are creatures of immense habit. Our body and mind adore routine. Whether you’re home or away the single best thing you can do for your sleep is adhere to a consistent bedtime. That means going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time day in, day out. Including weekends. Yep, your body doesn’t give two hoots if it’s a Friday or a Tuesday.
Don’t have a bedtime? Then get one. And stick to it! Bedtimes are not just for kids. While you’re at it work on a healthy bedtime routine. What’s that you ask? Well, it’s a simple set of easily repeatable low key actions that help to relax an overstimulated brain before bed.
Here’s an example. An hour before bed shut down all screens, yes that includes your smartphone. Write down a simple to-do list for the morning. Practice meditation or gentle yin yoga. Listen to music or read a book, fiction tends to work better. Have a bath or shower. Sleep.
That doesn’t sound too hard does it? Yet, the benefit it will have on you sleep is huge.
If you get into a healthy pre-bed wind-down routine at home, when you travel you can bring this set of activities with you and it will help your ability to sleep on the road immensely. Part of the problem of sleeping when traveling is that we change our routines too drastically and our body and mind don’t know if they are coming or going. A pre-bed routine will help steady the ship.
Skip the night cap
You’re not going to like this one. One of the biggest reasons we all tend to sleep worse when on holiday is that we tend to overindulge a little bit too much. Be that cocktails by the pool or a few too many nightcaps in the bar. Despite what many people believe alcohol before bed is bad idea.
Alcohol is a muscle relaxant, a depressant and sedative which is why we like it, a few drinks takes the hard edge of any day and puts us in a nice calm mood. Perfect you would think for sleep? It’s true drink will help most people fall asleep. However falling asleep and staying asleep are two very different things.
Once the alcohol in those margaritas begins to be flushed by your liver and kidneys, the brain experiences what is known as rebound alertness. This spike in alertness leads to nights of broken sleep.
Plus alcohol in the system also prevents the brain from entering REM sleep, this is the truly good stuff that powers us through the following day. So even if we’re able to sleep after a bellyful of booze, the sleep we get isn’t that effective.
So, if you want to improve your odds of a good night’s sleep when on the road, maybe it’s time to put a cap on the nightcap and save the boozing for lunchtime.
Well, there you have it travel fans – three top tips on how to sleep better on the road. Why not give them a whirl. Here’s to sunkissed days and sleep filled nights!
Message from the Timeshare Guru: Again, a big thank you to Sarah Cummings for providing this article. I hope that it was useful and you check out some of her other articles on The Sleep Advisor.
There are some great bloggers and content providers out there that provide some interesting and useful information concerning travel, timeshares and related information.
I anticipate posting more of these links so that readers get get access to other perspectives on timeshares and travel from across the web.
For this particular post, I came across the following article:
The Case for Timeshares - Who Should Buy
Dr. Cory Fawcett has very similar views to my own. Timeshares are not for everyone but for those who can navigate the system and are flexible, it can be a fantastic travel too to take affordable vacations.
While I try never to spend that amount of money that he claims to spend on vacation, the truth is that airfare is expensive. That is why frequent flyer miles and credit card points are an excellent addition to timeshare ownership as it can make timeshares extremely affordable.
Another article that I came across was from Monkey Miles. I have not come across his blog before but I did come across his article on owning a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare.
While I have studied the Marriott system, I am not as versed in the Marriott system as I am with Hyatt as the ins and outs of each program require a log-in to get access to the reservation system and ancillary documents.
Here is his article on a potential rumor for the Marriott Vacation Club.
If you have not been following the news, there has been a lot of action concerning Marriott in the past couple of years. Not only did they buy Starwood to create the largest hotel chain in the world, but Marriott Vacation Club, a separate independent entity from Marriott, purchased Interval International and its portfolio of timeshare properties (Vistana, Hyatt and others).
This is creating a lot of change. Inevitably, some will be good and some will be bad but generally, there are opportunities to maximize the transition. It appears that Marriott Vacation Club owners will get a potential opportunity on August 1st.
I think that posting timeshare relating information from sources across the web can be a good way to get additional information on timeshares and travel. If you see any articles, blog posts or other information that you think it worthwhile, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure to subscribe below!
For those of you who do not know, travel hacking is the term given to obtaining hotel points, frequent flyer miles and credit cards points for little or no out of pocket expenses and being able to convert those travel currencies into luxurious vacations for free.
It seems difficult but it can be remarkably easy. The general idea is that you sign up for credit cards for their initial bonuses, use them in order to meet the minimum spend amounts and then cancel them. You basically do this over and over with various credit cards. If you are new to this, you can easily rack up 500,000 to 1,000,000 of these travel currencies with little effort and then use those miles to travel for "free" in many very luxurious destinations.
New Credit Card Rules
While travel hacking is still abundant and possible, the credit card issuers have gotten wiser about this and have made this hobby more and more difficult.
For example, American Express has many great welcome bonuses. You use to be able to get a card, get the bonus, cancel the card and reapply and get the bonus again. It wasn't too long for American Express to figure out that this was not profitable and that these were not the type of customers that they wanted.
American Express instituted a restriction where you can only get the bonus once in a lifetime for card. Therefore, if you received the welcome bonus on a specific variant of their card, you could no longer get the bonus again. (Based on my understanding, American Express considers a "lifetime" to be 7 years).
This dealt a blow to the travel hacking community as it severely limited the amount of bonus offers that you could receive through American Express.
American Express now just released a new rule where they can deny your bonus offer if they suspect that you are gaming the system.
Here is their new language:
Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.
Here is a good article from One Mile at a Time discussing this.
Chase is one of the biggest players in the travel credit card space. They offer some of the best cards with some of the best bonuses. A few years ago, they got wise to "travel hacking" and instituted an internal rule called 5/24. Basically, if you opened up 5 new accounts from any bank in the past 2 year period, they will deny your credit card application, NO MATTER WHAT!
I have been subject to this rule and despite having personal relationships with Chase, a stellar credit score, a good paying job and significant assets being held with Chase, I was denied their credit cards. The reason: too many inquiries in the past 2 years.
Despite pleading to the bank through multiple different avenues, they stuck with their position.
Here is a good overview of the Chase 5/24 rule.
As bonus offers have kept going up, the various banks have also increased the annual fees for these products . They provide additional perks and benefits in exchange for these higher annual fees, but you need to use them in order to get the value.
For example, the American Express Platinum card, can offer bonuses as high as 100,000 points. The annual fee use to be a whopping $450 per year which is almost never waived. American Express has been adding various perks in order to rationalize this annual fee but has recently now raised the annual fee to $550 per year.
I think that the annual fee can actually be worth it IF you take the time to understand the perks and USE the perks. In my case, I try very hard to maximize every perk in order to rationalize the annual fee but it takes time and diligence. I imagine that there are a significant number of American Express Platinum users who do not use a fraction of those perks.
The premium credit card market has been expanding quite a lot recently. Paying $550 for year for a credit card seemed ridiculous but these types of premium credit cards are being introduced over and over.
For example, you have the Chase Ritz Carlton Card which costs $450 per year, the Citi Prestige Card which costs $450 per year, United Mileage Plus Club card which is $450 per year, the Delta Reserve card which costs $450 per year and many others.
Here is a post from the Points Guy on these premium cards.
Using your Frequent Flyer Miles and Hotel Points
Once you accumulate the various travel currencies, you get to use those frequent flyer miles and hotel points to travel anywhere* in the world. However, "anywhere" in the world generally is subject to availability, price increases, poor routing choices and various other difficulties.
You use to be able to book 330 days in advance and generally get whatever route you wanted at the lowest mileage cost. It worked well for me over the years.
In the past 5 or so years, airlines and hotel chains have gone away from this approach and now use the historical data on capacity and demand and do not release availability or low reward available this far out if they are fairly certain that they can fill those planes and hotel rooms throughout the year.
The travel currency world is constantly being devalued. Every year, airlines and hotel chains release new charts, new programs and new ideas that all have the effect of devaluing your travel currencies. Many do so without warning. Delta has even go far as to not release award charts so you do not know what the awards should cost.
Hotel chains introduce new tier structures and constantly move hotels up and down, (mostly up) in their tier categories to require more and more points.
The general saying is to earn and burn your travel currencies as the next devaluation will shortly occur.
My Credit Card Portfolio
As I stated many times before, I am a HUGE fan of credit cards and credit card points. Between my wife and I, we probably have about 30 credit cards. I use specific cards for travel, specific cards for gas, specific cards for flights and generally make sure to get the most points per transaction possible.
However, I also pay A LOT in annual fees. I have the American Express Business Platinum Card ($450), the Citi Prestige Card ($450), the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95), the Chase Ink Business Preferred ($95), the Chase Hyatt card ($75), the Delta Platinum card, ($195) etc. and many others.
Just based on the cards mentioned above, I spend OVER $1,360 on annual credit card fees.
This seems somewhat ridiculous but each card has certain perks and benefits and I think that I get enough value out of these cards to justify the cost. However, it is hard to do. It requires a lot of time and energy, research, reviewing points blogs, searching availability, figuring out the best use of miles and hotel points, comparing different programs, etc.
I have the mind set to do it and the desire to do it. However, as the credit card issuers are getting more strict about bonuses, as annual fees continue to rise and as redemptions for hotels and flights get more expensive, it is getting to be more difficult to justify the time and effort required in order to get your "free" trip.
Comparison to Timeshares
Just based on this general overview of travel hacking, you can see that it is complicated, the "free" trips that you take are really not free, and that the rules are changing and they are not in the customers favor.
The title of this post, "are timeshares the next frontier in travel hacking?" is meant as a legitimate question.
Timeshares are extremely similar to travel currencies. I would say that they fall under the same category as a travel currency.
Instead of applying for credit cards to get a travel currency, you pay an annual maintenance fee and you can get points to use for travel.
While there are many different types and qualities of timeshares, most programs are moving towards a point based programs so when you pay your annual fee, you will receive points which can then be used to exchange into quality accommodations.
As I stated many times before, I pay about $1,200 per year in maintenance fees for my Hyatt Residence Club timeshare. In exchange, I get 2,000 Hyatt Residence Club points. I then use those points to exchange into other timeshares where I can easily get 5 weeks of travel for my $1,200 per year plus exchange fees. I have broken down the economics of timeshare ownership here.
Compared to credit cards and travel hacking, I think that my timeshare is actually a much better deal. The exchange rates for timeshares do not change as frequently and some exchange rate changes are extremely rare.
One of the biggest difference between timeshares and credits cards is the repeatability. Each year, when I pay my maintenance fee, I receive my points which can be used for travel. While in the past, I used to be able to reapply for multiple cards and get bonuses, they systems have changed and it is become harder and hard to make travel hacking through credit card bonuses repeatable.
Credit card bonuses are a great way to accumulate a lot of points and travel for "free" for a year or two. However, with the once in a lifetime rule, Chase's 5/24 and the general adversity against people gaming these systems, it is becoming harder and harder to obtain travel currencies for "free" year after year. Therefore, travel hacking has become non-sustainable if you travel multiple times per year, year after year.
Some points programs such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt put out annual exchange charts for their properties. They cannot devalue existing owners weeks or points as this would create a huge backlash and many times, can be restricted in doing so since timeshare owners bought into a specific system and if they materially change the offerings, point structure or usability of their timeshare, they could be forced to rescind such purchases. Rescission would be extremely detrimental to the entire timeshare industry.
In contrast to other travel currencies, devaluation is rampant and if you do not like the revisions, you change systems and loyalties. There is no contract that you sign with the travel currency providers indicating that they cannot or will not change their systems.
While timeshare programs tend to rearrange some point requirements and modify rules, generally you do not see the tremendous changes in point requirements for timeshares as you do with hotel chains.
Additionally, the external exchanges (those through RCI and Interval International) generally stay the same. I have owned a Hyatt timeshare for over 10 years and the exchange rate from Hyatt to Interval International has stayed the same the entire time.
Furthermore, Interval International and RCI do not differentiate points based on quality. It costs the same amount of points for a Four Seasons exchange as it would be the equivalent of a Motel 6. Therefore, as the systems currently are, there are tremendous opportunities to get outsized value.
I consider myself to be very well versed in the "travel hacking" space and know the ins and outs of the programs. My family and I do extremely well navigating credit cards, points, and frequent flyer miles.
Also, you know that I do quite well with our timeshares as well. I talk to many people about timeshares and the reputation of timeshares is a material hurtle to overcome. The industry has such an awful reputation that it is hard to get people to look past the negative perception and dive into the actual programs to determine if there is value.
There are so many similarities between travel currencies and timeshares. Once you understand the inner workings of the programs, you will find that there are tons of "sweet spots" in these programs, strategies to maximize ownership and use and ways to get awesome vacations for less than even your "free" vacation.
My view is that timeshares will be the new frontier in the travel hacking space.
It is a bold statement to say but the credit card programs are changing, bonus points are becoming harder to get, hotel chains are constantly devaluing their points where it can require a ton of spending or stays to accrue a "free" week, frequent flyer points are being devalued so quickly that it hard to fathom, first class redemptions are prohibitively expensive after multiple rounds of devaluations, availability is sparse during peak times, airlines and hotel chains are increasingly playing more and more games with availability such as minimum stay nights, blocking availability for one night during a peak demand week, blocking award availability for key connections to hubs and various other games all to prevent you from getting the promised value of these travel currencies.
With all that being said, travel currencies are definitely needed and I get a tremendous value out of them. However, the constant changes, devaluations, and availability issues make it harder and harder to keep up with the systems and know the best way to maximize their use.
If you read my blog, I am not shy about discussing the negative attributes of timeshares. Some of the worst attributes are the prohibitively expensive upfront costs that the developer charges, the difficulty of selling or even giving away a timeshare and availability.
My view is that if you purchase a high quality, name brand timeshare on the resale market (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Four Seasons, Vistana (Starwood) for a low upfront price, where the week or points for that timeshare carry a reasonable maintenance fee, you can get tremendous value out of timeshares. Not only get you get tremendous value, but you can easily sell the timeshare once you do not want to use it anymore. The key is to get in at a low price with a high quality timeshare.
While I still will accumulate and use travel currencies through credit cards and multiple other avenues, I think that timeshares are being overlooked as a viable strategy to travel well and potentially cheaper than using other travel currencies. I am sure that many people will disagree. I am interested to hear your thoughts!
I am proud to announce the creation of The Timeshare Guru Group on Facebook!
Here is the link to it in order to join!
A blog is a great place to share information but a Facebook is a great place for readers to interact and share real time information.
I say it all the time that timeshares are complicated so I thought it would make sense to have a group dedicated to sharing information, sharing tips, sharing real time availability and discussing timeshares in general.
I have made this a closed group so only members can see posts and contribute but anyone can find the group!
I am hopeful that this group can be a great resource to share information, ask questions and find incredible exchanges.
This type of group will only work when it is active and has numerous members so please share with others who are interested in travel and timeshares!