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There are 400k+ Owners Worldwide. Here’s how to use your Marriott Timeshare points to get max value
My family and I have gone through a journey with Marriott Vacation Club. It’s gotten more complex and more complicated, but the new program, which features Marriott Vacation Club Points, has a lot of sweet spots if you know where to look. Follow along and I’ll show you how you should approach the program, think strategically, and keep yourself out of the weeds. The aim is for you to extract the maximum value out of your hard earned points. If you have a week already designated, or deeded, we aren’t advocating that you pivot away from that week. You bought at that location for a specific reason. Rather, we’re illustrating that the Marriott Vacation Club Point program offers a plethora of redemption options, many of which are external to timeshare properties. These are the BEST uses of Marriott Vacation Club Points.
Background on the program.
Our first property was purchased long ago at the very first Marriott Timeshare Property, Monarch, located in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It deeded an exact unit during an exact week. It was very straight forward, you either used the week or you banked it to trade into another property, or your home property during a different time of the year. You could transfer within the RCI program, but managing its use wasn’t too complex. You essentially owned a fraction of a condo and paid maintenance on it annually.
Then the program shifted. No longer could you buy the deed to an exact unit during an exact week, you bought into differentiated seasons with banks of units that priced differently according to view, location, etc. You were assigned a unit upon check-in based upon the class timeshare you owned. For instance, if you bought during Platinum season in an Ocean Front unit you knew broadly what you were getting, but gone were the days of staying in Unit 3-201 every year. One year you may get that favorite unit, the next it may be in a different building with the same classification. This new system was similar to a Co-Op program whereby you just owned a share of the overall property rather than the exact unit.
The new program: Marriott Vacation Club Points
New buyers into the program are given Vacation Club Points. These points are shares in the overall Marriott system and give you access to redemption options based on the valuation Marriott has given to those redemption options. Think of this as an REIT. You own some share of a real estate company, and you can redeem your share for stays based upon what the company values individual properties.
This is a devaluation overall for new owners. You’re no longer guaranteed a full week because you no longer buy a week with a deed. Instead, you buy Vacation Club Points and those Vacation Club Points can be devalued by Marriott Vacation Club at any point…this year a week may cost you 5k points, in 10 years it may cost you 6k points.
The newest incarnation can be pretty confusing. What Marriott has done is grandfather in all the prior owners, but pivot new ownership away from the old program. For Old owners you can kind of have your cake and eat it too. If you choose to enroll in the new program you keep your old benefits, but have the opportunity to seek sweet spots to earn return on investment. Lemme explain.
If you have a specifically deeded unit, you keep it, and the deed, and the ability to stay in THAT unit. If you own a seasonal unit and type, you keep that as well. Current owners are encouraged to enroll in the new program by buying some points which then allows them to convert their ownership into Vacation Club Points each year. This gives members not only their old benefits when redeeming at their home property, but full participation in the new program with priority and benefits based on their total portfolio. Each year, you can choose whether you want to use your week, or convert it into Vacation Club Points. This is where the sweet spots can be found.
How to complement your Marriott Vacation Club Points with the right credit card options
My family has been able to take some truly once in a lifetime trips that incorporate Marriott Vacation Club points, but we have enhanced those trips with credit card points. Marriott Vacation Club Points may take care of the stay portion of your trip, but how about the flights? Since launching this site in 2014, we have been able to utilize credit card points program sweet spots to fly in some of the world’s best first and business class products. I urge you to look at other pages on my website that give further insight into how I’m able to consistently earn 500k+ points every year, but also the techniques and strategies I incorporate to find the best way to fly for the cheapest amount of points. I mention tours as a possible Marriott Vacation Club Point use – my parents were able to tour Ireland this way and flew roundtrip in business class because we had earned the right points.
Want to stay at a Vacation Club Property? Focus on the Sun-Thursday rates. You can often stay 10 nights for the price of 7.
Marriott Vacation Club prices their awards seasonally, but also bases cost on what part of the week you choose to stay. Let’s take a look at a property I stayed at with my family in Orlando, Florida. It was absolutely gorgeous and was next to both a JW Marriott and a Ritz Carlton.
Sun-Thurs rates are roughly half the full week rate.
- Studio Sun- Thurs = 750 points
- 1 Bedroom Sun-Thurs = 1225
- 2 Bedroom Sun – Thurs = 1625
- 3 Bedroom Sun – Thurs = 2125
Depending on your needs, you could check out, rent a unit that fits your need for Friday and Saturday, and check back in for 5 more nights and use nearly the same amount of points as you would have for just 7 nights. Suddenly a 7 night trip becomes 12 nights for the same number of points + the cost of renting a unit for 2 nights.
Leverage the Explorer Collection to stay at Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels Worldwide
There are a lot of properties around the world that price out of our budget if paying cash. However…using points they suddenly become well within reach.
One of the best uses of Marriott Vacation Club points is their Explorer Collection. Instead of converting Marriott Vacation Club Points into Marriott Bonvoy points at a rate of 1:40, there are a list of hotels you can access directly with Marriott Vacation Club Points. It effectively opens up reduced rates at amazing properties worldwide. In order for this to be a good deal, we need to beat the ratio of 1:40. Let’s take a look at some examples.
One hotel on the Explorer Collection is the Royal Hawaiian Hotel ( Luxury Collection ) on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.
Let’s say you want to go this fall and Stay on the Royal Hawaiian. You have two ways of doing so…
- Convert your Vacation Club Points to Marriott at a ratio of 1:40
- Depending on your status you can convert 50-75% of your outstanding points.
- If you have a deeded unit, the deed will tell you how often you can convert your points. We have deeded units that allow yearly transfers, others every other year. )
- Use your Vacation Club Points to directly redeem
The Royal Hawaiian is a category 7 hotel so rates fluctuate from 50-70k per night.
In order to use Marriott Vacation Club Points you’ll need to see that the room category that you want is available on the Marriott site with points. It needs to price in at Off Peak or Standard which for category 7 hotels ranges between 50 and 70k per night. These rooms will book into a standard room which if we compare to Marriott Vacation Club Points is 875 points per night.
Applying the 1:40 ratio, we’re better off booking with Marriott Vacation Club Points than we are moving into Marriott Bonvoy. At a 1:40 ratio – 875 Marriott Vacation Club Points are worth 35k Marriott Bonvoy Points.
Go to Bali and Stay at the exclusive Ritz Reserve Property: Mandapa.
Eat. Pray. Love. was a worldwide sensation and put Bali on everyone’s bucket list. The heart of the island is Ubud, a mountain village where you’ll find healers, meditation, and serenity that will restore your mind, body, and soul. Mandapa, set behind ancient gates, is one of the most beautiful and expensive properties in Ubud. And it can be yours…free of charge.
I’ve written an entire article about this redemption, but it’s the MOST EXCLUSIVE way you can possibly use your points. Marriott’s policy on their Reserve properties is that you not earn or redeem points at them. Timeshare owners using Marriott Vacation Club Points access a backdoor and lemme tell you from personal experience, it’s an amazing place. I stayed there in 2017, and it’s well worth it.
Here’s a look at the current 2021 prices. Prices have absolutely skyrocketed from when I first report this – A reserve suite in 2019 was just 1500 Marriott Vacation Club points. However, I would note that these rooms often go for close to a $1k a night.
Guided Tours by Collette.
Collette has a partnership with Marriott Vacation Club and my parents enjoyed a great tour of Ireland a couple years back named Treasures of Ireland. It currently runs 13,500 Marriott Vacation Club Points per couple. At a ratio of 1:40 ( Marriott Vacation Points to Marriott Bonvoy ) that equates to 540k Marriott Bonvoy Points. They have yet to publish prices on this tour for 2021, but in 2020 it was between $3000 -$3500 per person. . Other bloggers place a $0.008 valuation, which I think is low, but even at a penny a point value, this is extracting a lot of value.
Features 5 star hotels…
Maintaining Status in Marriott Bonvoy
Another great use of Vacation Club Points is leveraging your timeshare ownership into hotel status. Depending on the number of points you own, you’ll get a bevy of benefits within Marriott Vacation Club, but also status with Marriott Bonvoy. A couple of years ago Marriott merged with SPG and formed a new loyalty program called Bonvoy.
If you keep Marriott Vacation Club Select status or higher you’ll enjoy Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, or even Titanium status which means you’ll enjoy Club Lounge access when staying at Marriott properties. Note…the big caveat to this is Ritz Carlton which is excluded from guaranteed lounge access.
I’ve found that the old SPG properties treat Marriott elites far better than those that were already a part of Marriott before the merger. In fact, on a recent trip through Doha, our Titanium Elite status upgraded us into a 2 Bedroom Empire Suite at the St Regis Doha. What does that mean? If all things are equal…choose a legacy SPG hotel to get better treatment and benefits.
Go to the Masters with points
Yes, the most exclusive, hard to get tickets in all of sports can be yours by using your Marriott Vacation Club points. How? Check this out…
I mentioned earlier in the post about investigating the “Explorer Collection.” Well, buried amidst other redemptions is a subcategory “Golf.” I figured it was mainly standard PGA tour events and free rounds at courses associated with Marriott properties.
Then I saw it. The Masters One Day Program for 6700 points. If you’re a golf lover, going to the Masters, especially Thursday-Sunday, is a true bucket list item. At 6700 points this isn’t as great as it once was ( 5250 in 2019 ), but 6700 is still pretty good value. In fact, resale sites typically sell tickets on the low end for $2500 a piece, and those don’t include Hospitality tent access.
I was lucky enough to attend the Masters in 2018 with my dad for his 70th birthday. It’s one incredible experience that I thought was going to be once in a lifetime. With this development…we may have to go back!
Note, that when you elect this package, you can go this coming year, next year, or the year after – so if it’s on your list…go for it!
Villas of Distinction
Another use with the Explorer Collection are renting entire villas. This could be a fantastic way to have a family reunion, get a group of friends together, and feel avoid the hotel and timeshare crowd. I foresee experiences and stays like these to be popular as the world adjusts to the Covid and Post Covid era… Some of these are absolutely ridiculous in price, but others are actually cheaper than staying at some of the resorts I mentioned above. For instance, Mandapa is one of the best hotels in all of Bali, certainly Ubud, but it also requires over 2k Vacation Club Points a night. Compare that to renting out an entire villa which would come with a staff…
Or perhaps you want to see the Big Sky Montana?
However you redeem your hard earn Marriott Vacation Club Points…take the time to make sure that you are extracting the best possible value. Need help? We offer consulting services to max your value and help you plan.
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