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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, so you can extract the maximum value of your hard earned points. 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: 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.
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. It effectively opens up reduced rates at amazing properties worldwide. In order to understand the value proposition, you should remember that you can always convert your Marriott Vacation Club points into Marriott Rewards at a ratio of 1:32. So we need to beat that ratio for it to be a good deal.
One hotel on the Explorer Collection is the Ritz Carlton Kapalua. Who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii and stay at the Ritz?
Let’s say you want to go this fall and Stay at the Ritz. You have two ways of doing so…
- Convert your Vacation Club Points to Marriott at a ratio of 1:32
- Depending on your status you can convert 50-75% of your outstanding points.
- Use your Vacation Club Points to directly redeem
The Ritz Carlton Kapalua is 60k Marriott Rewards a night for a standard room.
In order to use VCP you’ll need to see that the room category that you want is available on the Marriott site with points. If you see it is…simply call in to book.
Since Vacation Club points convert at a 1:32 ratio, on any given night, you’d need to spend less than 1875 Vacation Club Points per night for it to make sense to redeem VCP vs convert and use Bonvoy.
The Ritz Carlton Kapalua VCP chart for 2019
- Low End 1375 or 44k Marriott Bonvoy per night
- High End 2175 or 69,600 Marriott Bonvoy per night
On the low end it’s an absolute no brainer, and if you can avoid the peak Christmas/Summer holiday season, you’re way ahead. In fact, Marriott Vacation Club even creates a pathway to redeeming their suites with points which are called Residential Garden View and are flat out gorgeous condo like setups at 900 sqft and small kitchenettes. Here’s a pic and Marriott Bonvoy pricing of 120k a night. MVP starts their pricing at 1775 which is effectively 56,800 Bonvoy.
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 2019 prices. Most of the year
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. It currently runs 11,000 Vacation Club Points per couple. At 32 Marriott Rewards per VCP that equates to 352k Marriott Rewards. The retail value on the same tour starts at $2550 a person and hits $3500 a person in 2019. That puts a value on of 1.44 to nearly 2 cents a Marriott Reward point. 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…
And retail starts at $5000 a couple…
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. Marriott has merged with SPG and formed a new loyalty program called Bonvoy.
If you keep MVC Select status of 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 5250 points. If you’re a golf lover, going to the Masters, especially Thursday-Sunday, is a true bucket list item. At 5250 points this is a fantastic 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!
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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