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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
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 Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. Let’s compare the two ways you can use Marriott Vacation Club Points to stay there, and how the Explorer Collection is advantageous.
Let’s say you want to go to Washington D.C. and visit their new Mayflower Hotel in Mid May. You two ways of doing so…
- Convert your Vacation Club Points to Marriott at a ration of 1:32
- Use your Vacation Club Points to directly redeem
The Mayflower hotel is 40k Marriott Rewards a night for a standard room.
If you want to go for Thurs, Friday, Sat it would set you back 120k points. So you’d need to convert 3750 Vacation Club Points.
For the Explorer Collection to be a better value it needs to price in at 3749 Vacation Club Points.
- One night at 350.
- 2 nights at 475
That’s only 1300 Vacation Club Points, or the equivalent of just 41,600 Marriott Rewards. An amazing value. That hotel is going for over $500 a night during that time period…meaning you were getting nearly $0.03 cents a Marriott Rewards point. That’s unheard of. In fact, you could stay in an Executive King Suite with Club Level Access for just 1700 Vacation Club Points. That’s equates to just 54,400. Suites are $700 a night or $2100 of value for just 54,400 Marriott Rewards. You tell me who’s getting 4 cents a point for their Marriott Rewards, it’s not many people.
Go to Bali and Stay at the exclusive Ritz Reserve Property: Mandapa.
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 last year, and it’s well worth it.
Go between January 8th and March 31st and you’ll stay for the equivalent of 48k Marriott Rewards 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. 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 Rewards and SPG
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. Don’t forget, you can use your Marriott status to match and get SPG status. This means you could take Vacation Club Points and transfer them into Marriott Rewards and then into SPG to stay at their properties. Some of the best values are SPG properties booked with cash + points rates.
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.