Anyone here own Starwood Timeshare?

 
Old Mar 27, 11, 11:46 am
  #16  
 
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Seattlenerdette and I have purchased two Starwood Vacation Ownership timeshares (Maui in 2004 and Avon, CO in 2005). We are now in the process of selling our Maui unit.

Some quick observations, and what we would do differently:

1) Be absolutely sure your home resort is one you want to return to every year for which you've purchased. We liked Maui and bought there, but quickly realized it wasn't a place to which we wanted to return every year. While developer timeshare sales people will emphasis the ability to convert to hotel points (through Starpoints), other SVO timeshares (through Staroptions) and third-party timeshares (through Interval International), all options require additional cost ($100-$150 fee) and the final two scheduling hassles. If you buy in a location, be sure you always want to visit that location. And make sure you're willing to lock up a week or two of your vacation every year at a timeshare, no matter where it is, in discrete one-week chunks. Eventually, we didn't. But YMMV.

2) Assume it will take at least 20 years for you to amortize the underlying cost of a developer timeshare purchase. We did the rough payback math on both of our units and never believed the sales person's contention that a timeshare is an investment. It is not. It is an expense, much like buying a luxury car. It will lose value, no matter what, as long as there is a resale market. But if you keep it long enough and use it routinely, you will likely get your initial value.

3) Assume your maintenance fees will increase far faster than the rate of inflation. We didn't. But our Maui maintenance fees for a two-bedroom lockoff went from about $1200 a year when we purchased to $2400 a year over the space of seven years. Maintenance fees are an issue whether you buy from the developer or buy resale. They are the invisible albatross hanging around your neck. But if you plan for them (and potentials for increase are rarely highlighted by timeshare sales people), you can deal with them.

4) Buy resale. RedWeek.com gets my recommendation as well. We bought both our units from the SVO developer, due to ignorance and inventory scarcity (Maui was a new resort) in the first case, and due to a great deal with bonus Starpoints in the second case. But if we were to buy going forward, we'd buy resale -- with the caveat that if you get a deal that seems to good to be true at a Starwood Right of First Refusal resort, SVO could buy it back out from under you (it appears to be happening more and more at Maui at other SVO ROFR resorts as the economy slowly improves). Also keep in mind not all resales qualify for exchanges within the Starwood Vacation Network. And do every re-sale transaction through third-party escrow to protect yourself. But that said, there are great resources on both TUGBBS.com and RedWeek.com to assist.

5) Buy into a quality, stable timeshare company. SVO is at the top, as is Marriott. There are others, but these two, in our experience, seem to have the best maintained properties and programs.

We are among those who have managed to re-sell our Maui timeshare, in our case back to SVO after it exercised its ROFR following a written offer from a third party. We lost money, a significant amount of our original purchase price. But we also had excellent stays every time due to the quality of Starwood's properties and program. On balance, we think it was worth it and we're keeping our second SVO timeshare. But if I'd known what I detail above, it would have been a much more rational and knowledgeable purchase the first time. ^
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Old Mar 27, 11, 11:54 am
  #17  
 
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We own WKORV in Maui. While we enjoy Maui, the maint. fees keep going up and up! We own a week every other year. which has worked out fine. You can learn a lot by going to www.tug2.net.
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Old Mar 27, 11, 6:14 pm
  #18  
 
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Is there a list of SVO ROFR properties? I did buy on resale and recently have been allowed to on SVO and trade in my time for Starpoints
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Old Mar 27, 11, 6:20 pm
  #19  
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On CC there are often offers from starwood property owners. The tug BBS is very nice and full of helpful people as well.
We did a Hilton in HI and while it was great for a few years, going back every year is not worth it due to the distance.
I would get something a lot closer next time around.
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Old Mar 27, 11, 6:30 pm
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by danielonn View Post

Is it possible to buy a 1 bedroom Premium at the Desert Oasis Scottsdale AZ and pay the difference to stay in a 2 bedroom Westin Unit or use the 1 bedroom Premium one week and then get a getaway in a 2 bedroom at the Westin?
.
I can't speak for resales, but do not buy a 1 BR premium at SDO and expect a good trade to another SVO resort unless you plan on concentrating on Orlando or Myrtle Beach. 11 years ago I purchased a 2 BR lockout with the intent on never really staying at SDO (I did last year, and it was okay, but not nearly the caliber of the new resorts). Any of the Westin resorts will require at LEAST 81,000 staroptions (2 BR lockout), and nothing less--and that is typically in the low and hurricane seasons. Cancun, Hawaii, and Atlantis are pretty much out for me even with a 2 BR lockout...

If you do purchase, I would suggest a higher caliber resort such as Hawaii or Cancun or Bahamas and purchase via tug2.net or redweek.com--but shop around. You might even be able to find something using a Realtor. Good luck.
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Old Mar 27, 11, 7:47 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by ac777 View Post
Is there a list of SVO ROFR properties? I did buy on resale and recently have been allowed to on SVO and trade in my time for Starpoints
There is, as I recall, on the Starwood forum on TUG. Just search for "ROFR."
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Old Mar 27, 11, 9:48 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by ac777 View Post
Is there a list of SVO ROFR properties? I did buy on resale and recently have been allowed to on SVO and trade in my time for Starpoints
If you want to convert to Starpoints, you have to covert before 3/31. All the properties that you can use Starpoints are on SPG.com (which, I think, are all of them).

StarOptions are the points you can use to stay at SVO properties. Those are at mystarcentral.com.
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Old Mar 27, 11, 10:54 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by a4cell View Post
If you want to convert to Starpoints, you have to covert before 3/31. All the properties that you can use Starpoints are on SPG.com (which, I think, are all of them).

StarOptions are the points you can use to stay at SVO properties. Those are at mystarcentral.com.
ROFR = Right of First Refusal, which is what the poster was asking about. Still, there is always confusion between ROFR SVO properties, "mandatory" SVN properties, and other aspects when buying resale. Starpoints and StarOptions figure in as part of that.
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Old Mar 28, 11, 12:46 am
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by danielonn View Post
I am thinking about purchasing a Timeshare resale via redweek.com or other resale sources and was wondering does one need to be a part of Interval International/RCI to do Getaways or can one just do itner Starwood to stay at the Westin Mission Hills in addition to the week owned?

Is it possible to buy a 1 bedroom Premium at the Desert Oasis Scottsdale AZ and pay the difference to stay in a 2 bedroom Westin Unit or use the 1 bedroom Premium one week and then get a getaway in a 2 bedroom at the Westin?
As others have stated, go take a look at the TUG board for lots of information.

If you buy a Sheraton Desert Oasis ("SDO") unit, you will not be able to use the internal StarOptions to trade within the Starwood Vacation Network ("SVN"), as membership in the SVN does NOT follow resale on that property.

You would only be able to trade for a unit within your season at SDO, or go through an external exchange company like Interval International to get access to other properties, like the Westin Mission Hills.
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Old Mar 28, 11, 12:50 am
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by Flews View Post
I should add my neighbour now has enough SVO timeshares (StarOptions?) that he now qualifies for lifetime SPG Platinum. So there is that.
In addition to the ~$150K up-front cost to purchase that many intervals, your neighbour is paying ~$10K/yr in maintenance fees.

There are less costly ways of achieving SPG Platinum each year if that is the only goal...
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Old Mar 28, 11, 6:55 am
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by YYJMSP View Post
In addition to the ~$150K up-front cost to purchase that many intervals, your neighbour is paying ~$10K/yr in maintenance fees.

There are less costly ways of achieving SPG Platinum each year if that is the only goal...
Correct. That's why I added it as an afterthought. He said he's not buying SVOs for that purpose; but the lifetime Platinium status is a nice bonus on top of his annual SVO vacation experiences. No one is suggesting this is an inexpensive way to get lifetime status - just that it's one more benefit when you reach a certain level of SVO ownership.

Cheers,
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Old Mar 28, 11, 1:36 pm
  #27  
 
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investment in kuai

wish i had read this b4 my purchase!!!
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Old Mar 28, 11, 1:38 pm
  #28  
 
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I own at Westin Ka'anapali North. Love the place. Love staying in a villa with a kitchen, separate bedrooms, and washer/dryer when traveling with the kids. Love the fact that I get the best views in the place. Hate the increasing MFs and Maui county's targeting of TS owners to balance their budget.

I've lost money on paper, but I've been able to rent for double MFs on years that I don't go, so I'm closing the gap each year. And the years I do go have been fabulous, stress-free vacations.

I'd buy again, but would only look at Westin Kierland 2 bdrm platinum units. Their MFs are reasonable and you have enough StarOptions to trade to any other 2 bdrm platinum unit in the network, including both Hawaii locations. Or I'd simply check out rentals from VRBO/Redweek/Tug.

I wouldn't buy an SDO resale because you're at the mercy of II to get into other resorts. I don't like that uncertainty, though you can score some great bargains that way since SDO's purchase price and MFs are so low. So much less risk.
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Old Mar 30, 11, 6:55 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by YYJMSP View Post
In addition to the ~$150K up-front cost to purchase that many intervals, your neighbour is paying ~$10K/yr in maintenance fees.
I know of some who spent around $60k to reach Platinum status and their maintenance fees are around 8k. My maintenance fees for 5 star elite and platinum status is $7575 for 2011.
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Old Mar 30, 11, 7:29 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by tomandrobin View Post
I know of some who spent around $60k to reach Platinum status and their maintenance fees are around 8k. My maintenance fees for 5 star elite and platinum status is $7575 for 2011.
Yes, it all depends on where you buy. I'm 4-star elite and paid $5,775 for 2011.
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