Friday, 13 December 2019

Just received an offer to attend a Marriott Vacation Club session?

I'm writing this post to help you make sense of a Marriott Vacation Club offer you may have received a call about. I attended a session in Singapore, listened to the presentation but personally decided this was not for me. I later redeemed the complimentary single night's stay in their Bali resort and progressed no further with this. 

Here is my story and further research about this that I am sharing: 

Just received an offer to attend a Marriott Vacation Club session?

So I was invited to this talk with Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI). It was a call received out of the blue so I only listened and would come by to have a discussion with them at their office in Suntec. Undecided if I would buy or not, as this call also was not something I expected.

How did Marriott Vacation Club receive my details?

So I asked the representative on the phone and they noted that they received my details from Marriott itself. So I assume I must have signed a third party consent as part of the Marriott Bonvoy membership for them to market to us with these promotions.

So what's it about?

It is essentially a timeshare offer that they are looking to offer you. A chance to spend time at Marriott Resorts globally for a reduced price but also as a commitment over a long period of time (up to the year 2056).

What to expect on the day?

You will be placed in a 1 on 1 with the single sales representation who walks you through the offer. Please do factor in 3-4 hours for the session.

At a high level you'd expect to go through the following:

  1. You'll walk through a questionnaire about your travel style - backpacker, resorts, luxury etc.
  2. Program details - website for booking, pricing options, etc. 
  3. Numbers and their "Anyway" calculator which is their calculations so you get a sense of what could work. You should always do your own numbers.
  4. Explanation of four of the different ways of redeeming points. 1) Resorts is the primary way, 2) Tours, 3) Third parties, 4) Marriott Bonvoy hotels (non resorts)

There are a few levels of offers made available during the discussion, so do factor that in if you do pay them a visit. The best offers come at the end. It seems like the consistent approach for timeshare programs globally.

Here is a snippet from Choice Australia on timeshare.
After being told what a great deal we'd miss out on, we were left to think it over. This tactic was repeated two to three times, and each time the manager came back with a new offer, including free weeks in the resorts and discounts on the premium (discounts which are declared in the PDS anyway). - Choice Australia

Who is suited for the timeshare? 

You do need to know that it's essentially a long term contract and you will be encouraged to sign on the day itself for the best offer, so you need to be comfortable with that.

I would say that it's generally great if you like to spend half of your future holidays at resorts and are comfortable heading to the same/ similar resorts that are available. You must be also okay to spend time and money to travel to these resorts as this is only covering your hotel stays.

I personally like to travel for food and sights and may not always spend my time in resorts, so for mixed I was pretty mixed about this offer. I did like the idea of converting my Marriott Vacation Club points to → Marriott Bonvoy points, however, they have a system of only allowing you to do that every alternative year and at a cost. So there is an element of the fact that you must stay at a Vacation Club resort every other year or forfeit your points?


Offers offered to me

  1. Main MVCI (Marriott Vacation Club International) program where they have two options. A) an "Anytime" program (after the sales presentation day), and B) a "Today only"  program (offer only for that day at the sales presentation).
  2. Trial MVCI membership package. Starting at $1399 SGD for three nights in Bali or Phuket or two nights in the Hong Kong Ritz Carlton
  3. Discounted Trial MVCI membership package. $999 SGD if you give back the complimentary voucher for the one night's stay (in my case for their Bali resort). 

Sample offer of the "Today only" offer

So what will they offer you on the day? Well they will offer you a "that day only" offer,  if you walk away and you are feel that you’ll miss out on the following:
  • No Marriott Vacation Club → Marriott Bonvoy conversion possible. They will not allow this after that day
  • No loan/ interest free payment terms. As it’s a 10k SGD, 20k SGD, etc. plans that are on offer, so you can pay it off over a period of time. 

Overall

Pros
  • Complimentary one single night's stay offer is genuine 
  • Can extend 1 more night only fort SGD$100 net
  • Great if you enjoy staying at Marriott resorts for most of your holidays and can plan your holidays well in advance, so it's not booked out on the dates you want. 

Cons:
  • Dependent on Marriott Vacation Club resort availability, I emailed them a couple of weeks ahead of time to confirm the dates before locking down my annual leave. 
  • No Marriott Bonvoy loyalty points and/or Marriott Bonvoy status nights for complimentary 1 (one) night stay that I received for attending the information sales session.
  • Essentially a long term contract (up to the year 2056) and requires long term maintenance fees that may increase over time. 
  • Maintenance fees are 0.39379 * number of Vacation Club points at this time of writing. 
  • 154 USD conversion fee to convert fees from Marriott Vacation Club point to Marriott Bonvoy points (Marriott's normal loyalty program). 
  • I have not read the full terms and conditions but from what I'm reading online (references at the bottom of this post), exiting a timeshare contract is very difficult. You'll see folks selling them in secondary markets such as Carousell, so it may be cheaper to buy there if you find a trustworthy seller and the transfer costs and arrangement makes sense.

Example of the single nights stay offer in Bali

If you do attend the sales presentation and offer, you’ll get something like this. As they will change the location and offer from time to time. It'll be one of their resorts around the world.

Marriott's Bali Nusa Dua Garden

Complimentary 2 Days/ 1 Night Room & Tax in Marriott’s Bali Nusa Dua Garden Stay

  • This voucher is valid for one (1) night stay only at the Marriott Bali Nusa Dua Garden Stay, in a Guestroom for 2 adults only.
  • The expiration date printed on this voucher indicates the date by which travel must be completed; no reservations can be accepted for travel after this date. This offer is non-extendable beyond the expiry date stated.
  • This voucher is for reservation purposes only, has no monetary value and is not valid for check-in with participating hotels unless prior reservation has been made with MVCI, a separate email will be sent for confirmed reservations to be used for check-in.
  • Extension for 1 more night only will be at SGD$100 net, guest room only. Upon reservation you may ask for the special 1-night extension rate.
  • Rates advertised are available only to Guests who have attended a preview of MVCI’s Asia Pacific gallery. Offer is sponsored by and only available through MVCI Asia Pacific PTE. LTD (MVCI). Airfare, transportation, incidentals and other charges are not included.
  • Voucher valid for room only. Airfare, transportation, incidentals and other charges are not included.
  • Charges for additional guests may apply and will be the responsibility of the voucher recipient.
  • Voucher is non-transferable, not exchangeable for cash and is not replaceable if lost or stolen.
  • This voucher cannot be resold and cannot be used in conjunction with any MVCI offers or discounts.
  • MVCI Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. reserves the right to change or substitute accommodations or room type with hotels or rooms of similar quality.
  • Advance reservations are required, and rooms are subject to availability. Blackout dates may apply, and the dates are subject to change.
  • No cancellation or changes made 30 days prior to check-in date. A cancellation or reschedule fees of 1 night applies.
  • Terms and conditions of this voucher and hotel stays are subject to change without notice.

Bali Reservation Operating Hours

Please call Bali Team at (+62) 361 3013376 or email mvcibalitour(at)vacationclub.com for reservations.

Monday to Fridays: 10:00am to 6:00pm

Voucher number: MGDB-<Numbers>
Guest name: <Handwritten with your name/s>
Issue Date: <Stamped with the current date>
Expiration Date: 12 months from the date of Issue
Authorized By: <Company stamp chopped by MVCI Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.>

MVCI Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.
Co. Reg. No: 2006029005W

Monday - Saturday, 9.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. (Singapore Time - GMT +8)
Telephone: 6877 6088 | Fax: 6877 6089
Email: [email protected]
Office is in Singapore at +65 6877 6077.

8 TEMASEK BOULEVARD
#09-01/02
SUNTEC TOWER THREE
SINGAPORE (038988)

Hours of Operation (Singapore Time, GMT+8)

Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

https://www.vacationclubap.com/contactus.jsp
https://www.sgpbusiness.com/company/Marriott-Vacation-Club-Asia-Pacific


Additional tips if you are attending a timeshare presentation

I attended the Singapore session. Here are some great tips I found online that are great to note. 

Here is my calculations of the offer:

When I did the numbers for myself I came up with the following. Please comment if my numbers are off.

Length of contract
Times number of years for the contract which ends at the Year 2056.
Year 2056 - Year 2019 = 37 years  


If I brought 4000 Marriott Vacation Club points per year, I would have the following numbers. 

Loyalty points 
Loyalty points I would have to use over my timeshare period
4000 Marriott Vacation Club points x 37 years = 148,000 Marriott Vacation Club points
Cost for 4000 Marriott Vacation Club points = 65,000 USD (every year it goes up as they add more resorts, etc.)

So with a 65,000 USD buy in, I will receive 148,000 Marriott Vacation Club points

Loyalty points sub total costs: 
  • 65,000 USD / 37 years = 1756.7567 USD per year to have 4000 Marriott Vacation Club points a year

Maintenance fees
Maintenance fees are 0.39379 * number of Vacation Club points

Maintenance fees sub total costs: 
  • Maintenance fees are 0.39379 * 4000 Vacation Club points = 1575.16 USD maintenance fees per year

What is the total cost per year?

Total of Loyalty points + Maintenance fees = 3331 USD per year ~ 4500 SGD per year
  • 1756.7567 USD per year to have 4000 Marriott Vacation Club points a year PLUS
  • 1575.16 USD maintenance fees per year
  • = 3331 USD per year ~ 4500 SGD per year

So if you're spending roughly that much on holidays each year and are comfortable spending your holidays in resorts for roughly half of your holidays then that could work out for you. 

What is the cost of maintenance fees over the life of the timeshare?

Maintenance fees for period of Marriott Vacation Club Timeshare = $1575.16 USD annual maintenance fees * 37 years = $58280.92 USD 



Tips from Choice Australia

At the presentation, an agent:
  • flogs you the membership perks
  • asks questions about your holiday patterns
  • determines the amount of points you need a year for your travels
  • offers you a membership according to your travel habits.
A conversation started about how we holiday, what we expect and what we plan for the future. Apparently this is important for the agent to determine the amount of points you'll need to be able to holiday properly. 
After estimating how much travel accommodation currently costs us, the agent tried to convince us these prices would double every decade. According to them, a timeshare would give us the opportunity to holiday at today's prices for the rest of our lives. 
The membership offered will include a certain number of points each year. If you need more points, you can accumulate them for one or two years or borrow from an upcoming year. Alternatively you can switch to a higher membership with more points included, but you may have to pay a fee for upgrading.
The hard sellA lot of time was spent showing us available properties and explaining how a timeshare can save us a lot of money in the future.  And since we attended the presentation, the agents said they could offer us a premium membership, which comes with perks such as being able to use the points internationally, cheap last-minute travel and even reduced flights or cruises.
Source: https://www.choice.com.au/travel/accommodation/timeshare/articles/timeshare-presentations
These are tips from the Australian Government (different for folks outside of Australia).
If you're going to a timeshare seminar remember:
  • You don't have to sign on the dotted line on the day
  • You have the right to a 7-day cooling-off period after you sign. The cooling-off period is 14 days if the operator is not a member of the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC)
  • You should carefully read the product disclosure statement you are given and understand the terms and costs before signing up
  • The product disclosure statement and application form that the scheme operator gives you should tell you the cooling-off period that applies. You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement that you have received the cooling-off statement.
  • If you don't want to go ahead with the purchase, make sure you tell the company in writing before the end of the cooling-off period.
Take the time to consider the up front and ongoing costs of the timeshare and compare these costs against alternative holiday arrangements. Timeshares usually only cover the accommodation portion of your holiday which is not a fair comparison to the total cost of a typical holiday that also includes travel, food, entertainment and other incidental costs.
Source: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/property/timeshares


Other articles to note:

Please do your research and determine what makes sense for your personal situation.

https://www.choice.com.au/travel/accommodation/timeshare/articles/are-timeshares-worth-it
https://www.choice.com.au/travel/accommodation/timeshare/articles/timeshare-presentations
https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowTopic-g1-i10700-k9893976-o140-Beware_Marriott_Vacation_Club_Points_A_Bad_Deal-Timeshares_Vacation_Rentals.html
https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/property/timeshares
https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/timeshare-exit-companies-scam-22-million-from-missourians/63-9b8e9e5b-0139-45f8-8da8-e6061394a3ae


Disclaimer - I'm not saying that this is necessary a bad offer, however, you need to be very specific about what you want and how you can manage this for your financial situation and traveling habits in the long term.

I hope this helps you to make an informed decision. 

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