Marriott Vacation Club has earned a reputation as being one of the best and most trusted timeshare brands in the business.
Owners receive a deeded real estate interest, which ensures you a vacation every year and can be passed down through the generations. The Vacation Club Points system gives you the freedom to book vacations at any timeshare property at any time of year. While points are awarded annually, they don’t have to be used within the year.
For example, you can save this year’s points to put toward an extra special trip next year; or borrow next year’s points for use now. You can also add more points at any time.
Use them to book a vacation at one of more than 50 Marriott Vacation Club resorts located in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. You also have access to more than 6,700 Marriott hotels around the world, and more than 3,000 affiliated resorts through Marriott’s external exchange partner, Interval International.
Best Traditional: Hyatt Residence Club
Hyatt Residence Club lets you choose from roughly 16 traditional home resorts located in some of the most enviable destinations across the United States. These include spaces in Aspen, Colorado; Key West, Florida; Sedona, Arizona; and Maui, Hawaii—ensuring there’s something to suit every kind of traveler.
Each one feels like coming home, with familiar comforts and the chance to make a network of friends to help you establish vacation traditions. All Residence Club resorts combine residential-style amenities (think full kitchens, dining spaces, and living rooms) with the recreation facilities you’d expect from a high-end resort.
You don’t have to spend every vacation at your home resort, however. The company’s Portfolio Program gives you access to the entire network of Hyatt Residence Club resorts by allowing you to set up club-to-club exchanges. You also receive an annual allotment of vacation points, which you can use to book getaways around the globe with World of Hyatt or to exchange stays at affiliated resorts through Interval International.
Best Points-Based: Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
To join the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, potential owners must purchase a deeded interest in a trust that holds real estate titles, which can be passed down to your kids and grandkids.
Once you have ownership, you will receive an annual allotment of Vacation Club Points that you can then use to book your trips at one of five luxurious Ritz-Carlton Club locations. These are fully furnished and serviced residences with access to the best resort-style amenities.
There are two Ritz-Carlton Club locations in California (Lake Tahoe and San Francisco) and two in Colorado (Aspen and Vail). The fifth is on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
When you want to explore further afield, you can also use your points to book at more than 50 Marriott Vacation Club Resorts, and at all Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels enrolled in the Mariott Bonvoy program. Finally, points can be redeemed on a selection of Explorer Collection tours ranging from African safaris to historic tours of the Amalfi Coast.
Best for First-Time Owners: Wyndham Destinations
Wyndham Destinations bills itself as the world’s largest vacation ownership and exchange company, offering the opportunity to stay at more than 220 Wyndham-owned resorts across the United States and granting access to more than 4,300 affiliated resorts in 110 countries through timeshare exchange company RCI.
There are different ways to become a Wyndham Destinations owner. The most traditional is to opt for a deeded interest at a selected home resort, with advanced reservation priority for a specific window of time each year.
For greater flexibility, you can also opt for a points-based ownership. Your points aren’t tied to a specific resort and can be saved up for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or used throughout the year on smaller getaways. However you choose to use your membership, all Wyndham Destinations resorts offer the freedom to spread out in your own space while still having access to everything from resort pools and golf courses to spas and restaurants.
Best for Families: Disney Vacation Club
For families and the young at heart, Disney Vacation Club offers a wonderfully flexible approach to timeshare vacations.
First, you purchase a real estate interest represented by Vacation Points. Then, you use the points to book trips to Disney Resorts and affiliated destinations across the world. There are 16 Disney Vacation Club Resorts in the United States, most of them at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in California. You also have access to Disney Cruise Line destinations (including the Caribbean and Europe) and more than 3,300 other resorts through RCI.
Unlike traditional timeshares that lock you into a specific destination and time of year, Disney Vacation Club membership allows you to travel wherever and whenever you like. You can expect a discount of roughly 50% on accommodations and wherever you go, villas offer a base with home comforts, including private bedrooms, a kitchen, and laundry facilities.
Members also receive exclusive benefits, discounts, and experiences, such as a tasting cruise on the Seven Seas Lagoon or after-hours Moonlight Magic celebrations.
Most Flexible: Hilton Grand Vacations
Hilton Grand Vacations gives owners the freedom to return to their favorite home resort annually or to visit a new destination with every vacation.
When you purchase a deeded ownership interest at one of the brand’s club resorts, you automatically become a member of the Hilton Grand Vacations Club. You will be issued an annual allotment of ClubPoints (based on the value of your ownership interest), which you can spend on reservations at other HGV resorts or on exchanges at thousands of RCI resorts worldwide.
There are dozens of Hilton Grand Vacations resorts located throughout the United States and a handful of international destinations, including Barbados, Japan, Italy, and Scotland. Whether you prefer tropical beaches or snow-dusted mountains, there’s something for everyone.
You can also choose to spend your points on unique vacation experiences and adventures, with options ranging from yacht cruises to African safaris. Best of all, the points are completely flexible. You can borrow from next year’s points to boost this year’s travel plans or save them up for a later trip.
Best Added Benefits: Diamond Resorts
Diamond Resorts offers three types of vacation ownership: traditional deeded ownership interests at a single resort or points-based memberships that give you access to a collection of regional Diamond Resorts or the full portfolio of Diamond and affiliated resorts.
There are many different ways to use your points, and they can act as currency for reservations at Diamond Resorts in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and beyond.
You can also use them to book a cruise or for unforgettable guided adventures (think Great Wall of China treks or trips to see Norway’s Northern Lights). You can even use your points to book travel essentials like rental cars and airfares.
Diamond Resorts members receive plenty of additional perks, including priority check-in and access to thousands of special events planned each year at locations around the world. These range from exclusive concerts and VIP dinners to meet-and-greets with your favorite celebrities. Many European resorts also offer member entertainment programs, with activities including everything from sailing excursions to local history tours.
Best Luxury: Four Seasons Residence Club
Four Seasons has earned a reputation as one of the most luxurious hospitality companies in the world, focusing on quality rather than quantity when it comes to its hotels. This approach also applies to its timeshare program, known as the Four Seasons Residence Club.
The program gives you the opportunity to purchase fractional ownership of a private residence at one of just six exclusive Four Seasons resorts, where you can then make yourself at home for a set period of time each year. You can also exchange residencies with other members.
Options range from Spanish Colonial-style villas in Southern California to tropical hideaways on Costa Rica’s Peninsula Papagayo, and mountain lodges set amid the spectacular Grand Tetons. All residences are exquisitely furnished and provide access to the flawless service and incredible resort amenities Four Seasons is known for.
Like most timeshare programs, fractional ownership with the Four Seasons Residence Club involves an annual maintenance fee, which ensures that your vacation home is immaculately kept without you having to manage it from afar.
Best Exclusive: St. Regis Residence Club
The St. Regis Residence Club takes an even more exclusive approach to vacation ownership, offering fractional ownership opportunities at just three of the company’s most extraordinary landmark properties.
These include the St. Regis New York (set amid the cultural epicenter that is Midtown Manhattan), the St. Regis Aspen (an ultra-luxurious mountain retreat located steps from Aspen’s best ski slopes), and The Phoenician Residences (a haven for relaxation amidst the natural splendor of Arizona’s Camelback Mountain).
Ownership is for four weeks annually. Choose fixed weeks to travel over the same period every year, or opt for “floating” weeks that give you the freedom to travel during different seasons. The latter can also be divided so that you could potentially visit your timeshare up to four times in a single year.
Personalized Member Services include a team to handle your reservations and travel arrangements for that extra VIP touch. Meanwhile, all Residence Club Owners are enrolled in the Platinum Elite Level of the Mariott Bonvoy program, giving access to benefits at 6,700 hotels across 29 international brands.
What Is a Timeshare?
A timeshare makes you the partial owner of a vacation property, giving you the right to spend time there for a certain period each year. Nowadays, most timeshare companies operate on a points-based system, allowing you to swap time at your own timeshare property for a vacation at another property within the same portfolio.
What Are the Benefits of Buying a Timeshare?
Buying a timeshare means that you have many of the benefits of owning a second home without having to purchase the entire property yourself. You will have a familiar place to return to each year and are guaranteed availability for your chosen dates. You also don’t have to personally worry about maintaining the property while you’re away—although maintenance fees are usually part of the cost.
How Much Does a Timeshare Cost?
Timeshare costs vary widely depending on factors including the brand, location, property size, and amenities. However, the American Resort Development Association states that the average cost of vacation ownership was $21,455 in 2020, with an average annual maintenance fee of $1,000.
Who Do You Usually Share a Timeshare With?
The other partial owners of your vacation property are usually strangers. However, most companies allow you to share your timeshare with family members and to pass the timeshare deed on in your will.
Article by Jessica MacDonald of TripSavvy – Source