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Marriott Bonvoy is well known for its 30 hotel brands around the world, plus a popular Homes and Villas by Marriott International collection of vacation rentals. But it also has a vacation timeshare program, the Marriott Vacation Club, that has plenty of fans.
Marriott Vacation Club includes more than 60 resorts and 13,000 villas around the world. In addition, the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse operates urban hotels designed for those looking for a big-city experience.
But is the Marriott Vacation Club worth it? Depending on your travel needs and patterns, being a part of the Marriott Vacation Club might be a worthwhile option.
How the Marriott Vacation Club works
Timeshare programs may vary, but they typically provide members (referred to as owners) the opportunity to spend time at a vacation property each year. Timeshares can sell chunks of time (typically a week) or a number of points to be redeemed toward a stay.
Marriott Vacation Club sells owners a one-time allotment of annual points that can be redeemed at various Vacation Club properties within the network. You aren't limited to a specific time of year or location with this system since you redeem points for whatever suits your particular need each year.
Timeshare resorts often come with more spacious accommodations than traditional hotel rooms, commonly including separate living areas or kitchens.
Marriott Bonvoy points. vs. Marriott Vacation Club points
Marriott Bonvoy points, which can be earned and redeemed at Marriott hotels, are different from Marriott Vacation Club points. The latter are purchased as part of an annual contract. When you become a Marriott Vacation Club owner, you buy Vacation Club points that you can redeem at different vacation properties.
The points system allows owners to have flexibility with when and where they want to travel. Even if you buy a set number of points, you can always purchase or bank more if you need it for longer trips or for more expensive locations. Plus, if you would rather stay at a traditional Marriott Bonvoy hotel or resort, you can convert Vacation Club points to Marriott Bonvoy points to redeem for a hotel stay.
» Learn more: Are timeshare sales presentations worth the time?
Where you can use your Marriott Vacation Club points
Joining the Marriott Vacation Club comes with supplementary benefits worth considering. One surprising perk is access to Interval International, which is a vacation exchange network that covers a variety of resorts including those from other brands. These include places like the Harborside Resort at Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas and the Four Seasons Country Club in the Quinta do Lago Resort in Portugal.
Also, depending on the number of points you have, vacation options can include cruises, tours, traditional hotels and sporting events. Known as The Explorer Collection, it includes things such as U.S. national parks guided tours, European cruises and a Kenyan safari.
A sliding scale on the Vacation Club website helps to understand how many points each vacation experience costs.
The starting price for an introductory batch of points is approximately $24,000, with the option to buy more based on your travel needs. Annual fees and dues are an additional expense. They cover things like local real estate taxes, operational expenses, regular maintenance and upkeep, and onsite insurance premiums.
» Learn more: Who owns what? Hotel chains and their brands
Should I join the Marriott Vacation Club?
Timeshares have evolved so that buyers have more flexibility and options, but they are not for everyone. If you are looking to buy vacation real estate, this is an easier pathway since you don’t have to worry about the logistics of upkeep and maintenance (although you pay annual fees to cover the cost of it). Plus, you aren't locked into one specific unit or property, though many people do return to the same place year after year. For those seeking variety, you have a network of hotels, villas and experiences around the world where you can use your Vacation Club points.
If you like to experience different places around the world and don’t mind staying connected to one network of properties, then the Marriott Vacation Club is probably worth it. But if you prefer to decide on new places or different types of vacation experiences at the last minute, then maybe it’s not the best program for you.
We’re all different types of travelers and for some people, the Marriott Vacation Club fits the bill perfectly.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card