Is Marriott Vacation Club Worth It?
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Table of Contents
- How does Marriott Vacation Club work?
- Marriott Vacation Club cost
- Marriott Vacation Club properties
- Marriott Vacation Club locations
- Marriott Bonvoy points. vs. Marriott Vacation Club points
- Other ways to use Marriott Vacation Club points
- Different Marriott timeshare programs
- Should I join Marriott Vacation Club?
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 few vacation timeshare programs, one of which is the Marriott Vacation Club.
Marriott Vacation Club includes more than 60 resorts and 13,000 villas. 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 does Marriott Vacation Club work?
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. The Marriott Vacation Club works the same way.
Marriott Vacation Club sells owners a one-time allotment of annual Vacation Club points that can be redeemed at various 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.
Marriott Vacation Club cost
If you want to be an owner in Marriott’s timeshare program, you’ll have to pay several different fees.
First, you’ll need to purchase an ownership package, which starts at roughly $25,000. The price varies depending on how many Vacation Club Points you’d like to buy. A stay at an ultra-luxurious property with every amenity will likely cost more points than a more basic one.
You’ll also need to pay annual maintenance fees and club dues. Maintenance fees include any anticipated operating expenses, including repairs, insurance premiums and real estate taxes.
If you don’t use your points in a given year, you can roll them over to the following year. You can also borrow points from next year if you don’t have enough points in the current year.
Marriott Vacation Club properties
Marriott Vacation Clubs include hotels and resorts. Rooms range from studios to three bedroom villas providing up to 2,100 square feet of space.
Timeshare resorts often feature more spacious accommodations than traditional hotel rooms, commonly including separate living areas or kitchens. When staying at these resort locations, you can often expect some of the same amenities offered at large resorts such as golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms, kids clubs and more.
In addition to resorts and hotels, owners can also participate in the Explorer Collection and Exchange Partner Resorts. The Explorer Collection is a selection of travel packages provided by tour operators in Marriott’s network. You can find cruises, guided tours, adventure travel and more.
Exchange Partner Resorts give members access to unique accomodations. Some example properties include a 13th-century stone abbey in Ireland or a beachfront palace in Rio de Janeiro.
If you’re worried about booking the same timeshare over and over again, it's nice to know that there’s a wide variety to choose from within the Marriott Vacation Club portfolio.
Marriott Vacation Club locations
Marriott Vacation Club offers many locations throughout the world. You can find Marriott Vacation Clubs in the U.S., Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Marriott Vacation Club Pulse
Marriott Vacation Club Pulse is a collection of six properties in big cities including Boston, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Sometimes the hotels themselves are landmarks. For example, the location in Washington, D.C., is at the historic Mayflower Hotel, which opened in 1925.
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 Vacation Club 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 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?
Other ways to use 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 park 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.
» Learn more: Who owns what? Hotel chains and their brands
In addition to the Marriott Vacation Club, there are other timeshare programs offered by Marriott Vacations Worldwide. Other programs include:
Sheraton Vacation Club.
Westin Vacation Club.
Grand Residences by Marriott.
Ritz-Carlton Destination Club.
St. Regis Residence Club.
Hyatt Residence Club.
Each of these vacation clubs provide different accommodations ranging from family-oriented experiences (Sheraton Vacation Club) to super luxurious stays (St. Regis Residence Club).
Although Hyatt and Marriott are competitors in the hotel space, interestingly, the Hyatt Residence Club is part of Marriott Vacations Worldwide.
Should I join 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.
How to maximize your rewards
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Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
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