LoyaltyLobby reader Kathy sent me an email about their purchase of a Marriott timeshare years ago and the devaluation of the 125K points that was promised yearly.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I don’t know if this is in your area of concern. But we purchased a Marriott timeshare years ago. The offer allowed for an option to take Marriott points every other year–125,000.
At that time these points could get you a week anywhere. Now, with the inflation we find that 125000 points doesn’t even get you 2 nights at a Marriott in New York City–even a Fairfield! If you would like more information i.e. Species on times/dates. I can research.
We just paid our annual fee of $1600 + and feel totally ripped off by this timeshare. We tried to rent it back to Marriott or to sell it back no luck. My husband is platinum Marriott any suggestions for recourse?
When I was reading the New York Times online the other day, I came across this long article (access it here) that dealt with timeshares and problems surrounding them. Here’s a brief excerpt:
A recent search on eBay, for example, showed more than 700 timeshare listings for sale. Many, from Pennsylvania to Hawaii to Florida, can be purchased for $1. In its financial filings, Diamond acknowledges that “generally, members of the clubs do not have the right to terminate their membership.”
“I wanted to deed back the property to Diamond and get my equity of about $27,000 out,” Mr. Peña said in an interview. “But I got no response whatsoever.”
Before he stopped paying his loan in 2014, Mr. Peña was being charged $3,262 a year in interest, taxes and maintenance fees for his ownership interest in the timeshare. Expedia.com offers a week at the property for, at most, a little over $2,000.
I would say that generally buying a timeshare is a lose-lose proposition and trying to get rid of it may turn out to be expensive. You may not be able to find a buyer even if you offer it for a cent due to the yearly fees associated with owning one.
Marriott Rewards has been greatly devalued over the years and the number of points required for awards at popular destinations has skyrocketed. There are still, however, value left when redeeming for Travel Packages (read more here) or hotels requiring less points.
Considering that the reader is paying in excess of $1,600 per year in fees for essentially 125,000 Marriott Rewards points, this makes very little sense at this point. Depending on the time of the year, you can get a far longer stay in New York as an example at Marriott properties than two days on points if paying by cash plus you would earn points and there would be no blackout dates/inventory issues.
The reader should try to sell the timeshare or just give it away to someone willing to pay the fees and then just pay for the hotel stays.
I know that many end up buying timeshares when going to these presentations that are often hard sells and the salesperson make promises that they have no intention of keeping. The New York Times article referred that on average 15% of these presentations end up with a sale.
People should save the money and just book hotels at vacation destinations they wish to go. I cannot see how anyone could save anything (beyond putting more money in the pockets of these faceless corporations) by buying a timeshare.