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Old March 1, 2014, 11:34 PM   #1
napoli21
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Question Resale & Trading Assistance

All,

Seeking some guidance as I purchase a resale at SVV. The underlying week is deeded 26 - and specifically I was wondering what exactly does that mean in terms of trading in II? Does it really have any relevance?

More importantly, how early do you have to book to get 'mid' to 'low' demand times with staroptions? i.e. Kierland in August... Lagunamar in July, Hawaii in July or Sept?

Also, how does it work trading with II from SVV? I read through the sticky and am still confused about the process... would it be best if I bought a lock-off and split it to attain the best outcome, or are two bedroom villas the most popular?

I am new to timesharing and not long out of college - I thought it would be a good opportunity to purchase a timeshare to help defer costs of future vacations (I usually travel 2-3 weeks annually on leisure trips, usually vacationing to Westin Vacation Club resorts). Any guidance you can all give is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old March 2, 2014, 08:42 AM   #2
LisaRex
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napoli21 View Post
All,

Seeking some guidance as I purchase a resale at SVV. The underlying week is deeded 26 - and specifically I was wondering what exactly does that mean in terms of trading in II? Does it really have any relevance?
The week has no relevance unless it is a fixed week. The ad will tell you if it's fixed, so otherwise assume it's a floating week. What matters is the underlying season you own. As long as you buy one of these weeks at SVV (6-17, 23-34, 39-47, 51-52), it's a platinum week.

Also, I assume you know to only target Key West or Bella, as those are the only two SVV phases which carry SOs with them upon resale purchase.

Quote:
More importantly, how early do you have to book to get 'mid' to 'low' demand times with staroptions? i.e. Kierland in August... Lagunamar in July, Hawaii in July or Sept?
For desert properties, you won't have to book that far ahead, as they usually have tons of inventory available in the summer. In fact, you may not have to use StarOptions at all. First, I'd check II Getaways, which are weeks you can rent outright for a very reasonable fee, often less than the cost of MFs. Desert properties during the summer are very reasonable in II Getaways.

For instance, I just checked II Inventory for this summer, and there are a ton of weeks available at Sheraton Desert Oasis ($437 for a 1 bdrm and $667 for a 2 bdrm) or Marriott Canyon Villas ($347 for a studio, $427 for a 1 bdrm, and $547 for a 2 bdrm).

For Hawaii in low season, you probably won't have issues if you book at 8 months out using SOs. For many reasons, exchanging into Hawaii is getting more difficult, so I'd want to book at 8 months. It used to be easy to get into low season in Hawaii via II, but inventory is reportedly getting tighter.

Quote:
Also, how does it work trading with II from SVV? I read through the sticky and am still confused about the process... would it be best if I bought a lock-off and split it to attain the best outcome, or are two bedroom villas the most popular?
In terms of II exchanging, if you only need 1 bdrm, it's far better if you buy a lock-off because it allows you to split the unit and use each side separately. If you buy a 2 bdrm non-lockoff, your only two options are to use it or exchange it. With a 2 bdrm lockoff, you can: a) Use one side and deposit the other side in II; b) Use one side and convert the other side to SOs; c) Use both sides; d) Deposit both sides in II; e) Convert both sides to SOs; f) Deposit one side in II and convert the other side to SOs.

In II, you can exchange via two methods: Ongoing Requests and Instant Exchange. With Ongoing, you pay a fee to enter a series of dates and resorts that you want to exchange to. (For instance, you'd select Westin Kierland with travel dates of 7/1/14 through 9/30/14.) If and when Starwood deposits a matching unit in the bank, people with O.R. get their exchanges fulfilled first. So the earlier you enter, the better your chances of getting into the top tier resorts, such as Hawaii or Harborside.

There are a few downsides with Ongoing Request. The main one is that Starwood rarely deposits high season into II. The second is that you cannot request a unit larger than what you are depositing. So if you want a 2 bdrm at Kierland, you have to deposit a 2 bdrm.

The second way to exchange in II is with Instant Exchange. Since O.R. are filled first, these are the "leftover" weeks. However, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. This method can work great if you can travel on short notice, if you can travel in low season, or if you want to trade up to a larger unit. With I.E., you can book anything you can see. So even if you only have one side of your lockoff available to deposit, it's quite possible to exchange into a 2 bdrm, esp in low season.

Quote:
I am new to timesharing and not long out of college - I thought it would be a good opportunity to purchase a timeshare to help defer costs of future vacations (I usually travel 2-3 weeks annually on leisure trips, usually vacationing to Westin Vacation Club resorts). Any guidance you can all give is greatly appreciated.
First of all, if you cannot afford to buy it with cash, and have to finance the purchase, don't do it.

I'd also caution you that while Starwood has great timeshares, the network is extremely limited. Look over the list and see how many places you really want to visit again and again. After 7 years of owning Starwood, I was getting really bored with the limited selection.

Finally, it's becoming more and more difficult to do SO exchanges. If you want to travel in low season, that works in your favor. But at the end of the day, the only guarantee you have if you buy at SVV, is one week in a 2 bdrm at SVV.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by LisaRex; March 2, 2014 at 09:03 AM.
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Old March 2, 2014, 12:07 PM   #3
lizap
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Lisa, this is a great post- we'll-written and informative!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaRex View Post
The week has no relevance unless it is a fixed week. The ad will tell you if it's fixed, so otherwise assume it's a floating week. What matters is the underlying season you own. As long as you buy one of these weeks at SVV (6-17, 23-34, 39-47, 51-52), it's a platinum week.

Also, I assume you know to only target Key West or Bella, as those are the only two SVV phases which carry SOs with them upon resale purchase.



For desert properties, you won't have to book that far ahead, as they usually have tons of inventory available in the summer. In fact, you may not have to use StarOptions at all. First, I'd check II Getaways, which are weeks you can rent outright for a very reasonable fee, often less than the cost of MFs. Desert properties during the summer are very reasonable in II Getaways.

For instance, I just checked II Inventory for this summer, and there are a ton of weeks available at Sheraton Desert Oasis ($437 for a 1 bdrm and $667 for a 2 bdrm) or Marriott Canyon Villas ($347 for a studio, $427 for a 1 bdrm, and $547 for a 2 bdrm).

For Hawaii in low season, you probably won't have issues if you book at 8 months out using SOs. For many reasons, exchanging into Hawaii is getting more difficult, so I'd want to book at 8 months. It used to be easy to get into low season in Hawaii via II, but inventory is reportedly getting tighter.



In terms of II exchanging, if you only need 1 bdrm, it's far better if you buy a lock-off because it allows you to split the unit and use each side separately. If you buy a 2 bdrm non-lockoff, your only two options are to use it or exchange it. With a 2 bdrm lockoff, you can: a) Use one side and deposit the other side in II; b) Use one side and convert the other side to SOs; c) Use both sides; d) Deposit both sides in II; e) Convert both sides to SOs; f) Deposit one side in II and convert the other side to SOs.

In II, you can exchange via two methods: Ongoing Requests and Instant Exchange. With Ongoing, you pay a fee to enter a series of dates and resorts that you want to exchange to. (For instance, you'd select Westin Kierland with travel dates of 7/1/14 through 9/30/14.) If and when Starwood deposits a matching unit in the bank, people with O.R. get their exchanges fulfilled first. So the earlier you enter, the better your chances of getting into the top tier resorts, such as Hawaii or Harborside.

There are a few downsides with Ongoing Request. The main one is that Starwood rarely deposits high season into II. The second is that you cannot request a unit larger than what you are depositing. So if you want a 2 bdrm at Kierland, you have to deposit a 2 bdrm.

The second way to exchange in II is with Instant Exchange. Since O.R. are filled first, these are the "leftover" weeks. However, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. This method can work great if you can travel on short notice, if you can travel in low season, or if you want to trade up to a larger unit. With I.E., you can book anything you can see. So even if you only have one side of your lockoff available to deposit, it's quite possible to exchange into a 2 bdrm, esp in low season.



First of all, if you cannot afford to buy it with cash, and have to finance the purchase, don't do it.

I'd also caution you that while Starwood has great timeshares, the network is extremely limited. Look over the list and see how many places you really want to visit again and again. After 7 years of owning Starwood, I was getting really bored with the limited selection.

Finally, it's becoming more and more difficult to do SO exchanges. If you want to travel in low season, that works in your favor. But at the end of the day, the only guarantee you have if you buy at SVV, is one week in a 2 bdrm at SVV.

Hope this helps!
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Old March 2, 2014, 01:05 PM   #4
napoli21
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LisaRex - Thank you so much for this, it was extremely informative.

So two additional follow-up questions...
1. Can you book vacations with your staroptions online?
2. How limited has availability become throughout the system?

I fully intended to pay cash for the week, however, am second guessing the purchase if it is indeed going to limit where and when I can vacation. I usually vacation often, but most of the time it is with some advance notice 1-2 months in some cases or a week or two in advance in others.

The broker I am purchasing through tells me if I travel on short notice during shoulder seasons, this is the timeshare for me. As if I am flexible, I can get whatever I want.

The question is... considering their motives... how credible is that statement? Furthermore, he also stated, if I use it for a year or two and realized I do not like the programme, it will be very easy to sell. I find this difficult to believe considering the amount of inventory out there. Any guidance you or the forum can give is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!
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Old March 2, 2014, 01:15 PM   #5
DeniseM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napoli21 View Post
1. Can you book vacations with your staroptions online?
You can look up availability online, but you must call to make Staroption reservations. You CAN make home resort reservations online.

Quote:
2. How limited has availability become throughout the system?
This is the first year that owners have been able to bank Staroptions up for 2 years - so right now Staroption reservations at the popular resorts and popular seasons (like Maui all the time, and school holidays at all resorts) are being booked solid the very day they are released - at 8 mos. out from check-in. I expect this to even out in the future, when owners deplete their saved up Staroptions, find out how difficult it is to get a reservation, and get that "once in a life time" trip out of their system.

Quote:
I usually vacation often, but most of the time it is with some advance notice 1-2 months in some cases or a week or two in advance in others.
If you want to go to Arizona in August - no problem. If you want to go to Maui any time - this will be a disaster. To have the best success, you need to be prepared to make a Staroption reservation at 8 mos. out from check-in, at exactly 8:59 a.m. Eastern.

If you are completely flexible about when and where you go, you can probably find something at the 2 week - 2 mo. mark, but you won't get the most popular resorts at that late date.
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Last edited by DeniseM; March 2, 2014 at 01:18 PM.
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Old March 2, 2014, 01:25 PM   #6
napoli21
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DeniseM - Thank you, this really makes everything to me at least as clear as mud.

Much appreciated.

One other question - if you can comment on the resale potential of these properties? Thanks again!
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Old March 2, 2014, 01:33 PM   #7
DeniseM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napoli21 View Post
DeniseM - Thank you, this really makes everything to me at least as clear as mud.

Much appreciated.

One other question - if you can comment on the resale potential of these properties? Thanks again!
Some "voluntary" Starwood resorts with no Staroptions are given away for free on the resale market.

Some "mandatory" Starwood resorts with Staroptions, go for $20K+ on the resale market.

It all depends on the resort, season, and view if any (like the Maui resorts.)
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Old March 2, 2014, 02:46 PM   #8
lch
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LisaRex, super helpful post, thanks.
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Old March 2, 2014, 04:35 PM   #9
LisaRex
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napoli21 View Post
LisaRex - Thank you so much for this, it was extremely informative.

So two additional follow-up questions...
1. Can you book vacations with your staroptions online?
2. How limited has availability become throughout the system?

I fully intended to pay cash for the week, however, am second guessing the purchase if it is indeed going to limit where and when I can vacation. I usually vacation often, but most of the time it is with some advance notice 1-2 months in some cases or a week or two in advance in others.

The broker I am purchasing through tells me if I travel on short notice during shoulder seasons, this is the timeshare for me. As if I am flexible, I can get whatever I want.
1. Yes, you can book with SOs online. (Edited: You can currently only book home reservations online.)

2. With 1-2 months advance notice, you may get lucky. For instance, April/May is low season in Hawaii and there are still some April/May weeks available for SO exchanges. There are no summer weeks available at this time anywhere in Maui or the Caribbean.

With 1-2 WEEKS notice, it's going to be trickier. What the salesman didn't tell you is that Starwood gains control of all unbooked inventory at 90 days, and they are free to sell those weeks and pocket the revenue. Also, within the 90 day window, owners can book partial weeks. Both may limit availability.

But instead of giving you my opinion, I'll just give you the facts. Here is what is available when searching the entire network for travel within 1-3 weeks:

Week of 3/8 - Studio at Harborside; Studio, 1 and 2 bdrm at Westin Ka'anapali; 1 bdrm at Sheraton Broadway Plantation; Studio at Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas

Week of 3/15 - 1 bdrm at Sheraton Broadway Plantation; 1 bdrm at Westin Desert Willow; 1 bdrm at Westin Princeville; Studio at Westin Riverfront Mountain Villas; 1 bdrm Sheraton PGA

Week of 3/22 - Studio, 1 and 2 bdrm units avail at Westin Princeville; Studio at Westin Desert Willow; 1 bdrm at Sheraton Broadway Plantation

***

So while there is inventory at 1-3 weeks, it's generally the same resorts.

If this doesn't thrill you, then consider other options. One option to consider is buying an Every Other Year unit worth at least 81k SOs. It will allow you to get your feet wet without much risk. There are tons of ways to accomplish this, including buying a platinum 1 bdrm at Kierland, which might be your best bet because Kierland enjoys much higher trading power in II vs. SVV if you want to exchange into other resorts, such as Marriotts. Another advantage of an EOY unit is that it still gives you access to II Getaways.

Another option is to just rent from an owner. Traveling on short notice may work to your advantage here because owners are feeling pinched to rent their week out, and tend to lower their price. Tug has advertisements for owners who are willing to rent their timeshares, but the website with the most listings to choose from is Redweek.com. For $15/year, you have access to tons of inventory without the commitment required to actually purchase a timeshare.

Some real life examples: How about an oceanview studio at Westin Ka'anapali the week of 3/29 for $1200? Or an ocean front studio for $1500. ? If you want a 1 bdrm, you can rent one for $1800 the week of 3/22.

You can rent a 1 bdrm at Kierland the week of 3/8 for $1600 a week. The week of 3/15, one rented for $1350. There are several 1 bdrm summer weeks renting for $800/week.

Hope this helps. Good luck in your decision!

Last edited by LisaRex; March 3, 2014 at 05:09 AM. Reason: correcting misinformation
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Old March 2, 2014, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
1. Yes, you can book with SOs online.
Not yet - only home resort reservations.
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Old March 2, 2014, 07:13 PM   #11
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Not yet - only home resort reservations.
Thanks! When I was doing my searches, I saw the feature to confirm reservations, and assumed it was live.
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Old March 2, 2014, 07:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaRex View Post
Also, within the 90 day window, owners can book partial weeks. Both may limit availability.
Owners now have an 8 month window to book partial weeks with SOs. This was one of the changes rolled out this year. In addition, owners can now borrow within the same 8 month window from the following year as long as mfs are paid.

Both these will further limit availability in the short term and likely (IMHO) long term.

-ryan
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Old March 3, 2014, 05:16 AM   #13
LisaRex
 
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Originally Posted by sjsharkie View Post
Owners now have an 8 month window to book partial weeks with SOs. This was one of the changes rolled out this year. In addition, owners can now borrow within the same 8 month window from the following year as long as mfs are paid.

Both these will further limit availability in the short term and likely (IMHO) long term.

-ryan
Thanks, Ryan. I really ought to pay more attention to the rules changes!
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Old March 3, 2014, 08:55 AM   #14
SMHarman
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You also see an inventory uptick 70-60 days as Staroption bookings (and other bookings) are dropped before the StarOption restriction penalty period kicks in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaRex View Post
Thanks, Ryan. I really ought to pay more attention to the rules changes!
Which highlights that while the rule changes may impact availability, there are a lot of people that have not noticed the the rule changes, even those that frequent these forums.
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