At the start of the year, we all received a promotion from Marriott Vacation Club offering owner cruises on Royal Caribbean using Vacation Club Points. At first, the package seemed like a great deal: a Boardwalk Balcony with welcome and farewell cocktail parties, prepaid gratuities, an owner’s meeting and two shore excursions for 5,500 Vacation Club Points plus $885.27. But when we took a closer look, we realized it wasn’t so great after all.
The real value
We priced out the actual cost of a Boardwalk Balcony stateroom for both cruises. They start at $2,207 for 2 people. Marriott is charging the equivalent of almost $4,000 when you combine the value of the Club Points plus the additional cash. Are the extras worth $1,800? Gratuities run $189 and the shore excursions (one is typically a visit to a Marriott property) cost about $300 for 2 excursions per couple. So, basically, you’re paying $1,800 for $500 of extras. In addition, you don’t have an ocean-facing balcony and you have to attend an owner’s meeting, which is another way of saying “sales pitch.”
The better choice
In our experience, owners don’t get great value exchanging Vacation Club Points (VCPs) for cruises. To book a package similar to the one described above, The Art of Vacationing would instead sell your 5,500 VCPs for $3,025, and book you the cruise for $2,207. You would have money left over to spend any way you want! Contact our office today to learn how we can help maximize your Marriott ownership, and turn your Marriott points into the best cruise they can buy.