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Should you purchase Marriott Trust Points?

Apr 28, 2013 | Timeshare Talk | 0 comments

Now that most owners have enrolled in the Destinations Club program at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott is turning up the pressure for owners to purchase “Trust points”. If all you have is access to points converted from your deeded weeks, they will tell you that you are not a “real” owner and that you only have access to “some” of the features of the program unless you spend more money. Does this sound familiar to you? You are made to feel that you are at a lower level within the program, even if you are a multiple week owner. You are made to feel like you wasted your money on past purchases and now you need to spend more money.

As an owner myself and someone who works with over 500 Marriott owners, I am disappointed with how MVCI is treating their owner base. Why should you now be made to feel badly about your investment? Just so you can cough up more money and add to their coffers? Read the hundreds of comments on my site and you will hear the frustration of owners.

Before you attend a tour at an MVCI site, I suggest you review the points below on what you may be told. These examples have been told to me by my clients who have attended presentations. The story does vary by site.

Depending on the number of weeks you own, the big reason that you will be told to purchase Trust points is so that you can elevate from an “”Enrolled” owner to a “Premier” owner or “Premier Plus” owner . Below are the major selling points a sales executive will most likely tell you to upgrade to “Premier” status:

You will be able to use your club points to book 13 months in advance for stays of 7 or more days at an MVCI resort. This will give you a 1 month advantage over the enrolled owners. (Sound familiar, this is the same story they told you in the past to convince you to purchase multiple weeks.)

Yes, BUT, at 13 months there is rarely any inventory. We have contacted MVCI hundreds of times to book 13 months out for our clients and we are told to call back at 12 months. Rarely have we been able to book 13 months out. Why? The Customer Service reps will even tell you that most owners do not elect their weeks that far out so there is no inventory available. Miraculously, inventory shows up at 12 months. As a Premier member can you go on a wait list 13 months out? No, you have to wait with all of the enrolled owners and wait list 12 months out. Advantage: NONE.

You will be able to purchase cruises using more of your Club points. As a Premier member you can use up to 7,500 Club point for cruises vs. 3750 available to Enrolled owners.

Yes, BUT, did the rep tell you how much cash you would also have to pay on top of the points if you want to go on one of the better cruise lines? If you want to sail on Carnival Cruise Lines or one of the large mass, market cruise lines in the Caribbean, you will be fine, but I don’t know any owners who want to sail on the low end lines.  But if you want to sail on one of the higher tier cruise lines, like Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, etc, you will be using all 7,500 points PLUS a hefty amount of cash. I have worked this out for my clients many times and the cost savings always seems to equal the cost of the maintenance fees from the properties used to obtain the 7,500 points (for example, if you have to turn in 2 properties for club points to build up to 7,500 points, the savings are right around $2,000, the approximate cost of the maintenance fees for those 2 properties). Several clients who have recently purchased Trust points are shocked to find out that the points they purchased to increase to Premier or Premier Plus is doing little to save on good cruises. (One of my clients had their money refunded by Marriott for the Trust points they purchased due to the non-disclosure on this point.) They may as well have used the money they paid for the Trust points to pay for the cruise. Oh, and you want a balcony cabin? Watch what happens to the cash component of the cruise. Advantage: NONE.

You will be able to use your points to book in to Ritz Carlton Club properties.

Yes, BUT, when are the Ritz’s available? I tried to book a client into the Ritz property in Beaver Creek for ANY dates in the FALL, and there were no dates to book.  What good is offering you a benefit of booking into a Ritz when there are rarely any openings. I am not saying there is no availability, I am just saying it is rare so don’t spend your hard earned dollars on a hope and a prayer. Advantage: LITTLE.

You will have access to new MVCI properties only available in the Trust. 

The first question I would ask is, “What new properties?” Marriott doesn’t have any new properties and I am not aware of any new properties being built. Are you? You may then say, “What about the new Kauai Lagoons on Kauai? This is a new property.” And you are correct. A sales rep will tell you that you must own Trust points to get into Kauai Lagoons. FALSE. I have personally booked several clients into Kauai Lagoons who own ZERO Trust points. How can this happen? It is because Marriott is dynamically moving the inventory back and forth between the deeded inventory and the Trust inventory. There is not enough inventory for specific properties in the Trust to support the points they are selling so they move inventory over from the Deeded inventory. But they can’t steal from the owners, so they replace weeks with that from the Trust. Advantage: UNKNOWN.

You will be a GOLD Marriott Rewards Member for 2 years if you purchase a minimum of 1,500 points.

I am at Gold Status with Marriott Rewards. The best advantages are access to the Club lounges at a hotel, which include a free breakfast, and  room upgrade if available. I must admit, I am enjoying these benefits. But are they worth $15,000? The approximate cost of 1,500 points? How many lounge accesses could you purchase at the hotel and how many breakfasts for $15,000? I think MVCI is getting pretty desperate if they are  using this as a selling point to spend the kind of money they are asking for to purchase more points. Advantage: SOME.

Bottom line is … take what you hear at a sales presentation with a grain of salt. Buy Trust points if you need more timeshare time, not because of some benefits that are possible but not probable.