Towards the end of last year Inside Timeshare published a series of articles on “Timeshare versus Independent Booking”. These were prompted by many comments from members of the various timeshare resorts due to the maintenance payments issue. As you are well aware, members have still had to pay their maintenance fees even though they have been unable to use their weeks. This is still the case because of all the travel restrictions. Today, we once again highlight Marriott.
As we have already published in our past articles, most timeshare resorts can be booked by non-members online using various booking platforms. Prices do vary from platform to platform, but in most cases, they tend to be cheaper than the annual maintenance fees.
Once again after doing some research online we have found that booking.com tends to feature Marriott on a regular basis and also tends to be the cheapest. As you can see from the screenshot of a general search for one week in April this year they vary from 84€ to 225€ per night based on a 1 bedroom sleeping 2 adults.
Booking.com, at 84€ per night, works out at 588€ for the 7 nights, much cheaper than the average annual maintenance fee of 1,500€ per year for a one week stay in the same apartment.
Even at the highest price of 225€ per night which comes to 1,575€ for 1 week in the same apartment, this is reasonable for the “quality” of the resorts.
Taking this higher price we will show you that it is still better value to book as a non-member, there is a very good reason for this. The average cost of a Marriott Vacation Club membership is around the 20,000€ mark, depending on which membership package you purchase.
If we take a 10 year period, the cost in maintenance is 15,000€, which does not include the rise in fees each year, for the same period booking independently comes in at 15,750€. OK, that is 750€ more, but, don’t forget to figure in the initial purchase price plus the annual subscriptions to the exchange companies such as RCI and Interval International.
RCI charges 145€ per year for a subscription, they also add on 71€ to exchange your weeks with your own resort system and 144€ for exchanges to other resorts. Again this price may be more, depending on your membership package.
So what does this mean financially?
- Purchase price 20,000
- Maintenance fees over a 10 year period* 15,000
- RCI Subscription x 10 years 720
- Total cost over 10 years 35,720
*Maintenance has not included any annual rise.
Now let us say that you only use RCI exchanges 5 times over that 10 year period,
- Exchange fee for 5 years of exchanges* 720
- Plus total cost for 10 years 35,720
- Total cost including exchanges 36,440€
*This is the basic price it goes up depending on what type of membership you have.
So now we divide that by the 10 years and we have an annual cost for 1 week in a 1 bedroom apartment for 2 adults at 3,644€.
That is certainly a lot more expensive than the 1,575€ at the highest price we have found, which is a saving of 2,069€ by booking independently.
Now, what did your timeshare salesperson say at your sales presentation, could it have been along the lines of “membership to our club makes financial sense”?
Well, it certainly does to the timeshare industry.
During your presentation, your “sales rep” will have done what the industry calls the “financial logic pitch”, but this did not take into account the original purchase price. They also did not include the cost of flights or airport transfers but used what you paid when booking your full package of hotel, flights and transfers, against the annual maintenance fees for the timeshare.
This price does not include the cost of food and drink.
If you used finance brokered by the sales reps, then you can virtually double that cost due to the interest on those finance agreements, which as we know are rather steep.
It is also a fact that you must pay your annual maintenance fee even if you do not use it, booking independently, you only pay as and when required. So with timeshare, you are obliged to pay for a vacation regardless of whether you use it or not!
Just on this alone it certainly looks like timeshare is a very expensive way to take a vacation, had you been aware of this at the time, we have to ask, would you still have purchased?
Not only have they misrepresented the cost from the start, but they have also in most cases sold you an illegal contract.
Since 5 January 1999 and the implementation of Law 42/98, it has been illegal in Spain to sell timeshare under the following basic rules:
Contracts more than 50 years in duration;
Floating Weeks or Points systems, this also includes Fractional;
Taking any payment even by a third party within the statutory cooling-off period.
If you purchased any timeshare in Spain or upgraded since 5 January 1999 and have a contract which includes any of the above, you may just have a case to have your contract declared null and void plus the return of the full purchase price including double any money taken within the cooling-off period. This period may also be extended by the courts to 90 days if the court deems it necessary, this means that any amount paid within the 90 days must be paid back in double.
Although this article is about Marriott, this formula can be used for other timeshares such as Anfi, Diamond and Club la Costa. If you would like further information on your legal rights and whether you have a valid and viable claim, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.
Past articles on this subject