The Real Difference in Starwood Timeshare Resales
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Starwood Vacation Ownership is a subsidiary of the global hotel and leisure giant, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. With more than a 30-year history in the timeshare industry, Starwood Vacation Ownership has resorts across the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Thousands of couples and families enjoy the spacious accommodations and delightful destinations of Starwood timeshare resales and rentals, yet the distinctions between buying a resale and buying from the developer can be confusing for new buyers.
As a company, Starwood includes multiple brands on both the hotel side and the vacation ownership side. Starwood timeshares include resorts under the brands Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, along with brand affiliation with Four Points, Aloft, Elements, Le Méridien, and The Luxury Collection – Hotels & Resorts. And one the best-known resorts in the Starwood vacation ownership family isn’t always recognized immediately by consumers as being part of the brand, the Harborside Resort at Atlantis, located in the Bahamas.
Starwood Timeshare Resales
On the secondary market, which means when the consumer who currently owns it resells the timeshare, all Starwood resort properties are sold as deeded timeshares. They can be fixed weeks or a floating season ownership, but there is always a deeded interest attached.
Select Starwood timeshare properties carry a StarOptions value. This value is determined by the size of the timeshare unit, the demand for the resort, the dates of availability, and the length of ownership. StarOptions is a program within Starwood timeshare that gives these properties a vacation ownership a “timeshare points” component and with it, timeshare exchange features.
But before we explore StarOptions, let’s look at Starwood Vacation Ownership resales that are not part of the StarOptions program. With these resales, you can, from up to one year or within 8 months of your vacation, and with a fixed or floating week, confirm your vacation week at your home resort prior to these dates becoming available to others for timeshare exchange.
Starwood Vacation Ownership StarOptions
StarOptions is also called the Starwood Vacation Network (SVN). If you want to convert your Starwood timeshare resale to StarOptions (points) you must own at one of 5 Starwood resorts. By purchasing a resale timeshare at one of these locations, you can reserve vacation time at other Starwood resort properties with no exchange fees.
These five resorts offering StarOptions for resale owners are:
- Harborside at Atlantis (I and II)
- Vistana Villages (Bella and Key West phases)
- Westin Ka’anapali and Westin Ka’anapali North
- Westin St. John (Hillside phase
- Westin Kierland Villas
But there is a easy way to get around the caveat if you own a Starwood resale or are considering buying Starwood timeshare resales and you want to buy a timeshare at one of the other beautiful Starwood resorts (not one of these five), yet still exchange for vacations at other Starwood destinations.
This fact is very important for Starwood timeshare resale buyers:
You can, as a resale owner at ANY Starwood vacation ownership property, become a paid member of Interval International, and then you will have timeshare exchange privileges at all the other Starwood resorts as well as at thousands of other timeshare destinations that are part of the Interval exchange network.
Three more factors distinguish Starwood timeshare resale ownership from buyers of timeshare who purchase directly through Starwood. These are:
- Starwood offers the Starwood Preferred Guest Program. This allows owners to exchange their StarPoints for hotel stays at Westin and Sheraton hotels or for travel perks including airline miles and car rentals. Buyers of Starwood timeshare as a resale are not eligible to exchange their timeshare in this program, but they can—just like any other Starwood hotel guest—join the program and take advantage of its other perks. By doing this, they receive all the benefits of the Starwood Preferred Guest Program that any member who is not also a Starwood timeshare owner, receives.
- Starwood owners who purchase on the secondary market (a resale timeshare) cannot become “Elite Owners.” This distinction is reserved for owners of multiple Starwood timeshares, that were purchased directly through Starwood. Sometimes, even this does not apply, as Starwood has been known to re-qualify resale weeks for resale owners who later buy more timeshare directly from Starwood.
- And here is the most important difference of all for timeshare buyers of Starwood resales. When you buy a timeshare on the secondary market, you save thousands and thousands of dollars over the price of buying directly from the developer. You enjoy the same timeshare resorts and all the same fabulous amenities, yet as a consumer savvy enough to buy on the resale market, you will be enjoying that vacation without the cost burden of ongoing timeshare financing and with a LOT more cash still in your pocket.