Just attended a Worldmark presentation in Las Vegas while there on vacation. Want to make sure I can still stand by my choice of the best bottomline. I can!
I also attended a presentation at Polo Towers, the other timeshare I own, just to compare. Polo Towers is the flagship resort in the Diamond Resorts collection of now 350 resorts, and Diamond Resorts recently went public. They are really trying to get me to switch out my deeded week for points. They, like the rest of the timeshare industry, has attempted to copy the pioneer, Worldmark, by switching from traditional deeded weeks to a point system. I say "attempt" because it is like when you sit in a circle and whisper something to the person next to you -- by the time it comes back around to you, it has turned into something entirely different!
I haven't encountered any timeshare development company who is willing to go to the extent Worldmark has to protect owners' interests -- and that is the difference. And even though Wyndham bought Trendwest, they couldn't "buy" Worldmark. Worldmark is a 501-3c, a separate entity from the former Trendwest and the current Wyndham. Wyndham bought the rights to be the developer, manager and marketer for Worldmark - but Worldmark, and all of the resorts that are paid for before they are built, are wholly owned by the owners, with rights that cannot be fiddled with by Wyndham. Priority access to RCI (which is also owned by Wyndham) AND Interval International to trade for other locations, plus access to Wyndham's collection of vacation rental properties and hotels at great discounts, and so much more!
Yes, Worldmark is definitely still the best bottomline!
Well, this might be my favorite page. I'm going to tell you everything you need to know about Worldmark to make a decision without your having to go through the torture of a high pressure sales presentation! I'm assuming you've already read What Are The Best Timeshares.
I'll be detailing what I told you about Worldmark here. Ready for the best bottomline?!
I realize I'm making some assumptions about you that are very important to going any further. I'm assuming that you're already vacationing and just looking for the best way. I'm assuming that your spending near the AAA average of $164/night about 14 nights per year for hotels.
If you were like me, and your heart was there, but your money wasn't because of the added expenses like restaurant food stacked on top of this, you're still solidly in the picture.
Heart is the most important thing, after all. Whether you're already vacationing or desiring to, it takes heart to make a change and commit to a new way, even if you can see that it's the best way!
All right, so on to the best bottomline. Purchasing Worldmark means we're merely talking about transferring the $2128 you're about to spend on renting hotels this year to owning your own vacation instead.
If you travel significantly more than two weeks per year (not including short getaways because you can usually cover those with Bonus Time) and don't have a lot of flexibility, then you'll need more than two week's worth of credits.
If you're traveling say just one week a year, than you'll only need one week's worth of vacation credits. Let me take you through a vacation blueprint survey, I'll put in my answers as examples.
But as we go along, pull out a sheet of paper and answer the questions with your answers, building your own vacation blueprint. This information will simply help us figure out how many credits you need to purchase. It will also help us highlight the Worldmark benefits that you'll most be interested in. Here we go:
When and where did you go on your last three vacations?
1. St Petersburg, FL May 18-21
2. Mexican Riviera - Cruise December 17 - January 2
3. Seaside, OR - November 16-20
Do you vacation with family and friends?
Yes. Especially our grown kids and their spouses. Most of the time, it's just the two of us, though.
What activities do you enjoy while on vacation?
Outdoor sports (we'll try just about anything!)
Experiencing new things
What vacations do you have planned in the next 18 months?
Weekend getaways 1x a month to resorts within a 6 hour drive
Christmas - a week cruise to the Western Caribbean, then a week cruise to the Eastern Caribbean during Christmas week
April - JazzFest in New Orleans
June - a month tour of the French Riviera, Italy and a cruise of the Greek Islands
July 4th - a week in Colorado for Annual Cherry Day Festival
Next Christmas - a month in Brazil
What is your dream vacation?
Right now it is a cruise of the Greek Islands (planned for spring)
After that, Brazil (hopefully next Christmas)
What has stopped you from taking your dream vacation?
Now, just making it a priority!
Okay. You can see how I've answered the survey. My vacation priorities may be more ambitious than yours (or not!) depending on the season of life you are currently in.
We're obviously in the major vacation season of our lives -- I'm retired -- so my vacation credit needs appear to be greater than the average of two weeks per year.
Hopefully you filled out your survey along with me, and you have a good idea of your vacation blueprint. Now we're ready to get into more detail on the various options within Worldmark, then, together we'll be able to determine an estimate of how many credits you need to kickstart your vacation blueprint.
I need to place a bit of a disclaimer notice here and say that there are two free Owner's Education classes offered once you become a Worldmark owner that provide all the benefits & minute details -- a basic class and an exchange class -- pretty cool, huh!?
It would be too confusing to try to detail all of that information here. Believe me, it is very simple to use and I'm highlighting the major benefits!
I also need to emphasize that these benefits are only available through Wyndham, no matter what someone on E bay tells you! Of course, all pricing information is current, but is subject to change.
First off, with a Worldmark ownership, what are you buying? Credits
Based on your vacation needs you buy a certain amount of credits that you use as "currency" to stay at resorts worldwide.
You pay for the credits one time, then year after year for the rest of your life and into perpetuity, that number of credits is placed in your account to be used each year.
Your only ongoing cost, once you've paid off your credits, is an annual maintenance fee. The amount of the maintenance fee is dependent on the number of credits you buy.
The more credits you buy, the greater portion of the necessary maintenance fees you pay -- that's logical. Those who are using the resorts the most pay the most to maintain them.
1. Using Credits at Worldmark Resorts
2. Using Credits to Exchange for Resorts Around the World
3. Various Cash Travel Specials
You'll get a Worldmark resort directory each year for all of the beautiful resorts for your family to choose from. You can see virtual tours of all the resorts now at www.worldmarktheclub.com. (Once you are an owner, you will have full access to this website.)
Take an evening with your family and have fun going shopping for this year's vacation! Each resort has a credit table like the sample shown here. The number of vacation credits necessary for a particular vacation will depend upon the resort location, season, size of accommodations, day(s) of the week and length of stay.
You'll also get a resort directory each year for RCI from Worldmark as part of your Travel Share Package. Another fun catalog to add approx. 4000 more resorts, cruises and all-inclusves around the world to your family's vacation shopping adventure!
Just like the Worldmark resorts, each resort has a season calendar, but the credit values here apply for all resorts in RCI.
I also advice you to join Interval International, the other timeshare exchange broker, to broaden your selection even more! They work similarly with Worldmark (RCI is owned by Wyndham, though.)
RCI and Interval International got the bright idea of becoming "exchange brokers" to arrange trades between timeshare owners around the world. Great idea, huh!?
RCI is the largest and is also owned by Wyndham. I really suggest joining both RCI and Interval International -- why not?! They both love you to exchange Worldmark credits because it gives them access to 60+ resorts instead of just one, like when I exchange my Polo Towers week 37!
There is a small membership fee (RCI's membership fee is included in your Worldmark Travel Share package) and then you pay basically a processing fee to have these two companies do all the work of arranging trades.
The exchange fees are both around $200 USD per week -- a little more, or a little less.
So for someone like me that wants to go international a couple times per year, that means I'm paying the maintenance fee plus these exchange fees ongoing -- that's it!
Do you know any other way to book a first class condo in Europe (or anywhere else) for $200 per week?!
Canada: $2.09/credit plus GST plus $249 handling fee
US: $1.88/credit plus $249 handling fee
(prices current, but subject to change)
The Best Bottomline: Credit Package Examples
So let's take my survey answers and put together a credit quote for me in The Best Bottomline:
It would appear that I anticipate traveling nearly 100 nights per year, wouldn't it?
So you might think I would need 14 weeks worth of credits (98 divided by 7), which would total a minimum of 126,000 credits (14 x 9000 credits for a one bedroom condo), which would cost me $263,589 Canadian plus GST, since I currently live in Vancouver, BC ($237,129 US).
That would be an inexpensive vacation home, but one that I don't have to maintain and one that isn't in one location! Not too bad, huh? Now I would still have a maintenance fee to cover my share of insurance, taxes and upkeep with that, of course.
Once I paid off the credits, then the maintenance fee is all I would be paying per year (plus exchange fees if I traded outside of Worldmark).
Unfortunately, the information I have does not go that high to tell me what the maintenance fee would be! They would calculate that for me once I was ready to purchase and knew how many credits I needed.
I've heard there is one owner who owns 500,000 credits. He bought Worldmark instead of purchasing an expensive vacation home located in one spot and now he hops from resort to resort around the world! Not a bad retirement, huh?!
I have good news, though! When looking at The Best Bottomline I don't really need 126,000 credits.
Let me show you why.
Remember Bonus Time? Since I'm retired and we have flexibility, I can go cheaper by using Bonus Time and Exotic Bonus Time for our weekend getaways -- we just pay a little bit of cash! So that cuts 24 days off my total annual need.
Now I'm down to 74 nights, which is 10 weeks -- we just cut off nearly four weeks by taking advantage of Bonus Time! There are currently no resorts in the little Colorado mountain town where I go to the Cherry Day Festival.
I actually have a favorite bed & breakfast in a 100 year-old hotel that I like to reserve for that, so that cuts off another week of credits.
So now I'm down to 9 weeks of credits. But guess what?! You won't believe what Worldmark does for me to make me feel better about owning a traditional timeshare.
Unlike other timeshare companies who just try to get you to sell your timeshare to buy theirs, Worldmark encourages me to keep my other timeshare, knowing it is more valuable to me than if I sell it, and exchanges my weeks into Worldmark credits!
Can you believe it?!
Now it is really more valuable to me! Because I can turn my two-bedroom lock-out at Polo Towers into a one bedroom week and a studio week, Worldmark will let me trade those, for a $129 exchange fee, into 7,000 credits for the one-bedroom week and 4,000 credits for the studio week for a total of 11,000 credits! That cuts another week off my total credit need!
So now I'm down to 8 weeks of credits that I need in The Best Bottomline. Because the rest of my vacation plans each year are not as flexible, I will need credits for those.
I also plan to travel during high season, I want to stay in specific areas, and I'll always need at least a one bedroom, so I need to stick with a minimum of 9000 credits per week (see the exchange credit chart, which takes me around the world). My credit needs, then, are really 72,000 (9000 x 8 weeks), right?
So that would be $150,729 Canadian plus GST, ($135,609 US) reducing my cost by $112,860 Canadian! That would also make me a Platinum Elite Owner (63,000 credits and over) in The Best Bottomline, which would entitle me to some additional benefits that I'll let Wyndham explain to you (they know them better than I do, and personally, just being able to travel like I want is what is really important to me.)
I'll pay a little for Bonus Time -- but very little! $46/night in Whistler, BC, which is normally $300/night? Come on! Bonus Time costs me hardly nothing, about $60 - $130 per month depending on which Worldmark resort we stay at!
Do you see how the Best Bottomline works? Can you do the same thing for your vacation blueprint? How many credits do you need? The average package would be 20,000 credits, which would get you two weeks in a 2 bedroom in high season around the world.
That ownership level would also make you an Elite owner, which, once again, I'll leave up to Wyndham to explain.
That would be $42,049 Canadian plus $130.69 GST plus $922.06 (USD) annual Maintenance Fee ($37,600 US plus $922.06 USD Maintenance Fee).
Let's say you are where I was when I bought my first timeshare -- strapped! I was shooting for one week a year! A single mom with a teenage boy and girl, so I had to at least have a one bedroom -- my daughter bunked with me (which wasn't too fun because she kicks in her sleep and she's a cover hog), and my son got the pull-down murphy bed in the livingroom.
I suppose, if I had to, I could have put one kid on the couch and one on the murphy-bed, and I could have had the bedroom to myself! Anyway, that was a start!
So, let's look at this scenario in The Best Bottomline as a starter package. You would need 9000 credits, which would get you a one bedroom in high season (when kids are out of school to go on vacations) anywhere in the world.
9000 credits would cost you $19,059 Canadian plus $59.24 GST and your maintenance fee would be $525.02 USD ($17,169 US plus $525.02 USD).
There you have it! The Best Bottomline! I'll tell you right now, I advice you to not only skip the high pressure sales presentation, I strongly advice you to skip the timeshare company's financing as well. Because they'll finance anyone, their interest rates are too high. They give you a 60 days same as cash option. Use a lower interest rate line of credit instead!
Hope it was relatively easy to follow the Best Bottomline by using our examples.
My goal in providing you with this information is to arm you to take control when you are ready to purchase. You can just skip the high pressure sales presentation by turning it into a transaction.
Don't go to a Wyndham sales office until you are ready to buy. Ask me questions about anything you don't understand here, and I'll try to prep you. Then you are walking in and telling them what you want and drawing up the paperwork -- simple!
Now, if only they would reduce the price and not make you pay for the high pressure sales presentation! Well, I'm working on that! Believe me, if I can convince Wyndham to pass on their marketing savings to anyone sent by this site I'll let you know in BIG LETTERS!
Whew! Are you ready to make your vacation blueprint a reality?