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Ski Bum
08-23-2007, 12:25 AM
I am a Newbie, but I want to believe that there is a smart way to play the TS game to reach my goal of paying the least amount to get a ski vacation at high quality resorts during the winter. (ie. Westgate Park City) I am never going to pay $25K on the resale market for a fixed winter week at a premium resort. I am in no rush to buy, and I will take months researching different approaches if necessary.

About four hours ago, I came across a TUG post about “What would you buy with $25K?” Spence replied a year ago: “Buy three Powhatan 4BR holiday weeks = $9,000 incl closing costs. $3000 to convert to Club Sunterra. $12000 total. MF is $779x3. Yields 45,000 Sunterra points (SunOptions).” Many others thought Spence had a good idea, so I have been reading all about Sunterra since then… and found my way to this forum.

Suppose my goal was to get 6,500 SunOptions in the cheapest way possible. This would trade for a Premium Resort, 2BR High Season week on II for a $135 exchange fee – which my big assumption is that it will get me skiing at an awesome resort in CO, WY, UT, or perhaps Whistler. (I live in CA, so I’m not interested in Tahoe.)

Based on what I read today, I will first have to buy a deeded Sunterra TS. Then I convert it into the CSV program where, through shrewd negotiation, I spend another $5K to get X SunOptions for the TS plus 2000 extra points.

So here’s the catch… where do I find the information on what different Sunterra TS’s will convert to in SunOptions? In Spence’s example, the holiday 4BR at Powhatan seems to convert to 15,000 SunOptions each!! I would assume there are different conversion values for different locations / weeks / #BR, right? I need this info to figure out which TS is smartest to buy.

I checked out redweek, and they currently have 45 TS for sale a Powhatan. (Which seems to be very high number – anyone know why?) I could buy a 4BR, odd years, week #39 TS for $500. Or a 4BR, annual, week #4 for $800. The Big Question is whether either of these will convert to at least 4,500 SunOptions so that when I convert (for $5K plus 2000 more points) I reach my goal of 6,500 SunOptions?? If not, which TS do I have to buy that will convert to 4,500 SunOptions?

In this scenario, my cost is about $6K total to get the TS and convert to CSV and I would have 6,500 points annually, right? (I’m not clear on what my annual MF would be. Do I still pay the original MF for the TS, or is there a standard MF for CSV?)

Thanks in advance for teaching me the smart way to play the TS Game.

Bill

winger
08-23-2007, 01:45 AM
check out the sunoptions booklet in the stickies section here in the Sunterra forum. each resort has weeks and unit sizes listed with their respective sun options (points) value. For example, if you purchased a Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort (page 18) one-bdrm week 51, you will see this takes 10,000 sun options to trade into ... which also means you can turn this unit in for 10,000 annual sun options.

At least this is how I believe it works...I'm a CS newb also !

Oh, one thing you should consider is whether there is II availability at the high-end ski resort during the times you want. 6500 sun options can trade into say a Lake Tahoe 2 bd ski week, BUT there may NOT be any of these weeks available in the II inventory for you trade into : X

Check with folks around here or in TUG as to what availabilities they have seen for exchanges at the resort(s) during the time(s) you wish to go before you get too excited !

T. R. Oglodyte
08-23-2007, 02:40 AM
Ok - take a step back for a moment and look at the bigger setting.

Top rated ski resorts during peak season are among the most valuable timeshares to buy and are the most difficult exchanges to make. Many of the owners of those units are avid skiers, and they use the units themselves. So a smaller proportion of those units ever become available for exchange. Then, there are lots of exchange company members who would dearly love to exchange into one of those weeks, just as you are planning to do. So you have the classic limited supply and high demand. Meanwhile, you are trying to find a week that will consistently allow you to land those units, while buying a cheapo unit.

The reality is that if you want a unit that will land top ski resorts during peak times, you need to buy a comparable unit to what you are trying to get. If that is too much for you to bite off, then you need to collapse your planning to within a four-month window, being ready to grab one of those prime weeks if they show up in the exchange pool (and accepting that there's a good chance your vacation window will go by without landing an exchange).

Ask yourself, if you owned that ski week would you swap it for the unit you are considering buying. If your answer is "No", then there's a good chance that the unit you are considering won't get the job done. The owner of that week certainly isn't going to swap his Porsche weej for your Corolla week, and if the owner gives the Porsche unit to an exchange company, the exchange company isn't going to swap it for a Corolla week until check-in date is drawing nigh.

*****

Now, if you're willing to drop your sights a bit your options open up quite a bit. Timeshares near ski resorts such as Fairmont, Mt. Bachelor, Schweitzer, Mammoth, Big Mountain, McCall, Steamboat, some Utah resorts - can be reliably landed with a modestly priced unit.

But if you want to stay in quality ski-in/out resorts at featured destination ski resorts, you need to buy something comparable.

Ski Bum
08-23-2007, 02:59 AM
Thanks, Winger! I checked out the SunOptions. A Powhatan 4BR Peak Season requires 15,000 points – which agrees with what Spence said this would convert to in his scenario.

So for my scenario above, a Powhatan 4BR week #4 costing ~$1K = 6,000 points. Adding $5K to convert plus 2,000 points, means it would cost me $6K to get 8,000 SunOptions annually. (~$1.33 per SunOption initial cost. Still unclear what my MF would be.)

A 4BR week #51 has an asking price of $7K for 15,000 points. Assuming I bought this for $7K including closing costs, plus the $5K conversion, it would cost me $12K to get 17,000 SunOptions annually. (~$1.41 per SunOption initial cost.) Of course, with all of these TS for sale at this resort, I would hope to pay much less for the TS, making this scenario a smarter buy.

Am I interpreting this all correctly?

Ski Bum
08-23-2007, 03:23 AM
Thanks T.R. – your response makes a lot of sense. Being able to get 6,500 SunOptions does me no good if winter weeks are rarely listed at Premium ski resorts on II.

My cousin told me over the weekend that he and his wife bought a Hyatt TS in Sedona (with a lower initial cost and MF) and haven’t had any problems using their internal exchange program to get a ski week at the Hyatt resort in Breckenridge over the past three years. This gives me hope that there are smart approaches to getting ski weeks at nice resorts without paying the excessive costs of locking in a ski week at that resort. Perhaps false hopes, but that’s why I am posting on these forums.

T.R., I have seen you chime in on other posts specific to Raintree. Along this line of thinking, I wonder if getting a resale RVC week with home resort in say Cancun has a relatively lower purchase price and MF, and how likely would I be able to trade internally to a ski week in Whistler or Park City? Worse case, if I end up going to Cancun every third or fourth year it wouldn't be all that terrible. :grin:

Thanks,
Bill

Spence
08-23-2007, 08:04 AM
Thanks, Winger! I checked out the SunOptions. A Powhatan 4BR Peak Season requires 15,000 points – which agrees with what Spence said this would convert to in his scenario.

So for my scenario above, a Powhatan 4BR week #4 costing ~$1K = 6,000 points. Adding $5K to convert plus 2,000 points, means it would cost me $6K to get 8,000 SunOptions annually. (~$1.33 per SunOption initial cost. Still unclear what my MF would be.)

A 4BR week #51 has an asking price of $7K for 15,000 points. Assuming I bought this for $7K including closing costs, plus the $5K conversion, it would cost me $12K to get 17,000 SunOptions annually. (~$1.41 per SunOption initial cost.) Of course, with all of these TS for sale at this resort, I would hope to pay much less for the TS, making this scenario a smarter buy.

Am I interpreting this all correctly?

Powhatan Wk#4 can be had for $1+CC. Powhatan Wk#51 should easily be had for $5000 or less. Patience. Conversion has been had lately for as low as $3K with 2000 SunOptions. You need to be aware of drastic differences in maintenance fees. At any Sunterra resort that I know of, fixed weeks have the same fixed MFs, therefore your Powhatan Wk#4 MFs are $835 or 835/6000=$0.14/pt while Wk#51 is 835/15000=$0.06/pt. As a reference, you should always try to 'beat' the CSV-1 Trust MF of $0.073/pt.

You also need to be aware that some resorts sell floating weeks and their point value is an average of all weeks over which they float, even though the deed shows a certain week ownership for deeeding purposes.

T. R. Oglodyte
08-23-2007, 09:31 AM
T.R., I have seen you chime in on other posts specific to Raintree. Along this line of thinking, I wonder if getting a resale RVC week with home resort in say Cancun has a relatively lower purchase price and MF, and how likely would I be able to trade internally to a ski week in Whistler or Park City? Worse case, if I end up going to Cancun every third or fourth year it wouldn't be all that terrible. :grin:

Thanks,
Bill

That may be a good way to get to Whistler regularly; it would be less useful for other resorts. I've not used Raintree to get to Whistler in prime ski season, so I'm not sure how many prime ski weeks actually are available to members in the Raintree system. (Many of the Whiski Jack owners have not converted to Raintree. Then, of those that have joined Raintree they would need to decide to not use their unit themselves.)

If that type of a setup appeals to you, I suggest you look into buying a Vacation Internationale membership. That will allow you to book directly into the Clocktower in Whistler, which is located very close to the gondolas in the Village. VI also has some attractive resorts in other locales.

It won't get you to many other world class ski destinations, but it will enable you to get to Whistler regularly.

VI memberships sell for about $15 per point, and I think you would need about 100 to 120 points for a full week at Clocktower. Annual fees on that would be about $700.

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