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Buying Wyndham Points - Wyndham Points article 5 of 10
This Timeshare Advice article discusses purchasing Wyndham Points either from the developer, or on the resale market!  Written by TUGGERS and provided to you free by the Timeshare Users Group!

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Article V - Buying Wyndham Points

by TUGGER: GoofyHobbie

 
If you haven’t read the previous articles, it is recommended that you review again the Introduction to this series of articles at your convenience to see if all or some of them may be of interest. Meanwhile, you are welcome to jump in here now if you are in a hurry to find out how someone else made the decision to buy re-sale and executed a strategy to get what they wanted for the lowest cost possible while also protecting their interest.

My buying experience was a process. If you consider what you are about to do as a process you may benefit from my experience. By delving into my strategy, mistakes, and lessons learned; it is likely that you will benefit from the journey.

If you already own Wyndham points and are looking for TIPS about how to better use your points, I recommend that you skip this article and go to Article VIII which gets into the Nuts & Bolts of how to use points effectively.  

The Decision - Buy Points Re-Sale or From the Developer?

You may be asking yourself, what amount of Wyndham points should I buy? The answer depends on many factors including price, on-going maintenance fees, where you want to vacation and how often. The smallest contract may be an every-other-year contract, or you may find “orphan contracts” which are contracts left over within the sales department. But, if you are planning to buy from Wyndham or in the secondary market you should get a handle on how many points will be necessary to meet your needs. 

The Club WyndhamSM Plus Member’s Directory 2009 -2010 is available to anyone on-line. You can browse the directory to determine the points it will take to get the vacations you prefer using Wyndham points.  A link is provided here:

 Members Directory


Look at page 4 – 7 to learn how to read point charts, and then go to the table of contents on page D and E to pick resorts you want to visit using an internal exchange. An external exchange, as you will find out in Article X, can be had for as few as 28,000 points. (Yes, currently a Blue Studio can get you a one Bedroom or a two Bedroom Unit if you know how to get it done).

Although, I have not as yet experienced any disadvantages associated with my ownership of Wyndham points there might be some. I have heard that Disney Vacation Club (DVC) has a specific regional block (what some refer to as a 30 mile block) on exchanging into DVC properties in the Orlando area. BUT, given that you could use generic points to trade into DVC, it probably would not be practical for RCI® to cause your exchange request to be blocked given the generic nature of the points. The theory behind a block is predicated on you having your “home resort” at a Wyndham location in the Orlando, FL area and then using that property to make an exchange into DVC.  Such a scenario is not likely to happen unless you request a “visual deposit” from Wyndham and they happen to deposit an Orlando area unit that is in their inventory and it shows up as such when you try to use it to make an exchange. Some owners proactively ask for a “visual” so that they can see the Weeks inventory when searching for a vacation using RCI®.

One other arguable disadvantage to owning Wyndham points is the generic nature of points. For purposes of an exchange with your exchange company the generic point deposit that you may make is considered the “average” value of Wyndham points to get whatever the points are worth from your exchange company.  For example, a 28,000 point generic deposit of Wyndham points with RCI® is considered the equivalent of a Blue Studio Week, and a 154,000 generic deposit is  considered the equivalent of  a 2-Bedroom Red Week.  However, as you will see in Article X, it is possible to get what I consider good trades for relatively small generic point deposits.  In fact, I would never deposit more than 105,000 (Red 1-BR Week) to make any exchange with RCI® simply because my experience has shown that to do so would be a waste of my points.  


My Journey 

 If you plan ahead, do your research and analysis, and carefully think about what you are doing; you can get value from timesharing especially if you purchase Wyndham points.

In 1999, I decided to purchase a re-sale 2-BR Red week at Sands Ocean Club primarily because my wife has always loved going to the beach and especially to Myrtle Beach, SC. Fifty years ago we vacationed in Myrtle Beach as young adults and we have consistently gone to Myrtle Beach whenever we lived in reasonable driving range. Today, I couldn’t care less where we vacation; but she has friends that always vacation there the same week every year, so that is where we go.

I apologize for the brief diversion; but some of you might have wondered why I chose to purchase points at Myrtle Beach, SC. Anyway, the price for the Sands Ocean Club 2-BR Unit overlooking the Ocean was $8,250 including closing costs back in 1999 and that was re-sale.

 
Except for one straight up rental and one trade into a 2-BR Unit at Wyndham Ocean Boulevard, we used the property at Sands Ocean Club every year. We sold it in early 2009 for $5,500. There were new resorts to be had in Myrtle Beach and points made sense.  When my wife and I first toured what was then known as Fairfield Ocean Blvd. in December 2006 we were impressed. They were willing to PIC our Barrier Island Station, Duck, NC 4-BR Unit to get 254K points over and above points they wanted us to buy during the presentation.

Note:  PIC – The Personal Interval Choice (PIC) Plus Program is a special Club WyndhamSM Plus Membership Program available to persons that make a new Club WyndhamSM Plus purchase from the developer.  For more on the PIC Plus program see Article III.

The purchase portion of the transaction involved an “equity trade” of two separate fixed weeks of timeshare at Sandcastle Cove, New Bern, NC in return for 259,000 points at Wyndham Ocean Blvd.  But to get both the PIC and the “equity trade” done required a significant new purchase of points from the developer.


The sales person’s goal was to get us to purchase 210,000 points at what was then known as Fairfield Ocean Boulevard.  The 259,000 (“equity trade”) points plus a 210,000 point retail purchase along with the PIC option would have set us up as VIP Gold Members with 469,000 Wyndham points at Wyndham Ocean Blvd.  My “Sunk Cost” would have been $31,149 upfront or financed at 8.99%.

Since I liked the property, had the money, and was ready to move up in the timeshare world with Advanced Reservation Priority (ARP) capability at Myrtle Beach, I decided to sign the contract and review everything when I got home. But, upon thorough review, I rescinded!

The Journey and the Fun Continued  

The last weekend in May, 2009 Wyndham invited us to a special “Wyndham Weekend” which was advertised as just for Wyndham owners in Washington, DC.  The cost to me was $250. So, I treated my wife and myself to a three night four day stay at The Ritz-Carlton®  including Valet Parking, lunch at the Ebbet Grill, a bus tour of Washington, DC and a breakfast.

As many Tuggers will tell you a presentation called an “Up-date” was the purpose.  But, hey, I knew that going in!  The cocktail party the night before was fabulous with great food and a wide open bar. The presentation the next day was very low key. It was a smooth attempt to sell me 126K points at Wyndham's new National Harbor Resort overlooking the Potomac in Maryland.
Without actually seeing the property, I again considered the offer to PIC my Barrier Island Station unit at Duck, NC and convert my two weeks at Sandcastle Cove in New Bern, NC.




The Big Difference

Instead of a deed swap (equity trade) for the Sandcastle Cove property they now wanted me to just convert the Sandcastle Cove fixed week units to 259,000 points and buy 126,000 points at the new Wyndham National Harbor property. The additional points we would have been required to purchase were 84,000 points less than the 2006 offer and we would keep the underlying deeds for the two fixed weeks at Sandcastle Cove; but would have had the option to use our weeks each year or notify Wyndham that we wanted the assigned points (259K) deposited into our Wyndham points account for “Standard Reservation” purposes.

Note:  Had I eventually accepted the offer and not rescinded, the hefty fee for conversion of the Sandcastle Cove Weeks to points would have been waived; but in its place we would have paid $189 for each week converted PLUS $37,043.60 for 126K points at Wyndham National Harbor.

 

Here is what my cost would have been:

      110.00          Contract  Fee

              349.00          Processing  Fee

              189.00          Conversion Fee for one Week at Sandcastle Cove, New Bern, NC

              189.00          Conversion Fee for one Week at Sandcastle Cove, New Bern, NC

              20,990.00      Purchase cost for 126K points at Wyndham National Harbor

              15,594.60      Finance Charges if I financed ($15,825.00) @ 15.49 % 10 YEARS!

Total:      $37,421.60

Hey, the guys doing the selling at each presentation or update were just trying to make a hefty commission off of some unsuspecting folks like us. So, why would I take it personally? But, when I compared what they said, didn’t say, or considered the twisting of the presentation and the overall environment to speed things up, I fully understood why so many people choose to avoid Wyndham “Up-dates.”   

Although our weeks at Sandcastle Cove in New Bern, NC would have converted to points, we would have still had responsibility for the maintenance fees at that location instead of a swap for points at National Harbor. (That was not a bad situation because my maintenance fees in 2009 for the two weeks at Sandcastle Cove were only $1,040 – which equated to $4.02 per thousand - not too shabby for 259,000 points.) The plan to get to VIP GOLD was still in play; but the sales people wanted that big pay day.

Notice that the points to be purchased dropped from 210,000 to 126,000 and the cost, not counting financing, dropped from $31,149 to $21,827.  We, in effect would have been paying $21,827 for the right to Advance Reservation Priority (ARP) into Washington, DC.

My Objection

Besides the outrageous cost: We would be "Standard" Internal Exchangers into the Myrtle Beach, SC area at Wyndham Ocean Blvd., SeaWatch Plantation or Westwinds where my wife prefers to go every summer.

Although we would have access to the PIC points and the converted points at Sandcastle Cove in New Bern, NC to go along with the 126,000 points, the ARP privilege was only applicable at Wyndham

National Harbor and that amount of points does not get you much.
The value (a saving of $9,322) was interesting given that we knew we could easily add 84,000 through re-sale. So, in good faith, I decided to sign on the dotted line, relax, and wade through the paperwork when we got home.

My Thoughts on the Way Home

Going home, I rationalized that our 4-BR Unit at Barrier Island Station was worth $3,000 in 2009, at least to me, and our Sandcastle Cove weeks were worth about $6,000. My thinking was, I could acquire the equivalent 469,000 points for less than $9,000 and just keep my Barrier Island Station week and my two Sandcastle Cove weeks as traders.

I couldn’t wait to get home and do an analysis and a lot of research on TUG. After my research and review of experiences on TUG the contract was put through the ringer to see if it was what I really wanted?   It came out wrinkled! 

Note:  We had ten total days to rescind because the property was in Maryland; but I learned enough in two days to know that my gut was right.  I had to rescind and I did just that!

Then, with a goal to get what I really wanted, I jumped into TUG, eBay®  and internet searches with vigor to see just how much I could save and yet get what I originally wanted which was 469,000 points at Myrtle Beach, SC. eBay® was an unknown for me!  I had avoided it until then.



A Strategy Was Developed and Executed

When I decide to act, I get it done and hopefully done right!  Within one week after returning home, I purchased my first 154,000 point contract at Myrtle Beach for the underwhelming cost of .004032 per point including closing costs.  [Just in case you don’t have a calculator handy that came to a total cost of $621.00 or $4.03 per thousand points.]

Given that I was receiving the 2009 points and a renewal of the points every year going forward, I estimated that my first five years worth of vacations would cost $4,261.22 plus whatever the RCI exchange fees (currently $189 for Wyndham points) would entail.

 
Broken Down This Was My Analysis:

Price Paid ($97) + Closing Costs ($399) + Transfer Fee ($125) >>>>>SUNK COST:        621.00

POA Maint.  Fee: [($4.52 x 154K) / 12] = $58.00 x 5 mos. >  2009  MAINTENANCE      290.00

Wyndham  Program  Fee: [($0.51 x 154K) / 12] =  $6.55 x 5 mos. 2009 PROGRAM  FEE  32.75

POA Maint.  Fee: ($4.65 x 154K) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>2010 MAINTENANCE:     716.10

Wyndham Program  Fee:   ($.051 x 154K)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>2010 PROGRAM  FEE         78.54

POA Maint.  Fee [($4.65 x 1.03) x 154K] >>>>>>> Estimated  2011 MAINTENANCE:   737.58

Wyndham  Program  Fee  ($.51 x 1.03) x 154K]>>   Estimated  2011 PROGRAM  FEE:     80.90

POA Maint.  Fee: [($4.79 x 1.03) x 154K]>>>>>>>  Estimated  2012 MAINTENANCE:  759.79

Wyndham  Program  Fee  [($.52 x 1.03) x 154K]>>  Estimated  2012 PROGRAM  FEE      82.48

POA Maint.  Fee: [$4.93 x 1.03) x 154K]>>>>>>>   Estimated  2013 MAINTENANCE:  782.00

Wyndham  Program  Fee  ($.54 x 154K) >>>>>>>    Estimated  2013 PROGRAM  FEE:    83.16

____________

 FIVE YEAR TOTAL COST INCLUDING PURCHASE:                                    $4,264.30



My research had shown:

One could plan on using a 28,000 point deposit with RCI® every use year to get a nice 2-BR Unit at Wyndham Ocean Walk, at most Orlando FL Resorts, at Wyndham Palm-Aire or Wyndham Sea Gardens in Pompano Beach, FL just about any time in early or late winter when it is bitter cold in the Northeast. 

In addition, an internal exchange using the remaining 126,000 points during the Advance Reservation Priority Window would guarantee a 1-BR Ocean Front Unit at Wyndham SeaWatch Plantation, Myrtle Beach, SC during Prime Summer each of those same five years. 

The $4,264.30 plus the five exchange fees paid to RCI® probably (with inflation) would come out to under $5,500 spent for two great vacations a year for five years.  Except for the Orlando area, where timeshares exceed demand, it is highly unlikely that someone would be able to rent similar accommodations at similar locations for the same time periods for less than $5,500.

After the five years, my plan was to continue to get great vacations.

That was my first purchase on eBay® and yes, I realize that I probably paid too much; but Hey! It was just my first auction.

 

Note: Your expectation may differ; but, I anticipate that when my wife and I get tired of time sharing, I can easily give the 154,000 points to charity (Charities are actively looking for prime Oceanfront property to sell.)  Dave McClintock, CPA who is a TUGGER has published an advice article to help timeshare owners better understand what they can and cannot do with their timeshares from a tax stand point. 

http://tug2.net/timeshare_advice/tug_timeshare_advice.shtml

Has TUG saved me money? Absolutely!

Would I have reached the same conclusions on my own? Eventually! But, it is sure nice to interact with others who have been there before me.

Why I Chose To Purchase Beach Front Property

Obviously, I could have taken the “points are points” approach and purchased contracts at Wyndham resorts where the maintenance fees were lower; but to me the benefit of owning beach front property with its inherent higher cost to get and keep Advance Reservation Priority (ARP) was more important than the advantage of owning at a resort with less cost for maintenance.

My Experience: Prior to exploring opportunities on eBay® I first determined exactly where I wanted my home resort to be and chose Myrtle Beach, SC. Then I researched the options at Myrtle Beach, SC.

In fact, I drilled down into the involved Property Owners Associations (POA) to see which had the lowest overall chance of keeping my maintenance fees “relatively” low going forward.  The drill down forced me to consider which resort to pick and once my choice was determined, I started looking for contracts that would get me into the preferred towers at the chosen resort. Yeah, I realize that was a little overboard; but the research paid off.

Some Things to Consider

Regardless of where you buy Wyndham points, make sure you know the resort name and the exact location. Some locations you may consider have been built in phases. It is important, in such situations, to know which phase (“Regime”) you are buying into because the description of Phase I property could be very different from Phase IV property.  Also, Find out what the property taxes are and whether or not they are included in the maintenance fee assessment that is ultimately determined by the Property Owner’s Association (POA). If you find you are separately responsible for real estate taxes find out how and when you are to pay.
 

TIP:  For purposes of Advanced Reservation (ARP), all five resorts at Myrtle Beach, SC: Westwinds, The Cottages, SeaWatch Plantation - all towers and villas, Ocean Boulevard - all towers, and the resort known as Wyndham Vacation Resorts Towers on The Grove at North Myrtle Beach, SC are currently recognized as the “home resort” of any owner of points at any of those five resorts. That means an owner at

Ocean Boulevard will receive ARP at SeaWatch Plantation or at any of the other, aforementioned Wyndham resorts. In my case, it did not matter which resort I picked to get ARP.  However, my research identified two Towers at Ocean Boulevard that would give me the best chance of maintaining ARP at all five of the Myrtle Beach locations if Wyndham were to later adjust reservation codes.

When Fairfield Resorts, Inc. set up what was then known as the FairShare Plus® Vacation Exchange Program, certain codes were used by reservations to determine "home resort" at Myrtle Beach. The two towers at Ocean Boulevard that I chose had a code that covered all the Resorts; but the other two towers at Ocean Boulevard had a different code that isolated them.

For whatever reason Fairfield elected to let the other two towers have the same privilege and Wyndham has left it that way. Since Wyndham has taken over management and sales at Towers on The Grove, I am told that it has a different reservation code in the Wyndham computer; but it too is included in the overall ARP at Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, SC.  But privileges can be taken away, so I protected myself as much as possible by getting ownership in the two towers at Ocean Boulevard that, to me, appear to have the best chance of having the same reservation code as Seawatch, the Cottages, and Westwinds going forward, if Wyndham were to, for some reason, distinguish between the resorts for Advance Reservation Priority purposes.

When you review the research material on maintenance fees you will see why that information was so helpful.  Back in 2009, of the four Wyndham resorts at Myrtle Beach, Ocean Boulevard had the lowest maintenance fees over all and certain towers at Ocean Boulevard have lower maintenance fees.

Tip:  As was mentioned earlier in Article IV, Wyndham “Corporate Direct” has in the recent past offered a deal that may be of interest to someone who owns a fixed week or weeks of Timeshare at a Wyndham Resort or at a Wyndham affiliate at places like Sapphire Valley or New Bern, NC.

In the offer that ended June 1, 2010, which may or may not be available at some future date, an owner of such a timeshare week could have converted one fixed timeshare week to points for $1,795 and up to four more weeks for $995 each. A bonus that came with the offer for a conversion was the inclusion of PlusPartners® at no additional cost to the converting owner. For someone who would like RCI® “nightly stays” at participating RCI® resorts through PlusPartners®, such an offer, if made again, might be hard to pass-up because the owner gets the conversion to points and PlusPartners® for one flat fee. The current cost for a one week conversion is $2.395.




Footnote:

If, you have any inquiries regarding how to use Wyndham’s product features or benefits consult Wyndham’s written documents and materials including the resort directory for additional information about how to use the product.  

Wyndham Discussion Forums on TUG




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