Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

Forum: Timeshare Companies

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By elizabetht89

Diamond Resorts reduces owner benefits again!

In your recent message, you said to learn how to use your timeshare. Well, I own quite a few points and yet when I go to book for a place, nothing is ever available, and I don't mean with a few weeks notice but with 13 months notice for planning. Now I can appreciate that some places would be booked or vacancies not known at the time, but all the time and every time? I would appreciate it if you could tell me how to book since you seem quite knowledgeable. There must be something I am not doing.

Thank you for your help! Elizabeth Tice

Avatar for elizabetht89 elizabetht89

8 years ago
Apr 05, 2009

By charless345

I would be happy to help you if I can. I would need to know if you have a deeded property. Are you a member of the Club? If you belong to a trust, which one?

The reason I need to know this information is because there are times you can and cannot make reservations based upon when you are requesting. For example, I belong to the US collection. If I tried to make a reservation TODAY for a Hawaii resort for June 2010 I would not be able to and the reservation would say there is nothing available. That is because I do not have the access to make reservations in the Hawaii collection until 10 months out from the date I want to go. I pull up Hawaii all the time and find availability available.

Right now is a great time to find resorts as people are not traveling as they used to because of the economy.

Avatar for charless345 charless345

8 years ago
Apr 05, 2009

By mike1536

charless345 wrote:
Maintenance fees have been going up for all timeshares. The resorts that Diamond inherited needed to be upgraded.

What is it that you foliks want. Don't you want to see the properties get upgraded? You have the points/properties. Take advantage of them and use them instead of just whining and complaining. DRI is no different from any of the other timeshare companies. The fees for everyone have gone up.

Correct me if I'm wrong, aren't Diamond Club members charged a MF based on the number of points they own? BUT, don't they own a timeshare backed by a deeded week? If so, then MFs should be based on the TS they own, NOT the number of points they own. I would object to my MFs increasing just so some TS in another part of the country can get be updated. Let the owners of the timeshare to be upgraded pay the costs.

Usually HOA control the MFs for their own resort. In the case of DRI, it's a corporate entity controlling the MFs. Owners don't have much say.

If owners in the CLUB do not own a deeded week, then it basically becomes a "Vacation CLub" with an annual fee, not truly a MF. In that case, a membership in a "Vacation Club", as with any club membership, should be able terminated at any time.

Avatar for mike1536 mike1536

8 years ago
Apr 06, 2009

By elizabetht89

My sister and I have 11,000 points saved and we belong to the Club and our base is in Williamsburg.

Thank you ET

Avatar for elizabetht89 elizabetht89

8 years ago
Apr 06, 2009

By charless345

Elizabeth,

With 11,000 points you can get a couple of vacations in a year depending on when you go and the amount of flexibility you have. Also, depending on where you are making your reservations. It also depends if you are want a one or two bedroom. Remember, being in the Club you get to make reservations 13 months in advance only on properties in your collection which is probably the US collection. You will have to wait for 10 months for the others. These are 13 and 10 months before your check in date. Having some flexibility on your check in dates is important in making a successful reservation. I have done a few examples below to help you understand better. I only use Hawaii because it is usually the toughest place to go and has a very high demand. The other places in the US are not as hard to get into depending on when you are trying to go.

If you were to try to book 59 days or less, you will use only half the number of points. For example, I just searched under Hawaii for May 7 for 7 nights. Three resorts came up with The Pointat Poipu and the Alii Kai had 2 bdrms available and the Kananpaali Beach Club had various one bedrooms. These were all available at less than your 11,000 points.

The most important piece is planning early. I have reservations to places already for December 2009. I put in Hawaii in and around December at the busiest time which is Christmas. I used Dec. 18 and a big number of resorts came up with various dates. I put up Dec 25th and only KBC came up starting on January 1. Planning in advance isKey. The good part was that your points were enough to get you a one bedroom in some parts of Hawaii with advance notice.

I have 30,000 points now which does afford me a lot of flexibility. However, I used to have only 8500. What I did do was save them one year and then I had 17000 which offered me more flexibility on vacation choices. You could do the same and have 22000 and have greater flexibility. You can save up to 11000 points each year. You can save less too.

Another way you can use your points is by using the Interval International (II) exchange. I use II sometimes because it allows me to get into really nice resorts like Marriott's. You can go online from Diamond's book online page to II. II allows you to use points to stay anywhere. This week I have booked a room at the Marriott's Grande Vista for August. This is an extremely nice resort. I have a one bedroom villa. It cost me 4500 points and $139.00 for the exchange fee. The exchange fee is usually $149 but if you do it online you save $10. It is $154 if you book online for an international location instead of $164.

I tried Hawaii in December and quite a few places came up in early December. However, Christmas to New Year's was booked solid. I did look outside of the US for that time and did notice that Paris was available. It was a Marriott that came up too. Christmas in Paris would be lovely, wouldn't it?

I hope this helps a little. If you have more questions please feel free to ask. If you are coming up with blanks for specific choices let me know and I will look at it on this end. I would also suggest you look at Timeshare Users Group (TUG) at http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/. There is a forum there that will really help you a lot. They have sections for newbies that really, really help. People who are much more knowledgeable than me and own DRI can help you a great deal. Also, the main DRI spot on a forum is timeshareforums.com. That may be even better for DRI. However, DRI people are on both. You can get the maximum so you can be happy. Your sister and you can have a great time.

Also, DRI on its website has a booklet on Diamond Selections. You should have received it in the mail. It is brown. Review that book for other benefits of the Club. Although you get the most bang for your buck with room accommodations sometimes you may want to use left over points for other stuff so you don't lose points. I am going on a cruise using my points. Although it is not always the best way to use points. I had some left over and I figured I would splurge for her birthday and we are taking a Carribean cruise for 5 days. Oh yeah, I will be using 2500 points for that $139 for a weeks stay at a Marriott's Beach Place towers. That gives me a place to stay before we go and a couple of days after we return and leave out on a flight to return home.

This is good stuff. Read on those forums and learn how to use it.

Last edit by charless345 on Apr 08, 2009 04:14 AM.

Avatar for charless345 charless345

8 years ago
Apr 08, 2009

By johnk634

Hello, I am just wondering, what kind of cruise can you get with like 15,000. points? How does it work? I am tired of loosing points and I am frustrated.

Avatar for johnk634 johnk634

8 years ago
Apr 08, 2009

By charless345

Hi Johnk,

I can feel your frustration. Remember that you don't get the full value for your points using them for cruises or anything else other than accommodations, but you might as well put those points to work.

You can do cruises. It just depends on where you want to go. I am taking a cruise to the Carribean in early December on Carnival Cruise Lines with my wife. Now it costs for the 2 of us about $650. I can trade in 19,500 points for $1365. I also bought cheap plane tickets for my wife and I to go to Fort Lauderdale for a total of about $450. So with airfare and the cruise for two the total is $1100 so I have an extra $265 for gratuities and transportation to the ship. All on points.

For you with 15,000 points that is the equivalent of $1050. I would look under Diamond Selections page on the DRI website. Click onto cruises. Select a cruise you may be interested in. You can actually book it online but you need to call DRI and talk with one of their agents and tell them which cruise you are interested. They will book it for you and you have to give them a deposit. You will have to eventually pay it up front, but they will reimburse you with the $1050. Depending on where you want to go and more importantly when you want to go you can get a great deal. You should have a book called Destination Discovery and Diamond Selections that came in the mail. It explains how to use your points for cruises, airline tickets, hotels, and even activities at places you visit. It is also online on the website. I would suggest you review it so that you can stop losing points. At the worse, you can use them for airline miles if you are stuck with them. You can even use some of them for maintenance fees.

Feel free to ask again. Let me know if you decide to take a cruise. I would get a great deal of pleasure if I knew I really helped someone out. Please look at the suggestion I gave the young lady I posted above yours about reviewing the other websites. They can really help provide you with even more information.

CS

Avatar for charless345 charless345

8 years ago
Apr 08, 2009

By mike1536

charless345 wrote:
I can feel your frustration. Remember that you don't get the full value for your points using them for cruises or anything else other than accommodations, but you might as well put those points to work.
You make a good point. Regardless of which timeshare they own, people need to learn how best to use them. Too often people threaten to stop paying MFs, which prevents them from any use of the TS, or want to initiate a class action lawsuit.

Avatar for mike1536 mike1536

8 years ago
Apr 09, 2009

By jayjay

mike1536 wrote:
You make a good point. Regardless of which timeshare they own, people need to learn how best to use them. Too often people threaten to stop paying MFs, which prevents them from any use of the TS, or want to initiate a class action lawsuit.

Also, if you stop paying your maintenance fees the HOA or developer will turn you over to collections, which will negatively affect your credit rating. When one signs a contract to buy a timeshare then they are signing up to pay maintenance fees and special assessments until the week is sold or changes ownership.

Avatar for jayjay jayjay

8 years ago
Apr 09, 2009

By elizabetht89

Thank you so much for your reply and I certainly appreciate the time it took you to write such a lengthy reply! My sister and I are going to sit down and go over this together then see what we can do. I will get back to you if I still have questions.

Elizabeth Tice

Avatar for elizabetht89 elizabetht89

8 years ago
Apr 09, 2009

By charless345

When I wrote this, I meant that timeshares from other companies such as Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood have also increased their maintenance fees.

If you are in DRI's the Club, you do pay maintenances fees but only for the collection of resorts you belong to. I looked at the maintenance fees for the Hawaii collection and they pay more in maintenance fees than the US collection. Hawaii usually has higher maintenance fees in all of the timeshares. I own in Marriott and its maintenance fees are higher than other Marriott timeshares. That is because Hawaii has other taxes that they charge timeshares that some other states don't charge.

The point is yes DRI sets the MF charge, but you only pay for timeshares that you have the most access to and have priority. From what I am led to believe from other posts I have read, if you belong to the Club, your MF may be less than the deeded week owners.

Avatar for charless345 charless345

8 years ago
Apr 10, 2009

By peterp151

mike1536 wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, aren't Diamond Club members charged a MF based on the number of points they own? BUT, don't they own a timeshare backed by a deeded week? If so, then MFs should be based on the TS they own, NOT the number of points they own. I would object to my MFs increasing just so some TS in another part of the country can get be updated. Let the owners of the timeshare to be upgraded pay the costs.

Usually HOA control the MFs for their own resort. In the case of DRI, it's a corporate entity controlling the MFs. Owners don't have much say.

If owners in the CLUB do not own a deeded week, then it basically becomes a "Vacation CLub" with an annual fee, not truly a MF. In that case, a membership in a "Vacation Club", as with any club membership, should be able terminated at any time.

Well, not exactly. Members of Club are just that - Members in Club. All Club members have a timeshare ownership thru DRI. But just because you have a DRI timeshare contract does not mean you are also in Club. Club members pay a fee to be in Club and that fee is only for Club operations. It has nothing to do with resort maintenance, which is specific to your contract ownership.

Specific to your question about who pays for what maintenance; - Everyone pays for the maintenance at their own resorts. If you are in Club you have access to all the resorts for reservations less than 10 months in advance. This is superior to but basically the same concept as using an exchange company. All members in II or RCI pay thier own maintenance but make their unit available to others in the hope they can use someone else's unit. The same is true with the internal Club availability at DRI for DRI Club members. - Since some ownership is specifically defined by points memberships and are not deeded, their fees are charge with a base fee and a fee per point for maintenance. - There are deeded UDI ownership, but it is rare. These units are not billed per point, the maintenance fees are billed based on the deeded units which comprise the UDI values they have. - Deeded owners, regardless of whether they are in club or not, are billed based on their unit type. In the past I noticed there was not a correllation between the point value of the deeded weekly unit and the maintenance. Better managed resorts or resorts where insufficient maintenance to properly maintain the resort would have lower maintenance "per point value". However, because DRI controls most of the resort HOA boards I noticed a large number of resorts for 2009 maintenance beginning to conform to the equivalent maintenance fee per point in a number of cases. Just be certain you do not buy a deeded unit with lower point value at these resorts! A 4BR week 3 and week 28 have the same annual maintenance fee if the unit is in Club, regardless of if these units are in Club or not (if in Club, the there is also a Club fee). You might buy a week 3 becasue it costs less, then bank the unit to use thru exchange. But if you convert these units back into Club, week 28 is worth 11,000 annual points whereas week 3 is 6,000 or 8,000. DRI has been moving the annual maintenance on these units such that the 11,000 point unit has a similar "fee for point value" to a Collecitons contract. But this means your equivalent "fee for point value" on that week 3 unit is a lot higher!

It is more confusing because some types of DRI ownership appear to be in Club but are actually an ownership/membership similar to how Club works but are not in Club.

TYPES OF OWNERSHIP / MEMBERSHIP

* All the contract types below can be put into Club, either by directly purchasing the contract from DRI or after buying on the resale market, contracting with DRI thru a new purchase agreement to bring the resale contact back into Club.

- Fixed week, fixed unit use, deeded. Most units owned at The Historic Powhatan Resort are fixed week, fixed unit. If you're in Club you might not know this because you receive annual points and are never subject to your deeded limit of a fixed week/unit. New owners who purchase at Powhatan these days are not buying fixed week/unit deeded contracts. They are instead buying a perpetual (never ending) membership in the DRI US Collections contract. It is not deeded and when the contract is sold to a resale buyer they are not limited to the single resort but the collection of 21 or so resorts.

- floating use, deeded Scottsdale Villa Mirage has a lot of deeded contracts with floating use. Story is the same as Powhatan. People buying there now are actually buying the US Collections contracts.

- UDI, deeded This is a less common deeded ownership, but I have seen UDI deeded at Cypress Point in Orlando and Greensprings in Williamsburg. UDI stands for undivided interest. This deeded ownership works like the "Collections" contracts (US Collections, CA Collections, HI Collections) where you always use points regardless of whether you are in The Club or not. But a resort deeded UDI limits the resale buyer to use the floating points at the one specific resort if you do not convert the resale contract back into Club.

- Collections contracts, not deeded I'm aware of three Collections contracts: US Collections, CA Collections, HI Collections. I believe that purchasing from DRI at any of the resorts in a Collections contract results in the new buyer owning the pertinent Collections contract and not a deeded contract. Also, the resorts in CA are now sold as the CA Collections contract but in previous years was sold as part of the US Collections contract. One thing I am not certain of is how DRI reconciled the US Collections ownership of CA resorts with CA Collections ownership. Maybe it doesn't matter. I believe DRI has chosen to mix all available Collections use and Club use (not mixed in a way allowing a resale buyer in the CA Collection to use HI Collection but mixed in a way that US Collection owners still have access to CA resorts even though now the CA resorts are sold in the CA Colleciton).

- Other contracts I think I covered the basics of DRI ownership but there are other variants such as fixed week with floating unit, floating week that can be split into a 3 and 4 night stay, Lock Off units which can be broken apart for additional stays, etc. There are also people who owned with other resort companies but were absorbed by Sunterra/DRI. I believe that all these aquired companies ownership has now been fully integrated into the DRI system, even if the owner/members still do not understand or realize they no longer own what they originally purchased.

CLUB vs NON-CLUB

- Everyone who buys direct from DRI is automatically in Club. In the past the buyer owned deeded contracts at a single resort but may not have realized they were deeded to a weeks ownership becasue they alwyas used their points thru Club. A lot of people who bought from DRI (Sunterrra) thought they were deeded in the US Collections (CSV1, and other names) to a home resort when in fact the paperwork they filled out had that resort's sales office name but they truely owned the perpetual membership in the US Collections.

- everyone who buys on the resale market is not in Club because Club benefits do not transfer to the resale purchaser. When you buy from another owner, you only have access to what the contract is. A 4BR LO Powhatan contract means you will use a 4BR or two 2BR units for a week in a specific unit and week number each year. A 2BR LO at Scottsdale Villa Mirage is just that. A 10,000 point US Collections contract gives you access to 21 or so resorts even if you don't convert back into Club.

- If you inherit a DRI Contract and it was in Club it is my understanding you will inherit the DRI Contract which remains in Club!

- even if you buy/receive a contract which is not in Club you can work a deal with DRI to get the contract back into Club. currently you must buy an additional contract from DRI for them to convert your resale contract back into Club. In the past DRI/Sunterra also allowed resale purchasers to pay $2,995 to convert back but currently it is my understanding this has been discontinued. The $2,995 fee is an option to certain owners who bought direct in the past before Club was available. This holds tru for Polo Towers owners who bought direct before DRI bought Sunterra and I believe it is true for other direct buyers of resorts which were later bought up by Sunterra.

Avatar for peterp151 peterp151

8 years ago
Apr 12, 2009

By robinc180

Willaf:

Did you receive replies from the legal firms you addressed?

Avatar for robinc180 robinc180

8 years ago
Apr 13, 2009

By deneenm4

PLEASE can we all band together and fix this company? We cannot afford these terrible increases in fees. Is there a website we can all get together with and start a lawsuit or something?

Avatar for deneenm4 deneenm4

8 years ago
Apr 14, 2009

By mike1536

deneenm4 wrote:
PLEASE can we all band together and fix this company? We cannot afford these terrible increases in fees. Is there a website we can all get together with and start a lawsuit or something?
There are plenty of chatrooms and social sites. Can you go to a site such as yahoo and just start a "Group"?

Last edit by mike1536 on Apr 21, 2009 07:34 AM.

Avatar for mike1536 mike1536

8 years ago
Apr 21, 2009

By peterp151

A Yahoo Group already exists at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/drilawsuit/

So far most people asking to join have not provided their detail information and thus have not been accepted into the group. The goal of the group is to collaborate and share info on agencies contacted and the results of the contact in order to coordinate actions towards DRI.

I've noticed a lot of people agreeing actions should be taken and some even say they have contacted various agencies and entities. Why don't those people share the results of their actions, or at the very least confirm they were responded to and provide specific/concise contact information for others to follow suit?

Avatar for peterp151 peterp151

8 years ago
Apr 22, 2009

By angelaregister

I'm so sick of this stinking company ( I own in Lake Tahoe ) that I'm ready to sell my place. I really feel like camping out in front of the place where they do their speal and forewarning everyone who goes in. They are a bunch of liars... wouldn't it be fun to picket.... if I just didn't have a job....

Avatar for angelaregister angelaregister

8 years ago
May 04, 2009

By johnk634

yes I agree, they just took 5000 points from me and that is just rude. I am going to next step, I have already done BBB, Govenor and Atty general, we could all band together and have a great lawsuit. Anybody gonna step up?

Angela

Avatar for johnk634 johnk634

8 years ago
May 04, 2009

By charless345

Angela,

Why would DRI take 5000 points from you?

Avatar for charless345 charless345

8 years ago
May 04, 2009

By peterp151

johnk634 wrote:
yes I agree, they just took 5000 points from me and that is just rude. I am going to next step, I have already done BBB, Govenor and Atty general, we could all band together and have a great lawsuit. Anybody gonna step up?

Angela

Hi Angela, Please specify which Govenor and Atty general, and include their contact information! Also join the Yahoo group and when applying include the details of what you have done to date in order to join!

A Yahoo Group already exists at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/drilawsuit/

Avatar for peterp151 peterp151

8 years ago
May 05, 2009

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