Starwood Vacation Ownership – Is it a better way to see the world?

What is vacation ownership?

As we explained previously, vacation ownership is property timeshare, where more than one owner agrees to use the same vacation property at particular times.

What is Starwood vacation ownership?

Starwood Vacation Network Inc. (a subsidiary of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.) has 19 Starwood villa resorts scattered throughout the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Starwood vacation ownership customers can choose to holiday in luxury villa resorts or gain privileged access to over 1,100 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries with Starwood Preferred Guest – as an owner, you get automatic SPG Gold Preferred status.

What are the benefits of SPG Gold Preferred status?

From free night awards and award flights with no blackout dates to late check-out and an enhanced or upgraded room where available – plus you earn 3 Starpoints for every dollar spent.

Tell me more about the Starwood vacation ownership options:

Owners have five options available:

– When you join Starwood Vacation Network, you choose a Home Resort where you can holiday every year. To book, you need to call Owner Services several months beforehand.

– Without a fee, you can exchange your Home Resort week for one in a different villa resort on a first-come, first-served basis.

– With your SPG Gold Preferred status, you can choose to convert your week's vacation into Starpoints to use at Starwood's 1,100 properties.

– Signature Escapes is Starwood's partnerships with travel providers, where your vacation can be personally arranged for you.

– For a fee, you can use External Exchange to stay in villas at one of 2,600 additional resorts around the world.

How much does Starwood vacation ownership cost?

Costs for the Starwood Vacation Network really do vary, depending on the package bought. As with any timeshare option, there should be room to negotiate. However, there is also an annual fee – the cost of which is dependent on your package. Searching around, it seems just the annual fee itself is often around $1,000, and that's before the cost of your timeshare plan.

The verdict?

As with any timeshare company, think carefully before diving in deep. Just because Starwood is renowned for its luxury product, it doesn't automatically mean their vacation ownership is solid. As many thumbs up that I've seen about Starwood vacation ownership, I've read just as many complaints, so do your homework.

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