Abound, by Marriott became available in November 2022, and 2 months later, there are still questions about how it affects our timeshare ownerships – both for MVC Owners and Vistana Owners. Part of the problem is not getting questions answered because of hours-long wait times to get access to Vacation Owner Advisors on the phone. Part of the confusion is the concern by Owners that they will no longer be able to enjoy their ownership the way they have done in the past. Part of the frustration is the flaky websites and not being able to pay fees or check availabilities. Today I’m going Back to the Basics to help you understand what Abound includes, and what it does not.
Before Abound came to be, Marriott Vacation Club Owners had access to Marriott Vacation Club resorts, Ritz-Carlton Club resorts, and one of the two Grand Residences by Marriott – the Grand Residence in Tahoe is included, the Grand Residences in London is not. There were 74 resorts MVC Owners could access, and numerous Owner Events, Cruises, Tours, Destination Escapes, and other Owner Experiences – all using Destination Points.
Vistana Owners are Owners of Sheraton Vacation Club and Westin Vacation Club and have access to 22 Vistana resorts. They also have some exclusive Owner Events, Resort Credits, Destination Escapes, Insurance, and Cruises which go through Interval International – available only to Vistana Owners — all using Star Options. The opportunities aren’t as numerous, but they are provided for Vistana Owners and continue to be so, even now that Abound is available.
BOTH MVC Owners and Vistana Owners have access to resorts in the Interval International program through trades or points.
Abound, by Marriott
With Abound, by Marriott being introduced in November, Marriott Vacation Club Destinations Program BECAME Abound — all MVC Owners now use this program for everything ownership related. What was added for these Owners is that they can now reserve Sheraton and Westin Vacation Club properties, adding 22 more resorts to choose from. Nothing is taken away from MVC Owners that they had before – same Owner Events, Cruises, Tours, Destination Escapes and other Owner Experiences. The only real CHANGE is that the website was modified – and frankly is a real pain for EVERYONE right now. And Destination Points are now being called Club Points – very same thing, just different name.
ALL Vistana Owners were ENROLLED in Abound, by Marriott automatically, which affects the fees they pay. (More explanation on comparing these fees in future posts). Vistana Owners can PARTICIPATE in Abound and have access to all the MVC resorts elect Club Points IF they trade their deeded week or Star options for Club Points. This increases the number of resort options from 22 Vistana resorts to 96 Abound Club Resorts. AND Vistana Owners will have access to the numerous Owner Events, Cruises, Tours, Destination Escapes, and other Owner Experiences that are in the MVC network. Nothing was taken away from Vistana Owners, but there are CHANGES made that require the Owners to make decisions – basically whether to PARTICIPATE in the Abound program or not.
Vistana Owners need to understand that being ENROLLED in Abound is not the same as PARTICIPATING in Abound. They won’t be able to participate unless they ELECT Club Points in place of their Vistana properties or Star Options. Deeded MVC Owners make the same decision every year – do I want to trade my deeded week for Club Points or use it? However, Vistana Owners have an added decision to consider. Not only must they decide whether to trade their deeded week for Club Points and participate in Abound, but they must also decide whether to trade their Star Options for Club Points. Therein lies the stress of Vistana Owners on whether to elect Club Points or not.
It might help Vistana Owners feel more comfortable in electing Club Points if they were assured they get the reservations they want. Frankly, even MVC Owners aren’t guaranteed reservations at highly sought-after properties. We do our best to make it happen, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. And that’s OKAY – because Marriott properties – ALL of them – are so much better than hotels. THAT is why we invested in time shares to begin with. We are able to travel with family and friends, stay at wonderful locations in top-notch resorts, and we don’t worry about whether the photos give an accurate picture of what we will experience. THAT STRESS is alleviated by being Marriott Owners.
To answer more specific questions for Vistana Owners about participating in Abound, I highly recommend you read the FAQ’s on your website. It goes into great detail and depth on every subject. It takes a little investment of your time, but it will educate you and help you feel more comfortable with whatever you decide is best for you in using your ownership.
As a side note, Marriott also owns other time share properties – St. Regis Residence Club, Hyatt Residence Club, and Welk resorts. Abound or Vistana Owners DO NOT have access to these resorts through Abound, and according to Marriott, Hyatt and Welk will NEVER be part of Abound.