Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Time for Our Vacation to The Ridge, Tahoe, Nevada

Some time in the mid 1990's, Macrine and I purchased a time share at the Five Star, Ridge Resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The resort is located at an elevation of 7342 feet above sea level. On the east side of the 8th floor of our 2 bedroom condo unit, you have a view of Lake Tahoe and on the west side the small town of Minden, Nevada. We purchased this time share not intentionally, but we were persuaded by the high pressure sale pitches of an aggressive sale personnel. They offered us a free dinner for two by just attending their one hour sales presentation and tour of the resort facilities. At that time most of the resorts time sharing program had no options for exchanges to other resorts. But the Ridge has that flexibility, so we signed up for a 2-bedroom unit for one week every year. We could exchange this to other five star resorts all over the world as long as they participate in the Interval International(II)Time Share Exchange Program. Since our purchase, we have exchanged our time share in Marbella, Spain, Cancun, Mexico. Puerto Rico, Aruba, Las Vegas, Nevada, Maui, Kawaii and the big Island of Hawaii. We had a grand time and fantastic vacations staying in five star resorts/hotel equivalent to The Ridge at the above places.

However, lately, I found it hard to do exchanges via II, even with resorts in the Philippines. So, this year we will spend our week at our home resort, The Ridge at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Purchasing a vacation time share is not for everybody, especially if you do not plan your vacation ahead of time. To insure and take advantage of the exchange program flexibility, you need to be organized. With our time share, my wife and I just can not travel at the spur of the moment if there is a promo package offered by travel agencies. Our vacation time is tied up to our time share program. Moreover, before you could exchange you need to reserve your week, then deposit it to II. After that you need to tell II to exchange it, listing three resorts and three time periods. This is the one that takes a long time, especially if the resorts you selected are popular resorts and the time periods are the busy vacation season. Owning a time share do not really save you vacation money as the sales pitches proclaimed. However, with your time share program you stay in four or five star resorts, that otherwise you can not afford or willing to pay on your own. In addition, you have the flexibility to choose places all over the world. There are over a thousand resorts listed in the Interval International Directory available for exchange. However, popular vacations spots such as Hawaii, San Francisco or France are hard to get, even if you reserved two years ahead. Availability of resorts are posted in the Internet on first come, first serve basis. So if you have the patience of Job, you may be able to get an exchange that fits your time and need. As an example, three years, I wanted to exchange my time share with a 2-bedroom unit in Las Vegas right on the Strip. There were about five hotels on the Strip with one bedroom units available on the week that I wanted, but no two bedroom units. I waited for another ten minutes and surfed again. To my surprise a 2-bedroom unit was available on a hotel right on the Strip but I have only 15 minutes to complete the transaction. I completed the transaction in 10 minutes and within 20 minutes, I received a confirmation via e-mail. I was lucky and had the patience of Job surfing in the Internet. Otherwise, I may have to be content with a one bedroom unit not close to the Strip.

So what is my recommendation? If you are someone who do not plan ahead and do not have the patience of Job, do not purchase a time share. In addition, time share will cost you maintenance fees that gets higher every year. Put your vacation money in the bank or invest it. When the time comes for your vacation, then that is the time to get your money. Enjoy your vacation to a place that you choose and the time that is convenient for you. If you plan on vacationing this year try Marinduque, Philippines where your hard-earned dollars will go a long way. Stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac for as low as $25 per day per person including meals (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com).


Anonymous said...

We bought our timeshare about 6 years ago for $10K and we pay an annual tax & other charges of around $300 a year. It entitles us the use of several resorts in North America (including Canada & Mexico) depending on the size of the room and resort location. Smaller rooms and less desirable locations require use of fewer points. On average we get to stay 6-8 days a year with a housekeeping fee of around $80 per use. The realty tax and housekeeping fees are absurd considering the initial payment made. We are also entitled to exchange timeshare with resorts worldwide, which we've never done.

Because of the demand, some locations specially ones near the ocean (Monterey, CA) are difficult to obtain a reservation even during the cold winter months. You may borrow points from the next year totalling 6,000 for your reservations, they are forfeited if unused within 2 years. Assuming 1000 points would equal $100 daily hotel rates, it will take us about 17 years to recoup our investment. We will still be behind monetarily with the other fees they imposed on us. It seems like a bad investment, but I will strive to live to 100 to make up for my money. If I die earlier, my progeny will inherit my timeshare.

Gerard Stewart

David B Katague said...

Hi Gerard, thank you for your comment. Purchasing a timeshare is not really a good investment. To me it is just prepaying a good vacation in a nice resort or hotel. And again, if you have the flexibility to exchange it, the better, but there are extra fees involve in the exchange process. Good Day!

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