Timeshare Tip #5 – Understand the ‘Season’ You’re Buying

As with most things in life there are details in the timesharing world that it pays to learn about if you’re to make the correct decisions when considering a timeshare purchase. The ‘seasons’ used at timeshare resorts is just one of those details.

A ‘season’ at a timeshare resort is a block of one or more weeks that are considered (by the developer) to have approximately the same demand levels. So, you’ll find that weeks like Christmas, New Year and Presidents’ week are in the same season category at most resorts, the summer weeks will often be grouped together as will the winter weeks but these will all vary from resort to resort. Different developers like to use different season naming systems (Marriott isn’t even consistent within its own portfolio of resorts!) but, luckily, there is a predominant nomenclature used by both Marriott and Starwood that will get you by: Prime weeks like Christmas and New Year are often called ‘platinum plus’ weeks while the weeks in the next tier down (ski weeks at ski resorts and winter/spring weeks in the Caribbean) are often called ‘platinum’ weeks. The tiers below those are often called ‘gold’, ‘silver’ and ‘bronze’ (you’ll find others too, but those are the main season you’ll probably encounter).

The Main Seasons on VacationSmarter.com

Timeshares are not an investment and you’re unlikely to make a profit if you decide to sell so it’s important to do your homework at the outset if you’re to get good long-term value out of any unit you decide to purchase. Remember that situations change – just because you’re tied down to vacationing during school holidays for the next 3-4 years doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Do you really need to spend the extra money just to buy into a season that covers the school vacations if that’s not when you’ll be vacationing in the future? Think long-term and you could save yourself a lot of regrets down the line. Stop and think about how you can make the most of the season designations at the resorts of your choice. Take Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club as an example: Here the developer assigned gold season (the cheapest season to purchase at this resort) to the period from mid-May to mid-December. Having May through October/November as low/cheaper season is pretty standard for resorts in the Caribbean as it encompasses the traditional “hurricane season”……but Aruba doesn’t really get hurricanes. Geographically the island is just too far south to be hit by the storms its neighbours to the north have to contend with so its summers are almost always beautifully sunny and very hot. If it’s sunshine and heat that you’re after why pay the premium for platinum season (January through mid-May) when you can get the same (or hotter!) for less? These little nuances aren’t limited to Marriott’s Aruba properties, there are others across the Marriott and Starwood systems too, you just have to take the time to find the ones that work for you.