April 2007


I was invited to attend a presentation on time-sharing plan by Marriott Vacation Club (MCVI). In exchange for having me sit through the 90-minute sales talk, MCVI gave me $100 worth of Takashimaya gift vouchers. If you have sat through time-sharing presentation before, you will know what I am talking about. 

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MCVI claims to be the only company selling time-sharing benefits the correct way. There are two types of membership – Standard and Founders. The company is actively recruiting Founder Members for now. To-date, MCVI has more than 500 members on its list. 

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There are several plans designed to suit one’s income level but a qualified client for the membership has to earn a monthly income of at least $5,000. The plans aren’t cheap and if a client chooses to pay by credit card installments spread over 60 months (ie. 5 years), the company requires proof of income before approving the payment term. 

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So how much is the “offer”? Membership fee starts from USD12,000 to USD36,000. In addition, there is an annual maintenance fee costing as much as USD960. The maintenance fee may fluctuate over time as the company adds more resorts so good luck to all the members.

Currently MCVI owns 4 resorts and targets to build 10 more over the next 3 to 5 years’ time. As long as the members keep paying the annual maintenance fee, they get to keep their membership for up to 49 years. Not bad, huh?

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Other than the membership fee and annual maintenance fee, members who want to enjoy extra benefits are required to pay subscription fee and conversion fee. For example, MCVI has a partner that operates 2000 resorts worldwide and charges MCVI’s members a subscription fee of USD85 for the use of the resorts. Or if a member wishes to convert his membership points to exchange for airfares or Marriott hotel stay, he will have to pay MCVI a conversion fee of USD104. 

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Membership points system works this way: For buying the cheapest plan that costs USD12,000, you receive 12,000 points to start with. (PS: If you push hard enough, the sales manager may throw in additional 12,000 points for you). Every time when you book a resort, some points get deducted. Resort location and traveling season determine the number of points for deduction. The points system works like most company’s annual leave system. Members are allowed to “borrow” points and accumulate points.  

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If the points aren’t used up in the current year, members can carry forward the points to the following year. However, there is expiry date for the accumulated points. For unconsumed points reaching expiry date, members are advised to convert them for redemption of airfares and/or Marriott hotel stay.  

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By the way, if you decide to become a member after you left the presentation, MCVI will only allow you to be a Standard Member without all the extra benefits offered to the Founder Members. Basically it means you are just a sucker if you still want to sign up. 🙂 

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Of course there is a 7-day cooling period that allows a client to withdraw his membership and get a refund, but the salesperson will not mention this. I found this out only much later.

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Personally I prefer to invest USD12,000 on investment instruments that will help generate passive income than “investing” in a time-sharing plan that helps me “save” money. Once I have cash inflow, I worry not about cash outflow. Isn’t this smarter money management? But everyone has different needs and priorities in life, therefore my view doesn’t represent yours. Just be a discerning consumer and spend your money wisely. May all of us prosper and lead a happy life.

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So I went to the fortune teller because I was bored to tears with my life, I was depressed too, and I was highly unmotivated.

The fortune teller frowned while breaking the bad news to me. Everything is going downhill — career, health, wealth, love life, etc. How unfortunate! Sucks! No wonder I have been feeling lousy. 😦

“Is there anything I could do about it?” I asked.

Shaking her head, the fortune teller told me to pray. “That may help a little,” she solemnly said. “But …. the future is in your hand. Do something to transform your life and change your destiny,” she offered another piece of advice.

As if I didn’t know! *rolled eyes*