You may view the video below or read the text following the video:

My name is Syed Sarmad and I’m the Principal Broker for Advantage Vacation which is a licensed real estate company specializing in timeshare resales of name brand timeshares. Our specialty is the resale of name brand timeshares such as Westin, Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton.  We’ve been in business for over 25 years and our offices are located in the Lahaina Cannery Mall in Lahaina, Maui.

This presentation is about the StarOption benefits that are available to Starwood timeshare owners which is also going to be called Vistana Signature. The StarOption benefits are available to certain owners at the resorts.

Before I go into the explanation of StarOption benefits, I’d like to explain the difference between Star Points and StarOptions.

StarOptions has to do with a numerical value that is assigned to you which you can use at any other Starwood Vacation Ownership villa up to 8 months in advance.

Star Points has to do with converting your vacation week into hotel points or what is called Star Points and is part of the Starwood Preferred Guest Program that entitles you to use those points in Starwood brand hotels and will eventually include Marriott hotels since there is a merger taking place.

Note – there is a very important difference:  StarOptions have to do with vacation ownership villas timeshare resorts and Star Points have to do with hotels.

Who gets StarOptions? Anyone who purchases a Starwood timeshare directly from the Developer or has purchased in a Mandatory resort will get StarOption benefits. There are six Mandatory resorts – Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas North (both in Maui, of course), Westin Kierland Villas in Scottsdale, Arizona, Sheraton Vistana Villas Key West and Bella phases in Orlando, Florida, Westin St. John the Hillside phase and Harbourside in Atlantis phase I and II in the Bahamas. These owners who purchase a resale do get StarOption benefits.

Anyone who purchases a resale in a Voluntary resort, which would mean all the other resorts, do NOT get StarOption benefits.  And in all cases Star Point benefits are not available to a timeshare resale purchaser unless they go back and purchase a new property directly from the Developer after they have completed the resale transaction and have their transaction “retroed” or requalified – then they will get Star Point benefits.

What are StarOption benefits? If you have unused time at your home resort you can book into any other villa up to 8 months in advance and you can use it for partial stays. In other words, you don’t have to stay for a full week, check-in and check-out can be any day of the week and depending on the number of StarOptions you have and the location where you are going the number of points required or the  Options you have to stay there.

You can “bank” your StarOptions and following are the instructions on how to bank your StarOptions:

You can bank from October 1st of the prior year through and by July 1st of the calendar use year. The fee for that is $99.

If you are a 3 star or 4 star Elite member, you have until October 1st to bank it and the fee is $79.

If you are a 5star Elite member, you’ll have until Decembere 31st of that calendar year to bank or rollover your StarOptions and there is no fee.

Once the banking is complete, it is final, it cannot be cancelled and it can only be used in the following two years.

If you have an existing reservation (an owner who has a reservation) and you decide you can’t use it and wish to cancel the reservation and if they cancel it more than 61 days prior to the reservation start date and if they meet in the required deadlines of July 1, October 1 or December 31st of those deadline banking dates then they can bank that time.

Any reservation cancelled 61 days or less than that in advance is not bankable in the StarOption time program.

What can one do, or what happens when a timeshare is sold? A single week owner who has banked their Option must use their banked Options before transferring ownership because banked Options expire on resale.

If an owner has multiple shares with Starwood and is selling only one of their timeshares that they have banked for future use, they will be able to retain those banked options. In all cases, banked options do not transfer to a resale purchaser. Unless of course, if the owner sells it to a direct family member or transfers ownership directly to a direct family member, then StarOption benefits and StarOptions in that account automatically transfer to the new owner.

I hope this information is useful to you and beneficial.

Syed Sarmad, Principal Broker for Advantage Vacation