My name is Syed Sarmad and I’m the Principal Broker for Advantage Vacation. Advantage Vacation is a licensed real estate company specializing in timeshare resales. Our offices are located at the Lahaina Cannery Mall in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. I have been in the timeshare industry for over 35 years.
Today I would like to talk about the Westin Starwood Vacation ownership program and specifically about StarOption benefits and StarOption banking.
What are StarOptions?
StarOptions is a benefit that is extended as part of the Starwood Vacation Ownership program that entitles you to vacation at all Starwood Vacation Ownership resorts internally without going through an external exchange network. So, it is a value assigned to the week that you own.
Who gets StarOption benefits?
There are three ways to get StarOption benefits:
- If you purchase a Starwood Vacation Ownership timeshare direct from the developer you will get StarOption benefits.
- If you purchase a Westin timeshare resale or a Sheraton timeshare resale in a Mandatory resort you will get StarOption benefits. What is a Mandatory resort? There are six mandatory resorts:
Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Lahaina, Maui
Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas North, Lahaina, Maui
Westin Kierland Villas, Scottsdale, Arizona
Harborside Resort at Atlantis (Phase 1 and 2), Paradise Island, Bahamas
Westin St. John Resort Villas (Hillside), St. John, US Virgin Islands
Sheraton Vistana Villages (Bella and Key West phases), Orlando, FL
If you purchase a resale at any of these resorts then StarOption benefits transfer.
- All other resorts are called Voluntary resorts where StarOption benefits do not transfer to a resale purchaser. However, if you purchase a resale at a Voluntary resort and subsequently purchase a unit directly from the Developer, your resale unit can be re-qualified or “retroed”. You would have to discuss that with your sales agent at Starwood and inform them about this transaction you’ve already made. If you fall within their guidelines of the re-qualification then you would get StarOption benefits if you purchased at a Voluntary resort.
However, let me be clear – when you purchase in a Mandatory resort on the resale market, you are not required to re-qualify this purchase – you automatically receive StarOption benefits.
For a list of the Voluntary resorts within the Westin Starwood timeshare system, click on: Westin Timeshare Resales List of Voluntary Resort Collection
What are StarOption benefits?
StarOptions gives you the ability to request an exchange or make an exchange into any other Starwood Vacation villa property up to 8 months in advance. You can check in or check out any day of the week, so you don’t have to stay an entire week, and you can also stay partial weeks.
You can also now deposit your StarOptions and use them in the future years.
So for example, if you own one week of timeshare or if you purchased units on the resale market that have StarOption benefits (in other words purchased in a Mandatory resort) you can bank your unused StarOptions by July 1st of that calendar year. Starwood will charge a $99 rollover fee.
If you are a three or four Star Member, which of course the only way you would get that status is if you bought from the Developer, then you can deposit or bank your StarOptions, (your unused options) by October 1st of that calendar year and there is a $79 rollover fee.
Now if you are a three or four Star Member or even a five Star Member, then if you purchased a unit on the timeshare resale market your StarOption benefits will fall under the same guidelines. In other words you can bank those StarOptions at the three, four or five Star level. The five Star level or Elite Status will entitle you to deposit your week or your unused StarOptions by December 31st of that year and there are no fees to pay.
When you bank your StarOptions, you cannot use those StarOptions for that calendar year. You can use them anytime during the following two years and again you can make reservations anytime up to a maximum of 8 months in advance, check in or check out any day and your view is not guaranteed.
When you are banking your StarOptions and you use your banked StarOptions in the following year or within the two year time period, there can be a housekeeping fee. This is a fee you do not pay directly to Starwood when you make reservations but you pay at the resort when you check out.
Finally, I’d like to talk about Banked StarOptions and when you sell a timeshare on the secondary market. If you are currently an owner and you have banked your StarOptions and you have not made any reservations with those StarOptions, and you sell your unit, then those StarOptions will expire on resale. In other words, you won’t get the use of them and neither will the buyer.
However, if you have banked Options and you’ve made a reservation and have a confirmation then those reservations will remain with you. Or if you’ve made a special arrangement with the buyer about reimbursement of fees, etc. or some other financial arrangements, then those would transfer.
So the key thing is – if you don’t have reservations made and you sell your unit the banked Options will expire. However, if you have confirmed reservations then those StarOptions, that reservation will remain with you.
I hope this information has been beneficial.
You may view the video below:
Starwood Westin StarOptions Update
For additional information, check out our additional video and blog resources:
What to look for when buying a timeshare resale:
To view the Starwood StarOptions chart, click on: StarOptions Chart.
To view our current listings of Westin timeshare resales, please click on: Westin timeshare resales
Syed Sarmad, Principal Broker for Advantage Vacation