So, as I am wont to do, I appear to have thrown myself wholeheartedly into the MR program. I have two main reasons for this - one, my better half just got picked up with the FAA and that means Marriott stays are in our future. Two, the vacation package redemptions that include airline miles are a great value for us. When I started doing my in-depth research, I discovered that some level of ownership allows those redemptions with 5 night stays instead of the normal 7, which is far more optimal for our typical leisure stays. I'm not unfamiliar with timeshares - I once had a UDI property that I like to believe I made worth my while - but I am wholly unfamiliar with Marriott's offerings.
So, the actual questions, most of which will likely be answered in this first one:
Where do I find the most concise informational package about how to make the vacation club work for me?
The individual questions I'm looking to answer are:
What level of ownership is required in order to redeem 5 night vacation package awards instead of 7 night?
Are weekly ownership packages still available? It appears that direct purchase weeks is over, but can older weekly ownerships be transferred or are they converted to points based ownership?
Can points be redeemed night by night, or is there a minimum stay requirement? I rarely if ever manage to stay somewhere for 7 nights, but the program would be infinitely more valuable to me if I could book multiple two night reservations throughout the year.
What options are available to owners to deposit weeks or points into 'trading' systems?
Related to booking transferability, are booked weeks allowed to be sold? How about 'given away' as either a donation (like to an organization seeking prizes for an auction) or a 'free gift with purchase'?
I assume most of those could be answered with one great resource, but the last few questions are more for the community at large:
Are there any particularly good values - in terms of maintenance fees, I imagine - for someone who 'just wants in'?
What have you experienced in terms of short notice availability? I am usually hugely flexible, either with dates or location, but only have one or two trips a year that are planned more than six months in advance.
Are there any 'hidden' costs that dramatically increase the cost of ownership over the normal maintenance fees and dues?
Sorry to ask so much when I'm so new around here! Really, point me towards some great resources and I'll try to track down the answers for myself. Thanks so much!