The Fairfield (Wyndham) Discovery Club is a fantastic deal
Whether or not you buy!
Back in January of 2006, my wife and daughter and I visited Disney World, and we brought my mom along because she let us use her Fairfield Resort membership to book 5 night's at the Bonnet Creek location on Lake Buena Vista Blvd, right next to Disney's Carribean Beach Resort.
My mom - and both sisters - are owners with Fairfield Resorts (currently in the process of changing their branding to Wyndham Vacation Resorts), so we'd been through their timeshare presentation before, so although we didn't have to go through a presentation this time, I joined my mother for her 45 minute "update" presentation, and then told the sales lady that I'd like to join the Discovery Club.
The Fairfield Discovery Club is a plan that they don't tell you about until about 3 hours into the full presentation if you go through one. They don't tell you, because NOBODY would buy before going through the discovery club plan if they did.
You see, the Discovery Club is sort of like a "Trial Ownership". You pay a certain fee, they finance it at a good interest rate (8%) over about 2 years, and they give you 12 months to use 300,000 points, which is the equivalent of a "VIP" status owner. Then, if you decide to buy, every penny you paid towards the principal (not interest) goes towards your downpayment, making your initial vacations practically free.
They also freeze the price for you, so as long as there is available inventory when you finally purchase, you pay the same price as the day you sign up - the prices at Bonnet Creek for the level we're going to buy have already gone up 10% or so.
If you don't buy.. well, you've paid $2500 for some really nice resort vacations. For example, we used 291,000 points to get 7 nights in a 2 bedroom deluxe unit at Bonnet Creek in January, 3 nights in a 2 bedroom deluxe unit at their Lake Lure location in the North Carolina mountains in April, and 3 nights in a 1 bedroom "standard" unit (full kitchen still but no jacuzzi tub) in Williamsburg in May.
The 7 nights in Orlando - on disney property, in a 2 bedroom condo with full kitchen and a jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom - was easily worth the $2500. 2 pools, a lazy river, water slide, 4 hot tubs, 2 childrens pools, a playground, minigolf, lots of activities for the adults and the kids, etc. They are really really nice resorts.
But if you *DO* buy.... well, let me give you an example. Adrienne and I have to "convert" by July 28. We'll have only made 16 or 17 payments of $101 each. In order to entice us to convert, they offer to waive the remainder of our discovery club payments - so essentially we will have $1500 to put towards our downpayment, and we will have spend maybe $100 (in interest) taking 3 really nice vacations.
If you ask me, the Discovery Club is a good deal whether or not you plan to "convert" to full ownership.
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