Through a spin-off from Marriott Corporation in late 2011, Marriott Vacations Worldwide was established as a new separate, public company. The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club is part of this new company, and the independent management team has implemented some changes in the way the clubs deeded points system is structured.
The minimum purchase to join the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club is now 6,500 points, which cost $72,540 or $11.16 per point. This is quite a drop from the original level when the club launched and the minimum buy in was over $100,000. The overall structure of the club remains the same as a deeded membership program backed by an interest in a real estate trust.
The relationship with Marriott also expands the number of properties that club members can use. So in addition to the 8 Ritz-Carlton Club properties, there are now more than 50 Marriott resorts around the world at which members can use their points, and 70 Ritz-Carlton hotels, thousands of Marriott hotels and an array of once-in-a-lifetime tours and travel packages.
Here are a couple of examples of how the Ritz-Carlton points work. A full week in a 3 bedroom residence in Aspen at Christmas would cost 15,825 points, but that same residence would cost just 5,175 points for a week in August. Alternatively a 3 day weekend in a 2 bedroom residence at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco would cost 2,200 points in October or just 1,575 points in April or May.
Most of the properties have 2- or 3- bedroom residences, with 1 bedroom suites available in San Francisco and 4 bedroom residences in Lake Tahoe and Jupiter, Florida.
The annual maintenance fees have also gone down and now are slightly under $2,800 for the minimum points value. Ritz-Carlton told us that the average number of points that they are seeing bought is approximately 10,000 per member.
So overall the new program brings in greater choices and flexibility. Members can spend their man vacation at Ritz-Carlton properties, but can choose Marriotts for additional destinations.