HGV Max vs. Diamond: Should You Upgrade Your Membership?

HGV Max vs Diamond: couple signing a contract

Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) is certainly well-known within the timeshare industry. Separate from the Hilton Hotels Company, Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. is a high-end provider of timeshares. From Mexico to Scottsdale to Hawaii, the company boasts a wide range of domestic and international real estate properties. And that selection has gotten even wider since their merger with the timeshare company Diamond Resorts. Let’s explain.

In August of 2021, Hilton Grand Vacations officially completed its acquisition of Diamond Resorts International (DRI.) As a result, HGV gained about 400,000 Diamond Resorts members and created a new program called HGV Max. Will Max be of benefit to its new members? Or could this merger potentially cause an HGV Max vs. Diamond square off?

What Is HGV Max?

The HGV Max program was created so that current Hilton Grand Vacation timeshare owners could have the option of staying at Diamond properties, all of which are rebranding to be named Hilton Vacation Club. And because Diamond has been absorbed into the HGV company, HGV Max is also a way of bringing Diamond timeshare owners into the fold.

Why would someone want to buy into a Max membership? According to HGV, for the variety. Diamond has resorts in over 370 locations. Some of them in places that HGV hadn’t previously settled, like Sedona, Arizona, and Lake Tahoe. The possibilities of where you could be going on your next vacation are seemingly endless.

An HGV Max membership comes with the following perks:

  • Access to some Hilton Grand Vacations and Diamond Resorts properties
  • Ability to exchange points with HGV vacation exchange partners
  • Use of points for booking travel experiences like cruises and guided tours
  • Ability to roll over the current year’s points and borrow from next year’s points
  • Annual complimentary guest certificates
  • Up to 10% off rack rates at Hilton Hotels
  • Ability to convert ClubPoints to Hilton Honors Points
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status with the HGV Max Premier+ or Centum+ tier

New HGV timeshare buyers are automatically enrolled in an HGV Max membership. But neither HGV nor Diamond members who owned properties prior to the merger are automatically enrolled. In fact, both have to upgrade in order to receive these benefits.

This is not something HGV is all that upfront about. They want you to believe that transitioning to this new membership program is completely seamless. In reality, it requires a substantial investment that may not be worth it to owners from either company.

HGV Max vs. Diamond: How Much Does a Membership Cost?

Person stacking coins on wooden blocks with FEES written on it

So why don’t Diamond owners get immediate access to HGV timeshare resorts? Because HGV wants them to spend even more money. Upgrading your membership to HGV Max requires the following payments:

  • Activation Fee: $199
  • Ownership Change Fee: $450
  • HGV Max Initiation Fee: $7,000

This over $7,500 investment exceeds the cost of a new timeshare. You could even buy a HGV resale for cheaper. And when added on to your existing maintenance fees, this price tag does not justify the benefits.

An HGV Max membership is supposed to come with exclusive booking windows. But in reality, members are only allowed to book six months in advance. With all the new customers joining the Hilton Grand Vacations family, how exclusive can this window really be? 

Owners from both companies will have to compete for a stay at the most coveted Diamond and HGV properties. Even if you technically have access to a whole new catalog of destinations, there’s no guarantee that one will be available at the time and place you want.

Are Diamond Resorts Lower Quality?

Another reason why Diamond owners can’t switch over for free is because HGV has deemed it a “lower-level sub-brand.” Diamond’s units and amenities are considered inferior to the offerings of Hilton Grand Vacation resorts. They are worth less money, less points, and less value to club members. That doesn’t mean that Diamond Resorts provide Motel 6 level hospitality. Their resorts are simply less extravagant than Hilton Grand Vacation properties.

The value discrepancy between Hilton Grand Vacations and Diamond Resorts can be exemplified by their timeshare prices. A new HGV timeshare costs anywhere from the mid-$8,000’s to the high-$700,000’s. A new Diamond Resorts property usually costs less than $10,000.

On the online timeshare marketplace, you can find dirt cheap resales from both companies — many for $0. But these listings are from timeshare owners who are desperate to get out of their contracts and escape escalating maintenance fees. Forget making a profit on a resale. These owners would be lucky to walk away from their timeshare without owing anything.

What does the difference in timeshare costs mean for customers of either company? For HGV owners, it means that investing thousands into a Max membership will just give them access to lower-quality properties. 

And for Diamond Resort Members, it means that their lower-tier timeshare property will be less valuable to trade and exchange with. So even if they invested in a Max membership, the competition for booking windows and costs required to snag a stay at a HGV resort will be enormous. 

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to HGV Max

We’ve discussed why HGV Max memberships aren’t worth it monetarily. But what you need to know if you’re a Diamond Resorts timeshare owner is that HGV employees are often dishonest. They’ve been known to say that existing Diamond membership will get rolled into the HGV program automatically. They’ll neglect to tell you about all the initiation fees or how much booking availability you’ll have competing with current Hilton Grand Vacation owners.

Beware, HGV may also tell you that a new HGV Max membership will replace your unwanted Diamond membership. Many people are reporting, however, that their Diamond membership has not been eliminated. Instead, they’ve been saddled with another timeshare and are now stuck with two unwelcomed properties.

If you are hoping that HGV Max could be your ticket out of the Diamond ownership trap, you are sadly mistaken. Though some timeshare sales people will tell you this merger can make your membership go away, that’s simply not the case. Diamond Resorts has been absorbed into the Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare portfolio. Their properties are being rebranded as Hilton Vacation Club. The complications you’ve experienced with Diamond will be replaced with equally inconvenient and likely more expensive ones from HGV.

Escape the HGV vs. Diamond Conflict Before It’s Too Late

Entrepreneur refusing to sign a contract

Hilton Grand Vacations’ merger with Diamond Resorts isn’t just an opportunity for customers to have more vacationing options. It’s an opportunity for HGV to push an unnecessary membership onto timeshare owners from both companies. HGV Max memberships are unreasonably priced and don’t offer much to those accustomed to Hilton Grand Vacations’ level of luxury. Whether you belong to HGV or DRI, upgrading to HGV Max isn’t worth the investment or hassle.

So when it comes to HGV Max vs. Diamond Resorts, what should you do? Wait to be forced into a membership? No! You should take back control from the timeshare industry and pursue cancellation with Centerstone Group

We are a full-service advocacy group that supports victims of the timeshare industry. Centerstone Group represents victims of fraud, high-pressure sales tactics, or misrepresentation by resolving their contracts and finding the right exit solution for them. Contact Centerstone Group for a free consultation today.


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