In August of 2021, Hilton Grand Vacations Club (HGVC or HGV) completed its purchase of Diamond Resorts International. In doing so, HGVC more than doubled its number of members and substantially increased the number of vacation ownership resorts that it has available, from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and beyond.
The big question, though, is how the acquisition will affect HGVC’s existing owners as well as Diamond’s owners. Hilton timeshare owners have gotten used to the brand, which is of decidedly higher quality than Diamond Resorts’ products. Diamond Resorts has a firmly established poor reputation with travelers, and its resorts are not as highly regarded.
As a way to ease the transition for its current members, HGVC has enacted a 60% increase in member ClubPoints starting in February of 2022 for its existing members. This point increase makes the Hilton Grand Vacations Points Chart look more appealing for those members, but one must keep in mind that simply increasing points will not solve the impending issues.
This article will take a look at some details of the merger. We’ll then talk about what both Diamond and HGVC owners can expect from the merger and the potential problems that they may have. Finally, if this all sounds too expensive and confusing, we can present an alternative: getting a legal, ethical, and final exit from your timeshare contract.
When HGVC absorbed Diamond Resorts, it created the second-largest timeshare company in the world, behind only Wyndham.
One of the concerns that many timeshare owners and industry watchers had was that HGVC and Diamond were two very different companies, catering to two different customer bases. There was a lot of interest in how that marriage was going to happen.
As it turned out, HGVC used the acquisition to initially create two tiers of membership within its ranks. The existing Hilton club members would stay in HGVC with a points increase. (We’ll discuss that more in a moment.) The former Diamond Resorts owners would then be relegated to the newly formed Hilton Grand Vacation Club Max (HGVC Max), which is intended to be a step down from HGVC.
However, if HGVC members are also pushed into the new HGVC Max product, it will be a downgrade for them. This is because Hilton club resorts are generally higher quality, whether you look in Hawaii, Florida, or Nevada, than the Diamond resorts that will now be part of the portfolio of resorts.
For example, in Las Vegas, the premier Hilton resort is the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Elara Center Strip Las Vegas (the “Elara”). As the name indicates, this resort is located in the middle of the action on the Las Vegas Strip. While you still can (and should) get a hotel room instead of a timeshare, there is no question that this resort is prime real estate in Las Vegas.
The most comparable resort from Diamond, on the other hand, is the Polo Towers, which are about 20 years older than the Elara. The other Diamond Resorts steeply drop off in quality after that.
If you are a Diamond owner, you may be able to reserve a one-bedroom suite at Elara but for a much higher point cost than you are likely used to. Remember that Hilton now considers its own resorts as a higher tier than the former Diamond resorts. Get ready to pay for the privilege of using HGVC’s higher-tier inventory. (You’ll pay even more to reserve time during Hilton’s high-traffic “platinum” periods.)
We’re using the example of Las Vegas, but it’s going to be the same story in Orlando (Tuscany Village vs. the Grand Beach resort), Honolulu (Hawaiian Village vs. The Modern Honolulu), or any other good getaway destination you can think of.
Also, HGVC has a plan to migrate the top Diamond resorts over to the Hilton brand. Why is that important? Because in order to access those resorts, Diamond members will now have to upgrade to HGVC Max or buy an HGVC membership. Either of those options will increase their maintenance fees and cost thousands on top of that.
And if you are an HGVC member, you are now going to be competing with hundreds of thousands of Diamond owners who have upgraded to HGVC Max and would prefer to get a room at the Elara. And it’s unlikely that the HGVC owners will want to go over to the inferior units at the former Diamond Resorts.
In either case, you might be looking at an RCI exchange for your ClubPoints, but keep in mind that this company comes with its own share of expenses and inconveniences, which may just add to your problems.
Sure, you might say, there will be more competition for the better units, but HGVC owners have an advantage on the points chart because the company gave them 60% bonus points, diluting former Diamond owners’ reservation power. Doesn’t that make up for the problem?
It’s possible, sure, but consider that HGVC brought about 325,000 members to the merger. Diamond Resorts had about 400,000. That means the size of the Hilton ownership pool more than doubled, while the share of quality inventory stayed roughly the same.
Hilton owners have already complained about trouble doing their vacation planning for the company’s timeshare resorts, even before the merger. (Even trying to decode the rules for “home week priority,” “club season,” and “open season” reservations presents its own problems.)
It’s unlikely the difficult reservations situation will get better simply by giving members more Hilton Grand Vacation Club Points they’ll have trouble using.
Nor will Diamond members be better off. Hilton will likely use the merger as an opportunity to present Diamond owners with even more sales pitches to “upgrade” their memberships to the HGVC level. Neither Hilton nor Diamond owners were happy with the glut of sales presentations before the merger, and the situation looks like it will only get worse in the future.
If you are an HGVC owner who is now having trouble booking a vacation because of an explosion of new owners, then you’re definitely not alone. On the other side of the coin, it can’t feel that good to be a former Diamond owner who, through no fault of their own, is now being treated as a second-class citizen by the company that bought their timeshare contract.
Add those pressures to the common complaints about timeshare ownership. You have to pay constant and ever-rising maintenance fees. You need to pay that mortgage every month or face the threat of lawsuits, stiff penalties, or other legal problems. And if you try to rent your timeshare to recoup some money, or even attempt a timeshare resale, you face a Byzantine nightmare of roadblocks and rules from the timeshare company.
In most cases, then, your best option will be just to get out. At Centerstone Group, we specialize in helping timeshare owners who regret their purchase and want to rid themselves of the burden in a clean and timely fashion.
Collectively, we have decades of experience in the timeshare industry. We know how it works, and we can use that knowledge to get you the peace of mind you need.
For example, we can explore contractual termination options with you. If that doesn’t help, we can use our proprietary pressure campaigns against the timeshare companies to force them to address your problem in a satisfactory way. We can help you with transferring your unit and its obligations as soon as possible.
And if you need legal help, we know a lot of timeshare lawyers all over the country who can help you with your problem. We can even help you get a better fixed rate with those lawyers.
But don’t take our word for it. We are an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and we have an A Rating. Once you review our reviews and company profile, you will see that we can help you with your timeshare problem.
No timeshare property is really better than a nice hotel, though most of them charge much more per night. But even the nicest properties don’t do you any good if there is no time that you can use them. By acquiring Diamond, Hilton has exploded its ownership base, and it just doesn’t have the quality inventory it needs to keep those owners happy.
The bottom line is this: No matter what the Hilton Grand Vacations Points Chart says, nothing about the merger between HGVC and Diamond is going to make your life easier. If anything, timeshare ownership will only get more difficult and expensive.
Maybe you are an HGVC or Diamond owner, and you haven’t been happy with the experience for some time. Either way, your experience is about to become worse. You owe it to yourself to consider all of your options. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation, and let us see what we can do for you.