Being in our early 30s, the initial idea of a timeshare seemed like such a long-term goal. Quite honestly, when we went into our presentation we did not have the intention of buying into the program. However, after a great presentation, we decided to start investing in our future and haven’t looked back since that day. Hilton Grand Vacations has been an incredible investment for us and our lifestyle!
So, what have we learned in our first year of Hilton Grand Vacations Ownership?
1. Utilize the Hilton Grand Vacations Website
One of the best resources has been the Hilton Grand Vacations website. Overall, you can find so much information and access everything you need to make the most of your membership. One of those resources within the website is the Club Navigator. I’ve found so much useful information on this section of the website, including: best booking practices, how to best navigate the Member website, printable reference guides and more! I know personally, these tips have been a huge help – especially in our first year as owners. And trust me, we are still learning!
2. Plan your Trips in Advance
Thankfully, I am naturally a planner so travel research is always a MUST-DO for me.
One of the best learnings for us has been to try to plan our trips out in advance. Due to the variety of ownership types, you definitely need to take into account the booking windows for certain properties. We love visiting New York City, but we also know that it is a popular destination. By knowing when your booking window is, you can easily identify the day you can book your vacation.
MY PERSONAL TIP: Mark it on the calendar! It’s definitely helped us know when we can book our upcoming vacations.
3. Take Short, Weekend Trips
Who doesn’t love a quick weekend getaway? By splitting up our trips and navigating the different travel seasons, we’ve been able to truly maximize our ClubPoints value. A big bonus as we navigate through all of the benefits of our membership and as first-time owners!
And who says you have to take a quick weekend trip, you can also travel during the week and really stretch out the value of your ClubPoints.
4. Don’t Forget to Extend your ClubPoints
I absolutely love that we are able to extend our ClubPoints into the following year. As first-time owners, we didn’t really know how many ClubPoints we would utilize for our travel plans. It was a whole new territory for us. But, thanks to an easy process (after we realized we weren’t going to use all of our Points), we were able to roll-over our remaining ClubPoints into 2019. A bonus for us since we typically get ClubPoints every other year with our membership. So not only were we able to keep our points that we didn’t use, but we also can book a fun getaway this year as well.
5. Try Different HGV Properties
One of the benefits of taking those short, quick trips is the ability to also try out different HGV properties. We’ve definitely taken advantage of that, mainly through staycations in Orlando. We are lucky to have so many properties right in our backyard! I feel like by trying out different properties, you can see which ones may become your favorites. And you also get to explore the different areas within each destination. Maybe you’d prefer staying a little closer to Central Park at West 57th Street, or right in the middle of Midtown at The Residences by Hilton Club! The beauty is, there are so many options to choose from – so don’t limit yourself to one particular property!
6. Don’t Forget about Elevated Rewards
I actually first learned about the Elevated Rewards program while in New York for our HGV Sales presentation. When I first saw the list, I was completely surprised by how many benefits Owners get around the city. Between a variety of food locations, to even discounts at The New York Philharmonic, there is so much you can explore with your Elevated rewards card.
And the Elevated Rewards program isn’t just in New York City. There is also a program in Washington, D.C.
7. Visit Where-To, the Official HGV Blog
I know, this might seem a little obvious (especially since you are already reading Where-To), however there is so much incredible information on this blog. Between travel tips to insight from Owners, there is a wealth of knowledge to help you best utilize your membership. I know for me, the “Ask a Club Counselor” series was a must-read when we first joined the program. It’s also been a fantastic resource when planning for upcoming trips, providing insight on not only the HGV properties but also what’s in each destination.
8. Read the Club Traveler Magazine and Newsletters
I love to learn, so having all of these resources in our back pocket is like heaven for me. One of my favorite publications is the Club Traveler. I’ve found that there is a lot of pertinent information in these updates about new locations, upcoming Member itinerary trips and more. Definitely take advantage of reading through all of the materials because you never know what new information you might learn about!
9. Schedule to Meet with HGV
Another great resource is to meet with an HGV staff member. They are the experts, so can truly navigate you on how to best maximize your membership. We’ve found that we were able to talk through the “type of travelers” we are and what properties might best suit us as well.
10. Invest in your Hilton Honors Account
Another great investment, outside of the HGV membership, is the Hilton Honors program. With more than 5,600 hotels and resorts worldwide, the Hilton portfolio has a ton of options to meet your travel needs. After we purchased into the HGV family, we also decided to invest in the Hilton Honors credit card. We’ve earned so many Hilton Honors points through our eligible purchases, allowing us to travel and pay for our entire hotel stay with points. And that was for a week long trip in NYC! Definitely can’t get much better than that. And bonus, it allows us to decide which Point type we want to utilize for vacations, ClubPoints or Hilton Honors points.
This is so much we have learned this past year, and we cannot wait to book our future travels!