Travel Alert

Read the latest information and updates for HGV Owners and Guests. LEARN MORE

Cookie Statement

This website uses cookies to ensure users get the best experience on our website. LEARN MORE

Expert advice

From Bucket List Trips to Retirement Plans, One Hilton Grand Vacations Owner Proves a Solid Points Strategy is Everything

ClubPoints tips worth trying

The Vacationeer
A shot down a side street in Spain with bright white painted walls on either side, and the blue ocean at the end in the distance.

After dreaming of Spain for decades, Debbie J.'s bucket list trip across the Atlantic finally became a reality in 2010 when she became the Owner of a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare. 

Picturesque skyline view in Spain.    

"My husband purchased the most conservative annual points allotment available — 4,700 ClubPoints every other year — for my 50th birthday just so we could visit Spain," explains Debbie. 

At the time, Debbie wasn't thinking too far into the future beyond their bucket list trip. Married at 18 and deep in the throes of parenthood shortly thereafter, she had waited a long time for this vacation. 

"For a long time, our vacations involved visiting family domestically," she recalls. 

Equipped with 4,700 points at their disposal, they exchanged their newly purchased points to stay in Spain through RCI® vacation exchange. "This amazing experience opened our eyes to all of the wonderful possibilities vacation ownership offers," she says. 

Since then, the couple has committed to making travel a regular part of life. They've upgraded to 25,000 points a year and use a combination of ClubPoints, and Hilton Honors™ points to pave the way. 

"Hilton Grand Vacations has encouraged us to go farther and travel more often."

— Debbie J.

And travel they have. 

"Besides our first trip to Spain, we've visited Hawaii five times," shares Debbie. "We love Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations on the Big Island."

"We've also exchanged points using the Holiday Cottage Exchange to visit extended family in Ireland. And as Florida residents, we enjoy the many destinations in our home state," she says with a grateful smile. 

Scenic aerial shot of the Scottish Highlands.    

The wanderlust-fueled duo has also ticked off the boxes for trips to Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Las Vegas, Parc Soleil® by Hilton Grand Vacations in Orlando, Ocean Oak Resort by Hilton Grand Vacations on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, and finally, a follow-up European trip to Scotland, to name a handful. 

Another unexpected perk of vacation ownership includes best-in-class service and what Owners have come to know as "surprise and delights."

Debbie fondly recalls one memorable stay at The Residences by Hilton Club in New York City. "My husband and I were in the right place at the right time.

We had no idea there was anything special in the works when we checked in the night of the grand opening. And the experience was unforgettable."

New York City skyline at sunset.    

"We met Chef David Burke and enjoyed incredible food while listening to a live band and soaking in one of the best views in Manhattan. Besides the luxury experience, we loved that this event was all about celebrating New York and building relationships with other Owners," says Debbie. 

Vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations is so much more than regular vacations — it's joining a family of travel enthusiasts. 

"I love talking with Owners and Team Members about our favorite properties, most memorable vacations and how to best use our points to travel more," adds Debbie. 

Perhaps the most remarkable part of Debbie's story is the impact that timeshare has had on the trajectory of her life. As their careers wind down and the kids start their own lives, the couple is looking toward the future and planning to take vacation ownership to new heights. 

"Because of our experience with Hilton Grand Vacations, we've made a huge life decision: When my husband and I retire, we are going to sell our house and everything in it to travel the world"

— Debbie J.

As for their retirement plans? The couple will spend a year in Hawaii to start and then allow the adventure to unfold from there. 

"Traveling with the comforts of home — no matter where we go — will make the transition so much easier," explains Debbie. "If we spent our lives staying in traditional hotel rooms, we wouldn't dream of traveling the world at all. But since Hilton Grand Vacations’ resorts have kitchens, laundry and everything else we need, we're going for it."

It's been nearly a decade since the pair embarked on their timeshare journey, and they love sharing what they've learned over the years with fellow Owners. So as our conversation ends, Debbie eagerly shares some of her favorite nuggets of Hilton Grand Vacations travel know-how. 

Waterfalls in Hawaii.    

First, strategically planning your trips is critical. When you travel is just as important as where you will travel to maximize your ClubPoints. 

"I do a lot of research and planning during open seasons," she says. For example, we're currently planning a trip to Italy, so I am researching visiting March-April or September-October. It's significantly less expensive to travel during off-seasons, which means your points go even further."

And the more points, the better — use leftover points on another trip or use them toward activities and experiences to make the vacation memorable. 

Aerial shot of a couple riding a scooter along a country road in Tuscany, Italy.    

Debbie expands on maximizing points, suggesting that Owners consider staying at Hilton Grand Vacations resorts outside of traditional timeshare weeks.

"Usually, the weekend dates require more points, explains Debbie. "So we like to stay at Hilton Grand Vacations resorts on weekdays and use Hilton Honors points to stay at Hilton hotels on the weekends."

"We also use our Hilton American Express Card to get double points for our vacations," she adds. "We were able to stay five days in Kauai just by using points from our credit card."

Finally, she shares one of her ultimate travel planning hacks, which she learned from a Sales Executive. First, use Google Calendar to discover the best weeks to travel. Then, using the point value chart and the calendar on your phone, filter the most economical weeks to travel. "This is a simple strategy that made planning much easier for us," says Debbie. 

 Read "How Do Hilton Grand Vacations ClubPoints Work?" to explore the types of travel afforded by different points allotments.

 

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

Popular Articles