11/01/2008

The Point Game


We bought a time share - and points - about ten years ago as a gathering point for a far flung family to get together. We have had some great times which has made it very worthwhile.
We gathered to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary at Greenspring in Williamsburg - December 2005
It was easier to get everybody together when the kids were small and we were not battling school schedules on two coasts and all those kid-commitments that crop up.
So lately, Jim and I have most of the points to ourselves - to use or lose. Which led me to yesterday's small drama - playing the point game.

But I won.

I did it.

With some last minute help from Robin I parceled out 15,000 points with our time share company that I was about to lose.

At the beginning of 2008 we started out with half of last year's points added to the new 2008 points. I thought that would be a good thing. We had two apartments at Greensdpring during the Williamsburg Storytelling Festival. I offered time to Jimmy et all but their schedules are very busy. Jim and I traveled a lot this year - but never to places where we were using Time Share points - - so the clock kept ticking. The points were on hold.

Until our point balance dawned on me a month ago - I saved what I could for next year - what was left were old points - this is USE or LOSE.

That got my attention.

LOSE these points we paid dues on - absolutely not.

But I tell you, getting rid of a stash of points is like dealing with the salt grinding machine that won't stop. They multiply - and perfectly wonderful resorts don't cost as many points as you hope they will.

I found out I could trade - go places outside the properties owned by our company - meaning we could use this year's points next year. Ofcourse there is a fee - that's why you can trade.

I know, I know - what will I do when next year's point kick-in if I use my 2008 points to book travel for 2009? But since those 2009 points are not really real yet - I just ignored them. Like Scarlet, I will worry about them tomorrow.

First I traded for a week at Bass Lake when we go out to CA for the Rogue Festival - A chance for a long over-due trip to Yosemite. Smart, Ellouise. I was patting myself on the back. Good job!
Then came yesterday - the day the chance to trade would slip through our fingers as the 2008 points would no longer be good for trades in 2009. And I still had 10,000 points to deal with.

At this time of the year - everything seemed booked. Until I found a ski chalet in Virginia two hours away. Ah, good - and it was available Thanksgiving week-end. Have turkey at home, drive two hours and see a sight or two. Watch other people ski.

So what that you really don't want to go anywhere, that you would rather stay home and clean your house. I had already decided that even though you have to book for a week - you don't have to stay a week - I mean, this is a found vacation, right. One that is slipping away if you don't save it.

"How many points is that?" My voice was hopeful.
"1700." She said.
"That's all." My voice sounded like I was pleading with her to up the ante. "But I have 8,000 left.

I called our daughter Robin in CA.
"Go somewhere.
Please think of somewhere you want to go in 2009 - and we have to book it before 10 pm tonight or the points will expire."

Robin has teenagers. Teenagers really complicate family scheduling - they are so busy, so socially engaged, so otherwise engaged.

But Robin is a former corporate banker. She is resourceful. Tough corporate experience is an added plus for a mother of kids of any age but when you have teenagers a mother has to be an inventive and skilled manager just to get the family together for a dinner.

Robin studied her calendars - juggling two schools and heaven knows how many sports and teams - she saw a break - an opportunity - Spring Break. It worked.

Two units at Lake Tahoe in March. What's not to love! Even teenagers love going to Tahoe.
Heavenly will be heavenly.

A special hurray for schools and teams who issue schedules a year in advance. I am sure there is a mother behind that.
I am grateful to Robin for the "bail-out."
Jim and I are happy - we are DONE with points - until Janaury 1, 2009.