Elite Alliance is an exchange program for owners at a select family of prestigious residence clubs and luxurious, professionally managed vacation homes. The simple exchange process transforms your Equity Residences investment into a key that unlocks the door to travel adventures that extend beyond the Fund’s core portfolio – ski trips, golf getaways, beach escapes and much more – at a growing array of coveted destinations worldwide.
Thirty years ago, the founder of Elite Alliance and the Equity Residences Director Steve Dering created the world’s first residence club at the top-rated Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. This innovative fractional ownership model increased market size and profitability, becoming the fastest-growing segment of the vacation home market. Through the years, Elite Alliance created more than 40 residence clubs, pioneering the ownership model with the first-ever residence club in Manhattan, the Phillips Club. The first residence club in Mexico and Bermuda and Europe’s first urban residence club generated over $1,000,000,000 in sales worldwide.
As its portfolio of luxury residence clubs expanded, the Elite Alliance Exchange program was introduced, allowing the owners of residence clubs and professionally managed homes to experience incredible vacation destinations all around the world. Elite Alliance Exchange quickly earned a reputation for first-class service, coordinating exchange vacations and travel benefits for the Elite Alliance members and owners.
Currently, the Elite Alliance Exchange network has about 8,000 members who are all owners of properties within the portfolio that covers destinations in about 130 locations all over the world. If one was to break down their membership base, their portfolio would comprise of the following:
-70% of their portfolio comprises private residence clubs or the fractional model ranging anywhere from clubs that have 20 members all the way up to 500 members or owners at those particular properties.
-30% of the portfolio comprises luxury homes similar to the Equity Residences portfolio. Other partnerships that are similar are with the Hideaways Club as well as a group like Royal Destinations, which manages a portfolio of luxury homes down around Santa Rosa Beach in Florida.
Nevertheless, residences in the Elite Alliance network meet premium standards of quality, service, location, and amenities. You will experience the luxury, convenience, and personal attention you’ve come to expect, whenever and wherever you go on an Elite Alliance vacation.
Equity Residences and Elite Alliance have had a great history dating back to 2014 when the two companies signed the first partnership with the Equity Residences Villa Fund. In 2016, Elite Alliance signed an agreement with the Equity Residences Platinum Fund as well. Most recently, in 2022, Equity Residences Platinum Fund 2 investors gained a complimentary membership with Elite Alliance, and their hospitality division has taken over the management of the Equity Residences homes.
As of today, there are about 350 investors that participate in the Exchange program. And since 2014, when Elite Alliance launched a partnership with the Villa Fund, Equity Residences investors have booked over 350 vacations at properties within the Elite Alliance Exchange portfolio. Some favorites include the Reefs Club in Bermuda; Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas; the Four Seasons Residences properties are quite popular as well, namely Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, Aviara in California, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mayacama in Sonoma. We encourage you to take a quick dive into the Elite Alliance portfolio to learn about some of our partnerships and amazing travel opportunities that you have available through your membership.
Wondering how your Equity Residences investment and your Elite Alliance membership work together?
Watch the webinar for more details, but we will provide a brief overview here. As an investor, you will receive a complimentary membership with Elite Alliance. This gives you the opportunity to exchange your Equity Residences vacations for stays at the Elite Alliance portfolio. Upon joining Elite Alliance, you are provided with a membership account. From there, you can manage all of your own activity: whether it’s updating your travel preferences as in where you want to go or how you like to travel, or it’s learning a bit more about the properties, potentially making future vacation requests, or booking your very first exchange. You can do all through your membership account.
The Elite Alliance Exchange has a robust platform that you’re provided access to, username and password upon joining, and you can log in at any point in time and view current availability. On this platform, you will be able to find vacation options and view destinations and specific properties. There is a great travel planning section inside your membership account, which provides a bit more detail on the properties. There are also amazing, detailed destination guides that you can use as well to learn about seasonality and credit allocation for all of the properties.
Upon joining Elite Alliance, every member is provided with a dedicated exchange coordinator that really has a wealth of knowledge regarding your membership experience, how the properties operate, and the best ways to book vacations, properties that you want to go to, etc.
Watch the webinar for a detailed explanation. We will give you a brief overview here.
The Elite Alliance Exchange works as a credit system very similar to Equity Residences. Your Equity Residences credits convert 1:1 to the Elite Alliance credits.
You can convert your time in the Equity Residences portfolio to Elite Alliance vacations. The transfer itself would be taken care of by the Equity Residences Investor Relations team and the Elite Alliance Concierge.
Once you have credits inside your membership account, what can you do? You can start to book vacations within the Elite Alliance Exchange platform. The platform provides phenomenal value to our Partners. For example, you can book a stay at the Phillips Club, a residence club located across the street from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, for a nominal exchange fee that is less than one night’s rent at the club.
Once you log in to your profile, you have credits in your membership account, and you can book exchanges, you can go on to view all availability.
Once you find something that is currently available, you can go through the process of booking the exchange all within a couple of steps inside your membership account. On top of that, you will learn all about the transaction fees, whether it be the exchange fee, the housekeeping fee, etc. All of those details are disclosed during the confirmation process, so you will know exactly what is expected when you finalize an exchange.
If you log in to your membership account, looking for specific dates and/or a specific property, and you do not see what you are looking for, then what? The Elite Alliance system is a highly request-driven platform. 70% of all the reservations happen by request.
The first request feature is the watch list request, which spans anywhere from one to three months. You can pick a destination or a specific property and choose to be notified about the availability of such.
If you have kids, you are bound to school schedules and you have specific dates on which you can travel, the “Request a Vacation” feature allows you to pick a specific property and a specific time frame or a specific week. The exchange program notifies all owners of the residence club who are Elite Alliance members of that request and the owners have, give or take, five business days to respond to your request to either fulfill it, deny it, or they can come back to you with a counteroffer to reach a compromise.
Both of these request features are utilized by the Elite Alliance members consistently, and they proved to be very successful. The secret key to traveling with the Elite Alliance is to work with your exchange coordinator and to have properties you want to visit on the watch list or to utilize the request to vacation.
Not all properties on the exchange platform have the same availability. Fractional clubs or the private residence clubs that have an abundance of members are typically where Elite Alliance sees the most inventory for. Esperanza, which is an Auberge resort, has about 400 members and the probability that your request will be accepted is high there.
Remember, the key is to work with the exchange coordinator and to get an insight into the processes of how you can acquire availability of vacation homes.
Watch the webinar for more stories, but we will highlight two of our Partners here.
Jay and Cherie are Villa Fund investors who joined Elite Alliance back in 2015. So far, throughout the course of their membership, they have booked 10 vacations in total. This year, they booked Chateau in Deer Valley on the exchange. They used 60 credits and they paid $695 for an exchange fee to Elite Alliance to secure the booking. If they rented the three-bedroom on the open market, they would have paid about $2,500 per night.
Mark is an Equity Residence Platinum Fund investor, and he has been with the Elite Alliance since 2010. Last spring he had reserved a week at Esperanza, which is an Auberge resort in Cabo, that typically rents for, during that time frame, about $30,000 for the week. He booked the residence through Elite Escapes, the Elite Alliance equivalent to our Fund’s “space available” feature. He only paid an exchange fee than was under $1600 for the full week.
There are two different membership levels, the Core membership and the Premium membership.
Elite Alliance has partnerships with other leading luxury travel brands, including Regal Wings, Ski Butlers, Luggage Forward, Avis Swift, Carey International, and Priority Pass. If you haven’t done so, inside your membership account under the member benefits tab, you will be able to pull up all of the benefits that are available to you. Each section has a link that will take you to a dedicated landing page, specifically speaking to that benefit. It will tell you if you are offered a preferred rate or what the benefit actually entails. We encourage all the members of the exchange program to communicate with their designated exchange coordinator about the additional benefits they can take advantage of when planning for their vacation.