If you are age 50 or up and looking for a destination club geared specifically to your demographic, Golden Years Holidays Club (GYH), a UK public company, might be worth checking out.

Founded in 2003, Golden Years Holidays has taken care to design their membership levels, and choose locations, tours and homes to please an older generation. One of the biggest draws for members is the club’s options for an annuity-based, one-time payment to secure occupational rights to vacations for life. The older the person is when making an application for membership, the less they pay (see chart below).

 

 Membership
 Plan

Average Days Per Year 

Annual Points 

Age at time of purchase

Annual
Fee

     

50

55

60

65

68

 

Silver

7

1925

£24,236

£21,637

£18,884

£16,112

£14,438

£117.50

Gold

14

3850

£45,084

£40,233

£35,112

£29,953

£26,873

£117.50

Platinum

21

5775

£62,543

£55,884

£48,741

£41,580

£37,249

£117.50

The company is focused on clients who are preparing for their retirement and are looking for ways to invest their money now to reduce extravagant withdrawls from retirement income later. Once a member has made a one-off purchase there are no further dues to pay ever—including any nightly fees. The only additional cost is an annual administration fee, linked to the Cost of Living Index increase. This fee is currently £117.50.

Hawksbill in Tobago

With its focus on an older demographic, GYH is not pro-kids. This is very different to most other destination clubs, which are very much geared towards vacations with friends and family. Brad explained that this philosophy helps to smooth out the member usage across the year, since members are not tied in to school vacation times.

“You cannot be all things to all people,” says Brad Hardwick, GYH Operations Director. “Holiday requirements for couples without children, with children, and for empty nesters—those whose children have left home—are quite different."

Services

GYH’s lifetime membership fee includes:

  • Concierge service or Membership Secretary
  • Dedicated chaperones (local hosts) who greet and look after members during their stay
  • Complimentary airport to destination transfers
  • Maid services
  • Car provisions at most locations (usually a quality mid-sized vehicle)
  • Golf (available with Golf Membership upgrade option)

Homes

Canal du midi in FranceGYH currently has 23 locations in 14 countries with plans to add one location per month throughout 2008. The current locations include 9 villas or apartments, which are typically 1,600 sq ft to 3,000 sq ft and sleep 4 to 6 people. The other locations are hotels and special tours. The villa locations have an average value around $1m and include France, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and the islands of Mallorca, Corfu and Tobago (pictured above).

Membership

When purchasing a GYH membership, buyers receive points to redeem throughout the year as they see fit. High season or high valued destinations will require more points. Reservations are first come first served. However, the management boasts of a 95% success rate in giving members their first choice of location and date.  The effective cost per night for members works out to be in the $400 to $600 range.

The company has close to 100 current members, who on average vacation 10 days a year with GYH.  The company plans to have approximately 3,000 members over a ten year period. “It is anticipated that on average, each member will make additional purchases over three years toward an Annual Holiday Entitlement of some three weeks,” says Brad Hardwick. “After the targeted 3,000 memberships are met, the only new members will be those who take up the occupational rights vacated by a member’s resignation or demise.”

Membership Refund

With its annuity type structure, GYH has a very different refund policy to most of the other clubs – where the norm is becoming an 80% refund of the initial membership deposit.

If a member dies age 69 or earlier there is a refund of membership purchase monies. The refund during the first year is 60% of the membership fee; the 60% is then amortized (reduced) to zero in equal increments to age of 69. Members living beyond 69 have no cash return on death but holidays continue for life by payment of the Annual Administration Fee. Members choosing to leave receive the same refund as in the event of their death less 20%.

Other destination clubs that offer comparable homes, but with a more US focus,  include High Country Club, Private Escapes Premiere and Ultimate Resorts.

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