Monday, May 8, 2017

The Case Against Timeshare Points

Timeshare points.

I used to like them. Back in 2001, I worked for the first resort in the Orlando area to convert from RCI weeks to RCI points.

So many things to do with points. So much more you could get with your points than with weeks. So much more flexibility.

Flash forward to 2017-in addition to RCI Points, nearly every brand name timeshare has instituted their version of points and in good conscience, I no longer recommend points of any kind.

Here are just a few of the many reasons I prefer timeshare weeks over timeshare points:

1-Inflation. A week is 7 days. It is now and it will be in 60 years. Not so with points. Your yearly allocation of points may get you a week in a resort this year. Next year, it may be 6 nights. 60 years down the road, who knows. There is no hedge against point devaluation and you, the owner have no control.

2-Continual Upselling. In order to counter the above, owners are continually told they need to buy more. And more. And more. I'm sorry, if your new car continually had to 'upgraded' each year because it wouldn't drive on new roads, no one would let this happen. Yet, this is precisely what is happening. The timeshare you purchased in order to accomplish good vacation accommodations, no longer does that.

3-Confusion and Lying. If I had a dollar for every time someone called or wrote saying that they had been told that the weeks system was going away and if they didn't convert, usually for upwards of $7,000, they'd no longer be able to exchange their timeshare, I'd be a wealthy woman. Just not true. Add to that the number of salespeople who don't really know about points, but desperately try to convince consumers of their 'magical powers' and you've got a mess.

4-Where's The Asset. A timeshare week is generally backed with real estate. Not so with most point systems. You're buying air. And oftentimes charged closing costs and other real estate based fees when you own no real estate. Frankly, why should you pay maintenance fees? You don't own any part of the property.

5-Sold Out Status. A timeshare with 100 units can have 50,000 owners, assuming each unit can be sold 50 times. Try to do that math with points. Try to find anyone who gives you the straight answer to 'how many total points is this property allocated?'

Are there exceptions?  Possibly.  But in general, I find timeshare points to be a poor alternative to timeshare weeks.

As always, I value your input.


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  1. Lisa, if you combine points #2 and #5, you get another phenomena - disappointment. If an owner is "silver" status, he can book at 10 months. "Gold" status can book at 12 months. And "platinum" can book at 13 months. This means that a new silver owner can never get one of those 100 weeks for July 4 at Hilton Head or Christmas at Aspen. The game is rigged so that an increasing number of points is chasing a limited number of high demand weeks. There are no "mud weeks" with points. It is easy to understand why timeshare companies sell over 1/2 their contracts to current owners. They are just trying to get what they thought they paid for.

  2. Another questionable feature of point systems is the ability of developers to over sell high demand seasons. With a traditional deed we buy use-rights in a designed season. RCI's weeks are Red, White and Blue; II's weeks are coded Red, Yellow and Green. Blue or Green weeks are off season weeks when demand for accommodations is low. Red weeks are those in high demand time. If there are 15 Red weeks in a resort's calendar, there are 15 owners competing for 15 weeks--a one-to-one ratio.

    In a point system, a Blue week might be values at 10 points while a Red week might be 20 points, but the owner of Blue week points are able to use them for reservations in Red week accommodations. Sales staffs are simply selling points. Thus they can sell 20 points backed by two Blue week deeds and the owner can use those points to compete for accommodations in a Red week time--now the ratio is two-to-one and Red time has been over sold.

  3. Thomas GroenewaldMay 27, 2017 at 11:04 PM

    The Holiday Club in South Africa certainly appears to be an acception. Their points are correlated to weeks (mid and end). The number of points remained the same (to my observation) over the years. We generally go out of season. We started with a few points, which only catered for a shortish holiday every alternative year. We gradually increased to points hardly sufficient for a week in high season, but manages three weeks holiday each year. The only escalations had been the annual fees, which is perfectly understandable.